In a stunning turn of events, a high-level Muslim military aide, or infiltrator, blamed for costing an intelligence contractor his job will step down from his own Pentagon post. Three cheers for rational thought!
Meanwhile, his rival, Maj. Stephen Coughlin, a leading authority on Islamic war doctrine, may stay in the Pentagon, moving from the office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the office of the secretary of defense. However, sources say a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey is trying to block his new contract.
The top Pentagon aide, Egyptian-born Hesham H. Islam, came under a cloud of suspicion after reports raised doubt about his resume and contacts he had made with radical Muslims. He is expected to leave the government next month, officials say.
Reality is peeking through the clouds. A senior U.S. official says the life story Islam presented now appears sketchy. "His resume didn't add up, and he knows it," the official said. "He's voluntarily leaving the government in March."
At the same time, a report by terror expert Steven Emerson revealed that Islam, as special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, has scheduled at least two meetings in the Pentagon with Syrian-tied radicalsincluding a leading member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhoodin direct violation of U.S. policy. As previously reported, FBI officials believe Islam is involved with the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and is helping its front groups run "influence operations" against the U.S. government.
"He's a Muslim brother," an FBI official told the press. "He's a bad actor, and he's made other unreported nefarious contacts."
In addition to his close encounters with Gordon England, his immediate supervisor at the Pentagon, Islam has worked closely in the Pentagon with Muslim chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam, who received his training at a radical Islamic school in Northern Virginia that was raided by federal authorities after 9/11. Islam, whose son is active in the military, obtained one of the highest security clearances for classified information. Sources confirm he has sat in on Pentagon meetings in which intelligence clearance was restricted at the Top Secret/SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) level.
The Pentagon had no comment. And Islam, who has not been accused of any crimes, has refused interviews. Terrorism expert, Steve Emerson says Islam prescribed a steady diet of Muslim Brotherhood-connected outreach for his unwitting boss, deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. Pentagon insiders say Eric S. Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, has sought to stop the awarding of a new contract to Coughlin. Edelman served as ambassador to Turkey from 2003 to 2005.
Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., who co-chairs the House Anti-Terrorism Caucus, has been fighting to keep Coughlin in the Pentagon, where she says his blunt analysis of the Islamic enemy is sorely needed, "I know that some people will refuse to admit there is a subversive movement going on here, but let me remind you that we have underestimated the will and capability of our enemy for more than 30 years," she added. "They are patient and determined to achieve their radical agenda."