Time to end ‘po­lit­i­cally cor­rect’ ter­ror fight

McCaul outlines re­vamped pol­icy to pro­tect home­land.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY CARLO MUNOZ

Con­gres­sional de­fense hawks see the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion as a fresh start in the cam­paign to roll back the dam­age caused by the Obama White House’s “po­lit­i­cally cor­rect” ap­proach to wag­ing the global war on ter­ror, one of the most in­flu­en­tial Repub­li­can voices on se­cu­rity on Capi­tol Hill said Wed­nes­day.

House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Mike McCaul out­lined what he said was a tougher, more re­al­is­tic pol­icy on pro­tect­ing the coun­try, se­cur­ing the bor­ders and en­sur­ing the na­tional de­fense that would “re­verse the dam­age of the last eight years.”

The “wait-and-see ap­proach to na­tional se­cu­rity” em­ployed by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­sulted in a sce­nario where “our al­lies no longer trust us and our ad­ver­saries no longer fear us,” the Texas Repub­li­can said dur­ing a speech at the con­ser­va­tive Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute.

Mr. McCaul had been one of sev­eral names re­port­edly un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by Mr. Trump to head the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity. On Wed­nes­day, it emerged that re­tired Ma­rine Corps Gen. John Kelly, for­mer U.S. South­ern Com­mand chief, will get the nod.

In his AEI re­marks, billed as his “sec­ond an­nual” state of U.S. home­land se­cu­rity ad­dress, Mr. McCaul also took di­rect aim at Pres­i­dent Obama’s record on coun­ter­ing ex­trem­ist groups like the Is­lamic State and al Qaeda who are ac­tively re­cruit­ing fight­ers and plot­ting at­tacks against the U.S. and its Western al­lies. He echoed oth­ers’ crit­i­cism that Mr. Obama and his aides have failed to un­der­stand the na­ture of the enemy they were fac­ing, and re­peat­edly un­der­es­ti­mated and un­der­played the threat posed to the Amer­i­can home­land.

The Obama White House has ac­tively re­frained from us­ing the phrase “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism” and Mr. Obama has slammed Repub­li­can crit­ics for at­tempt­ing to paint all Mus­lims as sym­pa­thetic to such ex­trem­ist views. In a Florida speech Tues­day evening, Mr. Obama again said that ap­proach only played into the nar­ra­tive that groups such as al Qaeda and the Is­lamic State are pro­mot­ing.

But Mr. McCaul noted that over 1,000 peo­ple in the last year have been killed in ter­ror­ist at­tacks by the Is­lamic State alone, in Europe and else­where across the globe. The FBI also has ac­tive coun­tert­er­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tions in 50 states, the Texas Repub­li­can added.

With Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump poised to as­sume the Oval Of­fice next month, now is the time to im­part “the big­gest do­mes­tic coun­tert­er­ror­ism over­haul in decades,” Mr. McCaul said.

His plan would in­clude the “im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of all im­mi­gra­tion from high-risk ar­eas” such as Syria, Iraq and Ye­men, while pres­sur­ing the Euro­pean Union to take sim­i­lar mea­sures.

Mr. McCaul also called for re­vamp­ing the U.S. visa ap­pli­ca­tion re­view process to in­clude “so­cial me­dia in­tel­li­gence” — in­for­ma­tion gleaned from visa ap­pli­cant’s ac­counts on sites such as Face­book and Twit­ter for any in­di­ca­tion of ex­trem­ist af­fil­i­a­tions or ten­den­cies.

The House Home­land Se­cu­rity panel chief called for the cre­ation of a na­tional ter­ror­ism hot­line where peo­ple can re­port sus­pected ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties in their cities and towns, as well as a na­tional ter­ror­ism reg­istry.

Sim­i­lar to the na­tional sex of­fender reg­istry, all in­di­vid­u­als con­victed on ter­ror­ism charges would be forced to sign up and com­mu­ni­ties would be no­ti­fied if those in­di­vid­u­als re­lo­cate to their neigh­bor­hoods.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Repub­li­can, in a speech Wed­nes­day called for sus­pend­ing im­mi­gra­tion from “high-risk” ar­eas to thwart ter­ror­ism.

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