Amid widespread hyper-vigilance in the wake of four terror scares across three states, including an explosion in Manhattan that injured 29 and the discovery of an un-detonated device in Elizabeth, New Jersey (suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami is now in custody), Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton held a press conference at Westchester County Airport in White Plains. After lending her “full support to our state, local, and federal law enforcement as they continue to respond to the attacks,” Clinton remarked on her proposed security plans to “meet the evolving nature of this threat.” Below are some key excerpts from her address.
• Clinton opened up her remarks with condolences towards those who were wounded in this weekend’s attacks, and segued into her security plan with recognition of the recent threats’ immediacy, saying, “This threat is real but so is our resolve. Americans will not cower, we will prevail.”
• Clinton then pressed her cooperation with a wide range of bipartisan national security leaders, saying there was emphasis on “the need to support state and local law enforcement, who act as our first line of defense, making sure they have the resources the training and intelligence they need to effectively prevent and respond to terror attacks.”
• In characterizing her strategy, Clinton clarified the need to “launch an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out.” She is also looking to work closely with tech experts in Silicon Valley to eliminate counter-terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts online.
• Clinton emphasized the urgency in building up trust between law enforcement and Muslim-American communities.
• On the topic of conflicts in the Middle East, Clinton stated, “We have to smash ISIS’s strongholds with an accelerated coalition air campaign, more support for Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground, and intense diplomatic efforts in Syria, Iraq, and across the region.”
• In response to a question regarding Rahami being a naturalized American citizen originally born in Afghanistan, Clinton stressed that there millions of law-abiding Muslim and immigrant Americans, but still advocated for tough vetting and smart law enforcement.
• Clinton offered that ISIS recruiters search for recruits struggling with paranoia, mental delusion, and disappointment as a means to radicalize and exploit potential “lone wolfs,” and pressed the need to intercept and prevent these efforts.
• As to whether Clinton was concerned that these attacks could skew the election in Trump’s favor, Clinton quoted former CIA Director Michael Hayden by saying, “Trump is being used as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists,” and, “We’re not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it’s wanting to enhance their position.”