The Muslim attacker in Chattanooga was living out the tenets of a totalitarian faith, and the sheriff’ department’s U.S.-supplied surveillance data did not have him “on the radar screen,” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond says in an interview.
Muslim religious and political creeds dictate world domination in which acts of terror and jihad are religiously sanctioned, the sheriff says.
Mr. Hammond is asked in an interview if he has a paramilitary power to eject from Hamilton County abusive officials from the federal government? He demurs, but says if anyone breaks the law and abuses the liberties of the people, he will act to stop the abuse.
The drug war is being fought to suppress an abuse of liberty among the people, he says. “Is there a time when you have to restrict somebody’s liberty for the good welfare of everybody? And I don’t mind telling you, I think that’s right in some cases. For instance, immigration.”
Mr. Hammond is accountable directly to the people by election. But he says chiefs of police are equally accountable because mayors who elect them are subject to election. He states repeatedly his belief that elections make abusive authority accountable.
Sheriff Hammond gave this interview Aug. 7, at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio.
Abdulazeez not necessarily radicalized
David Tulis — Could you tell us a bit about what your analysis of Muhammad Abdulazeez’s attack on the military installations here in Chattanooga.
Chief Jim Hammond — Well of course I think everybody would agree that first of all there was terrorism involved. He created an atmosphere of terrorism. I think it was also domestic terrorism in that he was home-grown. He was he was born and raised here. It’s certainly terrorism and certainly domestic.
What you’re probably not going to hear — and this is Jim Hammond speaking — is I believe this was Islamic terrorism — Islamic to trade his fate, the beliefs of the faith that he recognizes. The things that led up to this particular day and what he did, all of that points to me this was a perfect example of what we call domestic Islamic terrorism.
Tulis — Mohammad Abdulaziz had personal problems; he had alcohol consumption, he had some debts he [audio unintelligible].
Jim Hammond — [audio unintelligible] his mental health, his faith training that he had had. His mental health, his concern about whether or not he could reach the heaven that the Islamic Muslims speak of required him to do some pretty drastic things in order to get that accomplished.
Tulis — So, it was a religiously inspired attack it wasn’t just wasn’t just political. It was from the political religious system of Islam
Jim Hammond — I think that was certainly part of it, yes.
Islam’s totalitarian ambition
Tulis — Is it fair to say that this analysis is being overlooked by the national narrative that is coming out of Chattanooga and the FBI office?
Jim Hammond — I think that many people out there that misunderstand what the long term purpose of Islam is and that is that the world must be Islamic, that Allah must rule supreme in all religions. I spent several years living in the Middle East, working with these folks there’s a lot of good folks out there who are Muslims who are not, I might put it — hellbent to try to kill all Christians or anybody of any other race. But the tenets of the faith, for anybody who studies the tenets of Islam, know that that is one of the strong tenets of the faith is that the whole world must be Islamic and bow the knee to Allah’s will.
Tulis — Was Mohammad Abdulazeez radicalized or was he just a faithful, good, routine, ordinary kind of Muslim?
Jim Hammond — Well, I don’t think the report are in to show that. I think it could be both.
Tulis — It seems to me that my listener should be much more concerned to hear that he was not radicalized, which seems to be the the tenor of the federal analysis, he was not radicalized. If that’s the case, then, we have really have a lot to worry about, my listener does for his personal safety from regular Muslim people if they’re faithful to the tenets of Islam.
Jim Hammond — Well, there are a number of Muslims of the world probably, 1.2 billion depending on the numbers you’re looking at. The average Muslims out there is what I would refer to as a secular Muslim. They’re not out to create jihad. They’re not out to try to kill their neighbors. But if you look at the tenets of the faith, and that requires you to study what it says.
Tulis — And you have.
Jihad driven by salvation concept
Jim Hammond — And I have. I’ve spent a number of years looking at it. If you follow the tenets of their faith it does say that there are certain things that must be accomplished — one of them is every good Muslim who wishes to gain paradise, must not interfere with Allah’s will that the whole world has to become Islamic. That other faiths will either fall in line they’re to be destroyed.
Tulis — And the Muslim creed is works oriented. Christianity is quite a contrast. Christianity posits God’s grace and God is saving men by His good graces, not from have anything that they’ve done. The Mohammedan system is one of works. You have to do certain things, follow certain rights, practice certain rituals, and you then obtain salvation and if you’ve sinned then you can obtain forgiveness by a great act of self-denial which is jihad.
Jim Hammond — That is correct.
Tulis — The attack on Chattanooga was in some ways a clash of worldviews —a clash of systems. The Muslim system attacking the Western / Christian system. Can you talk about that?
Jim Hammond — Well, first of all this this particular young man who did this heinous act, we don’t know what was in his mind. He’s gone. But I can tell you if you look at what he surrounded himself with in terms of his training, in terms of this training in terms of what the tenets of the faith are, all of these add up to show you that he in seeking paradise, as he sees it as a Muslim, felt like one of the only thing he could do is to guarantee himself paradise was to not only go out and follow the tenets of that faith which would be to destroy infidels which guarantees you almost a pass.
Tulis — The attack was an expiation of his sins, a paying of his sins?
Jim Hammond — I think that’s right. This is not an official report of the FBI. They’re still doing their studies.
‘Parallel construction’ and insider intel
Tulis — This is your analysis. Well, Sheriff Hammond, you’re the most important and influential person in the county because of the office you hold as sheriff. Were you somehow in the intel loop regarding this particular non-state actor, or were you surprised to hear about him on that day?
Jim Hammond — Well, certainly I was surprised. I don’t know that anybody was in the loop, in terms of if he was on the radar screen. That may be true. But the FBI is going to keep all that under wraps till they do their investigation and release a full [report]. I can’t tell you but I can tell you Jim Hammond the sheriff was not in the loop as did this one particular young man whether or not he was on somebody’s radar.
Tulis — Well, seeing that you are the most important person the county militarily speaking you assure the public order, should you be — or should you have been — informed of his presence here?
Jim Hammond — No, I don’t think that would have been practical given the number of Muslims who live in our area. There’s a great number here and we can’t certainly be informed on each one being tracked. Occasionally I will get intel reports like the chief in the city and other chiefs do. But in this particular case — this one, I was not privy to any information on his activities.
Tulis — Well, we want to say that that’s good because if you were, if you did have access to that giant pool of data that the federal government collects, you would be as a politician, as a law enforcement official, very tempted to use that for “other purposes.”
Jim Hammond — Well, I don’t want get into the federal business. They have their role, I have mine. My job is confined to this county and this state. I would certainly appreciate an update if anything comes about that is going to risk the safety and security of my citizens by the federal government and normally I do get that. I could tell you. I’m not sure to what degree the FBI were informed of that or the CIA or any other agency.
Data mining with U.S.
Tulis — We have a federal fusion center here in Chattanooga there are several in the South. The sheriff’s department is very well connected with the federal empire and its digital surveillance. To what extent does the department use digital analysis and data mining from the NSA?
Jim Hammond — Well, again, I’m not at liberty to tell you what we do use. I can tell you that we do on occasion get information that is helpful to a case that is relevant to Hamilton County.
Tulis — Is that under a warrant?
Jim Hammond — Not necessarily.
Tulis — So data mining from the NSA and other federal military and other reconnaissance agencies —
Jim Hammond — We are not routinely involved in that in the Sheriff’s office of Hamilton county.
The people or the state?
Tulis — Sheriff Hammond, whom do you represent in your office?
Jim Hammond — Well the sheriff of course is (you and I were talking earlier) comes from the Old English word shire reef — shire being a geographic location, like a county, and a reef being a lord who was appointed to protect the people. So is a shirereef which we’ve shortened to sheriff, sheriffs came to this country as an organization that was to protect the people. Now sheriffs have certain constitutional responsibilities in this state. There’re 95 counties, they’re 95 sheriffs.
Primarily my responsibilities as sheriff first of all the keeper of the jail. I am to protect the inmates who are in that jail from being harmed and also to protect the citizens from being harmed by those inmates so that is a responsible constitutionally of the sheriff. Sheriffs are elected which means I answer to the will of the people. Every four years the people get to decide whether they like the sheriff or not.
Sheriff is also a protector of the courts. My job is to see that there are officers who are there in that court to protect the citizens as they come to do business with the courts and the judges from anybody who might want to harm them.
Sheriff is also a server of the process. Must see that all the legal documents are served that are brought to my attention by the courts in any way that they’re brought there.
And then the normal duties that you would find of a sheriff, such as running patrol division, narcotics, undercover operations. In my particular case we’ve got about 15 different divisions that do this, from underwater dive team, to mounted horse patrol, to reserve groups and on and on and on.
Tulis — Well, because you’re elected, is it fair to say you represent the people or do you represent the state?
Jim Hammond — I represent the people ***.
Power to kick out hostile parties
Tulis — [Do you have] authority as the sheriff to kick out anyone in Hamilton County who was offending the rights of people, offending their peace, security, and happiness?
Jim Hammond — Well, I don’t know that “kick out” is the right term.
Tulis — By the term I’m using (laughter) —
Jim Hammond — I have the authority. I must execute that authority if the law is being broken. Whether it’s a state law or whether or not it falls under our federal constitution.
Tulis — And so that means that we’re talking about you have the authority to eject, and repel, and remove parties that are private parties that are violating the law — as well as state parties? As well as government entities?
Jim Hammond — It depends on what you mean by remove. If I’m executing a lawful order to the people, to obey that order if they don’t, the sheriff has the power to take them into custody.
Tulis — Well, let’s say the IRS is abusing process against businessmen who are my listeners here in Chattanooga, and you [it is] are made clear to you that they are they’re taking short cuts they’re not they’re not exercising, not letting the taxpayer — the person — exercise his rights. That agent or that office could be summarily removed by you if you are representative of the people.
Jim Hammond — If in fact there is a violation of the law the sheriff is obligated to enforce them, I must do my duty. But it would depend on each individual case. So I can’t really speculate on whether it’s the IRS or someone else. I would have to look at each individual case and make a judgment whether my responsibilities fall within the constitutional responsibilities of a sheriff within this state.
Tulis — But if you’re representative of the people, you’re elected by the people then you your duty is to protect their rights and their property effectively.
Jim Hammond — It is to protect them, so much the rights depends on what the law says. I’m to see that they are not unduly harmed or unduly held against their will. There has to be a violation of the law before I can execute judgment.
Law enforcement vs. the innocent public
Tulis — I’ve heard very few complaints, Sheriff Hammond, about Hamilton County’s Sheriff’s Department regarding abuse of members of the public. We hear across the country many stories, see many videos, of policemen battering women in summer skirts and picking up people, *** gassing constrained inmates and the like, often by corporation — municipal corporation — departments, police departments — which are different from sheriff’s departments. Talk about what your government of this agency is doing that we don’t hear these reports in the media?
Jim Hammond — Well, again, you said a lot here and I can’t confirm or deny the things you’re saying cause I don’t have a specific. If you present me with a specific, and it’s in my jurisdiction and I happen to know the evidence based on what’s being done there, then I could discuss that case with you. Very frankly, I’m a brother to fellow police officers who are city police officers, municipal police officers, federal police officers. I’m not putting myself in a position where I stand isolated and they’re not doing their job and I am [doing mine]. I won’t say that. What I’m saying is I will look at each case in its totality and make a decision: Does it affect my role as a sheriff and how should I respond?
Feds trying to eliminate sheriffs
Tulis — We’ve got a call.
Caller — Uh, Sheriff Hammond, nice to hear you on the radio. I’m a proponent of the sheriff, and the sheriff’s department because I’m a student of history. And there’s been a movement to eliminate sheriff’s departments all over the country by the politicians who want to want to federalize the police.
Jim Hammond — That’s correct.
Caller — And on my phone I have on speed dial the sheriff’s department just in case I get pulled over by statutory entities called the local police or the feds or whatever because I know the sheriff is there to protect my individual constitutional rights and to enforce that highest law.
What is your feeling on these individuals who are trying to abolish the sheriff’s departments on the federal government level — politicians and so on — and the idea that evidently the federal government can’t protect its citizens? Half a billion a year goes to the military and 24 Muslim radical terrorists who they’re playing with the World Trade center and with all those NSA mines a radical Muslims somehow slipped by and killed five U.S. Marines in our backyard. So why isn’t the FBI sharing information with you? Are they that inefficient and ineffective that you maybe have to call out the militia or posse comitatus and deputize us to protect their own people here since apparently the federal government can’t?
Jim Hammond — You talk about several issues again, some issues go to what the federal law is some go to what state law is, some go to the constitutional responsibilities of the sheriff. All that taken together. You asked a bunch of questions. Of one I can tell you this, that I have the highest respect for the FBI. I worked with them I’ve been through some of their training. I understand what their role is and they have a certain role at the federal level. I have the highest respect for state officers, the TBI and those who work at the state level. I have the highest respect for the local law enforcement, my brothers who are training in the same training I receive.
Most cops are OK
So I think the average police officer does a great job when you look at nationwide. There’s close to a million police officers in this country and there’s over 300 plus million people we do a good job of enforcing laws. When you talk, I don’t want to use, I don’t remember your exact words. But you hear all these reports you said across the U.S. I don’t see those same stats that it’s just rampant police abusing citizens. I think most police and most citizens work hand-in-hand to see that safety and security across this country.
Tulis — It seems that sheriff’s deputies have much more reason to respect the person of someone they stopped on the side of the road than a police officer because his authority, which is you — you are accountable to people and you have you have an interest in making sure that if laws have to be a enforced that they be not done rigorously but fairly and as necessary. Police departments are not in that same form. Chiefs of police, such as Fred Fletcher are hired and he’s accountable to the mayor isn’t part of the executive branch of the city corporation. So you have every reason to mind the operation of the officers to care of the officers in public.
Vote makes sheriff accountable
Jim Hammond — I would agree with one thing in that. As an elected official I do serve directly closer to the people who can make a decision whether or not they like their sheriff every four years. Fred Fletcher, works for the mayor, was hired by the mayor who is elected by the people, so the people still have the final say so who’s going to govern them at the local level.
When you talk about police departments, you’re correct. Most police departments have a hired chief that’s either by the city council or the city manager or the mayor. But all those people are elected. And citizens who believe that their police are not treating them fairly they still have the power of the vote if they’ll exercise it.
Laundering illicitly gathered surveillance
Tulis — It seems quite oblique when you have to go through the mayor.
Well, Sheriff Hammond I want to go back to the question regarding the National Security Agency and the whole idea of parallel construction. Parallel construction is when a local jurisdiction uses illicit data mined from the surveillance apparatus of the national government which one, at least one federal judge of appeals said is illegal. When it does it launders the information and creates a plausible narrative for the purpose of the court for evidence against a defendant. Again it’s illicit material that allows the investigator to trace and create plausible factual basis in the evidence trail in the prosecution. Does Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department use parallel construction or do you have strong view about that process?
Jim Hammond — If you mean by parallel construction of what you said and I interpret you saying is, do we use mined data to formulate how we deal with with inmates or how we deal with prisoners —
Tulis — Well, not prisoners, but people that are suspects or fugitives.
Jim Hammond — However we might use it. I can tell you that we do not as a routine do that in the sheriff’s office. I can’t speak for the city police or anyone else. But from time to time I do to receive updates Intel for NSA or other agencies that we take that in consideration as part of our overall responsibility. But at the local level, whether it’s the city Chattanooga police or the sheriff’s department, we still fall under the will of the people through the vote. Whether it’s the vote for their legislature, whether it’s a vote for their local school board, whether it’s a vote for their mayor, whether it’s a vote so that the people still retain the right to put men and women in office they feel like are doing the job they want to see done.
Drones & mass phone snooping
Tulis — What about the use of federal use of planes that detect cell phone locations? Has the county and your department taken advantage of that data?
Jim Hammond — All intel has its place, depending on what the law is written for that intel prescribes. I do know that right now the big issue is the drones. A drone is something that should be used as part of law enforcement. They are a tool. They can be used for good or for bad. I do plan to seek to have drones used for illegal activities. I will have to jump through hoops to do that. I will have to follow what the law says. I will have to seek the proper court orders to be able to utilize that kind of equipment.
Tulis — Will that all be for surveillance?
Jim Hammond — It could be.
Tulis — Gathering visual evidence?
Jim Hammond — It could be, depending on what we’re dealing with.
Tulis — Can you be specific as to one scenario in which a drone might be used by the county?
Jim Hammond — If we know for instance that someone is out there illegally moving drugs from one location to another, maybe even across state lines. Drones could be very effective in tracking that as part of the investigation. But it has to be part of an ongoing investigation that is approved by law.
Drug war & yielding of rights
Tulis — Talk about the drug war, Sheriff Jim Hammond. Is the drug war something that has benefited my listener or has it worked to reduce his rights and reduce his liberties of movement and other?
Jim Hammond — Well I don’t think we’ll ever get on top or win, I might say, the drug war unless we first win it through the hearts of the people on they will tolerate in the illegal drugs. Illegal drugs would disappear tomorrow if the people themselves they did not want to spend the money to use those drugs. It is a war it is a big war.
I take you back to China to about the time of World War II when the whole country was about to fall apart because of the opium epidemic. Now, the Chinese dealt with it in a way that we would never seek to see happen in this country. They literally would kill all the drug addicts. And so they eliminated the problem with killing everybody. There’s countries in the world today, will execute you on the first time you’re caught with illegal drugs.
That’s not the way we operate in this country.
We have freedoms. But with those freedoms comes abuse. And law enforcement is there to try to stem the tide of abuse so you cut down on the amount of injuries and death and addictions that come to the people. So you do that with various tools you have. But those tools, the oversight from the people needs to come on hiring men and women as their sheriff and as their legislature, as those who pass laws, that they pass the reasonable but laws the people approve of.
Limiting ‘personal freedoms’
Caller — I just have another question. The militarization of the sheriff’s department and the police, your position on that? *** Is it OK just to question everybody at checkpoints to try to find something? *** Wasn’t it once a great man who once said that those who are willing to sacrifice their liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security? OK, thanks.
Jim Hammond — I think as we become a smaller world community, more and more the issue comes up of what, what personal freedoms have to be limited to secure the rights of everybody else? And that’s a thorny question because it gets into the idea of is there a time when you have to restrict somebody’s liberty for the good welfare of everybody?
And I don’t mind telling you, I think that’s right in some cases. For instance, immigration. I don’t think we should have wholesale open-the-borders-let-whoever-comes-and-goes. I think we need to have restrictions on immigration to protect this nation. That can come all the way down to the state or the local level. There needs to be certain laws that protect everybody. One of them is, for instance, if we said there’s no speed limit, people can do everything want. We would see the death rate just overnight become horrendous. You have to have restrictions on people’s liberty not to be able to drive their cars as fast as they want when they want.
You can apply that to drugs. You can apply it to speeding. You can apply it for DUI checkpoints — whatever you want. There are certain laws that must be there to ensure the welfare and safety of everybody.
Tulis — Well, has a modern surveillance and warfare state grown in such a way, Sheriff Jim Hammond, that causes you — as a Christian man acting in a constitutional office — does it cause you alarm?
Jim Hammond — It causes me alarm only when I see there are abuses of the laws that are very thoughtfully put before the people, and the people accept them based on who they send up there to make those laws.
And then we see that law might be abused. For instance, you go back to the IRS we know right now there’s been horrible abuses of the IRS in who they were targeting in the last few years. That’s an abuse — it needs to be dealt with so you don’t look at just the IRS. You look at abuses within these individual — whether it’s police arrest, whether it’s the IRS, whatever agency it is. If they’re abusing they need to be taken to task.
Tulis — When county sheriff’s deputies, Jim Hammond, make a stop or make an arrest are they largely enforcing county ordinance, state law or federal statute?
Jim Hammond — Well there is no county ordinance; counties can’t pass ordinances. Counties operate on state law only. Cities can have ordinances. So in the sheriff’s department anything my men do to be legal has to apply under state law. So what we do in carrying out our job as sheriff — I demand that my officers follow what the state law says.
Will deal with abuses
If I detect abuses among my own people, I deal with it. We have disciplinary procedures. If we see abuses among federal government and other agencies, we have certain avenues to report that to see that it’s dealt with. And I do think we need to remain vigilant with our federal government and our state government and our local ordinances in our — any elected position or any appointed law enforcement officer.
Tulis — Well if anything else, Sheriff Hammond I appreciate your time very much, talking with my listener and me here at the David Tulis show.
Jim Hammond — I can just tell you that the bottom line for me as sheriff, my job is, to the best of my ability, to protect the people of this county sometimes from themselves and other times from those who do harm to them so that they could not pursue liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are things that are basic to our constitution we need to enforce.
Tulis — We are here at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio. We’ve been talking with Sheriff Jim Hammond. *** Thanks for joining us.
— Keon Rose is a Chattanooga State student who hosts a daily sports talk show at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio. David Tulis writes at Nooganomics.com and hosts a 9-11 a.m. show.
Source: “Interview with Jim Hammond,” Aug. 7, 2015, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIwFbmv4GVY