New video emerges of FBI analyst with anti-Muslim views

Laura Rozen
September 20, 2011

Last week, Wired's Danger Room blog uncovered FBI training materials that espouse anti-Muslim views, including portraying Islamic charity as a "funding mechanism for combat," and suggesting that "mainstream" Muslims are likely to be violent. The views were presented by FBI counterterrorism analyst William Gawthrop in his April lecture to FBI agents, Wired's Spencer Ackerman reported.

The FBI, in response to the report, issued a statement saying the presentation was a one-time only affair, and that the analyst no longer did training sessions for the bureau.

"This particular training segment was conducted six months ago, one time only, at Quantico and was quickly discontinued," FBI spokesman Christopher Allen told Yahoo News in an emailed statement on September 15th. "The instructor who conducted that training block no longer provides training on behalf of the FBI."

However, on Tuesday, Wired published a video of a June 8 presentation given by Gawthrop to the New York City chapter of Infragard, a public-private partnership between the FBI and the private sector. Gawthrop, in the June presentation, says Islam is more an ideology than a religion.

"At the operational level, you have groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida," Gawthrop said in the June lecture held at Manhattan's World Financial Center, Wired reported. "Like teeth in a shark, it is irrelevant if you take one group out."

"If you remember Star Wars, that ventilation shaft that goes down to into the depths of the Death Star, they shot a torpedo down there," Gawthrop suggested to the audience, which included approximately 60 to 70 people mostly from law enforcement, Ackerman wrote.

"We should be looking at, should be aiming at, these," he said, pointing to a Powerpoint slide mentioning "Holy Texts" and "Clerics."

FBI spokesman Chris Allen, contacted by Yahoo News about the June presentation Tuesday, noted that Gawthrop says at the beginning of it, according to the video, that he is speaking in his capacity as a private citizen, not as a representative of the FBI. He also said the FBI is undertaking a major review of its training materials.

"The FBI is currently conducting a comprehensive review of all training and reference materials that relate in any way to religion or culture," Allen said by email in a later statement Tuesday. "Additionally, the FBI will consult with outside experts on the development and use of training materials to best ensure the highest quality for new Agent training, continuing education for all employees, and any FBI-affiliated training. All training will be consistent with FBI core values, the highest professional standards and adherence to the Constitution."

This post was updated on September 21, 2011 at 9:30AM with the new FBI statement on the review of training materials.