Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Lieberman | Obama | ISIS | propaganda

Joe Lieberman: Obama Losing the Propaganda War to ISIS

By    |   Friday, 24 Oct 2014 11:52 AM

Despite recent evidence that the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida possess sophisticated propaganda machines, former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman contends the government's response to their online radicalization has been "ad hoc" and absent of any comprehensive strategy.

"Several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, have outreach programs to discuss this threat in meetings with community leaders in major cities.

"The FBI sometimes intervenes to dissuade individuals from engaging in extremist activity online by warning about the risks of illegal activity such as material support to a foreign terrorist organization. But such efforts have been sporadic and are carried out ad hoc, without a comprehensive strategy for countering the online radicalization of U.S. citizens," writes Lieberman in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

In the editorial, co-authored with Christian Beckner of George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute, Lieberman calls on the administration to make developing a strategy that integrates "counter-messaging, community engagement and law-enforcement efforts" a priority.

"Without such a strategy in place, federal agencies have limited ability to develop programs that can counter the influence of ISIS’s propaganda within the U.S," they argue, adding that the recent ISIS-inspired attacks in Canada reinforce the urgency to combat the spread of a violent Islamist ideology.

The authors note that little has been done since President Barack Obama outlined his Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in December 2011.

The administration announced plans this week to create a community-led program to combat homegrown terrorists, reports CBS News. The program will be modeled after a similar new program launched by Maryland's International Cultural Center.

Critics note, however, the ineffectiveness of the administration's existing counterterror efforts.

"Thirteen years into the war on terror, it is distressing to see certain ways the U.S. government is combating domestic radicalization by groups like al-Qaida (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS). Among the more embarrassing of these ventures is the 'Think Again Turn Away' campaign, launched in English in December 2013 by the United States Department of State as part of an effort to enter the war of ideas and win over hearts and minds of jihadists on social media," Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, wrote in Time magazine in September.

Katz notes that the State Department's response to a post on the Think Again Turn Away Twitter account showing pictures of prisoners from the infamous Abu Gharib scandal was to tweet "US troops are punished for misconduct, #ISIS fighters are rewarded,” accompanied by photos of American soldiers "interacting happily" with Middle Eastern children.

Lieberman, who was a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has questioned the seriousness of the administration's efforts in the war on terror, including President Obama's reticence to use the term "terrorism."

During an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" program in September, Lieberman said he could not explain the president's reluctance to openly state the nation is at war.

Story continues below video.


"I don't know. Maybe he's concerned legalistically that if he says we're in a war, then the Congress has to authorize whatever he does. But you got to tell it as it is, this is a war," said the former Connecticut senator in response to a question from host Sean Hannity.

The former Democratic vice presidential candidate is set to join Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, at the inaugural Israeli American Council (IAC) National Conference in Washington next month, reports The Jewish Press.

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Despite recent evidence that the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida possess sophisticated propaganda machines, former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman contends the government's response to their online radicalization has been "ad hoc" and absent of any comprehensive strategy.
Lieberman, Obama, ISIS, propaganda
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2014-52-24
Friday, 24 Oct 2014 11:52 AM
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