Government announces new anti-terrorism task force, initiative

Revelation 6:3-4 NCV When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take away peace (prosperity, rest) from the earth and to make people kill each other (butcher, slaughter, to maim violently, in streets), and he was given a big sword (assassins sword, terrorist, loud, mighty, sore afraid).

The United States government took new steps in the fight against the Islamic State and other extremist groups on Friday, with three separate departments unveiling new measures designed to help stop terrorist organizations from spreading their radical messages to a global audience.

The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security teamed up to establish a new anti-extremism task force and the State Department created a new Global Engagement Center that will help counter terrorist propaganda, according to news releases from the departments.

“The horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernardino this winter underscored the need for the United States and our partners in the international community and the private sector to deny violent extremists like ISIL fertile recruitment ground,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement about the new efforts, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Price noted the announcement came on the day that top White House and national security officials were meeting with several leading technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley.

Lawmakers and President Barack Obama have publicly called for more to be done to help prevent terrorist organizations from using social media to share information about their actions and messages. In December, George Washington University’s Program on Extremism released a report that said it identified at least 300 Islamic State sympathizers in the United States who spread propaganda or communicated with other “like-minded individuals” on social media.

Following the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, lawmakers proposed legislation that would require social media companies to report any evidence of terrorist activities to the proper authorities. The Department of Justice has said one of the San Bernardino shooters pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State on Facebook on the morning of the deadly rampage.

“Today’s developments reflect President Obama’s commitment to take every possible action to confront and interdict terrorist activities wherever they occur, including online,” Price said in a statement.

The State Department said its Global Engagement Center would “more effectively coordinate, integrate and synchronize” its anti-terrorism communications. The State Department currently runs a social media campaign called “Think Again Turn Away,” that says it offers “truths about terrorism.” Its recent Twitter postings tout victories the United States-led coalition and Iraqi military have scored against ISIS, including killing of 75 terrorists and destroying equipment.

It’s not exactly clear if or how this new effort will differ from the existing campaign.

The State Department’s news release said the Global Engagement Center will “focus more on empowering and enabling partners … who are able to speak out against these groups and provide an alternative to ISIL’s nihilistic vision.” The department said the efforts will center on things like how terrorists treat women and defectors, rather than what the groups publicize.

The Department of Justice said the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force is part of the government’s increased effort “to prevent extremists from radicalizing and mobilizing recruits, especially here at home.” The task force will aim to coordinate the anti-terrorism efforts of a variety of government agencies, bringing officials from the Homeland Security and Justice departments, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center together under one roof.

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