A terrorist — until 2011 when he was imprisoned and who once praised the Ft. Hood terrorist attack — has been hired at George Washington University to work in a homeland security think tank. Perhaps they were looking for a terrorist to try and understand why people become members of these radical groups or they couldn’t find an American for the job.
After 2012, Morton occasionally posted to the Islam Policy website from prison. He abandoned terrorism sometime after that.
Jesse Morton, aka Younus Abdullah Muhammad, wasn’t just playing at being a terrorist, he denounced the US and made threats against the creators of the TV series “South Park” for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.
Morton supported Osama bin Laden, wanted to destroy Israel, and he was a recruiter for al-Qaeda.
While in prison, he was inciting people to join a terrorist organization but now he has a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University.
The deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, Seamus Hughes, hired him after speaking with the FBI,
“We haven’t figured out how to reach that individual who’s going down the path of radicalization,” Hughes said. “Jesse has been in that world and got out of that world.”
“I trust him,” Hughes said. “We did our due diligence.”
Nadia Oweidat, a fellow at the think tank New America who’s interviewed dozens of former extremists, said she doesn’t doubt Morton’s sincerity.
“People go through phases. They evolve and are finally able to see the light,” she said.
Morton, 37, was born in Pennsylvania and became a choir boy in his grandmother’s Baptist church. He was abused as a child he says.
So are a lot of people and they don’t become terrorists but this is the path he chose.
In prison, he met an extremist and became one of the group’s chief propagandists and recruiters.
“It gave me an outlet to have meaning, to have purpose, but it also gave me an outlet to express my rage and my frustration,” he said.
An outlet for frustration???
They called Hassan “an officer and a gentleman.”
“We’re commanded to terrorize the disbelievers,” Morton told CNN’s Drew Griffin that year. “Americans will always be a target and a legitimate target until America changes its nature in the international arena.”
They were suspects in the Christmas Day bombing but denied involvement.
He changed his mind while in Morrocco, he says, and then was arrested and extradited to face charges in the US connected to the “South Park” threats. He was sentenced in 2012 to more than 11 years in prison.
“They housed me in solitary confinement and I contemplated what I had become,” he said in a recent interview. He read Rousseau, Locke and Payne and “re-identified” with Western civilization.
Then he met a “fabulous” FBI agent who changed his life.
Though sentenced to more than 11 years, Morton served less than three years before he was released in February, 2015. This conversion got him out of an 11 year sentence.
In the past year, Morton has worked with the FBI on “high profile cases,” Hughes said, declining to elaborate.
Morton will not be working directly to reform extremists as part of his work at George Washington, nor will he be teaching, Hughes said, but instead will focus on writing and research.
Morton says he feels guilty and will work to earn the trust of the university and the public.
Is this a wonderful story of redemption or is this a bridge too far?