California governor: ‘Unprecedented steps’ needed to deal with threat

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California Governor Jerry Brown talks to CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the NBA banning Donald Sterling for life on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

California Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for “unprecedented steps” to deal with terrorism in the wake of what President Barack Obama now says was a terrorist attack last week in San Bernardino.

Brown’s comments came in response to a question from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about partisan politics, Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments about the potential for a database of all American Muslims, and the uncertain future for Syrians seeking refuge in the United States.

“Well, I think it’s going to make it more difficult (for Syrian refugees). And it’s very understandable,” Brown said Monday, referring to the backlash against Syrian refugees and Muslims following a spate of terror attacks.

Brown did not call for ending the asylum program, as some have, but empathized with the fears.

“Particularly after San Bernardino, people are concerned. And I myself want to make sure that the federal government is vetting these individuals, and not just refugees, but we have to be able to take measures to protect the people of this country.”

“And it’s a very difficult circumstance because we’ve never seen anything like it. It’s unprecedented and we’re going to have to take some … unprecedented steps to deal with it.”

A married couple — Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik — shot and killed 14 people and wounded 21 at a holiday party Wednesday for the environmental health department, where Farook worked, authorities said. Although he was born in Illinois, Farook married Malik, who was born in Pakistan, and they apparently supported the ideology of ISIS. They were killed in a shootout with police hours after the massacre.

Brown said that looking for “human torpedoes,” or those who self-radicalize, was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Asked what “unprecedented steps” he would take, the governor said he would like to see more state and federal collaboration.

“When it comes to this kind of terrorist threat, I understand that the federal government has to keep control of what it’s doing, but I think the state, with our greater manpower, could be a real help.”

“I brought this up on a call with the White House, and I’m as concerned as anybody else, and I think we just can’t rest until we get it right.”

By Mick Krever