Rep. Carson: Try Mental Health Interventions with Terrorists

One of two Muslim members of Congress suggested that law enforcement should stage interventions with terror suspects instead of just watching and waiting.


Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN he was “very happy and pleased” that the video footage of officers shooting a knife-wielding terror suspect in Boston “was shown to community leaders and faith leaders and the family, so that their story can be corroborated.”

“It is clear that radicalization is becoming more widespread in our country,” Carson added.

“And the greater question becomes, if, in fact, law enforcement is monitoring Muslims in particular, in a case like this, intervention should have happened, and we need to have a larger discussion about mental health issues in our country.”

Asked if the suspected cell was acting because of mental health problems instead of being inspired by Islamist jihad, Carson said there was a “multiplicity of issues at play.”

“I think mental health is clear. I think many of these so-called jihadist movements are tapping into big pockets of disillusionment with government, with their own personal lives and we could bring in sociologists to talk about some of these new religious movements that emerged since the 20th century,” he said.


“But having said that, I still think we have serious threats that jeopardize our domestic and international security that we have to empower or police departments and faith communities to come together to work out moving out these extremist elements.”

Carson, a former police officer, said he understands “the need for law enforcement to be empowered and have the resources that they need to prevent crimes and prevent terroristic activities.”

“I do know that there’s a history in his country, dating back to J. Edgar Hoover’s counterintelligence program, where we saw governmental overreach and we saw civil liberties being encroached,” he said. “So, I think there has to be a healthy balance.”


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