Republican Utah Congressman Chris Stewart says fighting the kind of self-radicalization of U.S. citizens that lead to the tragic shooting in Orlando over the weekend will be an enormous challenge.
Congressman Chris Stewart is member of the House Intelligence Committee that oversees the activities of the nation’s various intelligence gathering agencies. He says the first step in the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando is to figure out how the suspected killer, Omar Mateen, was radicalized and if anyone helped him.
“We just have to be better at understanding the ways that they’re reaching out to people," Stewart says. "If you look at their material online it’s very, very good. It’s up to Western standards. It’s well produced. It’s well written. And it’s persuasive to people who are sympathetic to those types of feelings.”
As well as combatting ISIS propaganda on the internet, Stewart also says he wishes the United States would do a better job at combating ISIS in the Middle East.
“First we have to engage them militarily," he says. "We can’t allow them to act with impunity as they have been able to do in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq and we just haven’t taken the military challenge to them the way that I wish we had.”
Stewart says it’s time to not only offer support to the victims of the tragedy and their families, but to also offer support to the American people by showing them Congress is serious about national security.