Counter terrorism waste

Republican and Democrat members of Congress seem to agree on one thing: An incompetent attempt to counter Islamic terrorist propaganda is worse than none at all. They are right.

Lawmakers are looking into a Defense Department attempt to stymie an Islamic State campaign to recruit terrorists online.

The idea, with a $500 million budget, was to use personnel who speak Arabic to monitor social media sites for signs the terrorists were trying to recruit specific people. Then, posing as other people, the government personnel would discourage potential recruits from signing up with ISIS.

But as an Associated Press investigation found, many of the Defense Department’s counter-recruiters were deplorably deficient in both cultural and language skills.

In one situation, a government operative confused the Arabic words for “authority” and “salad.” He repeatedly referred to the Palestinian Authority as the “Palestinian Salad.” ISIS recruiters ridiculed him — scoring points with their target for recruitment.

Unless the Pentagon can show its flawed program is, on balance, better than nothing, a better use for the $500 million can be found.

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