The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that law enforcement and military have gotten word that they’re “strike targets” for lone-wolf jihadists, after slayings of uniformed personnel in Canada and New York.
“I think the police and military have to be on guard. I think this is very difficult. I think halls of government have to be on guard the way the parliament and Canada was penetrated,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told CNN on Sunday.
“In Canada, you had an armed sergeant-at-arms who took action and killed the perpetrator, and I think we need to think in some new ways. I don’t particularly want to discuss it on television, but one thing’s for sure. We are going to protect our institutions of government.”
Feinstein added that “one of the problems is that the internet as well as certain specific Muslim extremists are really firing up this lone wolf phenomenon, and these attacks and the multiplicity of attacks in 2014 show that their propaganda is having some effect.”
“My view of ISIS is I think people do not see the evil and the vicious side of it. I don’t see — think they see the beheadings of children … ISIS is essentially a fighting force of 30,000 to 50,000 people, sophisticated with commanders, with some heavy weapons, and they are on a march now, and they are going to slay everything in their way,” she said.
“Well, the only defense is intelligence, and that is that you have to ferret it out. You have to be able to watch it, and you have to be able to disrupt them. Now, this is hard to do, because it takes technical means, and Americans don’t necessarily like technical means.”
That was an apparent reference to surveillance programs that Feinstein has supported while some of her other colleagues maintain they infringe upon civil liberties.
The surveillance debate has cut across party lines, with Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) together advocating for less blanket surveillance.
Feinstein said she had been briefed by FBI Director James Comey, who is “making every effort to stay on top of this lone wolf phenomenon.”
“I think the White House is cognizant of it and is working very hard to see that we have the ability to be able to find them and stop them,” she said.
When asked whether asking Muslims to essentially act as “spies” within their communities is “off-putting,” Feinstein replied, “The Muslim community is a part of America, and as such, it has all of the protections of any community in America, and one of America’s goals has been to integrate an immigrant community into our society and see that they have opportunity.”
“That they’re able to be productive, able to live without any kind of harassment and there are very few countries in the world that actually do that, United States does it.”