When Our Protectors Betray Us

CIS — A friend sent me the online version of Police Magazine containing an article about Nicholas Young, the District of Columbia Metro Transit police officer recently arrested by the FBI and charged with material support of a terrorist organization (Islamic State).

I had seen an earlier report on the arrest from a different media source, and had also heard journalists on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm show mention that this is the first time a U.S. law enforcement officer has been charged with such an offense.

It may be the first time for U.S. law enforcement, but it has happened before with the military: readers will certain recall the horrific murders committed by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood. Hasan is not the only active duty or discharged military veteran who has become involved with terrorist organizations. Before him, there was Ali Mohamed, an al Qaeda double agent.

Still, the idea of the police, who are our first responders in the event of an attack, potentially being suborned into becoming the human weapons for an attack is a sobering one. It has happened with shocking regularity in Afghanistan and Iraq, where jihadists have routinely infiltrated the ranks and then turned on their fellow police officers – or, just as frequently, their ostensible American or other NATO allies. In Afghanistan, it has become such a regular occurrence that observers refer to them as “green on blue attacks“.

Though the Metro police officer arrested last week is native-born, his case got me pondering what this country would do if would-be jihadists start taking the more strategic path of infiltrating our law enforcement agencies, instead of choosing the ill-planned, quick-and-dirty forms of attack by gun or knife.

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