Whistleblower Says He Could’ve ID’d California Terrorists but DHS Pulled Plug on Surveillance

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 11, 2015 Updated: December 11, 2015

A former Homeland Security employee says he might have been able to stop the San Bernardino terror attack from ever happening if his surveillance program wasn’t stopped.

Philip Haney said he was developing the program three years ago, probing a collection of global networks that were helping radical Islamists infiltrate the United States.

He focused mostly on identifying and tacking members of the al-Huda and Tablighi Jamaat groups, offshoots of the radical Deobandi school of Islam, which was founded to oppose Western culture.

But a year after he started, Haney said he and the others involved in the program were visited by the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

He told Fox News that the officials said the tracking was problematic because the organizations were not designated as terrorist ones, tracking the persons related to them was a violation of their “civil liberties,” and shut the investigation down.

Approximately 67 of his records were deleted–including one into an organization that had ties to the mosque in Riverside, California that Syed Farook attended. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in the recent terror attack.

Haney said that if he was allowed to continue the program, it could have possibly thwarted the attack. 

“Either Syed would have been put on the no-fly list because association with that mosque, and/or the K-1 visa that his wife was given may have been denied because of his association with a known organization,” Haney said.

The Department of Homeland Security responded to Haney, saying that his story has “many holes,” though Haney says a subsequent investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.