POLITICS
10/21/2014 05:14 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2014

Michele Bachmann May Be Islamic State Target

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who has previously made vocal and sometimes ill-informed condemnations of radical Islam, is at risk of being targeted by the Islamic State organization, law enforcement officials have told Politico.

The officials confirmed to Politico that Bachmann received a Capitol Police security detail last week after they came to believe that she was the subject of an online Islamic State threat. The source of their concern was an ISIS-linked video that featured a clip from Bachmann's September speech to the 2014 Values Voter Summit, a source told Fox News.

The video, which has not been conclusively tracked back to ISIS and which was first reported on by The Blaze in early October, features one and a half minutes of Bachmann's speech at the summit. The speech itself has been criticized as suggesting an overall U.S. or Christian war against Islam.

Though Bachmann's hands and face are blurred in the clip from the speech, possibly because of the Islamic State's views of how women should be covered in public, her rhetoric comes through loud and clear.

"We are seeing this enemy as pure evil ... this is spiritual warfare, and what we need to do is defeat Islamic jihad. Sadly, sadly, our president has the wrong prescription. He even fails to acknowledge their motivations for bringing about jihad. Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!" Bachmann said to applause from the crowd. With the comments, Bachmann took direct aim at the president's repeated assurances that the U.S. is not opposed to Islam worldwide and seeks only to defeat proponents of a mangled version of the religion.

By selectively editing Bachmann's speech, the clip in the alleged ISIS video creates the impression that the congresswoman is, in fact, declaring war on Islam. It cuts from her statement that "it is about Islam" to her saying "you declare war on it."

"You declare war on it. You don't dance around it," Bachmann said. "Just as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America. You kill their leader. You kill their council. You kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That's how you win a war."

In the ISIS-linked video, Bachmann's comments are followed by footage of U.S. soldiers. They are preceded by images of Obama with Jewish leaders.

Bachmann has previously blasted Obama's strategy against ISIS for being "not terribly forceful" and has called for the deployment of ground troops.

Fox News's source said Bachmann is receiving a "limited" protection detail, less rigorous than the 24/7 protection assigned to the congressional leadership. According to Politico, the congresswoman, who is retiring from Congress after this election, will receive the protection through the end of her term in January.

A spokesman for Bachmann referred The Huffington Post to the Capitol Police, who did not respond to a request for comment but told Politico Monday that they could not offer specifics on protections for members of Congress.

Barak Mendelsohn, a Haverford College professor and a research fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government who studies extremist groups, said it is important to remember that ISIS uses videos like these to "inflate the threat" it poses.

"They will try to score points on everything possible," Mendelsohn said. The key, he added, is smart threat assessment.

But he told The Huffington Post an increased risk to Bachmann could not be discounted.

Mendelsohn noted that ISIS has called on individual sympathizers based in Muslim countries to take action against Western targets on a small-scale, lone wolf basis. These attacks may have already begun, he said, citing an incident from earlier this week in which Canadian soldiers were run over by an alleged extremist sympathizer in Quebec.

Mendelsohn said he expected the Capitol Police to be prepared to handle such incidents, and Politico confirmed from federal law enforcement officials that the Dignitary Protection Division of the department had been briefed on ISIS.

HuffPost

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