Posted at 04:45 PM ET, 11/03/2011

FBI calls in West Point to help fix its counterterrorism training

This post has been updated.

Two months after Wired’s Danger Room blog first reported that a trainer at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., told agents that “mainstream” Muslims are likely to be “violent” terrorist sympathizers, Danger Room has found that the FBI is asking the Army for help in fixing its counterterrorism training.


The FBI building. (Rich Clemen - Bloomberg)
“The FBI is calling in the cavalry,” Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman writes. It “represents a frank admission from the FBI that it requires outside help to reform.”

After the news of the Quantico trainer first came out, the FBI said the incident was an isolated one. Employing the Army’s Combating Terrorism Center at West Point to help look over their training materials, however, suggests a wider concern.

Ackerman reports that the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) “earns high praise from counterterrorism experts as a haven for rigorous, practical scholarship on terrorism and Islamic extremism,” and that its researchers are nothing like the analyst Wired had discovered comparing Islam to the Death Star and Mohammed to a “cult leader.”

Brian Fishman of the New America Foundation, a former research director at the center, told Ackerman that CTC has an “ethos of education.” “When you have that, you inherently recognize that you need to illustrate that, for example, the practice of Islam around the world isn’t monolithic,” Fishman said.

The review by the FBI, with help from CTC, will include more than 150,000 pages of counterterrorism training material, more than 4,500 presentations, and more than 1,000 minutes of video.

It’s unclear how much of that review will include CTC revamping the bureau’s curriculum, or whether the center will simply remove objectional material.

An FBI official has also told Talking Points Memo that the Army’s role in the review is “overstated.” While confirming that the numbers about the review were correct, the FBI said a statement that a “core review team included FBI and non-FBI personnel with academic training in areas of Islamic studies and Arab history” which “established guidelines to provide concrete enterprise-wide guidance on the training of counterterrorism and countering violent extremism topics.”

Read the full story at Danger Room here.

By  |  04:45 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Tags:  World, FBI, Combating Terrorism Center, counter-terrorism

 
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