AirTalk for August 4, 2011

Countering extremism, state-side

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama comes out from the Oval Office to make a statement.

The White House has unveiled a new strategy to combat home-grown radicalization in the U.S. It pitches a community-based approach. President Obama says among the best defenses against violent extremism are empowered communities that work with local law enforcement. The new policy document makes no mention of wire-tapping, racial profiling or undercover informants. So it's in stark contrast to an FBI operation currently on trial in a U.S. District Court in Orange County. That lawsuit claims the FBI conducted sweeping unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims and mosques in Southern California. The American Civil Liberties Union of SoCal and the L.A. office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations say the FBI planted an informant, secretly taped conversations and profiled innocent individuals. The latest development in that case came late Monday. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requested blocking some information from the trial by invoking state-secrets rules -- arguing the information could harm national security. Could the trial proceed if this unknown information is sealed? What has been the effect of trials such as this one on the government's counterterrorism tactics?

Guests:

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR Counterterrorism Correspondent

Peter Bibring, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California

David Rivkin, Partner, Baker Hostetler law firm, Washington D.C., Previously at the Department of Justice among many other government counsel positions. Mr. Rivkin has filed Supreme Court and appellate amicus briefs in several leading post-September 11 National Security cases.


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