Strategic Genius Rich Higgins fired by McMaster for calling out radical Islam
In 2016 military strategist Rich Higgins gave an insightful and candid interview to Ginni Thomas of the Daily Caller. Cernovich Media paid to have the interview transcribed. Enjoy!
You can also watch the full interview here. Read the full interview below the video.
Rich Higgins:The day of the Orlando attacks, the Post Nightclub, my sister-in-law, who’s from Florida originally, called me up. She had friends who had hung out there years previously. For the second time, she now lives in Boston. For the second time, she had been touched by terrorism directly. We were at the Boston Marathon bombing, where she had been proximate to it at the time the bombing took place. She wasn’t actually affected by it, but it was just close to home.
Then, for her to see the second, she called me up, and she asked me, “Rich, are you doing everything you can do? Do people really understand?” I said, I guess with a little bit of salt for reflection and introspection, I recognized that I do have a unique vantage point from the positions I’ve occupied in the past and my skill baseline to go forward and hopefully provide for the public and really our policymakers and our politicians an alternative approach.
Ginni Thomas:Why are you coming forward now to talk about this? And why do you care?
Rich Higgins:2016 from the enemy’s strategic vantage point is a pivot year. What we’ve seen in San Bernardino and Orlando and just this morning, the statistics, in 2016, 1,200 people had been killed outside of Iraq and Syria by operations ISIS has conducted. We are going to continue to see the growth in their kinetic attacks, and I think our fixation on the kinetic attacks draws us away from the strategic perspective we actually have to this, understanding there’s a political apparatus behind what’s actually transpiring in the world.
Because of the death, because of the carnage, because of the media coverage with it therewith, it draws us to fixate on particular points that may or may not lead us to the correct strategic conclusions. I think it’s really important to come forward with folks who understand political warfare, who understand the emphasis behind these attacks, the ideological drivers, the political drivers, the social drivers to actually formulate policies, solutions, and strategy solutions.
Where we’ve lost this war is where we’ve failed to actually develop a strategy. I think, 15 years into the war, with the political space created by the election, it’s time to at least have the discussion, to take that operational pause and re-look at what we’re doing, because what we have been doing is just not working.
Political warfare is non-violent and violent actions operating in synthesis. The terror attack is done for the purpose of making you afraid. When you are afraid, you are controlled. You can be controlled. You’re willing to give away your own freedoms. You’re willing to give away your own rights. Political warfare has to be understood, and the goal of the attack in Orlando was not the death of those Americans or the wounding of those Americans. The goal of the attack in Orlando was to put fear into Americans so that you would be willing to give you some of your rights, so that you might be able to accept limits on free speech, so that you might be willing to limit guns.
Again, it’s not by accident that those things are targeted, the left, again, enabling- See, the left is almost enabling the enemy in these situations, but they have the secondary purpose there of the political protection.
Not everything in the war on terrorism is kinetic. We fixate. We westerners, I think it has something to do with our affinity for guns and westerns, and we appreciate that culturally. When we think about the enemy and the war on terrorism, we think about the guy carrying the AK-47 or we think about the guy carrying the suicide bomber vest. We don’t think about the subversive who is working at a school who is revising texts or curriculum informing future U.S. government leaders. It’s getting people to understand this threat at the ideological and political level that has been the greatest challenge, I believe, in the war.
Ginni Thomas:And your background?
Rich Higgins:Army, explosive specialist. I think that prepared me a lot for understanding how the enemy thinks. After getting out of the military, I went to work for the Justice Department as a consultant, working on the revised weapons programs for them. After 9/11, I ended up back inside the pentagon, working inside a special program office run by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations.
But I had a very good friend who actually lived in Canada, and he had grown-up as a Coptic Christian. When the towers fell down right after 9/11, he sent me a box, and in that box were 15 books. He said, “You don’t want to know this right now, but you need to start reading these books.” I haven’t spoken to him in probably 10 years, but he set me on the course to understanding what I have today; not saying I know everything about what we’re dealing with, but I know a lot more than the average doc.
I’m the vice president of a company that does support primarily for Special Operations, developing new capabilities for them. It touches upon terrorism in the tangible sense where we’re engaged with our enemy on the battlefield, but my background gives me a skillset, both time at the National War College as a professor and on the staff inside OSD, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, that exposed me to how the entire system actually operates, not just the tangible effects on the battlefield but where the political and strategy discussions actually occur.
Ginni Thomas:Recently, after Orlando, we had people in the Justice Department censor the 911 call by the terrorist. That seemed to wake a lot of people up as did when Loretta Lynch said, “We can’t really know the motive of the shooter.” How are these helpful to the public to understand there’s a problem in Washington?
Rich Higgins:I think the public would be surprised at the level to which PC, politically correctness, is weaponized and enforced inside particularly the intelligence community. We saw with the purge directed at the FBI and Department of Defense and, candidly, the entire national security apparatus in 2011 moving to remove terms that, while the president can say it’s a political talking point, in reality, it is the complete strategic collapse of the intelligence process. What you see happen on that is, for example, in Afghanistan, where we had what they called the Green on Blue Attacks, the indigenous forces that we were working with were turning and shooting our guys on the ground. We weren’t able to see that coming.
We had situations where Private First Class [Abdo 00:07:07], who was on Al-Jazeera in his Army uniform espousing the exact same political rhetoric that [Nedow Hasan 00:07:15] had espoused. When he was identified by my colleagues and I as somebody that needed to be looked at, we were screamed at for being racist. We were called xenophobes. Then, within 6 months of that series of incidents taking place, Abdo, basically, his plot was interrupted by an alert gun store owner outside Fort Hood where he was planning and go and do a follow-on attack at Fort Hood in 2012. PFC Abdo is now serving life in prison for planning a terrorist attack at Fort Hood. Most Americans don’t realize this.
Removing the terms collapses your entire deliberate decision-making process, and it blinds you. It’s a purposeful maneuver by our enemy to blind us strategically in the war on terrorism.
Ginni Thomas:There’s a Gallop poll that shows that most Democrats believe that guns were the problem in Orlando while most Republicans think it’s terrorism. What advice would you offer regular citizens who are trying to navigate the public relations or what the public is being fed and taught about what’s happening on the war on terrorism?
Rich Higgins:I think that the Democrats’ response to the attack in Orlando is driven by a defensive political posture that seeks to insulate the president and the president administration from the impact of their unwillingness to look at this problem. The opportunists arise, and they say, “Well, we can use this in furtherance again with the care and the [Hamas 00:08:55], doing businesses care. We can use it to chop away at the First Amendment and chop away at the Second Amendment,” again, those 2 being the absolute most important amendments because they protect the body of the Constitution them self.
Our enemy, again, knows this, and our enemy was on the ground in the form of [inaudible 00:09:14] and other elements of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in and around Orlando, on the ground, literally within hours of the response of the attack in Orlando, and they were sitting there that this is a hate thing. This was a homosexual identity crisis. This was anything else it could be so that it wasn’t a terrorist attack pivoted on a target of opportunity: guns and the Second Amendment. Who does that serve the interests of? That serves the interests of the bad guys. That serves the interests of the enemy.
What I think most Americans need to understand is, the fixation on the terrorist attack, it limits our ability to understand what’s actually transpiring. When you’re listening to these media narratives on the guns and it’s a hate speech thing, and it’s this, this, put all of that aside and understand that the enemy killed the people in Orlando because he wanted to create a political rift. That political rift is what we see now playing itself out in the media where one group is going, “It’s all about terrorism,” and one group is going, “It’s hate speech, and it’s guns.”
The political effect of that is the ripping apart of the American society. That is the ultimate intended outcome of the terrorist attack. It’s that collapse in faith: faith in the American political founding, faith in your God, faith in your government, faith in your country, faith in your fellow citizens. That is what their actual effect that they’re seeking is.
Ginni Thomas:There was a hearing this week on willful blindness by Senator Cruz. What were your takeaways from watching that?
Rich Higgins:Phil Haney, one of the folks who spoke at that event, provided for people a picture, and it was a tangible picture because it was a list, it was finite, and you could grasp what had happened to him. But I think the difficult thing of a setting like that we’re hearing is, where it’s very much evidentiary in its nature, it sometimes overlooks the cultural and the intangible aspects of what’s actually transpiring.
Senator Cruz is very brave for doing what he’s doing. I applaud Senator [Sessions 00:11:25] and Senator Lee and the others that came forward and actually supported him through this. I would like to see hearings like that expanded to include the power of subpoena. There are whistleblowers currently inside the system who, if Congress is serious about dealing with this, will come forward with that power of subpoena in place protecting them, protecting their families, their pensions, their careers. Officers who have invested literally decades of their lives and built their entire family around this federal job are going to be loathed to come forward, recognizing the political consequences of bringing this forward could be very serious.
Ginni Thomas:Explain the value, Rich, of whistleblowers like Phil Haney at DHS, and what’s the risk that they take and yet what do you want more of them to do?
Rich Higgins:Whistleblowers provide the American public a glimpse of what’s going on inside the system. My personal opinion is that the American public knows something is wrong. I saw a poll this morning that basically 51 percent of Americans now believe that we are probably losing the war. I think that they’re right. I think we’ve been losing it for 15 years, slowly. I think that whistleblowers, again, in addition to providing insight as to what’s happening inside the system, they push back against the PC narrative. They push back against organizations that would seek to control and silence those inside the system.
I mean political correctness is ultimately a weapon against the First Amendment, and it’s a weapon against western civilization because of the deleterious effects on the ability to reason and the ability to think critically, the ability to discuss things in a mature, rational way. Where we see things now pivoting is very few whistleblowers have actually come forward, I believe, in this war in part because most people who understand anything about what is happening with this enemy are self-educated.
For example, with Mr. Haney or myself or Steve Coughlin or any of the other folks that actually understand this threat, we had to self-educate. There was no government training program that brought you to a level of understanding where you’re capable of doing this, and there is no government program today. When the whistleblowers come forward, bear in mind that most of them are superstars of the bureaucracy because they took their duty to know so seriously that they spent their own time, money, and resources.
Ginni Thomas:Is there a risk for you of coming forward?
Rich Higgins:There’s risks for anybody who speaks truth about this subject matter, the risk being that our enemy has done a very good job of defining for our politicians and the general public how we understand this war. It would be the equivalent of having Nazi-aligned Germans in the United States explaining to us how to understand the Third Reich and understanding how subversion and the political warfare aspects of the actual battle are affecting us.
When we hear our generals saying, “We don’t have a strategy,” when we hear our politicians say, “We can’t tell if we’re winning or losing,” when we hear platitudes thrown out constantly, that is the intended outcome of a hostile information warfare campaign being put forward by the enemy. It’s not just our own ignorance, although that contributes to it, it’s selective ignorance fed and nourished by an enemy who wants to perpetuate the myth.
Ginni Thomas:Explain for Americans who don’t realize that there is manipulation happening with narratives and it conditions a political battlefield in a way that you’ve been trained to see more than most.
Rich Higgins:For people that hear the term “narrative,” it’s not a simple thing to grasp beyond the fact that repetition and purposeful statements, factual or counter-factual, meaning true or not true, have this ability to penetrate into a society and to shape societal thinking. What we see is, by our enemy in this war, a deliberate and, I believe, purposeful attempt to marry our perception of who they are with, we’ll call them, left-wing political narratives, terms like “phobia.”
They know how to use terms that are common to westerners to fulfill their objectives, so they put together a concept like, for example, “Islamophobia.” 15 years ago, we never heard the term “Islamophobia,” and we have to ask ourselves: Where did that come from? When you walk it back, you realize that Islamophobia is a term concocted by the generators of these narratives, often times Muslim Brotherhood front organizations with groups like Council of the American Islamic Relations or Muslim Public Affairs Council who generate this term, but, from their side, it’s actually a weaponized version of what is, in Islamic law, the law of slander: prohibiting any discussion of Islam that is critical of Islam.
By doing this, you have collapsed our ability to do 2 things that are absolutely pivotal to western civilization. Anybody who has spent time in the Middle East will recognize this. Critical thinking and reason do not exist in the Middle East as we understand them here. The purpose of a term like “Islamophobia” is to enforce that Islamic law of slander on westerners to shut down critical thinking and reason that would actually enable us to understand why the enemy fights, why Omar Mateen was drawn to shoot 100 people, 49 of them passed, at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It really isn’t that difficult to understand once you start looking under the hood, but, if the guy is telling you, “You can’t open the latch,” you’ll never know what’s wrong with your car.
I think we saw very purposefully immediately after 9/11 Muslim Brotherhood entities identified and provided to, for example, the Society of Professional Journalists. When the Society of Professional Journalists have an incident happen, they have a little caller list that was provided to them, and the organizations that they were directed to if an incident happens and you need to find somebody inside the Muslim community to talk to, everyone they spoke to was Muslim Brotherhood.
We see it at the political level where our congressional members and in the executive branch, our senior general officers, our senior executives, often times, not always, but often times the people that they are interfacing with are Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations. I tell people: Al Qaeda, ISIS, they are not going to win the war on terrorism. The Muslim Brotherhood is going to win the war on terrorism. I think, if we can orient our intelligence processes and our thinking to understand how the Muslim Brotherhood is disrupting our thinking and disrupting the actions related to the way we conceptualize the fight, we will understand this.
Ginni Thomas:What’s the role of Spencer Ackerman and compliant media to what you’re describing as not being able to tell the truth about the war on terror?
Rich Higgins:Mr. Ackerman is unique in that he is a hardcore liberal media operative, was intimately involved in, I believe, the creation and certainly the management and execution of the journal list, if you recall, the left-wing political journalism blog and lists where they were synchronizing media stories back about 15 years ago.
He, in 2011, writing for wired.com, a know-nothing blog really, executed a series of stories targeting FBI training and later DOD training as it pertains to Islamic threat doctrines, effectively executing a purge through a partnership with this group Muslim Advocates. What we saw happen was his first article was met with kind of a ho-hum. The second article, which expanded to include DOD and then was quickly followed up in succession by a letter from the head of Muslim Advocates for [Hana Kara 00:20:13], who was also in the testimony the other day at the U.S. Senate with Mr. Cruz or Senator Cruz.
The timeline I think is the most important thing to understand is that, between the first article coming out and the purge being directed with a response from the White House, we are talking 5 weeks. In government time, nothing happens in 5 weeks. Inside the Defense Department, where I was at the time, we saw the joint staff directive come out effectively telling us to purge intelligence, information operations, and what we call military information support operations, which is a euphemism for psychological operations, effectively telling you the enemy knew that, if we couldn’t assess our enemy with intelligence, we could not communicate with him with information operations, we could not understand him on the psychological operations level, you have effectively collapsed our ability to understand what they’re saying or to communicate back in any way.
Whether or not Mr. Ackerman knew he was doing that, I can’t prove that. I know the effect it had on the system, which was a complete and total shutdown of [discussing this 00:21:27]. Inside the Department of Defense, you won’t see slides that really ever talk about Islamic threat doctrine. What you’ll see is the euphemism “violent extremism.” Again, there is no such thing. You can’t orient on a threat doctrine for violent extremism. It’s purposefully gooey, and it will stay that way.
Ginni Thomas:How does the effort to fight violent extremism mask what’s really needed?
Rich Higgins:The simple way to put it is violent extremism is not something that our strategic intelligence or deliberate decision-making process is actually capable of fighting. It purposefully orients off our constitutional basis, which is that we take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, not all violent extremists foreign and domestic. The second you move off that legal, Constitutional basis for killing, for subverting, for destroying other countries, you’re operating in extralegal territory.
What happens inside the deliberate decision-making process is violent extremism allows the narratives, sometimes put forward by the enemy, sometimes put forward by the media, sometimes put forward by our side, to define what a violent extremist is at any given point in time. It’s a fungible, indeterminate variable. At some point, we could be the violent extremists.
I think what you’ll see is that violent extremism narrative is a very purposeful dilution of the Constitutional power to actually do intelligence operations or to do military operations. It ties back through a system of interlinking legislative and statutory actions to international bodies of law that actually emanate from places like Saudi Arabia. When you really look under the hood, while it’s complicated and, if you’re not a mechanic, you understand the generalities that, “Okay, there’s the carburetor at the top, and there’s the engine work,” we can at the public information level understand that people we think are our allies in this war or people we think are neutrals in this war are actually not.
Ginni Thomas:Why do you say the Holy Land trial was so important to understanding what you’re talking about?
Rich Higgins:The Holy Land Foundation trial, first off, it was a massive investment of government resources. The fact that this administration has stopped any further prosecutions over the objections of the Justice Department and the FBI leadership out of the Dallas office that had been pushing the case forward, I believe it was almost 20 years of investigation went into this, a massive terrorism funding case.
What that case does is it brings to light is how front groups, meaning organizations that on their face appear to be neutral, benign, or sometimes even friendly with a name like Care, where we know that Care is actually [Hamas 00:24:25] doing business as Care. The reason we know that is because the FBI in 1993 captured the entire meeting of Hamas operatives in Philadelphia where they created the organization. Yet, today, Care is the primary outreach happening or working with the FBI in Orlando. Care lawyers are sitting in on the interviews with witnesses at the mosque that Omar Mateen attended. Care is selecting the interviewees, and Care is controlling the narrative emanating out of the attack in Florida.
When you see us now, almost 3 weeks post-Orlando, and it’s disappeared from the radar screen, it’s disappeared from the national discussion, second largest attack in American history, it’s gone. You have to ask yourself, “How did that happen?”
Ginni Thomas:It’s a little hard for people out in America to really believe that President Obama would purposefully put Americans at risk. Explain what you saw and what you know.
Rich Higgins:I can’t tell if the president is an ideolog or he has bad advisors. I personally believe is it is some nasty combination of those things. I know you know who you are by who your friends are. The fact of the matter is that the people he listens to when it comes to this threat have shown themselves to be over the past 8 years either clinically incompetent, clinically incompetent, or purposefully negligent. It’s 1 of the 2. I choose to think incompetent because it’s easier. It’s safer for people to think, “Oh, they just don’t know.”
But, when you see the alliance that took place with the Muslim Brotherhood, where we were working with an organization that is dedicated to the overthrow and destruction of western civilization, including the United States, and their advisors are in and out of the White House. They’re in and out of senior government agencies. Our national security advisor for combating terrorism is responding to these organizations and following their directions and requests.
At some point, you have to ask yourself: “What is going on here?” I think that’s why I’m forward at this point is all I want people to say to themselves is: “When does it feel better if you’re banging your head against the wall?” When you stop. That’s really what I’m advocating. I was in operational pause and a period of reflection to re-think this and think about alternative pathways forward, because we’re at a really critical juncture right now.
Ginni Thomas:What strategic advice might you offer a new administration who’s coming to town who might have a better or different perspective to save American lives?
Rich Higgins:The first goal of a new political administration needs to be to save the American political philosophy. That is what is actually under threat. Senior statesmen need to come forward, guys like Senator [Thume 00:27:33] and Senator Sessions and Senator Cruz. These guys need to come forward now. We don’t have time to wait. They have to, I believe, have a strategic and operational pause on what we’re doing.
The first priority must be a re-defining of the war on moral terms, that the American public can understand that we are the good guys. That’s the reintroduction of civics classes inside of American schools. It’s a comprehensive political warfare plan, that coupled with an effort to remove the subversive elements that are operating domestically. We are not going to be effective overseas until we get healthy at home. That is the most important thing a new administration can do.
After we’ve cleansed ourselves of this distorted version of reality, then we can begin to formulate effective foreign and economic policy in relation to our overseas partners.
Ginni Thomas:For busy Americans, top books, websites, resources, heroes they should be watching and listening to.
There are Three Books Every America who Wants to Understand National Security Needs to Read.
Rich Higgins:The number 1 thing Americans need to do is they need to go out and they need to buy 3 books. They need to buy Stephen Coughlin’s book, Catastrophic Failure, which will walk you through in detail what actually transpired.
After the events of September 11, 2001, Stephen Coughlin was mobilized from his private sector career to the…www.amazon.com
That’s a hard book to read, and it’s the type of book that you put on your nightstand and you read a little bit at a time because it’s so full of information.
The 2 other books that I recommend Americans read: Milestones by Sayed Qutb.
It was the Mein Kampf of this war. The first time you read it, it won’t make sense. You’ll probably have to read it 2 or 3 times to actually begin to understand that their worldview is completely- They have a different date. They have a different calendar. It is a completely different worldview from ours.
Then, the third book is, it’s not often referenced and I don’t know why, but it’s called The Methodology of [Dawah Laha 00:29:44], which is a book written, I think, in 1989, published in Long Island, New York, and it is about how the Muslim Brotherhood plans to conduct their subversive operations inside the United States. That book is where we are losing the war. It’s the impact of that mission that has put in the position that we’re in today.
Methodology of Dawah Ilallah in American Perspective [Shamim A Siddiqi] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying…www.amazon.com
I think it’s really important that the American public understand that they are the solution to this. Their politicians will respond to them, and the American public has done, I think, an outstanding job of self-educating to a level of convenience. They’ve watched programs. They’ve taken what the mainstream media has given them. What I would like to do is encourage them to take that additional step to buy the book, to buy the podcast, to listen to the folks who have been inside the system. Hopefully, if Senator Cruz continues on his pathway, we will have more whistleblowers coming forward. Trust them, hear their stories, and support them.
The thing that’s amazing to me is we hear charges levels at Senator Cruz by the left this week that, “Oh, this is McCarthyism.” The McCarthyism is being done by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the Muslim Brotherhood with their liberal advocates who are creating purge lists, the blacklist, shutting down discussion, shutting down debate, shutting down free speech, attacking the First Amendment, attacking the Second Amendment. That’s McCarthyism. It is the tool of the left and the Muslim Brotherhood. As someone who is a lover of the American political philosophy, we are seen as the enemy by them, and it’s time for us to stand up and to fight back.