There are efforts being made to stem the use of social media by the Islamic State to recruit followers in the United States, Rep. Peter King said Monday, but doing so will be difficult and could set off more privacy concerns.
"We are making some progress as far as slowing it down," the New York Republican, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"For instance, Facebook and Twitter will take it down when it reaches [an] incitement of violence level.
"But again, it's already been up a while. And mainly what we have to do is find a way to get it at the source, to get it, and that will be tough"
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King called on members of the Muslim community to step up and be more cooperative when it comes to keeping track of threats.
"All they do is complain about the fact that they're being harassed and surveilled," King said. "If we keep that attitude up, we'll get nowhere. The Muslim community has to realize a lot of the responsibility lies with them to cooperate with law enforcement."
There were concerns over the weekend about the potential for attacks "just because of the signals that are out there," he said. "Things that have been picked up. And that's why you saw Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson going on television."
King declined to comment on the specific nature or locations of the recent threats, other than to confirm news on Friday and Saturday about "how the threat level had been raised to military bases across the country."
He said that he believes government officials "are on to it as much as we can be. [We are] talking to different police officials and they are certainly monitoring certain events."
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to try to stop the spread of information at the source, but that may be difficult, given the issues the National Security Agency (NSA) has faced over its collection of Americans' telephone data.
King also criticized a court ruling
last week saying the NSA's collection of telephone information was being done improperly.
"No one's phone calls are being listened to, no one's emails are being read," said King, explaining that all that was being done was storing phone numbers to compare and determine if known terrorists were being called, and then to be able to listen to future calls if a court approves it.
"[This is] the same as you do with drug dealers, child pornographers, organized crime," said King. "That's all this was. People in my party like [Kentucky Sen.] Rand Paul have so distorted this issue. It's tying our hands at a time when the enemy is getting much more sophisticated."
To keep the country safe from threats, he said, "we have to have a full range of defenses here and that includes surveillance. It involves monitoring. It involves using the NSA."
Using every tool is vital, said King, because "if a person is sitting in his basement and suddenly decides to get radicalized, there's also a chance he'll talk to somebody in his mosque. There's also a chance he'll go to a local supplier to buy explosives."
He pointed out that if the FBI had shared information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev with the Boston Police Department prior to the 2013 bombing at the city's marathon, "they would have found out he was shooting his mouth off in the mosque in a radical way."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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