June 25, 2012
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

NPR NEWS EXCLUSIVE: FBI HAS INVESTIGATED MORE THAN 100
SUSPECTED ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS IN MILITARY

"INSIDER THREATS" INCLUDE ACTIVE AND RESERVE PERSONNEL,
THOSE WITH ACCESS TO MILITARY FACILITIES

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON REPORT AIRING ON "All THINGS CONSIDERED"

NPR News has learned that the FBI has conducted more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists within the military - "insider threats" that may include active and reserve personnel, and also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards. Counterterrorism Correspondent Dina Temple-Raston reports that about a dozen of those cases are considered serious, prompting formal investigations to gather information about suspects who appear to have demonstrated a strong intent to commit violence against military targets.

The report is airing tonight on All Things Considered, and available now at NPR.org. This is the first time the figures have been publicly disclosed; they were compiled by the FBI late last year for a closed session of a House-Senate committee hearing about threats to military communities in the United States.

Temple-Raston has learned that cases seen as serious could include, among other things, suspects who seemed to be planning an attack, or were in touch with "dangerous individuals" urging them to act. Officials would not provide details about the cases and the FBI would not confirm the numbers. Officials stressed that the FBI and Department of Defense track all kinds of extremism within the military community - from white supremacists to neo-Nazis - not just Islamic extremists.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate committee on Homeland Security and co-chair of the joint hearing for which this information was compiled, told NPR: "This number speaks not only to the reality that there is a problem of violent Islamic extremists in the military, but also that the Department of Defense and the FBI since the Nidal Hassan case are working much more closely together."

Lieberman wouldn't confirm precise number of cases, but he added: "I was surprised and struck by the numbers, they were larger than I expected. I know one can say that as a percentage of the millions of people in active military service or working with contractors the numbers you talk about are a small percentage of the total, but the reality is it only took one man, Nidal Hasan, to kill 13 people at Fort Hood and injure a lot more."

Find the full report at NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/2012/06/25/155710570/fbi-checking-100-suspected-extremists-in-military

All Things Considered, NPR's signature afternoon newsmagazine, is hosted by Melissa Block, Audie Cornish and Robert Siegel, and reaches more than 12 million listeners weekly. To find local stations and broadcast times for the program, visit www.npr.org/stations