Does fighting terrorists create more terrorists? National security has taken center stage in the debate between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for president of the United States.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Steve Emerson analyses the position of Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump has become the poster child for recruiting Islamic terrorists, a recurring campaign theme.
Recently Hillary Clinton stated, “When you run for president of the United States, the entire world is listening and watching. So when you say you’re going to bar all Muslims, you’re sending evidence to the Muslim world, and you’re also sending a message to terrorists. … Donald Trump is essentially being used as a recruiter for more people to join the cause of terrorism.”
Trump responded, “The fact that Hillary thinks the temporary Muslim ban, which she calls the ‘Muslim ban’, promotes terrorism, proves Bernie Sanders was correct when he said she is not qualified to be President.”
Here Emerson discusses this “do we or don’t we fight terrorism” debate on Fox News:
[Video played of Hillary Clinton in CNN interview]:
Hillary Clinton: When you say we’re going to bar all Muslims, you are sending a message to the Muslim world. And you’re also sending a message to the terrorists, because we now do have evidence, we have seen how Donald Trump is being used to essentially be a recruiter for more people to join the cause of terrorism.
Morris: Hillary Clinton says there is evidence Donald Trump helps recruit terrorists, but is there really? Let’s ask terrorism expert Steve Emerson. Steve nice to see you this morning.
Emerson: Good morning.
Morris: You know former Secretary of State you choose your words carefully. She says we have evidence that this is the case. What do you say?
Emerson: Well let’s look at the evidence. It’s hard to find actual statistics, but we looked at the frequency of arrests post-Trump’s comments and pre-Trump comments–that would be a variable whether they’re recruiting more, [as well as] the level of attacks post-Trump versus pre-Trump’s comments. OK? Let’s look at arrests in the United States pre-Trump’s comments versus post-Trump’s comments. Last year in the United States there were 71 ISIS arrests. So far this year there have been about 13. That’s at a rate about only 20 percent of the rate of last year. Of those 13 this year, only eight were hatched, that is the plot started, after Trump’s comments. In those plots none mentioned in the wiretaps or in the admissions submitted to court, none mentioned Donald Trump at all.
Emerson: None at all.
Morris: So where is she getting this information from?
Emerson: Well I think there was one recording made by one wannabe ISIS member who exploited her comments –
Emerson: – and said, ‘I’m motivated by Donald Trump,’ but no attack, no post-attack recording and claim of credit has ever cited Donald Trump nationally or internationally. And the stats prove that in terms of frequency of attacks and level of recruitment. They’ve actually gone down following Trump. And you know what’s interesting is that the assumption underlying her comments is [that] somehow Muslims around the world are just going to be motivated to carry out fire-breathing attacks just on the basis of offensive rhetoric. Well let’s take Americans – are we going to—we Americans–going to suddenly turn into terrorists because of the vast amount of anti-American rhetoric in the Muslim world?
Emerson: You know it’s very patronizing.
Morris: Donald Trump was on Fox & Friends on Friday. Here’s what he had to say about this evidence. Watch.
[Video played of Donald Trump on phone in Fox and Friends interview]:
Donald Trump: We’re not going to find the people by just continuing to be so nice and so soft. And I have many Muslim friends and they agree. They have a tremendous problem with the radical Islamic terrorism, tremendous problem. And what she said is so dumb.
Morris: What do you say to that?
Emerson: Look, Mrs. Clinton doesn’t mention the term ‘Islamic terrorism.’ And that’s the same problem of and modus operandi of this Administration – they won’t mention the term. If you don’t mention the term, you don’t recognize [the problem] and if you don’t want to use the term [Islamic terrorism], you’re playing into the hands of Islamic terrorists. Number two, the bottom line actually that motivates Islamic terrorists is the belief that the U.S. is engaged in a war against Islam. And that’s a line that’s propagated by Islamist groups, quote, ‘civil rights’ groups, like CAIR Council on American Islamic Relations] and others, that the White House has invited repeatedly into the corridors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the State Department under Hillary Clinton. So they’ve legitimized that very message [of the conspiratorial notion that there is a war against Islam].
Morris: She’s being slammed for these comments that there’s, quote, ‘evidence,’ and Donald Trump earlier this week was slammed for suggesting right away that it was terrorism responsible for the EgyptAir crash. What evidence did he have? Did he jump the gun on that? Should he have held off?
Emerson: [Laughs.] The media has been going bonkers on the suspicion [that its terrorism] — and they’ve quoted U.S. officials, they quoted FBI officials, they quoted transportation officials, they quoted French officials, Egyptian officials have gone on record as saying they believe it’s terrorism.
Emerson: So look, there’s no evidentiary 100 percent guarantee proof that it was terrorism, but it’s leading people to believe… suspicions are leading in that direction. Let’s go back to Hillary Clinton’s comments [about Trump’s comments being a recruiting tool for ISIS]. Look, ISIS could give a hoot about what Americans or others say about them. They don’t pay attention to that. They carry out… they march to their own drummer.
Morris: Right. Steve Emerson, terrorism expert, we appreciate you joining us this morning.
Emerson: You bet.
Morris: Thanks, Steve.