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September 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Column: Ex-ATF Official: Know Your Real Enemy, Protect Your Friends

James Cavanaugh was an ATF agent and supervisor for 33 years before retiring earlier this year. In 2009, he was given the International Asscociation of Chiefs of Police Civil Rights Award for his Career fight against the KKK, Nazis, Militias and Hate Groups. 

James Cavanaugh/atf photo
James Cavanaugh/atf photo
By James Cavanaugh

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors are going to be called on more in the coming months and years to fight in the new civil rights struggle that is unfolding before our eyes.

In the midst of the long, multigenerational war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, many haters bigots and self-appointed demagogues will attack Muslims and the face of Islam, declaring it the enemy of the U.S. and the West.

 They are wrong, not just barely wrong, not even arguably arguably wrong, just plain wrong. The attacks come in many forms as we saw in Tennessee last week with the arson at the mosque construction site and verbally as we saw in the media when cowardly politicians mouthed off about the planned Islamic center in New York City.

And let’s not forget, the foolish reverend in Florida who plans to desecrate and destroy the holy writings of Islam by burning Korans on Sept. 13.

The misguided Florida preacher claims God told him to burn the Koran. He needs to go back and rewind the tape, because that wasn’t God talking.

No God of the great monotheistic religions of the world is filled with hate or preaches acts of humiliation and discrimination.

History has shown us how such bigotry can flourish. Sadly, it plays right into the lies and strategies of our real enemies who want to define the long war as one against Christians and Jews vs Islam. It is not so, and we can’t win the long war unless you know your enemy and work closely with your friends.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Al Shabab in Somalia, Lashkar i taibi in Pakistan, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaeda in Yemen, Jaysh Muhammed, the Haqquani network in the Hindu Kush and many others have long insisted that they represent greater Islam.

They have always sought to declare that their fight was Islam against Christianity and the Jewish people in the West. In fact, when Usama bin Laden (UBL) and Ayman Al Zawahiri of Egypt joined forces, they renamed their terrorist group Al Qaeda,”The International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and The Crusaders”.


Although UBL and his ilk may want it to be so, it is a clear fact that they do not represent the 1.4 Billion Muslims in the world.

In fact Muslims by the thousands have been the victims of UBL and his terrorists The attacks have been deadly, vicious and consistent, with some occurring in the past days and weeks. Mosques and Islamic centers have been bombed and attacked by the terrorists across the globe.

UBL and his Al Qaeda virus (AQV) assassinated Prime Minister Bhutto. They killed the general of the Northern alliance in Afghanistan just days prior to 9/11. They plotted to kill the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak and awahiri’s Terrorist Group Killed Anwar Sadat President of Egypt. There were no less than six assassination attempts on the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.

In Pakistan’s swat Valley they killed public officials and displayed their bodies in the public squares. They massacred all who would not side with them and their terror.

They bombed police stations in Pakistan, holy mosques Iraq, they killed children and families and leaders, all of whom were Muslims.

They killed Muslims on 9/11 as well, Muslim Americans who worked in the World Trade Center and were the victims of the wolves of terrorism disguising themselves as true members of Islam. We cannot fall for the weak and thin disguise that UBL and his thugs use to cloak themselves in Islam.


We who have spent our lives in law enforcement have seen this drill before. We’ve watched the KKK disguise themselves as Christians, burn crosses at their rallies, the symbol of Christianity.

They talk about Jesus and the bible and on their sheets they wear a cross in a circle with a drop of blood in the center. They claim it symbolizes the blood of Jesus.

Not much solace when they are dragging you behind their pickup truck, bombing your synagogue, or shooting a black leader, like Medgar Evers. Did we really believe they were Christians?


They said they were, they used many symbols, language and tried to cloak themselves in Christianity. However as Americans we understand the difference. We don’t attack the local Christian Church, or burn it out, or burn the Bible to disgrace it or it’s congregations after a KKK attack.


It is the same for Muslims.


Muslims don’t feel responsible for 9/11 because they are not – not anymore than Christians feel responsible for the terroristic acts of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2008 in Columbia Tennessee, I led a task force of police, ATF, FBI, state bomb and arson investigators out to capture three Nazis who had firebombed the local Islamic Center.

The Nazis who were adorned with tattoo’s on their backs and chests with large swastikas claimed they were members of Christian identity. Christian identity is a well known hate group to law-enforcement.

It’s symbol is a modified swastika and its notorious members and associated members include the coward Eric Rudolph of bomber frame, and Buford Furrow, the two bit thug who took a rifle to a Jewish school in California to shoot the children.

These Tennessee Nazis claimed that they had firebombed the Islamic Center because of “what goes on in there”. Of course, what went on in there was prayer, freedom of assembly, children playing, dinners with the members and the things that go on in every house of worship in America.

When this attack happened, no one sought to blame it on the larger Christian community even though these two Nazi corporals claimed to be Christians.

Americans could clearly see the difference, and we have to clearly see the difference between UBL and his associates and his Al Qaeda virus and greater Islam. Those who can’t see or won’t see our only playing into the script written by the terrorists themselves.


As law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and those on the front line of protecting all we have to look clearly through the fog, the rhetoric and the thin disguises.

We have to know who the enemy is and know who our friends are. We have to do everything we can to protect our friends and do everything we can to stop, to defeat capture and kill our enemies.

On the broad issue, Mayor Bloomberg is right, the President is right, the Atty. Gen. is right, Secretary Clinton is Right, Senator Orrin Hatch is right, Gen. Petraus is right.

Attacking mosques, threatening to burn or burning holy books, vitriolic talk declaring Islam is the enemy are all wrong.

I want to go after the killers, the terrorists UBL and his network I call AQV, and all those who attack Americans whether that attack comes from home or abroad.

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