Gingrich vows to strengthen 'fundamentally timid' spy agencies

Evan Vucci/AP

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich pledged on Tuesday that if elected, he would overhaul the State Department, strengthen the intelligence community, and increase “our understanding of the threat of radical Islam” to aid Israel.

“We need an administration with the courage to say the words ‘radical Islam,’” Gingrich said in an appearance via satellite at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's conference in Washington.

He cited the shooting by a Muslim soldier in Fort Hood, Texas; the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Egypt; Pakistan’s hiding Osama bin Laden; and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s “mute” response toward terrorist networks in his country as examples of radical Islam that he would seek to expel as president.

Gingrich’s comments followed those of fellow GOP candidate Mitt Romney and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Each speaker explained how his policies align with Israel, a strategic move for candidates on the day the GOP holds Super Tuesday primaries in 10 states and one day after Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the nuclear threat posed by Iran.

“We are morally, inextricably tied to Israel,” Gingrich said.  

Gingrich pledged to share all U.S. intelligence with Israel after he strengthens U.S. intelligence capabilities. He called the U.S. spy agencies “fundamentally timid,” and said they are “incapable of doing real intelligence work on [their] own.”

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