In the quest to understand what happened to the U.S. economy since the 2008 meltdown and the recession that followed, the challenge has been figuring out how far back to pull the lens. Early books on the crisis zoomed in on airless rooms occupied by panicked CEOs and government officials during the pathetic last few months of the Bush administration and the beginning of this one. More expansively reported accounts looked at lower-level traders and fly-by-night firms, expanding the scope to recognize a decade of mortgage fraud and exploitation of would-be homeowners and investors, along with the Washington corruption that allowed the profiteers to thrive unpunished.
Part of the Obama administration's counter-radicalization strategy released yesterday obliquely references the controversy over anti-Muslim terrorism "experts" who have received generous federal grants for Islamophobic "training" of local law enforcement:
J.M. Bergernotes that when terrorist plotters team up, they usually fail, but the social nature of Islamic extremism makes lone wolves hard to come by:
Every single homegrown plot against the U.S. since September 11 that involved more than one person has failed, most often because law enforcement caught wind of it. Nevertheless, homegrown jihadists keep talking about their plans, and keep getting caught.
My piece on Rep. Peter King's latest Muslim hearings focused on prison radicalization is up, noting that despite all the hype, American prisons haven't turned out to be a fertile breeding ground for Islamic extremists:
A stickup boy from a bad neighborhood gets caught. A few weeks into his prison bid, he falls in with a crowd of Muslim extremists feeding on his anger toward the government. As he begins to identify with the plight of oppressed Muslims around the world, he decides to devote himself to jihad against the United States.
That's the kind of nightmare scenario House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King had in mind on Wednesday when he held a hearing on Islamic radicalization in U.S. prisons, or "Prislam" as lawmakers began referring to it. King says prisons have become "an assembly line for radicalization."
Spencer Ackermanreports that administration officials may be overstating the threat of domestic terrorism in order to justify escalation in Afghanistan, something that has worked in part because of the administration's emphasis on recently foiled domestic terror plots. While it's unclear if these actually represent a rising danger of domestic radicalization, I think Ackerman's thoughts on how the alleged perpetrators get radicalized are worth considering (my emphasis):
Peter Bergen, who testified today before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, made an important point about homegrown radicalization.