By Stephen Coughlin
After the occasions of September eleven, 2001, Stephen Coughlin was once mobilized from his inner most area occupation to the Intelligence Directorate on the Joint Chiefs of employees to paintings in focusing on. hence started his schooling in terrorism. within the years that undefined, Coughlin earned reputation because the Pentagon’s major specialist at the Islamic-based doctrines motivating jihadi teams that confront the USA. He got here into call for as a coach and lecturer at prime instructions and senior carrier employees associations, together with the nationwide security collage, the military and army battle schools, the Marine Corps-Quantico, the country division, and the FBI. So potent have been his displays that a few within the distinctive operations group dubbed them “Red capsule” briefings, a connection with an iconic scene within the Matrix. It’s an apt metaphor: as soon as the evidence and doctrines are competently defined and understood, there isn't any going back.
This was once greater than our enemies – and, it kind of feels, our leaders – may well tolerate. starting in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood confident the White condominium to prohibit Coughlin and placed an finish to his briefings. The circulate was once in accordance with shariah suggestions of slander that search to blindfold the US to definite realities that render us defenseless opposed to a chance made existential by means of the very lack of information it will get our leaders to implement. In occasions like this – whilst the White House’s former counterterrorism strategist can claim it unconstitutional to permit nationwide protection analysts to appear to Islam to appreciate jihad – there’s an pressing have to draw back the blindfold that allows you to see and confront the danger. Such is the aim of Catastrophic Failure. The booklet, drawn seriously from Coughlin’s “outlawed” briefings, is a finished review of Islamic legislation and doctrine recognized to shape the foundation of adverse danger techniques directed opposed to the US and the West, the demanding situations they current, and the ideologically brought on breakdown of fact-based decisionmaking that's not anything in need of specialist malpractice by means of our nationwide protection elites.
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Extra resources for Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad
Our nation’s response (or lack thereof) to the terror threat also opened up new lines of analysis that were added to my briefings. As a result, the initial draft of the book was quickly rendered OBE – overcome by events. But by the summer of 2014, thanks to the editorial assistance of Marilyn Stern, the project was back in full swing. While the manuscript faithfully reflected the material as I briefed it in my various presentations, it became clear that if published in that form, there would be substantial overlap, as individual briefings often keyed off points common to all of them.
The United States is currently fighting this war according to the Barnes and Noble Standard. That is, every insight into the enemy’s threat drivers derives from sources no deeper than an introductory book from Barnes and Noble. This sort of superficial examination is not how we gain an understanding of a threat. Instead, we should be mapping his doctrinal writings against Islamic law as understood by both jihadis and the larger Islamic community. Think of it this way: You are lying on the operating table, and the brain surgeon is about to put you under.
Because the declared enemy stated that his fighting doctrine was based on the Islamic law of jihad, Islamic law had to be incorporated into any competent threat analysis. When assessing al-Qaeda in light of the jihad doctrines that the group’s members actually cite, I came to realize that such doctrines did exist, they are generally cited properly, and that al-Qaeda made plausible claims to be actually following those doctrines. In legal parlance, al-Qaeda’s claims to be operating in accordance with mainstream Islamic law could at least survive summary judgment.