The hive thinking quickly spread throughout the Obama administration’s intelligence apparat, as even those who once worked for George W. Bush and, in fact, had been deeply embedded in the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism efforts were drawn into the Borg — quite willingly and for careerist reasons. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s long history of Islamist-inspired violence, and its decades-long anti-American efforts, James Clapper, director of national intelligence (who had worked for the Bush administration and defended its launching the Iraq War by claiming that Saddam Hussein had sent his WMD stockpiles to Syria on the eve of the American invasion), offered an absurd illustration of hive thinking: “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
John Brennan — who, like Clapper, in his pre-Borg days both worked in the Bush administration and was criticized for his anti-Islamic-terrorism zealotry (among other things, for supposedly promoting enhanced interrogations in Guantanamo of the now-politically-incorrect category of “enemy combatants”) — also was rewired when he became Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor. Soon he duly opined of the now-taboo idea of jihadism, “Jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.” Apparently the Tsarnaevs got a bit out of hand as they were purifying themselves in their holy struggle on the streets of Boston.
Sometimes the Borg drew in those well outside the military, intelligence, and national-security communities. According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, when President Obama set out the “foremost” task of NASA, it had nothing to do with space exploration. Rather, the president “wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science . . . and math and engineering.” I think the Borg logic here is something like the following: Thanks to the legacy of Averroes, America can still get to Mars — and thanks to our recognition of that debt, the Tsarnaevs and Hasans of the world will “feel good” and are going to celebrate diversity rather than kill lots of innocent people.
These examples of the Borg could be vastly expanded, from Homeland Security’s warning of future violence not from Muslim males but rather from “right-wing extremism” — emanating from returning war veterans and anti-abortion activists — to the mandatory substitution of “militant extremism” and “violent extremism” for “Islamic extremism.”
When so many in government have been recircuited into the hive, it is no surprise that the FBI in the field has dropped its proper focus on militant Islam, or that the thug Vladimir Putin proved more helpful than did our own FBI and CIA directors in the Tsarnaev case. After all, the FBI had interviewed, but not detained, a number of men who later proved to be Islamic terrorists, such as the Tsarnaevs, Nidal Hasan, Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, and David Coleman Headley. One wonders what common complaint or malady these subjects shared — anti-abortion zealotry, tax resistance, homophobia, secret tea-party sympathies, several tours in Anbar Province, nativist anger at illegal immigrants, or simple head injuries?
What will break up the Borg? Tragically, it may take another Boston-style bombing to send enough rogue voltage through the system to explode the circuitry and free the drones from the hive.
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear next month from Bloomsbury Books.