Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Thursday over the “systematic scrubbing of law enforcement and intelligence materials,” connecting the issue to the 2014 Fort Hood shooting and other attacks.
Cruz began by comparing the number of references to “Jihad,” “Muslim,” and “Islam” found in the 9/11 commission report to the number found in several of the Obama administration’s intelligence and counterterrorism materials.
“The word ‘jihad’ appears in that report 126 times, the world ‘Muslim’ appears in that report 145 times, the world ‘Islam’ appears in that report 322 times,” he said sternly. “And yet since that 9/11 commission report, different policies have come into effect. And as a matter of systematic policy, those terms are no longer allowed to be used in this administration.”
Johnson told Cruz repeatedly that he has no knowledge efforts to “purge” DHS material of references to radical Islam. The DHS chief went on to claim that conceding the Islamic State is connected to Islam only gives the terrorist group what it wants.
Cruz ultimately cut off Johnson to reclaim his speaking time.
“You’re entitled to give speeches other times,” Cruz said. “My question was if you were aware that the information has been scrubbed.”
Watch the entire contentious exchange below:
Cruz also pushed back against Johnson’s assertion that removing references to radical Islam is merely a “semantic difference.”
“When you erase references to radical jihad, it impacts the behavior of law enforcement and national security to respond to red flags and prevent terrorist attacks before they occur,” Cruz said.
The Texas senator suggested the Fort Hood shooting may have been one of those instances. When bluntly asked by Cruz if it was a “mistake” not to respond to the “red flags” in regards to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, Johnson accused Cruz of citing incorrect information.
“In one minute, I couldn’t begin to answer your question,” he said.
“Pick anything,” Cruz shot back. “Pick one thing, sir.”
“You’re assuming that the federal government in advance of the attack on Fort Hood saw all these different red flags. That’s not correct,” Johnson said.
That’s when Cruz got specific.
“Is it true or false that the Obama administration knew before the attack that Nidal Hasan was communicating with Anwar al-Awlaki?” Cruz asked.
“How are you defining the ‘Obama administration,’ sir?” Johnson said.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Cruz responded.
“The entire Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can’t answer that question sitting here,” Johnson answered.
“The answer is ‘yes’ and it’s public record, sir,” Cruz retorted.
Cruz went on to cite “red flags” missed in the Boston bombings and San Bernardino attack.
Headline: Western Journalism