Tags: Homeland Security | War on Terrorism | Peter King | mosques | terror threat | Paris | U.S.

Peter King: Police Have 'Obligation' to Monitor Mosques if Threats Credible

By    |   Thursday, 08 January 2015 01:04 PM

It's time for the nation's intelligence services to monitor mosques across the U.S. to keep ahead of terrorist threats, and doing so would not restrict anybody's freedom of religion, New York Republican Rep. Peter King, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"I wouldn't say we'd be going into all mosques, but if you had reason to believe that people at a certain mosque are carrying out or intending to carry out an attack, or there's been suspicious activities, then the police have an obligation either themselves, or have an informant for them in that mosque," King told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth Thursday.

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He pointed out that the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 was planned completely through a mosque in nearby Jersey City, and it's entirely wrong to worry about political correctness when it comes to protecting the United States.

"We can't be saying something is off limits or out of bounds if as a result of that you're going to have potentially hundreds of Americans being killed," King said.

And when it comes to monitoring mosques, intelligence agents would not be stopping or prohibiting anyone from practicing their religion, insisted King, but "if you believe that that mosque or church or synagogue is being used to plan criminal activity, then yes, I believe that law enforcement not just has the right but the obligation to follow [up] with that."

Instead, people get too "caught up in political correctness" and lose sight of the fact that terrorist activities are "coming entirely within the Muslim-American community."

King insisted, though, that "99 percent, 98 percent ... of Muslims are good Americans," just as the majority of Italians are good, even "with the Mafia" and the "Irish with the Westies gang in New York, which was a gang of brutal killers."

He noted that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pointed out on Wednesday that when he was going after the Mafia, he went into the Italian-American community.

But when it comes to the "lone wolf" attacks that are commonly feared in the intelligence community, it's obvious that Wednesday's attack against the Charlie Hedbo weekly publication in France was a more concerted effort, said King.

"The term 'lone wolf,' it's used to somehow suggest there's not a largess, but there's just a few crazy people here or there," said King. "There are going to be so-called lone wolves who act on their own, but yesterday's attack in France, that was a concerted, well-coordinated effort and these people had — to me it's obvious — they had military experience, they had planning and plotting and maneuvering."

But whether the threat is coming from "the individual psycho" or from "well-trained units like yesterday," the fact remains that "we have threats coming from radical Islam."

King said he is also concerned with how President Barack Obama's administration has not done its job on border security.

"The Department of Homeland Security is made up of 22 former departments and agencies who were merged into one, and I have a lot of respect for [Homeland Security Secretary] Jeh Johnson, but the Obama administration overall has not done the job on border security and what we have to do."

King said lawmakers need to find a way to target funding that will stop the president's executive order on amnesty, but still allow "real Homeland Security procedures to go forward and programs to go forward."

Funding for many program is essential, said King, but still lawmakers need to "find a way to enable the department to carry out its mandate to protect us from terrorists and to protect us from attacks to secure the borders, while finding a way to keep Obama from going forward with his executive order.

"I hope they can find a way to do it because the president can't be allowed to get away with this," said King. "On the other hand, I don't want to put the security of the country at risk by cutting out funding that goes into counterterrorism efforts."

King said Johnson can still serve effectively, even though he has been quoted as calling the 2009 Fort Hood shootings — in which former U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others — as "workplace violence." The shooting produced more casualties than any other on an American military base

"I know that was a terrible definition, believe me, but again, in my experience with him as secretary, when I deal with him on homeland security issues, counterterrorism, I find him to be very strong," said King.

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It's time for the nation's intelligence services to monitor mosques across the U.S. to keep ahead of terrorist threats, and doing so would not restrict anybody's freedom of religion, New York Republican Rep. Peter King said.
Peter King, mosques, terror threat, Paris, U.S., Muslims
Thursday, 08 January 2015 01:04 PM
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