U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry started this week on a low note, and it all went downhill from there. In the latest blow to the agency's image, last Thursday the Washington Post reported that the agency's newly appointed director of the Office of Indian Energy Policy, William C. Bradford, has a recent history of racist and offensive comments on Twitter.
The offending tweets were deleted by Friday and Bradford has apologized in a note to the Post, but his troubles -- and those of the Energy Department -- are only beginning.
Energy Dept. gets West Point reject...
Bradford's apparent lack of qualification to lead an office that distributes millions in federal grants for Native American energy projects is one issue. His fitness for public office is another issue -- in 2015 he was forced to resign from his teaching position at West Point after evidence surfaced that he inflated his academic credentials and military experience.
The attention to Bradford's credentials followed the publication of a widely criticized, "inflammatory" article in which he accused U.S. legal scholars of constituting an "Islamist Fifth Column" aimed at destroying America from within.
The deleted tweets hint that Bradford has not had a change of opinion since then, and those appear to be the tip of a very large iceberg.
...with an affinity for anti-Muslim talk shows...
Deleting tweets from a personal Twitter account is easy to do. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to erase digital tracks from someone else's website.
That could open up a whole new can of worms for Bradford. As of this writing the William C. Bradford WordPress account still provides a link to his appearance this last February as a guest on the talk radio organization Global Patriot Radio.
...who believes that law professors are conspiring against the U.S...
The interview with Bradford comes in near the end of a much longer program hosted by Gadi Adelman.
If you listen to the whole program you can probably see what prompted SPLCE to include GPR/Radio Jihad on the its anti-Muslim list. If you'd rather not, the interview starts shortly after the one hour mark (the lengthy ad at the beginning is unavoidable but after that you can scroll forward).
At the beginning of the interview, Bradford reprises the theme of his now notorious 2015 article, in which he advocates for an all-out war against terrorism that would include targeting legal scholars.
A 2015 piece in The Guardian took note of Bradford's focus on legal scholars:
Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.
“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.
...and wants another 9-11 to happen.
During the February interview, Bradford talks about his experience teaching at an academy in the United Arab Emirates. As he describes it, his students were eager for the U.S. to "get serious about wiping out the Muslim Brotherhood" and Isis.
He also claims that there was deep "revulsion" for Obama Administration policies on fighting terror among his UAE students, who feel that terrorism is an "existential threat" to their country that "we in America do not yet fully appreciate."
In that context, Bradford lays out a case for treating terror as an existential threat to the U.S. His model is the UAE, though that appears to be a misrepresentation of the UAE situation. UAE has been credited with avoiding full scale terror incidents, partly due to factors that seem to have a pacifying effect on terrorist organizations. Last year there was an uptick in individual attacks but no clear trend has emerged.
Back to the interview. Around the 1:11 mark Bradford argues that it "may take something on the order of 9-11 or orders of magnitude" before we take terror seriously:
"...and on that day, that's when we will have the same mindset that they have in the UAE today."
Adelman fleshes out the case for another episode on the scale of the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.
He comments that on September 12th he was "actually hoping.... Thank god these 3,000 people didn't die in vain, because now America is going to change their attitude. Now America is going to realize the threat that we face..."
To Adelman's disappointment, that "excitement" was short-lived. The prospects for a united U.S. reaction faded within a few weeks "and then everybody forgot."
Bradford agrees that the failure of 9-11 to spark action is a "disappointment. In the interview he circles back once again to his 2015 article, and blames legal scholars for the failure of the public to unify behind a strong response:
...certain radical leftists...Islamophilic scholars with the legal academies started to write outrageous articles saying that the methods we would be using in the coming war were illegal, such as coercive interrogation or the use of bombing campaigns that might unintentionally result in civilian casualties.
He also refers to protests against the Bush Administration response to 9-11 as anti-American if not downright treasonous.
...the radical left took 9-11 not as previous generations did of Pearl Harbor, rather as a moment to rise up against the United States, Western civilization and everything for which it has stood.
That last remark concludes at around the 1:13 mark. There is more to the interview and Bradford has appeared on other GPR shows, so brace yourself for more to come as Bradford's unsavory writing and speaking come to light.
Image credit: Global Patriot Radio
Tina writes frequently for TriplePundit and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes.