In the sorry tradition of shooting the messenger, the Pentagon is cashiering its top expert on Islamist doctrine, Stephen Coughlin. Some members of Congress are now contemplating hearings to ask why. Along with drawing attention to Coughlin’s research, now circulating on the Internet, the growing controversy has thrown a spotlight on Coughlin’s alleged nemesis at the Pentagon, a top aide named Hesham Islam — whose tale deserves closer attention. Not least, as a reporter for the Armed Forces Press Service observed last year, it would make a great
Hesham Islam is a native Arabic speaker, a Muslim, born in 1959 in
That’s alarming to some, such as terrorism expert Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, who, for more than a decade, has been tracking Islamic extremist networks in the
Emerson was apparently referring to ISNA, named last summer by the Department of Justice as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity indicted in 2005 in Dallas federal court for allegedly providing millions of dollars to the terrorist group Hamas (itself an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood). ISNA, in a press statement, says it “remains unjustly branded by the government as an unindicted co-conspirator.” (The Holy Land Foundation case resulted in a mistrial last fall, and is expected to be re-tried).
But whatever Emerson’s worries, Islam’s boss, Gordon