As frustration with the case grew, so did concern over the wisdom of a potential confrontation with MOA and its 22 or more “Islamic villages.”
The group has an apocalyptic ideology. The group was preparing for the day when hostile authorities would raid their camps, which they had a divine command to resist. Fears of another Waco—or series of Wacos—were warranted.
According to the U.S. Army’s collection of intelligence reports, one of the squad members twice tried to buy AR-15 rifles in South Carolina in August 2007.
And then, suddenly, in the final years of the Bush Administration, the investigation into White Hawk appeared to inexplicably shut down.
Those involved in the investigation were aghast. Some attributed it to political correctness and a lack of willpower.
One source aware of the investigation explained:
“The problem that law enforcement had is that it’s not against the law to train with weapons on private property or to legally purchase weapons, even if you are affiliated with an Islamic extremist group. The concern was that these tactical capabilities could be used in a coordinated action against U.S. citizens and/or interests….
[There was] emphasis on the tactical training that women and children participated in, as well as weapons’ capabilities and the legal purchases of weapons by MOA members who are not felons. It was known that MOA would use non-felons to get guns for those who are felons.”
The effort to investigate and monitor White Hawk Security International ceased. The federal personnel were redirected to other cases. Of course, there is always the possibility that the investigation has since been reopened.
However, as declassified documents and counter-terrorism sources have confirmed, broader investigations into MOA did not come to an end (though the scale may have been reduced).
And Ali Abdelaziz continued to be used as a confidential informant.
One FBI report included in the U.S. Army collection, dated September 2008, reiterated concern about a key MOA suspect who had gotten a job with the suspected purpose of acquiring the “military tactics, weapons and self-defense training sought by members of the MOA jama’ats [communes].”
The MOA infrastructure that so alarmed the authorities is still active today, with the same leaders, the same villages, and many of the same fronts, including White Hawk Security International.
The law enforcement personnel involved in the investigation, former MOA members, and Ali Abdelaziz share a common puzzlement as to why the group—or at least parts of it—haven’t been shut down.
There’s an understandable assumption that the federal government simply doesn’t care enough or is afraid of triggering a confrontation.
However, as concerning as MOA activity within America was and is, Abdelaziz and other MOA-affiliated sources say that the group’s activities overseas are of equal or greater concern. Abdelaziz said that MOA was increasingly shifting its focus to operations outside of the United States.
“Lots of Muslim leaders go to him [Gilani] for help,” he said.
Declassified documents emphasize that Gilani is linked to various jihadist groups. Other MOA-affiliated sources recall Gilani telling members that the funds they donate to him are used to finance “the mujahideen” in Kashmir.
Abdelaziz said that Gilani had also supported jihadists fighting in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kosovo.
The difficulties in getting visibility on MOA’s activities within North America pales in comparison to the difficulties in monitoring MOA’s “missions” in other countries.
The FBI arranged for Abdelaziz to get a special visa that allowed him to travel practically anywhere in the world. He could offer to help MOA establish and manage its “communities” in other countries.
If successful and trustworthy, Abdelaziz could shine the light on MOA’s international network.