Reading U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick's "Wake Up America" agenda -- a 10-point plan targeting potential jihadist infiltration into this country's military, security, educational and financial institutions -- triggers mixed emotions.
First, relief. Finally, there is an elected official who understands the urgency of these festering national security threats. Virtually every other elected U.S. official, up to and including the president (and presidential candidates) has shockingly ignored these same threats. Which leads to a flash of panic: How could our leaders have allowed so many years go by without taking action? Then comes, for me at least, a sense of resolve to help Myrick accomplish her goals by trying to boost a much-needed national conversation about the jihadist threat at home.
The North Carolina Republican's plan warms up with two calls for investigations into those U.S. chaplains, in both the US military and the prison system, who were approved by Abdurahman Alamoudi, the convicted terrorist and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) member now serving 23 years in prison.
(Normal person's reaction: What do you mean an MB member later convicted of terrorism chose our Muslim military and prison chaplains? Tell me more. Government reaction: Zzzzz.)
In the early 1990s, back when he was something of a Washington power broker, Alamoudi helped set up the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain corps in conjunction with the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, a Saudi-funded operation that specializes in what you might call Jihadism 101. (Way to be awake, Pentagon.)
Alamoudi went to prison back in 2004, but no one since, in the military or the prisons, seems to have taken a second look at what his prodigies might be preaching (terrorism? treason? whatever?). Myrick plans to check into it herself.
Next, she plans to ask the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to examine the process by which the FBI and Defense Department select Arabic translators. Of particular concern to Myrick -- but not, incredibly, to the FBI or the Defense Department -- is these two agencies' mind-boggling practice of advertising for recruits in what can only be described as pro-terrorism publications.
(Normal person's reaction: What do you mean the government is trolling pro-terrorism sites for Arabic translators? Government reaction: Did someone say something?)
Next on the congresswoman's to-do list is a call for an Internal Revenue Service investigation into the nonprofit status of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Such status restricts "lobbying on behalf of a foreign government," but, as Myrick notes, plenty of foreign funds have found their way into CAIR's coffers to beg the question.
Another Myrick plan is to introduce a bill to make preaching, publishing, distributing or financing calls for the death of Americans or American troops an act of sedition or solicitation of treason. She also wants to ask the GAO to assess total sovereign wealth fund investment in the United States. Such massive funds, owned and controlled by governments, first came to many Americans' attention with the recent purchase by the United Arab Emirates of a large stake in Citigroup; in recent years, however, there has been a spike in such foreign government investment in the United States. This raises concerns (that is, it should raise concerns) about the political goals of such funds -- for example, the spread of Islamic law through "Sharia-compliant banking." Thankfully, Myrick is concerned.
The last few points on the Myrick agenda focus on the appalling lack of reciprocity and common sense in our nation's dealings with Saudi Arabia. Regarding the student visa program that is supposed to bring 21,000 Saudi students to this country, Myrick would attach the condition that the Saudis rewrite their textbooks to omit incitement against non-Muslims; regarding religious visas for imams, she would require of Islamic countries reciprocal visa arrangements for non-Muslim clergy; and regarding U.S. training of Saudi security forces, she would insist that the Saudis prosecute known Al Qaeda financiers and stop releasing repatriated Guantanamo Bay terrorists in exchange for their pledges not to attack ... Saudi Arabia. She will also be introducing a bill to block the sale of state-of-the-art offensive munitions to Saudi Arabia, especially Joint Direct Attack Munitions or JDAMs.
Ambitious? You bet. Myrick deserves an "A" for effort for filling the leadership vacuum left by Republicans and Democrats alike regarding these and other home-front threats. Whether she can accomplish her goals, she will certainly help educate Americans on gravely important issues most of our politicians are too timid to talk about.
Diana West is a contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of the new book, The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization.