Clinton’s terrorism analysis is flawed

by Nick Theis, University student

For former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, counterterrorism is a familiar and important topic.
During the second televised Democratic debate, for instance, Clinton spent her entire introduction talking about the Paris terrorist attacks. She “dramatically retold the story of advising President [Barack] Obama to go after Osama bin Laden in 2011,” according to the LA Times. Curiously, she even invoked 9/11 as a justification for her ties to Wall Street.
On Dec. 15, Clinton brought this discussion to Minneapolis, invoking the 12 Somali-American men from Minnesota who, over the last several years, have been charged with attempting to join foreign terrorist groups. She credited a nationwide pilot program for seeking to prevent radicalization like this.
This pilot program is called CVE (Counter Violent Extremism). It launched in 2014 in Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, Minn., to prevent domestic terrorism and recruitment.
But is this counterterrorism measure another installment in the FBI’s long saga of “mimicking community outreach to exploit it for intelligence,” as former FBI agent Mike German puts it? 
Grassroots groups such as Minnesota’s branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations share these concerns. 
For instance, we should consider the FBI’s controversial 2009 “Specialized Community Outreach Team” program, which bolstered the bureau’s resources for community intelligence outreach.
That program no longer exists, but numerous cases of FBI abuses — including unwarranted surveillance of Muslims across the United States — only increase some people’s skepticism.
These are legitimate concerns, and Clinton is certainly aware of them. However, I wonder whether her campaign stop at the University did anything to alleviate people’s worries. Her uncritical praise for the program at an insulated, RSVP-only event left the community most affected by counterterrorism initiatives out of both the day’s discussion and her analysis of potential solutions to terrorism.
Clinton’s calls to bolster the controversial CVE program ultimately reveal greater allegiance with the “security state” than with the Minneapolis community.