Friday, February 20, 2015

F.B.I. Chief Not Invited to Meeting on Countering Violent Extremism

F.B.I. Chief Not Invited to Meeting on Countering Violent Extremism

An excerpt from the NY Times:
WASHINGTON — The White House did not invite the most senior American official charged with preventing terrorist attacks — the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — to the three-day conference this week on countering violent extremism in the United States and abroad because the administration did not want the event too focused on law enforcement issues, according to senior American officials.  
But Mr. Comey’s Russian counterpart — Aleksandr V. Bortnikov, the director of the Russian Federal Security Service, the post-Soviet K.G.B. — was at the meeting, even though international human rights groups have repeatedly accused the Russian security service of unjustly detaining and spying on Russians and others. 
The service also declined to provide American counterterrorism and intelligence officials with information before the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that would probably have led to more scrutiny of one of the suspects.
Several other foreign law enforcement officials attended the conference, which was held in Washington. The meeting has been criticized as ineffectual and irrelevant, and not focused on immediate and tangible solutions to stop terrorists. And some Republicans said that President Obama’s speech to the assembled leaders on Wednesday did not lay out a strategy for defeating groups like the Islamic State.

The omission of Mr. Comey adds further uncertainty over who in the government is in charge of the anti-extremist effort. Just a few months ago, the F.B.I. put out a lengthy bulletin on its website about how it was leading “a new approach to countering violent extremism.” Many of the strategies listed by the F.B.I. appear similar to ones mentioned at the meeting. 
An Obama administration official defended the decision not to invite Mr. Comey, saying that “while the F.B.I. works tirelessly to keep the country safe, this conference was not centered on federal law enforcement.”

Then again, Barack Obama says the Islamic State isn't islamic and......