Tags: Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | Ron Johnson | ISIS | fight | overseas

Ron Johnson: Want to Fight ISIS In the US? Beat Them Overseas

By    |   Sunday, 10 May 2015 11:30 AM

The best strategy for keeping the Islamic State from becoming a threat in the United States is to defeat the militants in Iraq and Syria, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said Sunday.

"We're certainly vulnerable, and this is all part of ISIS' strategy of conveying a winner's message," the Wisconsin Republican told CNN's Jim Sciutto on the "State of the Union" program,  including the influence the militant group had on the attempted attack in Texas against a Muhammad cartoon contest event.

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But by defeating ISIS overseas, it will convey a reality that "this is not a winning organization, it's a losing organization," said Johnson. And as long as ISIS is perceived to be a losing organization, many people who are being drawn to jihadist activities in the United States will not be as likely to be inspired by ISIS' influence.

Johnson said in one hearing his committee had a witness who was working to assess how large the following ISIS has in the United States, and that there is a concern about the ability of intelligence to ferret out potential problems.

"He estimated that the probable guess may be as high as 90,000" will access accounts on Twitter so "maybe 90,000 people drawn to this barbaric ideology," said Johnson. "We have a very large haystack and [are] looking for a needle in it."

Meanwhile, the FBI had an informant speaking to Phoenix resident Elton Simpson, one of two armed men killed outside the Texas cartoon event "330 times, and [the FBI] spent about $132,000 to pay the informant."

But even after Simpson was placed on probation, he was sending messages on Twitter about activities later on, said Johnson.

"How can we track so many people that might be drawn to this?" said Johnson. "That's where I go back to my main point. We need to actually accomplish the goal President [Barack] Obama stated, to degrade and defeat Isis, and the sooner the better."

Sciutto asked if it was a "serious failure" for Simpson to be able to buy body armor and weapons for the attack, even after so many conversations, but Johnson said that the problem is dealing with people who may talk, but have not yet committed a crime.

"What do you do with the not guilty yet?" said Johnson. "We have laws and a Constitution, and it's extremely difficult for law enforcement officials when you might have tens of thousands of sympathizers. How do you track them all?"

The FBI tracks other threats and crimes beyond the threat of Islamic terror, said Johnson, and as long as ISIS has "the territory and a caliphate...we need to get back to the root cause and defeat ISIS."

Johnson told Newsmax TVthis past Wednesday that online technology is advancing past the ability of the United States to effectively gather intelligence to protect itself from outside threats such as terrorism, and on Sunday said there is a "real misperception" that the federal government has perfect knowledge on everybody that might be a threat.

"The bottom line is, people need to be alert," he said Sunday. "If you see something, you have to say something, and as Americans, we have to realize this threat is real."

Meanwhile, Johnson said he hopes that Congress consider the realities while responding to a federal appeals court ruling that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is illegal while it considers a vote on the renewal of the Patriot Act.

Further, he said Congress must take care to protect civil liberties, "which is not a partisan issue. From the extreme right to the extreme left and everywhere in between, we want to guard and protect civil liberties."

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The best strategy for keeping the Islamic State from becoming a threat in the United States is to defeat the militants in Iraq and Syria, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said Sunday. We're certainly vulnerable, and this is all part of ISIS' strategy...
Ron Johnson, ISIS, fight, overseas, homeland
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2015-30-10
Sunday, 10 May 2015 11:30 AM
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