(CNSNews.com) – In a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, GOP presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned that the Obama administration’s efforts to be the “speech police” for the Muslim community is producing a “chilling effect” on citizens’ willingness to report suspicious activity that could be tied to terrorism for fear they will be accused of racial profiling.
“Loretta Lynch’s ban on what she calls anti-Muslim rhetoric is already producing its chilling effect, and it’s preventing Americans from taking basic steps to protect ourselves,” said Cruz.
Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in a shooting massacre in San Berardino last week that was deemed to be a terrorist attack. One of the couple’s neighbors told police she saw suspicious activity at their house but declined to report it for fear she would be accused of racial profiling.
A man identified as Aaron Elswick told an ABC News affiliate that a neighbor noticed “quite a few packages” delivered to the couple’s home in a short period of time, Fox News reported. The woman also noticed the couple “doing a lot of work in the garage,” but didn’t want to profile them. It turns out the couple left behind a stockpile of ammunition and explosives.
The Department of Homeland Security launched the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice's Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) in 2010. The goal was to train “state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime.”
“If you see something you know shouldn't be there—or someone's behavior that doesn't seem quite right—say something. Because only you know what’s supposed to be in your everyday,” DHS said on its website. People are asked to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement, describing specifically what they saw, “including who or what you saw, when you saw it, where it occurred, and why it’s suspicious.”
President Barack Obama “spent a significant portion of his Sunday address” after the San Bernardino attack “as an apologist for radical Islamic terror,” Cruz said, “and as his attorney general, Loretta Lynch told a gathering the day after the San Bernardino attack that her department would move to prosecute anyone whose ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric edged towards violence.’”
“The day after a terror attack – 14 innocent lives snuffed away, we want a president and an attorney general who stand up for this nation, not an attorney general who decrees herself the speech police for any who dare speak out against this threat,” said Cruz.
“As has been the case all too often in the Obama administration, we may be facing once again the weaponization of one of our government agencies – deployed not to protect Americans, but to force them to submit to the Obama administration’s code of what is and is not acceptable speech,” he said.
“Attorney General Lynch said that’s what she was most afraid of – that we might exercise our First Amendment rights and speak out against this threat. How about having an attorney general who is focused on keeping our children safe, rather than muzzling the free speech rights of Americans?” Cruz asked.
“And in fact, we’re already seeing the consequences of fear stifling speech. The neighbors of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik reportedly found their behavior odd, but until now, they didn’t say anything to law enforcement, because they were scared they would be accused of racial profiling,” he said.
“Imagine how different San Bernardino would have played out if the fear and political correctness had not silenced the neighbors, if a phone call had been made, if law enforcement had investigated, if they had discovered the abundant evidence of radicalization and attempt to wage jihad than if these to had been apprehended before they went on a murderous spree,” said Cruz.
“Loretta Lynch’s ban on what she calls anti-Muslim rhetoric is already producing its chilling effect, and it’s preventing Americans from taking basic steps to protect ourselves. So let’s take off the blinders. It’s time to say that these attacks are not isolated incidents,” he said.
“These wolves are not lone. They are instead operating as an ideological pack, and the thing that unites them is their fanatical adherence to Islamic supremacism - the conviction that the world must submit to their form of Islam or die,” added Cruz.
Cruz noted that FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged that the FBI is investigating ISIS suspects in all 50 states.
“This evil force is present in our country,” said Cruz, adding that “once we have identified the enemy, we must do everything in our power to defeat them.”