5 takeaways from terror debate

5 takeaways from terror debate–1f,b5  – 09/19/16

Officials on Monday confirmed the Saturday bombings in New York and New Jersey were a terrorist act, elevating fears about homegrown terrorism.

The attacks have shaken up the presidential race, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battling over who is best equipped to protect the nation.

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the attacks and the political aftermath.

  1. Homegrown terrorism is now a fact of life in the US.

Officials are struggling to effectively identify, monitor and deter lone-wolf attackers who are inspired to engage in terrorism. Experts say that as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has lost territory, it has stepped up its calls for followers to carry out attacks wherever they are.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old suspect taken into custody on Monday, was not on the FBI’s radar prior to the Saturday night bombings, the bureau said. Investigators do not yet know what his “path of radicalization” was.

Law enforcement and homeland security officials have warned that the U.S. is facing “a new environment.”

“There’s this phenomenon now of the terrorist-inspired attack, the lone wolf — that’s the thing that presents the challenge most directly for our homeland,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said earlier this month. “It’s frankly the thing that keeps me up at night.”

  1. The debate over refugees and immigration is only going to get bigger.

Immigrants and the children of immigrants have carried out some of the more high-profile terrorist attacks in the United States this year.

As President Obama seeks to open up the U.S. to more than 100,000 immigrants worldwide — including a “significantly higher” number of people fleeing violence in Syria — some critics have argued that he is allowing terrorists an easy pathway into the country. That debate has spilled over into Congress and the presidential campaign.

Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee, has called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants from countries that are hotbeds of terrorism, and on Monday said the terrorist attacks should be a “wake-up call” for the country.

The White House has defended its vetting process, but those assurances have not soothed opponents of the refugee program.

“We’re allowing these people to come into our country and destroy our country and make it unsafe for people. We’re allowing these people to come in,” Trump said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”

  1. Terrorism will be a huge part of the first Trump-Clinton debate.

The bombings have shifted the political spotlight back to terrorism, ensuring the issue will be front and center during the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26. 
 Trump has said repeatedly that he has a “plan” to defeat ISIS, but he has refused to say what it is because he doesn’t want to “broadcast” his intentions to the enemy.

Clinton, the Democratic nominee, on Monday scoffed at that rationale.

“He keeps saying he has a secret plan. Well, the secret is he has no plan,” she said during a news conference.

Clinton early Monday accused Trump of inspiring acts of terrorism through his rhetoric.

“We know that a lot of rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they’re looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists,” the former secretary of State said.

Trump’s campaign hit back immediately, calling the accusations an effort to “distract from her horrible record on ISIS.”

“If Clinton really wants to find the real cause of ISIS, she needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror,” senior Trump adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.

  1. Social media companies are going to face even more pressure.

As the use of social media platforms to spread terrorist propaganda and recruit fighters has increased, so has pressure on companies like Twitter and Facebook to police their platforms.

The FBI is looking into Rahami’s complete social network now, looking for links to other terrorists and clues to his motives.

While both Twitter and Facebook have policies against terroristic content, tech firms have been broadly wary of collaborating with law enforcement — a dynamic brought into sharp relief by the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack earlier this year.

Clinton on Monday renewed her calls for Washington and Silicon Valley to work together to crack down on extremist use of social media platforms.

“We need to work more closely with Silicon Valley and other partners to counter terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts online,” she said.

If investigators find evidence that Rahami communicated his plans for the attack using an encrypted messaging app, the bombings could also reignite the debate over government access to locked data.

  1. Muslim Americans are in the election spotlight.

    The spate of terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S. has stirred debate about the degree of responsibility the Muslim American community has to denounce or combat extremist groups like ISIS.

Hate crimes against American Muslims are at their highest level since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a rise scholars have pinned both on the frequency of terror attacks in the U.S. and Europe and on Trump’s rhetoric about limiting Muslim immigration.

An arsonist set fire last week to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Fla., the mosque that had been attended by the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June.

source- the hill- Katie Bo Williams,

 

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