Gordon clueless England Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Hesham (the mole) Islam
* Don’t call me a fan of the new administration just yet. This is long overdue…
AceÂ Washington TimesÂ Pentagon reporter Bill GertzÂ reportsÂ that two casualties of the change in administration will be Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and his special assistant Hesham Islam.
Islam, previously described by England as “my interlocutor” on Islamic issues and outreach, drew scrutiny in January “after a dispute with Joint Staff analyst Stephen Coughlin in the fall of 2007 over the nature of Islamist extremism,” Gertz reports. “Mr. Islam disagreed with Mr. Coughlin, a specialist on Islamic law and its ties to extremism, and later referred to him as a ‘Christian zealot with a pen.'”
Coughlin then was forced out after being told his contract would not be renewed. Officials said the move was unrelated to Islam’s criticism.
Hesham Islam, the BS-artist:
Writer Claudia RosettÂ dug inÂ to Islam’s posted biography and found a number of discrepancies. Among them, Islam told an interviewer that a film depicting his life story would begin with “huddling in terror as Israeli bombs came raining down, demolishing much of the building around him and his family” in Cairo. But, Rosett noted, Israel never bombed Cairo. She also found no records to support Islam’s claim that he spent three days floating in the Arabian Sea after an Iranian torpedo sunk a cargo ship he was on.
We reported that Islam, serving as an outreach liaison for England,Â helped schedule meetingsÂ for the deputy secretary with a member of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and a Lebanese ambassador considered a proxy for Syria. U.S. policy at the time was to freeze out both entities.
* from the Investigative Project
The special assistant to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and a key player in the Pentagon’s Muslim community outreach program is leaving with his boss, a spokesman for Mr. England said Wednesday.
Special Assistant Hesham Islam “will be leaving,” said England spokesman Kevin Wensing. Mr. England announced this week that he will step down.
Mr. Islam, a retired Navy commander, was investigated by the Pentagon at the request of Congress after a dispute with Joint Staff analyst Stephen Coughlin in the fall of 2007 over the nature of Islamist extremism. Mr. Islam disagreed with Mr. Coughlin, a specialist on Islamic law and its ties to extremism, and later referred to him as a “Christian zealot with a pen.”
A Pentagon spokesman said at the time that Mr. Islam was a valuable adviser to Mr. England and assisted the deputy defense secretary in contacts with foreign officials.
The probe of Mr. Islam was requested by three members of Congress who had raised security concerns about Mr. Islam after discrepancies were reported by journalist Claudia Rosett in an official biography of Mr. Islam posted on the Pentagon’s Web site, including an assertion that Mr. Islam as a youth was in Cairo and bombed by Israeli forces in 1967. However, there are no records of bombing the Egyptian capital, only the airport near Cairo.
Mr. Islam also claimed to have been onboard a freighter sunk by an Iranian torpedo in the Persian Gulf, but that could not be verified.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said at the time that the investigation by Mr. England’s office “concluded there is no reason to question Cmdr. Hesham Islam’s credibility or his allegiance to his country.”
The firing of Mr. Coughlin, a contractor who continues to consult for the Pentagon, was first reported in this space as one of the first casualties in the internal government political battle over the war of ideas against Islamic extremism.
â€¢Â Bill Gertz covers national security affairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274, or atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.