Clinton urges 'dramatic' improvement in intel sharing

19th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Hillary Clinton called Thursday for dramatic improvements in intelligence sharing in light of the Paris attacks, criticizing the failure of European countries to consistently tip each other off to jihadist activities.

Clinton made the remarks in a speech in New York that also faulted US allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for not doing enough to stop the flow of money and fighters to Islamic State, the extremist group that took responsibility for the attacks Friday that left 129 people dead.

"Too often the dots never get connected. I appreciate how hard this is... but this has to change," said Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate.

"The entire world must be part of this fight, but we must lead it," she told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, in a tone noticeably more hawkish than many of her Democratic colleagues.

Clinton called for a more effective and broader US-led coalition to intensify air strikes on IS group targets in Syria and Iraq, an intelligence surge and a no-fly zone to stop the Syrian regime bombing civilians.

But Clinton stopped short of advocating a large-scale US military deployment on the ground, instead demanding greater support for local and regional ground forces.

She reserved her strongest remarks however for a perceived breakdown in European intelligence sharing.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, had been the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Belgium. But that had not stopped him slipping undetected into France.

After the 9/11 attacks, Clinton said the United States had made a lot of progress beating down bureaucratic barriers to information sharing, but Europe was still "way behind."

"The United States must work with Europe to dramatically and immediately improve intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism coordination," she said.

"European nations don't even always alert each other when they turn away a suspected jihadist... or when a passport is stolen."

- Turkey called out -

Turning to encryption, she called on Silicon Valley "not to view government as an adversary" and to "develop solutions that will keep us safe and protect our privacy."

The Paris attackers, who managed to strike without warning in the heart of the French capital, were believed to have operated under the cloak of commercially available encryption technologies.

Twice in the speech, Clinton singled out Turkey.

"We need to get Turkey to stop bombing Kurdish fighters in Syria who are battling ISIS and become a full partner," she said, while also calling on Ankara to lock down its porous border with Syria.

The Saudis, Qataris and others must stop citizens from directly funding extremist organizations, and the UN Security Council needs to update its terror sanctions list, she said.

Clinton also spoke about the need to combat radical jihadism more broadly, but made clear that ordinary Muslims cannot be considered a threat.

"We are in a contest of ideas against an ideology of hate and we have to win. Let's be clear though, Islam is not our adversary," she said.

© 2015 AFP

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