By Jonathan Easley - 04/23/12 12:12 PM EDT
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) criticized the FBI on Monday for removing nearly 900 pages of training material it deemed to be offensive, saying it showed extremist Muslim groups were influencing national strategy.
The FBI made the move after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) complained about some passages, including one that advised agents to "never attempt to shake hands with an Asian" and another that said agents should expect "outbursts" from Arab minds.
West said that by removing such passages, the FBI was committing "cultural suicide" and allowing groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to influence U.S. policy.
When asked if he believed those groups were influencing U.S. strategy, West responded, “Oh, absolutely,” and cited the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting report that didn’t mention the suspect’s Muslim faith as a potential motive for the killings.
“If we continue to be recalcitrant in identifying who the enemy is and want to be less offensive to them, then we’re going to put ourselves in a bad situation,” West said. “Now you have an environment of political correctness which precludes these agents from doing their proper job and due diligence to go after the perceived threat.”
Fox News in February reported that the FBI removed hundreds of counterterrorism training documents after a months-long review found inaccuracies and other problems in their description of Muslims.
Durbin voiced concerns last month in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller over passages that under some circumstances allow agents to “bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms of others.”
He also said he was worried about several racially charged passages, such as to “never attempt to shake hands with an Asian,” to “never stare at an Asian” and a slide that said the “Western mind” is “even keel,” but to expect “outbursts” and “loss of control” from Arab minds.
“There is a real risk that agents will be operating on false assumptions about Arab-Americans and American Muslims,” Durbin’s letter read in part. “This could harm counterterrorism efforts by leading FBI agents to target individuals based on their religion or ethnicity, rather than suspicion of wrongdoing.”
“That sounds like a lot of political double-speak and him trying to appease a certain segment,” West responded.