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U.S. Army Witness Debunks Rep. King’s Core Claim at Latest Hearing

December 7, 2011, 4:08 pm | Posted by Nick Sementelli

In his previous hearings on the “threat of Muslim radicalization in the United States” Rep. Peter King invited witnesses who seemed selected for the likelihood that their testimony would validate King’s misinformed conviction: that the primary threat facing the U.S. comes from “Islamic extremism” and that liberals’ refusal to “name the threat” is making the country unsafe.

But the witnesses at today’s round of hearings, which focused on the threat of radicalization within the military itself, didn’t play along. In particular, Jim Stuteville–United States Army Senior Adviser for Counterintelligence Operations and Liaison to the Federal Bureau of Investigation–explained to Rep. King that adopting a narrow focus on only one ethnic or religious group could distract the armed forces from the broad array of threats they face. Instead, the Army has trained personnel to monitor behavioral indicators of extremism to prevent threats:

STUTEVILLE: These indicators though are focused on behavioral activity, not on any specific ideology, religion or ethnic group. We adopted that approach because we want to make sure we can account for any type of threat both those previously and those in the future. And so focusing on the behavioral activity is how we’ve looked at doing this.

As you can see, Rep. King didn’t particularly appreciate that answer and proceeded to essentially implicate Mr. Stuteville as more evidence of crippling “political correctness.” Defending his position, King goes on to try to explain that he’s not Islamophobic because if other particular groups (like Irish Catholics) were the primary threat, he’d be saying the same things.

The problem, of course, is that Rep. King’s fundamental analysis of the situation is wrong. As we’ve shown before, comprehensive studies have shown that Islamic extremism is nowhere close to the only threat, nor is it (as King has also claimed) the fastest-growing threat.

It’s King’s single-minded insistence on exclusively (and divisively) investigating this one threat in spite of this evidence that has earned him deserved criticism–not some ambiguous distraction about political correctness.

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