The Mystery At Ft. Jackson -- Did CBN Get It Wrong?

CBN News.com says it has a major exclusive: " CBN News has learned exclusively that five Muslim soldiers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina were arrested just before Christmas and are in custody. The five men were part of the Arabic Translation program at the base."

Huge -- if true. Damaging and politically sensitive. Evidence of extensive infiltration of the U.S. Army by jihadists.

But the Army says it's not true.  No one has been arrested.   The National Security Council was not aware of any arrests, a spokesperson said.

After the Ft. Hood massacre, the Army increased its counterintelligence presence at Ft. Jackson, a training base, because it is home a large number of non-citizen Muslims recruited under the Army's "09-Lima" translation program.  A routine and basic background check is conducted before any recruit is allowed into the program, but nothing rigorous. That's because the translators at Ft. Jackson don't handle active work. They're trained -- given the whole Army drill sergeant basic routine.  Many become citizens after their training finishes.  They're then embedded with U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
Officially, the program is called the "O9L Translator/Interpreter Program." It was stood up by the Army in early 2004 in response to intelligence community complaints that Arabic-language translators were in short supply.

There has been tension between the drill sergeants there and the recruits, because the drill sergeants fundamentally mistrusted them, and because they're Muslim and many aren't Americans.

A few months ago, special agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division opened an investigation after receiving a tip that some Muslims at the base had communicated with others overseas, and that a group of Muslim non-citizens had tried to poison other soldiers.  That investigation is open -- but no evidence has been found to support the tips, according to the Army.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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