Again, a failure to connect the dots

The United States’ foreign policies and military strategies in the Middle East are vital to defeating the Islamic State and its radicalized terrorists.

But the two recent mass shootings on American soil reinforce the pressing need for more improvements in domestic surveillance and analysis of security threats.

On Monday, an FBI official said the government believes that both Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who killed 14 people last week in San Bernardino, Calif., “were radicalized and for quite some time.”

It was learned, after the attacks, that Malik used social media to pledge her allegiance to the Islamic State before she and her husband opened fire on innocent Americans.

Apparently the husband and wife were not on any terrorist-watch lists — not even the government’s no-fly manifests, which Republicans in Congress believe is so flawed that it should not be used for denying weaponry purchases.

Perhaps the process that led her to obtain a visa was not stringent enough to detect warning signs, or maybe her radicalization occurred remotely in the United States. Given that at least 56 people have been arrested in the United States for supporting the Islamic State, the latter possibility is very real and must be confronted.

The more we learn about this case, the more we are concerned about the ability of the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations to spread their messages throughout the world. It’s true that domestic killers with their own agendas, sometimes driven by perverted religious beliefs, have perpetrated mass shootings; take, for instance, the recent attack by Robert Lewis Dear on innocents inside and outside a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado.

Malik entered the United States on a fiancee visa in 2014. Maybe she entered the country with no allegiance to the Islamic State and its causes; rapid radicalization is possible. But perhaps the policies and screening procedures are, as they were before Sept. 11, 2001, inadequate and authorities again failed to connect the dots.

Reprinted from the Northwest Florida Daily News

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