The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Earlier this year, I wrote on the subject of how the extreme Wahhabi branch of Islam had managed to usurp the vetting process by which the U.S. military selects its Muslim chaplains, raising the specter of a “Trojan Horse” within the armed forces (“The Wahhabi Trojan Horse in the U.S. Military,” DefenseWatch, Mar, 23, 2003).
The arrest of a 34-year-old Army Islamic chaplain on Sept. 10 has confirmed my original fears.
Near the end of my earlier article I wrote: “I have no evidence that any of the 17 Muslim Chaplains currently serving in the U.S. military are anything but honorable clerics serving their country during time of war.”
Now enter 34-year old Army Capt. Yousef Yee – a.k.a. James Yee.
Yee graduated from West Point in 1990 where he had an unremarkable record as a cadet. He was a resident of Springfield, N.J. , of Chinese extraction who designated his religion as Lutheran. Soon after graduation, Yee left the Army to undertake religious training in Islam and intensive instruction in Arabic. He spent four years in Syria with these activities, where he formally converted to Islam, changed his name to Yousef, and married a Syrian national.
Upon his return to the United States, he applied for and was accepted into the Army Chaplain Corps as a Muslim. His first assignment was Chaplain to the 29th Signal Battalion at Fort Lewis, Wash. I have been unable to determine exactly which organization vetted his credentials, but given that this happened in the late 1990s, one can reliably presume that Yee was vetted by one of the Wahhabi-backed organizations I discuss in my previous article.
Yee was stationed at Fort Lewis during the 9/11 attack.
In November 2002, Yee was assigned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to serve the spiritual needs of the 660 Muslim detainees. He was shy about media interviews, refusing to speak with reporters for months after his arrival at Guantanamo Bay. He routinely dodged questions relating to the depth of his involvement with the detainees, his commitment to Islam, and how this involvement related to his services as a military chaplain and officer. When asked if he was sympathetic to the prisoners, Yee remained silent and emotionless.
As reported by KREM TV News in Spokane, Wash. , according to U.S. Southern Command spokesman Capt. Tom Crosson, Yee had daily access to all the detainees, and was able to have private conversations with them from time to time.
Yee did materially improve the living conditions for the detainees, especially as this related to their religious wellbeing. He was respected by his seniors within and outside the Chaplain Corps.
It came as a big surprise, therefore, when U.S. Customs Service authorities detained Yee in Jacksonville, Fla. , on Sept. 10 as he was returning from Guantanamo Bay. Officials have told several news organizations that he was carrying classified documents relating to the detainees, including prison and cell diagrams linking cells to prisoners, and other sensitive information.
Yee currently occupies a cell in a Navy brig at Charleston, S.C., with fellow inmates Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American-born Saudi who fought with the Taliban, and Jose Padilla, the Chicago gang member charged with plotting to detonate a radiological bomb.
Yee has not yet been charged as investigations continue, but under the Uniform Code of Military Justice he can be held for up to two months prior to formal charges being issued. There currently is no convincing evidence for his guilt, although the circumstantial evidence was apparently persuasive enough for a military magistrate to order Yee’s detention.
Yee was discovered by chance, and the good efforts of a Customs agent who kept his eyes open, even in the presence of a military officer.
Yee is not the only military person stationed at Guantanamo Bay to be detained by military authorities. Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi was arrested on Sept. 23 for allegedly engaging in espionage activities. He was on his way to Syria, ostensibly to marry a Syrian national at the time of his arrest. Although he denies any wrongdoing, the accumulated evidence against him is convincing according to officials, who also stated to Fox News today that another as yet unnamed individual stationed at Guantanamo Bay is under investigation.
By allowing Wahhabi-backed organizations to vet Islamic chaplains, the U.S. military is opening the door to entirely preventable problems. We know who the wolf is. We recognize his distinctive clothing. We understand his message of death and destruction.
It makes absolutely no sense to let these terror-driven Islamists determine who will and who won’t become spiritual leaders for Muslims serving in the U.S. military. If we fail to address this looming problem, we will be faced with many more instances like that of Army Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, the 32-year-old Muslim charged with murdering Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone and Army Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert with a hand grenade last March in Kuwait.
We got Yee (if he turns out to be guilty), but what about the other 16 Muslim chaplains? And what about the chaplains that will be vetted in the future?
Do we really want Wahhabi-directed clerics controlling our Muslim soldiers?
Robert G. Williscroft is DefenseWatch Navy Editor