Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the Islamic State had become “the most effective recruiter in the world” and that the only solution was to engage U.S. technology companies in blocking or taking down militants’ websites, videos and encrypted communications.
“You are going to hear all the familiar complaints: ‘Freedom of speech,’ ” Clinton said in an hourlong speech and question-and-answer session at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum, a gathering that focuses mostly on Israel’s security issues.
In a reference to Silicon Valley’s reverence for disruptive technologies, Clinton said, “We need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting ISIS,” an acronym for the militant group.
It was the second time in two weeks that Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had thrown herself into the brewing battle between Silicon Valley and the government over what steps should be taken to block the use of Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and a range of encrypted apps that are adopted by terrorist groups.
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But it also risks putting her at odds with technology executives and entrepreneurs crucial to her campaign’s fundraising.
Clinton used the forum to continue staking out a far harder line on Iran than President Barack Obama has in public. She repeatedly threatened to take what she called “harsh” steps at the first sign that Iran seeks to violate commitments it made in the July nuclear agreement, which sharply limits its ability to possess or produce nuclear fuel for the next 15 years.
She said there should be “no doubt in Tehran” that if the United States saw “any violations in the deal” or an effort to procure or develop nuclear weapons technology, “we will stop them,” including she added, “taking military action.”
At one point, responding to a question from the audience, she referred to using the “nuclear option” against Iran – usually interpreted as using a nuclear weapon – before her attention was caught by a prominent member of the audience, Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court.
“Oh, the military option ... thank you Justice Breyer, he’s a careful listener,” Clinton said, reiterating that she meant a military option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.