WASHINGTON, D.C.— -- Hillary Clinton today referred to the San Bernardino shooting suspects as ISIS "wannabes," because of their social media activity online, and said social media companies should help track and shut down suspected terrorist communication.
"We need to put the great disrupters to work in disrupting ISIS and stopping them from having this open platform for communicating with their dedicated fighters and their wannabes like the people in San Bernardino," Clinton said, referring to technology’s nickname as "the great disrupter."
The comments came during a question-and-answer session following her keynote address at the Brooking Institution's Saban Forum 2015 today.
"What we see right now I think is just the beginning of directed attacks and self-radicalization that leads to attacks like what we think happened in San Bernardino, and we’re going to have to ask our technology companies -– and Israel is leader in this area –- to help us on this," she said. "The government is good in some respects but nowhere near as good as those of you who are in this field."
The Democratic presidential frontrunner doubled down on earlier comments made to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview with "This Week" on Sunday about the need to ask technology companies whose social media platforms host ISIS and other terrorists’ communication, recruitment and planning to help, such as “very ubiquitous sites YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
"The woman jihadist in San Bernardino posted her allegiance to Baghdadi and ISIS on Facebook," said Clinton. "We’re going to have to have more support from our friends in the technology world to deny online space, just as we have to destroy their would-be caliphate, we have to deny them online space and this is complicated.
"You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints," she said. "Freedom of speech ... but if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters, than we've got to shut off their means of communication."
Her keynote address to the annual conference, which is intended to facilitate social and political dialogue between the U.S. and Israeli governments, hosted by Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy chairman billionaire TV mogul and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban, did not depart from Clinton's stated positions on matters like America's relationship with Israel, hope for a two-state solution and more. But her question-and-answer session drew the most attention, such as her response to a question regarding the U.S. strategy to removing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power.
"The U.S. has been very focused, along with others, on removing Assad and trying to negotiate a political transition," Clinton said, citing the current effort by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with other nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia. "I think we need to do everything we can to try convince the Russians in particular that they have to help us move towards ... a political resolution.
"There's no military victory against Assad that I can see," she said.
"I think the Iranians are prepared to lose whatever it takes to keep him in power. I think the Russians are prepared to drop as many bombs as it takes to keep him in power, so therefore we’ve got to intensify the political and diplomatic front," she added, saying the U.S. must also persuade Russia to help proceed against ISIS at the same time.