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U.S.-Somali terror pipeline: The surveillance state doesn’t work

As the siege at Nairobi's Westgate Mall continues, with at least 68 reported dead, both the FBI and U.S. media are probing questions of U.S. connections to the terror group behind the attack.

Al-Qaida linked al-Shabaab ("The Youth") in Somalia has reportedly operated a recruitment pipeline, specifically from Minneapolis' Somali Muslim communities. Reports that two men from Minnesota may have been involved in the Kenya attacks remain unconfirmed at the time of writing. As BuzzFeed reported:

In the Twin Cities, reports of a connection to the Nairobi attack have been greeted with skepticism, though not surprise. Minnesota is home to at least 32,000 Somalians, a community that has been described as a “Jihadi pipeline.” Young men have disappeared from Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood by the handful to reemerge as Al-Shabaab members.

But a potential U.S. connection raises a number of questions about post-9/11 counter-terror efforts. As with any terror attack that garners international attention and involves the U.S. in any way, there's a risk of viewing the fact of the massacre as justification for the dramatic shift since 2001 toward preemptive policing and spycraft used against Muslim communities in the name of the War on Terror.

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