WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US intelligence agencies have failed to utilize the skills of Arab-American employees in the War on Terror because of existing prejudices and discrimination, National Whistleblowers Center Executive Director Stephen Kohn told Sputnik.
“There has been willful and intentional discrimination against loyal and patriotic Arab-Americans who have necessary skills that could have helped,” Kohn said on Monday.
The expert explained that because of prejudices and discrimination, US intelligence agencies have failed to anticipate that al-Qaeda would take advantage of the political turmoil in the Middle East after the 2010 Arab Spring.
The agencies’ inability to provide accurate intelligence was brought into light by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Deputy Director Michael Morell, who recently stated that CIA’s inability to anticipate al-Qaeda’s steps allowed the group to regain strength after the killing of its leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
The expert said the Whistleblowers Center obtained under oath testimony from the leading FBI officials that supervisors and managers, who were being assigned to the counterterrorism division to manage all US-related terrorism cases, were not required to have any subject matter expertise in terrorism and the Middle East.
“The person…. who was given the authority to build the entire FBI counterterrorism program after September 11, 2001, did not know the difference between the Shia and the Sunni Muslims,” Kohn added.
The expert recalled a major whistleblower case in which the FBI refused to use their highest-ranking fluent Arabic speaker, Bassem Youssef, who is currently a Unit Chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, because of being an Arab American.
In July 2006, the US Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility ruled that the FBI illegally held Youssef back.
“That’s an indication that they don’t use the resources on the human intelligence that they should be using to protect the United States from another terrorist attack,” Kohn said.
The expert concluded that the FBI and other US intelligence agencies need to target existing discriminatory conduct, eliminate the discrimination and use all resources at their disposal.