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Another View -- Hillary Clinton: My plan to bolster homeland security and defeat ISIS

By HILLARY CLINTON
December 17. 2015 11:11PM


The terrorist attack in San Bernardino made it clear that it’s not enough to contain ISIS — we have to defeat ISIS. The threat is real, and the need for action is urgent. We can’t give in to fear or let it drive us to take reckless action. Shallow slogans don’t add up to a strategy. We need serious leadership. That’s why I’ve laid out a three-part plan to defeat ISIS and the broader radical jihadist movement.

First, defeat ISIS in the Middle East by smashing its stronghold from the air and intensifying support for local Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground.

Second, defeat ISIS around the world by dismantling the global network of terror that supplies radical jihadists with money, arms, propaganda, and fighters.

Third, defeat ISIS here at home by foiling plots, disrupting radicalization, and hardening our defenses.

In the wake of San Bernardino, this third part is especially important. We need a 360-degree strategy to keep America safe and stop terrorists from recruiting, training, plotting, and carrying out attacks.

Shutting down recruitment in the United States will require us to deny jihadists virtual territory on social media, chat rooms, and the “Dark Web,” just as we deny them actual territory in the Middle East. With stronger relationships between Washington and Silicon Valley, our security professionals should be able to more effectively track ISIS’s social media posts and map jihadist networks.

Next, we have to prevent would-be jihadists from training overseas, and prevent foreign jihadists from coming here. The United States and our allies need to take down the network of enablers who operate the terrorist pipeline, and revoke passports and visas of jihadists who have joined ISIS or other groups. We also need to take a close look at our visa programs, tighten requirements for those who have traveled to high-risk areas, and dispatch more Homeland Security agents to high-risk countries to better investigate visa applicants. And we need to improve information sharing with and among our allies to better detect foreign fighters.

Disrupting jihadist plots before they can be carried out will take better intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing. And just as we make sure law enforcement officials get the tools they need to prevent attacks, we have to stop jihadists from getting the tools they need to carry out attacks. It defies common sense that Republicans in Congress refuse to make it harder for potential terrorists to buy guns. If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.

We also have to support our law enforcement officers who risk their lives to prevent and respond to terror attacks. There’s no limit to the gratitude we owe them. The least we can do is provide the resources and training they need to keep us safe. We need to stay one step ahead of evolving threats, not privatize key Homeland Security functions, like the TSA, as some Republicans have proposed.

The final element in my strategy is empowering Muslim-American communities. They may be our first, last, and best defense against homegrown radicalization and terrorism. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to block it.

When people see that respect and trust are two-way streets, they’re more likely to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement. That’s one reason we should all stand up against offensive, inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric that divides us when we should be coming together as Americans. It’s not just shameful; it’s dangerous and it plays into the terrorists’ hands. Alienating partners and undermining moderates makes it harder to build the global coalition we need to defeat ISIS.

The threat we face is daunting, but America has overcome big challenges before. I’m confident that we will once again choose resolve over fear, and defeat these enemies just as we’ve defeated those who have threatened us in the past. We can’t give in to demagogues who play on our basest instincts. We need to act with courage and clarity, remaining true to our principles. That’s who we are, and it’s how we’ll win.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a Democratic candidate for President.


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