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Gary Bauer / Jun. 16, 2016

Orlando Updates, The President’s Speech

The FBI has reportedly found plenty of evidence on Omar Mateen’s computer indicating that he was visiting Islamic extremist websites for months.

Orlando Updates

  • The FBI has reportedly found plenty of evidence on Omar Mateen’s computer indicating that he was visiting Islamic extremist websites for months. One official told CNN that Mateen “consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda.” In other words, his radicalization was not a sudden development.

  • A grand jury is investigating Mateen’s wife, and her parents’ California home was raided yesterday by the FBI.

  • ISIS released a message praising Mateen as a “hero” and encouraged more attacks on “movie theaters, hospitals, airports, trains, amusement parks and restaurants.”

  • Florida Governor Rick Scott said that President Obama has not called him. Moreover, the administration has refused his request to identify the whereabouts of Syrian refugees resettled in Florida. Governor Scott is concerned that adequate background checks have not been performed, resulting in additional security risks at a time (Ramadan) when terrorist attacks traditionally spike.

  • The New York Times reports that the FBI has “10,000 terrorism investigations open at any given time.”

The President’s Speech

Here are some further thoughts about President Obama’s speech yesterday afternoon.

As we pointed out, his remarks aimed at his critics were delivered with more anger than he has demonstrated at any point toward the Islamic terrorist who carried out the attack in Orlando. Obama dismissively said that referring to Muslim extremism as “radical Islam” wasn’t a strategy, but just a “political talking point.”

And this is coming from the president who said — not once but at least twice — that he had no strategy to deal with ISIS.

Here is the important point: As this president well knows, words matter.

When a president speaks about radical Islam, he is educating the American public and all the institutions of government charged with defending us about who the enemy is. The enemy is not a method of warfare called terrorism. The enemy is an ideology.

Once you repeatedly identify it as radical Islam, a logical strategy begins to develop. For example, you might say, “Well, let’s look at mosques to see if we can discover which ones have imams or other leaders who are promoting this radical ideology.”

This one Florida mosque now has at least two known terrorists. One blew himself up in Syria and one killed 49 of our citizens at an Orlando night club.

CNN reports that at least one member of the mosque is worried there could be other radicals there. Is the FBI looking into it? Oh, that’s right, it can’t because Obama stopped the surveillance of mosques.

Once you identify the enemy as radical Islam, it is rational to question whether we want foreign nations devoted to this radical ideology, like Saudi Arabia, subsidizing mosques in our country. Surely the same First Amendment that does not allow someone to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater does not permit a foreign power to spread a dangerous and radical ideology in America.

Once you say the enemy is radical Islam, you start identifying the belief system of its adherents and you use those characteristics or “tells” to screen people applying for entry as immigrants and refugees.

You can also do what former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik calls “predictive profiling,” which is what any law enforcement operation logically does to try to prevent crimes. Even liberals, like former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, understand this.

Obama also said yesterday that his approach against ISIS was demoralizing the jihadists and making “significant progress.” Really? Not even liberal journalists are buying that one.

ISIS is waging war all over the world. Military officials estimate that Al Qaeda has doubled.

I don’t know how the president can possibly know whether ISIS is demoralized or not, but I think it is obvious that the American people are increasingly demoralized. This nation is supposed to be the most powerful country on the planet. Yet we have been unable to protect runners in Boston, soldiers at an Army base in Texas, recruiters in Tennessee, Californians going to a holiday party or young Americans at a nightclub in Orlando.

For the parents and loved ones of all these people, demoralized does not begin to describe what they must feel.

Stupid Rhetoric

As this debate rages on, I am, unfortunately, hearing a lot of stupid rhetoric reminding me of Forrest Gump’s famous saying, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Suggestions for a pause in immigration from countries with a high correlation to terrorism have been met by political elites in both parties with derision and scorn. The president suggested yesterday that such an idea was stupid because the Orlando shooter was born in this country and was an American. Obama’s line was repeated by some Republicans on Capitol Hill and by former Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino this morning.

She claimed that the focus on immigration completely missed the point when the shooter was born here. Is everybody really that stupid?

New research suggests that the children of immigrants, like Omar Mateen, are highly susceptible to radicalization. That raises a lot of disturbing questions including: What are they learning at home? What are they learning in their mosques? What clues are they picking up from the left in popular culture, which routinely trashes America as an oppressive nation?

In the case of the Orlando shooter, his father is a Taliban sympathizer. How did he get in?

By the way, survivors say that Mateen carried out his attack because he wanted America “to stop bombing my country,” referring to Afghanistan. So this man, who our leaders are reminding us was born here, obviously was not an American in any meaningful sense. He thought of Afghanistan as his country.

The Politics Of A Pause

I don’t have a formal poll, but I believe it is a safe guess to suggest that the vast majority of the governing class in Washington believes that a temporary ban on immigration from Muslim countries is beyond the pale or an affront to our values, as some have put it. From Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, it seems there is broad bipartisan agreement on that issue.

Now, among another group of people who apparently don’t matter much — you or likely voters — 50% agree with such a pause.

According to a Reuters poll, likely voters support a pause in immigration from Muslim nations by a margin of 50% to 42%. The vast majority of interviews for this poll were conducted before the Orlando attack, so I can only assume that the numbers have gone up since then.

The Lone Wolf Lie

Here’s another aspect of the current debate that really frustrates me — we are being lied to.

In their desperation to downplay the threat the country faces, our elites repeatedly rush to tell us after every attack that the jihadist was just a “lone wolf,” with no connection to ISIS, Al Qaeda or any organized terrorist group, as if that is supposed to reassure us.

Another popular phrase, and one used to describe Omar Mateen, is “self-radicalized.” Earlier this week, I rhetorically asked how many lone wolves does it take to make a pack.

Well, now we have proof that the “lone wolf” claim is a lie. An analysis of nearly 90 terrorism cases brought by the government over the past two years finds that “three-quarters of those charged were alleged to be part of a group of anywhere from two to more than 10 co-conspirators.”

As Reuters explains, “The ‘lone wolf’ image obscures the extent to which individuals become radicalized through personal association with like-minded people, in what might be termed ‘wolf dens,’ experts on radicalization and counter-terrorism say.”

Clearly, Obama is not listening to these experts. Presumably, they would be advising him to investigate the dens … meaning we need surveillance of radical mosques.

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