By Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman
September 20, 2011
Categories: Crime and Homeland Security
This June 8 lecture is controversial in a different way. In Gawthrop’s worldview, the struggle against al-Qaida is really just an afterthought in a broader war. The group that knocked down the World Trade Center and rammed a jet into the Pentagon is a mere distraction. These are the professional assessments of a representative from the nation’s top domestic counterterrorism agency — a man considered so expert in understanding militant strategy that the FBI had him training agents on the subject.
“We waste a lot of analytic effort talking about the type of weapon, the timing, the tactics. All of that is irrelevant … if you have an Islamic motivation for actions,” Gawthrop said. Even taking down hostile states like Iran is futile, since “there are still internal forces that will seek to exert Islamic rule again.”
The best strategy for undermining militants, Gawthrop suggested, is to go after Islam itself. To undermine the validity of key Islamic scriptures and key Muslim leaders.
“If you remember Star Wars, that ventilation shaft that goes down to into the depths of the Death Star, they shot a torpedo down there. That’s a critical vulnerability,” Gawthrop told his audience. Then he waved a laser pointer at his projected PowerPoint slide, calling attention to the words “Holy Texts” and “Clerics.”
“We should be looking at, should be aiming at, these,” Gawthrop said.
To read entire article, see http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/fbi-islam-qaida-irrelevant/all/1 .