Did Hamas Inspire Muslim Mass Shooting Terror Plot in Milwaukee?

samy-770Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Jan. 27, 2016:

Defending Islam, the Muslim religion, requires killing everyone who isn’t a Muslim. So far there have been Muslim terror plots against synagogues, churches and a Hindu temple. Now there was a Muslim terror plot against a Masonic temple.

Federal law enforcement agents said Samy Mohamed Hamzeh told secret FBI informants that “We will eliminate everyone” once inside one of Milwaukee’s grandest cultural landmarks — the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

According to the federal complaint, Hamzeh had originally planned to attack Israelis in the West Bank, but dropped those plans because of logistical problems and focused on leading an attack on a target at home in Milwaukee.

Masons, Jews. Who cares. Just kill some infidels.

The feds said Hamzeh is heard on undercover recordings stating how many Americans he wanted to shoot and kill in Milwaukee.

“Thirty is excellent” he allegedly said. They “will know that nobody can play with Muslims.”

Nobody can play with Muslims, because they’re sore losers.

Hamzeh apparently came to the U.S. from the West Bank about six years ago

Clearly we need more Muslim immigration. Just think of all the added terror arrests and shooting sprees.

“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world … all the Mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us,” Hamzeh said, according to the affidavit. “Such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase. … This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.”

Hamzeh added that he hoped to kill 30 people. He also said his group was Muslims and they were “defending Muslim religion.”

“We are here defending Islam, young people together join to defend Islam, that’s it, that is what our intention is,” he said.

But, according to the media, it has nothing to do with Islam. Not a thing. Just everything.

So why Masons? The media is pretending to be baffled, but Masonic conspiracy theories are popular in the Muslim world, largely because of the Muslim Brotherhood which has a particular obsession with them. The Hamas charter, in between calling for the extermination of the Jews and Islamic rule, has this wacky paragraph.

The Moslem woman has a role no less important than that of the moslem man in the battle of liberation. She is the maker of men. Her role in guiding and educating the new generations is great. The enemies have realised the importance of her role. They consider that if they are able to direct and bring her up they way they wish, far from Islam, they would have won the battle. That is why you find them giving these attempts constant attention through information campaigns, films, and the school curriculum, using for that purpose their lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs.

Yes… rotary clubs. We’re lucky Muslims haven’t tried to shoot them up too.

I blame Muslim Masoniphobia. It’s really time we addressed the Muslim Masoniphobia crisis. Because this does look like Mohammed picked up a few ideas from the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

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Former FBI Military Intel Officer Steve Rogers, Fox News Military Analyst (Ret.) Maj. Gen. Robert Scales and former National Security Council Director Cathy Taylor on a mass shooting plot thwarted by the FBI:

Threat Knowledge Group Chairman Sebastian Gorka on efforts to prevent homegrown terrorism:

Protecting the Homeland

usis-1024x565THE CIPHER BRIEF, JANUARY 6, 2016, BY KATHARINE CORNELL GORKA:

Some have argued that since the jihadist attack in Paris on November 13th, killing 130, and the December 2nd attack in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14, the United States has stepped up its domestic counter-terrorism efforts.  But with only five interdictions of ISIS supporters in the six weeks since the San Bernardino attack, the rate of interdiction has not picked up at all (an average of 4.5 per month for a total of 90 since March 2014 when ISIS first appeared in international headlines).  The bottom line is that the United States has not stepped up counter-terrorism efforts, and it continues to downplay the threat of ISIS to the homeland, emphasizing instead the threat from right-wing extremism.

Throughout the autumn, when it was already clear that ISIS was recruiting in the U.S. at a rate 300 percent greater than al Qaeda, and that the U.S. had ISIS investigations in every state, the administration implemented a number of initiatives that emphasized right-wing extremism and racial hatred over Islamist extremism. On September 28, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh  Johnson announced the creation of the DHS Office for Community Partnerships, whose goal would be “to build relationships and promote trust, and, in addition, find innovative ways to support communities that seek to discourage violent extremism and undercut terrorist narratives.” The office, both in its staffing and in its mission statement, is placing heavy emphasis on civil rights and civil liberties, suggesting it is more concerned with protecting Muslim communities than with rooting out Islamist extremism and potential terrorists.

On September 29th, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Attorney General Loretta Lynch introduced the Strong Cities Network to combat violent extremism.  Her speech did not name radical Islam as one of the threats to be addressed but only identified violent extremism.   And on October 14th, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin announced the creation of a new Domestic Terrorism Counsel to focus on what he calls “Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.”

As suggested by the initiatives above, the Obama administration has built its strategy to prevent ISIS-inspired acts of terrorism in the United States on the Muslim community’s ability to police itself.  As Attorney General Lynch said in her UN speech,  “As residents and experts in their communities, local leaders are often best positioned to pinpoint sources of unrest and discord; best equipped to identify signs of potential danger; and best able to recognize and accommodate community cultures, traditions, sensitivities, and customs.”  But the evidence does not support this.  Of the 90 ISIS supporters who have been interdicted, only 18 (20 percent), were turned in by someone they knew, and not a single one of those by a local Muslim leader or Imam.  As Melvin Bledsoe, the father of one convicted terrorist, testified before Congress, “Some Muslim leaders had taken advantage of my son. But he’s not the only one being taken advantage of: this is going on in Nashville and in many other cities in America. In Nashville, Carlos was captured by people best described as hunters. He was manipulated and lied to. That’s how he made his way to Yemen.  …the former Imam of a Nashville mosque, the Al Farooq Mosque, wrote the recommendation letter Carlos needed for the school in Yemen. We also discovered that the school functions as an intake front for radicalizing and training Westerners for Jihad.”

This problem is also explained in a recent book on the FBI, in which former senior FBI executive Arthur  Cummings said that in his experience, Muslim leaders want to fix problems within their own communities and not bring problems with extremism to the FBI. When Cummings suggested to a Muslim group that they let the FBI know when they had an extremist within their community, they told him, “That could never happen.  We would lose our constituency. We could never admit to bringing someone to the FBI.”

What then can the U.S. government do to improve its ability to counter the homegrown threat?  Obviously, defeating ISIS on the battlefield will have the single greatest impact on the threat, but even then, many other extremist Islamist groups will remain. Until radical Islam itself is discredited, there are important steps the U.S. government can take to better protect the homeland:

  • Present a more accurate threat assessment, one shaped by the reality on the ground and not on ideological biases.
  • Facilitate training for both federal and local law enforcement on the nature and scope of the threat (training budgets for both federal and local law enforcement have recently been cut).
  • Target and interdict those who are propagating radical ideas, not merely those who are plotting or carrying out attacks.
  • Implement a more aggressive counter-ideology campaign, both at home and abroad, one that is not based on the false premise that poverty and lack of education lead to jihadism.

ISIS has shifted away from the grand, centrally planned attacks that al Qaeda favored and instead is encouraging supporters to carry out independent attacks wherever they are able.  As a result, we are likely to see more of the types of attacks carried out at the Boston marathon, in Paris, and in San Bernardino.  This is borne out by statistics: of the 90 ISIS supporters interdicted in the United States since March 2014, 29 (32 percent) were domestic plotters who believed the best way to support ISIS was to carry out attacks against Americans on U.S. soil.  If the administration does not begin to take this threat more seriously, there may yet be far worse to come.

Katharine Cornell Gorka is the President of Threat Knowledge Group, which provides training and expertise on threats to U.S. national security.  She works closely with U.S. government agencies, law enforcement and the intelligence community.  From 2008 to 2014 Katharine served as executive director of the Westminster Institute, a think-tank based in McLean, Virginia. She co-edited the volume, Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Islamism to Communism and most recently co-authored the report ISIS: The Domestic Threat

10 Reasons to Be Suspicious of CAIR

Jessica Gresko / Associated Press

Jessica Gresko / Associated Press

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Dec. 28, 2015:

One reason to be suspicious of Washington’s ability to deal with the threat of Islamist terrorism is that the same dodgy characters keep showing up as self-appointed spokespersons for the American Muslim community.

The Beltway-media complex is too politically correct and/or afraid of being labeled “anti-Muslim” to ask tough questions about their background. They become unchallenged, unquestioned sources for a great deal of news coverage.

Chief among these organizations is CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. If you’re looking for a squeaky-clean activist group to carry the banner of Muslim resistance to Islamist extremism… well, CAIR hardly seems to fit the bill, despite being portrayed that way by the Mainstream Media.

Here are 10 reasons you should be suspicious of CAIR:

1. They are a suspected Hamas fundraiser. This is the big one, and it has beenaffirmed by the Justice Department on several occasions. CAIR was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation trial, which concerned fundraising for the Palestinian terror organizations Hamas and the Palestinian Committee. The strong tiesbetween CAIR’s founders and Hamas are well-documented and beyond dispute. CAIR generally addresses these issues by attacking virtually everyone who mentions them as an “Islamophobe.”

2. The FBI suspended formal contacts with CAIR.  As a result of the Holy Land Foundation scandal, the FBI determined CAIR was not an “appropriate liaison partner.” The Bureau had a list of issues CAIR would have to address to restore this relationship, including demonstrating that CAIR had cut all ties with Hamas and similar groups, but those conditions have not been met.

3. CAIR encourages Muslims to distrust the FBI. Another reason the Bureau might not be eager to have close ties with CAIR is that the latter has in the past portrayed the FBI as a sinister conspiracy against Muslims. For example, they advised Muslims to “use caution when speaking with the FBI” during the 2010 investigation of a Muslim described to local Arizona media as “humble, pious, and well-liked in the community.” His name was Elton Simpson, and he died launching a jihadi attack against the Mohammed Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas four years later.

More recently, CAIR National’s Twitter account issued a string of messages opposing the no-fly list – which Democrats are now using in a bid to bypass the Constitution for gun control – because it had too many Muslims on it, and the FBI could be using the no-fly list to “pressure Muslims to become informants.” CAIR accuses the FBI of using “blackmail” tactics against Muslims.

The California chapter of CAIR held a conference in 2011 that was advertised with a poster depicting what Fox News described as “a sinister-looking FBI agent” and the headlines “Build a Wall of Resistance” and “Don’t Talk to the FBI.”  The conference was entitled “FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas: Know Your Rights and Defend Our Communities.”  CAIR ultimately decided to take the poster down, out of what spokesman Ibrahim Hooper described as “extreme caution”… while nevertheless complaining about “Muslim bashers” and “the Islamophobic hate machine.”

4. CAIR has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE prepared a list in 2014 that designated all organs of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations, including CAIR and the Muslim American Society. Officials of the Obama Administration were dispatched to work with CAIR to oppose the UAE designation, a designation which CAIR described as “shocking and bizarre.”

5. They threw a banquet for an Islamic Jihad leader. One reason the UAE designation of CAIR was not shocking is that a week beforehand, CAIR-SFBA threw a banquet in honor of former Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami al-Arian and gave him a “Promoting Justice” award. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide goods and services to this known terrorist organization, which is dedicated to using homicidal and suicidal violence for the “Palestinian Cause,” and even agreed to deportation to Turkey as part of his plea deal.

Al-Arian’s defenders contend his trial was unfair, whistling past documentation such as his unsent handwritten letter to Kuwait seeking money for “the jihad effort in Palestine,” but his relationship with law enforcement is, shall we say, profoundly unhelpful to those who think CAIR and its friends can help the Muslim-American community work with the authorities to crush domestic terrorism.

6. Some CAIR members have a nuanced view of suicide bombing. One of the CAIR spokesmen who “condemned all violence everywhere” after the San Bernardino attack, Muzammil Siddiqui, in 1995 praised suicide bombers, and then in 2000 thundered about the “wrath of God” descending upon America for its support of Israel. He has also gone off-message by admitting jihad “may take a military action,” rather than pushing the preferred narrative about it being an entirely peaceful internal struggle, in 2007.

7. CAIR executives have described notorious terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah as “resistance movements.” That’s how CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly described Hezbollah, while insisting it is “absolutely not a terrorist organization.” Israel and its supporters, on the other hand, were described as “enemies of God and humanity” by Shibly in 2014.

Hezbollah most certainly is a violent terrorist organization, although they are not big fansof the terrorist attacks perpetrated by their enemies in ISIS, which is currently facing them across the chaotic battlefields of Syria. Hezbollah is a Shiite murder squad aligned with Iran, while the Islamic State is Sunni.

In 2008, then-National Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed described Hamas and Hezbollah as “part of the political processes in their societies, just like the IRA was part of the political process in their society.”

In 2001, Ghazi Khankan, then-Executive Director of CAIR’s New York office, claimed “the people of Hamas who direct their attacks on the Israeli military are in the correct position, those who attack civilians are wrong.”  When he was asked how he defined Israeli civilians, Khankan replied, “Who is a soldier in Israel and who is not? Anyone over 18 is automatically inducted into the service and they are all reserves. Therefore, Hamas in my opinion looks at them as part of the military. Those who are below 18 should not be attacked.”

8. They are very quick to accuse law enforcement of improperly using deadly force against Muslims. If Americans want close “see something, say something” cooperation with a fully-integrated Muslim community, the last thing they need is paranoia built with wild accusations of cops with itchy trigger fingers shooting Islamic suspects for no good reason. CAIR is quick to cry foul on such shootings, and stands by its judgments despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.  Examples include the shootings of Ibragim Todashev, an associated of the Boston Bombers who was shot while attacking state police and an FBI agent, and Usaama Rahim, who was under surveillance for planning the jihad murders of policemen in Boston, and died when he attacked law enforcement officers with a knife.

The CAIR spokesman who thinks Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, Hassan Shibly, was still pushing paranoid narratives about the FBI gunning down Todashev – an associate of the Boston Marathon bombers implicated in a previous triple homicide that may have also involved the Tsarnaevs – for no good reason, even after the Justice Department revealed he had a half-written confession in his apartment, threw a coffee table in the face of an FBI agent when he realized he was about to be arrested, and then went after a Massachusetts State Police officer with a five-foot metal pole.

In the Rahim case, CAIR floated suspicions that he was innocently chatting on his cell phone with his father when a police officer and FBI agent confronted and shot him for no good reason.  “We have a number of questions: Why exactly was he being followed? What was the probable cause for this particular stop? Were there any video cameras or body cameras of the incident? How do you reconcile the two versions of the story, the family version being that he was on his normal commute to work at a bus stop?” asked CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

9. They tried to discredit the investigation of a political assassin.  That would be Mannsor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American busted in 2011 for plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, allegedly at the behest of Iran’s foreign espionage team, the Quds Force. Arbabsiar was trying to hire the Zeta drug cartel to pull of the hit, but he got a DEA informant on the line instead.

CAIR labored mightily to portray this investigation as a farce based on false intelligence.  One CAIR official said on Twitter that he didn’t believe Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertions of an alliance between Iran and Mexican drug cartels, while another declared, “If Holder hadn’t announced so many ‘foiled’ plots that were really FBI provocateur led, I’d be more inclined to believe this Iran plot biz.”

The latter Tweet, from Dawud Walid of CAIR-Michigan, was eventually deleted, but he came back with more posts alleging the Administration had falsified its claims that Iranian officials were involved in the Arbabsiar plot.  One of these posts included “smh,” which is Internet slang for “shaking my head,” indicating disgust.

Arbabsiar eventually confessed to the plot, including the involvement of Iranian intelligence agents, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, despite a game effort at an insanity defense. (“I can’t change what I did, but I have a good heart. I never hurt anyone. My mind is sometimes not in a good place,” he explained.)

10. They work hard to silence critics of Islamic extremism.  CAIR will not be throwing any banquets or giving a “Promoting Justice” award to courageous Somali-born critic of Islamic misogyny Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They were part of the disgraceful effort to quash her honorary degree from Brandeis University, comparing her to “white supremacists and anti-Semites” in the process.

They are not fond of other Somalis who work to keep young Muslims in Minnesota from falling into the clutches of al-Shabaab, either.  When two Muslim activists attended a seminar describing al-Shabaab as an “Islamic extremist terrorism organization” in 2011, CAIR denounced them as “anti-Muslim.”  A local reporter described CAIR-Minnesota’s attacks on the two anti-al-Shabaab activists as “character assassination,” carried out because the targets “were the first to blow the whistle on the effort to recruit Minnesotan Somalis for terrorism in Somalia.”

CAIR statements on Islamists often come with asterisks and qualifications, but they are full-throated when denouncing everyone they see as a critic of Islam.

Bottom line: these and other examples show that CAIR is just about the exact opposite of what anyone who wants to enlist sincere Muslim-Americans in a pushback against Islamist extremism and terrorism is looking for. The last thing we need right now is CAIR’s toxic mixture of terrorism-apologias, attempts to discredit counter-terrorist activity, mindless political correctness, and fishy international politics. We need bold, unambiguous critics of violence and extremism, champions of assimilation with squeaky-clean backgrounds, not “Islamophobia” hysterics who think terrorists have legitimate grievances.

FBI using elite surveillance teams to track at least 48 high risk ISIS suspects

Screen-Shot-2015-06-23-at-12.23.20-PMFox News, by Catherine Herridge, November 26, 2015:

With as many as 1000 active cases, Fox News has learned at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads known as the mobile surveillance teams or MST to track them domestically.

“There is a very significant number of people that are on suspicious watch lists, under surveillance,”  Republican Senator Dan Coats said.

Coats, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, would not comment on specifics, but said the around the clock surveillance is a major commitment for the bureau. “The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amount of manpower to do this on a 24-7 basis.  It takes enormous amount of money to do this,” Coats explained.

These elite FBI teams are reserved for espionage, mob violence and high priority terrorism cases, like a joint terrorism task force case last June, where a 26 year old suspect Usaama Rahim, was killed outside a Massachusetts CVS.  When a police officer and FBI agent tried to question him, the Boston Police Commissioner said Rahim threatened them with a knife, and was shot dead.

With at least a dozen agents assigned to each case, providing 24/7 coverage, this high level of surveillance reflects the severe risk associated with suspects most likely to attempt copycat attacks after Paris.

“It is a big resource drain.  Yes it is.  Almost overwhelming,”  Coats said when asked about the demand placed on the FBI.   “There will be a lot of people over the Thanksgiving weekend that will not be enjoying turkey with their family.  They’ll be out there providing security for the American people and the threat is particularly high during this holiday period.”

One of the lessons of Paris is that the radicalization process can be swift.  According to published reports, friends of the female suspect who was killed in the siege of Saint Denis, Hasna Ait Boulahcen, abandoned her party life only a month before joining her cousin, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the plot’s on the ground commander.  He was also killed in the siege.

The FBI Director James Comey has consistently drawn attention to this phenomenon, calling it the “flash to bang,” that the time between radicalization and crossing the threshold to violent action can be very short. Last week, in a rare public appearance with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey would only say that “dozens” of suspected radicals have been under “tight surveillance.”

“Together we are watching people of concern using all of our lawful tools.  We will keep watching them and if we see something we will work to disrupt it,”  Comey said.

Contacted by Fox News, an FBI spokesman had no comment on the high risk cases, nor the use of elite surveillance teams.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

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Obama Lackey Ben Rhodes Spreads Lies About Vetting Syrian Refugees on Sunday News Talk Shows

Ben Rhodes

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Nov. 15, 2015:

In the wake of Friday’s horrific terror attacks in Paris, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes was dispatched to the Sunday morning talk shows to spin his boss’ claim the previous day that the ISIS threat had been “contained.”

But he was also asked about the ability of the Obama administration to properly vet a wave of 10,000 Syrian refugees announced in September in light of reports that one or more of the Paris terrorists had entered and transited the EU as a Syrian refugee.

And yet Rhodes’ response that measures to properly vet the Syrian refugees are in place flatly contradicts the recent sworn congressional testimony of FBI officials.

Rhodes appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. It brought this exchange:

TAPPER:  I think there is a question about how good this intelligence apparatus is, Christiane Amanpour – Christiane Amanpour reporting this morning that at least one of the terrorists, according to French authorities, seems to have smuggled himself into Europe by embedding with refugees.

Ben, are you confident enough in our vetting process as the United States brings Syrian refugees into our country to pledge that this will never happen here?

RHODES:  Well, first of all, Jake, the threat of foreign fighters has been front and center from the very beginning of this counter-ISIL campaign.  We have made that a focus, so that we’re working with countries to share information, to improve their laws and authorities to be able to monitor and detain people.

And we’re going to continue to do that.  That will be a focus of discussion here in Turkey.  With respect to refugees, we have the most extensive security vetting that we have ever had to deal with Syrian refugees coming into the United States that involves not just the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, but also our intelligence community, the National Counterterrorism Center, so that anybody who comes to the United States, we are carefully vetting against all of our information.

And let’s not forget, Jake, that some of these people are people who have suffered the horrors of war.  They’re women.  They’re orphans.  They’re children who have suffered at the hands of ISIL.  We cannot close our doors to these people.  We can focus on keeping terrorists out of the United States while having an open door to people who deserve a safe haven.

And when asked by Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press about whether the developments in Paris had given President Obama pause on admitting more Syrian refugees, Rhodes replied:

No, Chuck. We have very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who come to the United States. There is a very careful vetting process that including our terrorism community, our Department of Homeland Security. Let’s remember, Chuck, we’re also dealing with people who suffer the horrors of war. Women and children, orphans. We can’t just shut our doors to those people. We need to do our part to take refugees in need.

But as I reported here two weeks ago at PJ Media, FBI Director Robert Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee that vetting Syrian refugees will be “challenging” when asked by Rep. Louie Gohmert about the quality of intelligence and information that exists on Syrians:

Gohmert: Well, without a good fingerprint database, without good identification, how can you be sure that anyone is who they say they are if they don’t have fingerprints to go against?

Comey: The only thing we can query is information that we have. So, if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, they’ve never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there and so it will be challenging.

Those concerns echo congressional testimony given earlier this year by FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach to the House Homeland Security Committee about the quality of information available on anyone coming out of Syria:

The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet…You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the dataset, the police, the intel services that normally you would go to to seek information doesn’t exist.

The FBI director was also asked by Rep. Gohmert during his testimony last month about the database the U.S. government maintained to screen Iraqi refugees, including an IED fingerprint database in addition to other intelligence obtained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government — considerably more extensive than anything the National Counterterrorism Center has for Syria.

And yet despite the extensive database screening Iraqi refugees, U.S. authorities have admitted that possibly dozens of terrorists were admitted into the U.S. under that program, including two Iraqi terrorists living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of attempting to send weapons and money to Iraqi terrorists.

Comey also said during a speech last month that the FBI has 900 active investigations on suspected ISIS supporters and other extremists.

FBI Suspends Counterterror Program After Pressure from Fringe Islamic Groups

GettyImages-73534290-FBI-seal-640x480Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Nov. 2, 2015:

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation has suspended the unveiling of a new counter-radicalization website designed for kids after fringe Islamic advocacy organizations said the anti-terror programming discriminates against Muslims.

The FBI website titled, “Don’t Be A Puppet,” was scheduled to go live Monday morning but has been suspended indefinitely after fierce opposition by Islamic groups, the Washington Post reports.

According to reports, the program was designed to lead children and teens through games that were designed to help them identify potential extremists. The FBI initiative also sought to help young men and women steer clear from the radical ideologies that lead people to join Islamic extremist groups.

A spokesman with the FBI told the New York Times late Sunday, prior to the program’s scheduled release: “The F.B.I. is developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet, with input from students, educators and community leaders.”

Some Muslim leaders who were invited to beta-test the program were outraged that the FBI would take the time to develop counterterror initiatives.

“The greatest threat facing American schoolchildren today is gun violence,” Arjun Sethi, a Georgetown Law professor who was invited to screen the program over the summer, told the New York Times. “It’s not Muslim extremism.”

Members from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a hard-line anti-Israel organization, were also invited to test the FBI program before it was rolled out.

Abed Ayoub, the ADC’s policy director, said his meetings with the FBI over the program were “very tense.” “If this is shown to middle and high-school students, it’s going to result in bullying of these children,” Ayoub said.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Muslim advocacy organization that wasfounded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, applauded the FBI’s decision to suspend the program..

MPAC Policy Director Hoda Hawa said in a press release:

While we welcome efforts to promote the safety and security of our nation, tools like this that improperly characterize American Muslims as a suspect community with its targeted focus and stereotypical depictions stigmatize Muslim students (or those perceived as such) and can actually exasperate the problem by leading to bullying, bias, and religious profiling of students.

MPAC wrote a follow-up letter to the FBI, declaring that the bureau has no business “educating our youth on countering violent extremism.” Creating programs that attempt to counter Islamic radicalism “can lead to bullying, bias, misperception, as well as racial and religious profiling of students,” the letter added.

Also see:

How Much Does the U.S. Government Still Deal with CAIR?

cair-1 (1)American Thinker, by Johanna Markind, Oct. 30, 2015:

October 6 Conference Call with DHS, DOJ & FBI

Several federal agencies appear to have ongoing contacts with an organization that has been connected to international terrorism.

On October 6, 2015, according to Department of Homeland Security spokesman S.Y. Lee, DHS convened a conference call with “senior officials from the FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, DOJ Community Relations Service, DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection and Federal Emergency Management Agency.” Also on the call were what Lee characterized insipidly as “faith-based, community-based, and civil rights and civil liberties advocacy stakeholders,” and what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) characterized as “American Muslim community leaders.”

CAIR’s press release on the subject coyly does not say whether CAIR was one of the “American Muslim community leaders” participating in the meeting.

Its possible involvement is significant because, after several CAIR founders and/or officials were convicted in the Holy Land Foundation case – America’s largest terrorism financing case – the FBI severed its liaison relationship with the group, banning it from cooperation for the foreseeable future.  CAIR was not indicted as a defendant, but was deemed an unindicted co-conspirator.  The FBI did “not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner” and “suspended all formal outreach activities” with it.

Despite the FBI’s policy restricting contact with the group, a 2013 inspector general report concluded that during the current administration, FBI offices have flouted the policy by continuing outreach activities with CAIR. FBI leadership “did not conduct effective oversight to ensure compliance with the policy.”

Fourteen months after the IG report was released, the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR a terrorist organization.

FBI spokesman Christopher M. Allen confirmed the FBI’s participation in the October 6 call and claimed he did “not have information” about whether CAIR likewise participated.  He also confirmed that the bureau’s anti-CAIR policy remains in effect.  The policy does not ban all interaction between CAIR and the bureau, Allen said.  Even if CAIR were present, that “would not necessarily represent a violation of the policy.”  Asked the identity of the FBI official who approved the bureau’s participation in this non-public call organized by a federal agency, Allen did not respond.

DHS spokesman Lee likewise failed to answer questions about whether CAIR participated in the October 6 call.  He also ignored questions about whether DHS has a policy in place restricting the agency’s contact with CAIR.

DOJ’s main press office (the FBI has its own office) completely ignored questions about whether it had its own policy regarding CAIR contacts and whether CAIR participated in the October 6 call.  DOJ even refused to confirm that it participated in the call, as DHS’s Lee reported.

In fairness, it should be noted that the call was evidently convened in response to a request from CAIR that DHS address Muslim community concerns about protests planned to take place outside mosques in several American cities on October 9-10.  Nevertheless, even if true, the fact that CAIR may have requested a call does not mean government agencies were obliged to include it, let alone one with “senior officials.”

It is noteworthy that none of these agencies – the FBI, DOJ, and DHS – would answer direct questions about whether CAIR participated in the call, and that the FBI – which by its own admission still has a policy sharply restricting contact with CAIR – failed to address a direct question about who authorized (what DHS spokesman Lee characterized as) “senior officials” to participate.  Lee’s failure to respond to the question about DHS’s policy on CAIR, and DOJ’s complete failure to answer any questions, are also of note.  Lee’s description of call participants as “faith-based” and “civil rights” stakeholders is suggestive, because CAIR presents itself as a mainstream organization advocating for the civil rights of American Muslims, and mainstream media sometimes echo CAIR’s self-description.

It seems quite likely CAIR did participate in the call, and that the FBI ignored its policy of avoiding contact with the organization (either violating it outright or failing to follow required procedures to obtain approval/waiver).  Given their reluctance to answer questions, it also seems likely that DHS and DOJ either have similar policies in place or recognize how awkward it is that they don’t have such a policy, in light of the FBI policy and the reasons for it.

October 6 Meeting with State

A State Department official confirmed CAIR’s report that CAIR and other American Muslim organizations met with officials from State on October 6.  CAIR described the purpose of the meeting as to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the United States and to complain about the situation on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, aka the Temple Mount.  The State Department source characterized the meeting as part of its “routine” engagement with faith-based organizations.

The October 6 meeting with CAIR is not unique.  Previously, State Department press director Jeff Rathke stated, “As part of our routine engagement with a broad spectrum of faith-based organizations, a range of US government officials have met with officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” implying that the State Department is among those government officials meeting with CAIR.

The same source who confirmed the October 6 meeting also indicated that State has no special policy limiting its contacts with CAIR, but did reiterate that the US requested additional information about the UAE’s November 2014 decision to designate CAIR a terrorist organization.  The source did not say whether the government had received any further information from the UAE.

Given both the prior involvement of CAIR officials in terrorist funding, resulting in CAIR’s unindicted co-conspirator status and the FBI decision to sever its prior liaison relationship with the group, and the UAE’s decision less than a year ago to designate the group as a terrorist organization, it is disappointing that the State Department has no policy at least limiting its contact with the group.  It is also disappointing that DOJ (of which the FBI is a part) and DHS are not open about their policy toward CAIR and the reasons for it.

In fact, it is regrettable that the executive branch as a whole does not have a unified policy about it and enforce that policy.  As the FBI indicated in its April 2009 letter to Senator Kyl, its decision to suspend CAIR was made pending resolution of “whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas” or, one assumes, any other terrorist group.  That was six and a half years ago.  What have the FBI, and the executive branch as a whole, found?  Have they done nothing since then besides ask the United Arab Emirates for information about this American group?

Johanna Markind is associate counselor for the Middle East Forum.

DHS, White House Tout Ability To Screen Syrian Refugees. But Under Oath, FBI Says Opposite

Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Oct. 28, 2015:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told USA Today yesterday that the wave of Syrian refugees that will be admitted into the U.S. in the coming year will be subjected to “extensive, thorough background checks.”

But just last week, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director James Comey said exactly the opposite.

When asked about criticisms made by Donald Trump about the administration’s immigration policies and about concerns that ISIS may embed themselves among Syrian refugees as a “Trojan horse,” Johnson replied:

Well, in terms of the level of effort of security review that we will apply and we have applied it will be and it is extensive. Both law enforcement and homeland security have improved the process from the days when we admitted a lot of Iraqi refugees.

We now do a better job of connecting the dots, consulting all the right databases and systems that we have available to us, and the refugee review process is probably one of the most if not the most extensive thorough background checks that someone seeking to enter this country goes through.

Now we’ve made this commitment for 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY2016. It is a commitment that the United States as a global leader should and will meet.

But during a House Judiciary hearing last Thursday, Comey was asked by Rep. Louie Gohmert about the database the U.S. government maintained to screen Iraqi refugees, including an IED fingerprint database in addition to other intelligence obtained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government. Despite the extensive database screening Iraqi refugees, U.S. authorities have admitted that possibly dozens of terrorists were admitted into the U.S. under that program, including two Iraqi terrorists living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of attempting to send weapons and money to Iraqi terrorists.

When asked further about the nature of intelligence available to screen Syrian refugees, Comey admitted, contrary to Secretary Johnson, that the Iraqi database  – which possibly admitted dozens of terrorists — was much more extensive than anything they have for Syria.

Rep. Gohmert pressed further about the ability to screen refugees:

Gohmert: Well, without a good fingerprint database, without good identification, how can you be sure that anyone is who they say they are if they don’t have fingerprints to go against?

Comey: The only thing we can query is information that we have. So, if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, they’ve never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there and so it will be challenging.

The exchange between Rep. Gohmert and Director Comey on the Syrian refugee issue can be seen at about 2:05 in the video below:

The contrast between Johnson’s confidence and Comey’s concern is striking. This confusion comes on the heels of the White House announcing last month that it will admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the new fiscal year, more than five times the number admitted this year. Adding to the mixed messages coming from the administration, White House spokesman Josh Earnest touted the “robust” databases during the announcement:

Refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States. Refugees have to be screened by the National Counter Terrorism Center, by the FBI Terrorist Screening Center. They go through databases that are maintained by DHS, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. There is biographical and biometric information that is collected about these individuals.

To recap: twice, the Obama administration appealed to the effectiveness of the screening databases to justifying the safety of allowing a dramatic increase in Syrian refugees.

But in a third statement, the only one of the three given under oath, the administration admitted the screening is inadequate.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees overall in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, up from 70,000 in the current year. And Congressional Democrats have sent a letter to Obama asking him to admit another 65,000 Syrian refugees, and former Obama and Bush officials have asked that he authorize an additional 100,000 Syrian refugees over and above the 70,000 worldwide ceiling for the current year.

Also see:

Comey: Feds have roughly 900 domestic probes about Islamic State operatives, other extremists

(Photo: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

USA Today, by Kevin Johnson, Oct. 23, 2015:

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey said Friday that federal authorities have an estimated 900 active investigations pending against suspected Islamic State-inspired operatives and other home-grown violent extremists across the country.

In a speech to intelligence officials, Comey initially indicated that all 900 of the inquiries were ISIL related. Later, officials said the vast majority involved ISIL but the number also included other U.S.-based extremists.

Still, Comey said that the total number of inquiries is “slowly climbing” as ISIL has sought to expand their reach into the U.S., targeting largely young, disaffected potential operatives through a provocative social media campaign.

The national scope of U.S.-based extremist inquiries has been the subject of much recent discussion. But rarely has there been a public reference to a number of such investigations.

Because the pace of the investigations has varied in the last several months, Comey said it was still unclear whether the bureau had the necessary resources to meet the demand. Comey referred to a particularly taxing period in mid-summer when federal authorities expressed public concern about the prospect of an attack around the July Fourth holiday.

“If that becomes the new normal … That would be hard to keep up,” the director said, though he said the pace has eased somewhat recently.

Since July 1, the director said, investigators have been tracking a decline in numbers of Americans seeking to travel to Syria to join forces with ISIL. But it is unclear how that drop-off may be affecting the domestic threat.

“Something has happened that is flattening the curve (the number of travelers),” he said

While D.C. Downplays Risk, U.S. Sees Shocking Rise in Terror Arrests This Year

102b-300x180PJ Media, by Patrick Poole On May 27, 2015:

The arrest of two southern California men last week who were planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State brings the number of U.S.-based individuals involved in international terror-related cases this year to 40.

This number highlights the metastasizing Islamic terror threat in the American homeland. At the current pace, by the end of June — halfway through 2015 — the number of cases will exceed the number from the past two years combined.

The Islamic State, as well as al-Qaeda affiliates and other Islamic terror groups, have repeatedly called for supporters to conduct attacks inside the American homeland:

Recent evidence gives cause for concern. As I noted here at PJ Media, FBI Director Comey downplayed the number of Americans who had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS and other terror groups before the midterm elections. He stated on 60 Minutes that “roughly a dozen” were fighting in Syria. But in February, senior officials corrected that number. They admitted that 180 had traveled to Syria. They also admitted that 40 had returned to the U.S. and posed a potential threat. FBI Director Comey then said they were investigating ISIS suspects in all 50 states.

Underscoring the failure to alert the public regarding the threat, concerned citizens have not been able to find a list of the 40 individuals arrested this year. Until now, a public list simply didn’t exist.

Here they are: the 40 U.S.-based individuals charged in Islamic terror-related cases in 2015.

(This list will undoubtedly grow. I will update with new information as it becomes available.)

May 22: Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested on Thursday for planning to travel to join ISIS. Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International airport trying to board a flight that included a stopover in Istanbul, presumably where he would have left the flight and tried to cross the Turkey/Syria border. Both were active on social media praising ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 14: Bilal Abood, 37, of Mesquite, Texas, an Iraqi-born naturalized U.S. citizen who migrated to the United States in 2009, was arrested for lying to the FBI about his travel to Syria, where he planned to fight against the Assad regime. In March 2013 he was prevented from boarding a flight at Dallas Fort Worth International airport and was questioned by the FBI. The following month he transited to Mexico and flew to Turkey, returning in September 2013, when he was questioned again by the FBI. A July 2014 search of his computer found a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 3: Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 37, both of Phoenix, Arizona, were killed in a gunfight with law enforcement outside a Garland, Texas community center where a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was being held. As I noted here at PJ Media, Simpson had been communicating with known ISIS operatives on Twitter, and had been known to the FBI since 2006 due to his association with convicted terror operative Hassan Abu Jihaad. Soofi grew up in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. The pair attended a Phoenix mosque with previous terror connections. (PJ Media live blog.)

April 23: Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, 24, of San Diego, California, was arrested on charges of lying to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Customs and Border Protection, and the FBI about his travels to Syria. As I reported here at PJ Media, Kodaimati was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra — al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization — and also about his role in mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in northern Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 19: Six men from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were arrested in Minneapolis and San Diego for conspiracy and material support for terrorism for their plans to travel to join ISIS. Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19, Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19, Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, had been planning to travel to Syria for more than 10 months, and continued their plan even after several of their associates had been arrested. On May 19, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment with additional charges, including a previously arrested associate. It also stated that one of the men, Abdirahman Yasin Daud, had threatened to kill FBI agents if they tried to stop him. As I reported here at PJ Media, the federal judge in the case has said that he is considering releasing some or all of the men to a halfway house to participate in a local “deradicalization” program. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 24: Related to the previous case, an associate of the defendants, Mahamed Abukar Said, 19, was arrested for threatening to kill the U.S. attorney general, warning of a “massacre” if the Feds didn’t release his friends, and intimidating an informant in the case on Twitter.

April 10: John T. Booker (aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan), 20, of Topeka, Kansas was arrested in a plot to detonate a car bomb targeting soldiers at the U.S. Army base at Fort Riley. As I reported here at PJ Media, in April 2014 the FBI publicly dismissed Booker as a terror threat after Fox News published an alert by military authorities warning that Booker intended to conduct an attack on U.S. military personnel. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 10: Related to the Booker case, Alexander E. Blair, 28, also of Topeka, Kansas, was charged with failing to report a felony for not informing authorities of Booker’s plans when he had advance knowledge of the plot. The FBI alleged that Blair, who shared Booker’s Islamic extremist views, had loaned Booker money to rent a storage unit to store bomb components. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 9: Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, was charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS by traveling to Syria to join the terror group. He was arrested by Turkish immigration officials in October, and arrested upon his return at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 7: Dilkhayot Kasimov, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, was charged for assisting others in traveling overseas to join the Islamic State. (DOJ press release.Complaint.)

April 4: Miguel Moran Diaz (aka Azizi al-Hariri), 46, of Miami, Florida was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the federal complaint, Diaz was an ISIS supporter who described himself as a “lone wolf” who intended to kill people and engrave the bullet shell casings so that law enforcement would “know there was a sniper in town.” (Complaint.)

April 3: Keonna Thomas (aka Fatayat Al Khilafah), 30, of Philadephia, Pennsylvania was arrested for planning to travel to Syria and martyr herself for ISIS. Thomas had applied for a passport and purchased an electronic visa for Turkey. Prosecutors claimed that she had been voicing support for ISIS on social media since at least August 2013. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 29, originally from Texas, was returned from Pakistan and charged with recruiting others to kill U.S. military personnel. Leaving for Pakistan from Canada in 2007 and serving in a senior position within al-Qaeda, the Obama administration had discussed using a drone to kill Al-Farekh. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, both of Queens, New York, were arrested for plotting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction, and even discussed targeting a police funeral. When they were arrested, authorities found bomb-building materials including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, and fertilizer. The pair had previously been roommates, and Siddiqui had been in regular contact with al-Qaeda officials in Yemen, most notably with U.S. al-Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan. In 2009, one of her poems was published in al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

March 26: Hasan Rasheed Edmonds, 22, of Aurora, Illinois — a U.S. Army National Guard specialist –was arrested at Chicago’s Midway airport on a trip with the eventual destination of Syria to join ISIS. Also arrested was his cousin, Jonas “Yunus” Edmonds, 29, also of Aurora, Illinois, who was charged with planning a terror attack on an Illinois National Guard facility with AK-47s and grenades. He intended to use Hasan’s uniform to enter the facility after his departure. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

March 18: Tairod Pugh, 47, of Neptune, New Jersey, was charged with material support for a terrorist organization following his attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIS. In January, he flew to Turkey from Egypt, but was sent back by Turkish authorities. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Pugh had expressed on his Facebook page and elsewhere his dislike for America and his allegiance to the jihadi cause. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 27: An unnamed 17-year-old from Woodbridge, Virginia was arrested and charged with assisting others trying to join ISIS. As the suspect is a juvenile, the indictment is sealed. However, federal prosecutors have said they intend to charge him as an adult. The teen reportedly wrote for several websites, and published articles in defense of slavery in Islam.

February 24: Three men living in Brooklyn, New York, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, were arrested forplanning to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Juraboev and Habibov are from Uzbekistan, and Saidakhmetov is from Kazakhistan. Two other individuals – one in Brooklyn, the other in Norfolk, Virginia – were arrested on immigration charges related to the case. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 11: An unnamed 16-year-old inspired by ISIS was arrested in York, South Carolina on gun charges. Prosecutors claimed that the teen conspired withanother unnamed North Carolina resident to rob a Raleigh gun store, and then use the weapons to shoot up a U.S. military base. In April, he was sentenced toserve five years in juvenile prison until he is 21. Because of the suspect’s age and the lack of a state terrorism statute, he could only be charged with weapons-related offenses. His accomplice in North Carolina has not been named or apparently charged. Local officials claimed they kept the case quiet for “public safety” concerns.

February 6: Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis, Missouri, Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, N.Y.,Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Ill., and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois — all Bosnian immigrants — were indicted following a two-year investigation for funneling money, guns, and military hardware to ISIS operatives in Syria. Their support included aiding Abdullah Ramo Pazara, also of St. Louis, who traveled to Syria in 2013 just months after becoming a U.S. citizen, and became a top deputy to ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani and was reportedly killed last year. Rosic was arrested on his way to Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 5: Hamza Ahmed, 19, of Minneapolis, Minnesota was charged with lying to the FBI after being stopped from boarding a flight in New York intending to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Ahmed was part of a group of four men who traveled by bus to New York in November. He denied knowing the men he traveled with in an interview with FBI agents. Ahmed had been active on Twitter supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which kept him in jail following his arrest. Earlier this month, he was charged in a superseding indictment in the case of six other Minneapolis men who were planning to join ISIS. He and another suspect are charged with fraud forusing federal student loans to finance their trip. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 2: Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 26, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested on state terror charges for traveling to Syria and fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. In April, Mohamud was indicted on federal charges for plotting terror attacks in the U.S. targeting military and police officials. His brother was reported killed fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra in June 2014. Mohamud reportedly had been conducting weapons training with others after his return from Syria at a local Ohio gun range. As I noted here at PJ Media, he applied for his passport to travel to Syria just a week after becoming a U.S. citizen and days after being caught lying to the FBI. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

January 14: Christopher Lee Cornell (aka  Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah), 20, of Green Township, Ohio, was arrested leaving a Cincinnati-area gun store, where he had purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition. Federal prosecutors allege that Cornell planned to set off pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and then to shoot fleeing government workers. During a jailhouse interview with a local TV station, Cornell said that he would have also attacked the Israeli embassy and put a gun to President Obama’s head. Earlier this month he was also charged with material support for ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

—————————

As the Heritage Foundation notes, since 9/11 there have been 68 Islamic domestic terror plots; 57 involved homegrown operatives.

The attempted terror attack this month in Garland, Texas was only averted due to luck and the work of local law enforcement authorities who took the potential threat seriously.

With the number of homegrown Islamic terror operatives increasing rapidly and the calls by Islamic terror groups overseas for attacks on the American homeland coming more regularly, it seems to be only a matter of time before we see another successful attack on American soil in the manner of the Boston bombing, the Fort Hood massacre, and the Little Rock Army recruiting center killing. Or perhaps a larger scale attack, as in Mumbai in November 2008.

When that future attack happens, it will come at a time when the credibility of our counter-terrorism and national security apparatus in speaking honestly about the nature and scope of the threat is at its lowest.

If the jihadist terror attacks in the West over the past year are any indicator, the next domestic terror attack will most likely be by what I have termed a “known wolf” – someone who is already known to law enforcement authorities.

It’s only a question of who, where, and when, and of how many Americans will die.

And this just yesterday:

FBI Speaks To Bergen County High School Students About ISIS Recruitment Threat

al hayat mediaHACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The FBI has targeted Bergen County, New Jersey to stop Islamic State militants from getting a stronghold there – and agents have been going to high school with a message.

Christine Sloan was there when agents visited a Bergen County school on Tuesday. An FBI intelligence analyst who did not wish to be identified spoke at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack.

He warned students about a new threat – a sophisticated recruitment video trying to lure them into joining the terrorist group ISIS.

“There’s a role for everybody. Every person can contribute to the Islamic State,” a young Canadian man tells viewers in the recruitment video. “You can even come here and rebuild.”

“”It definitely was eye-opening,” said high school senior Zoey Zibor. “You know, you learn that it’s in your own backyard. It’s Americans citizens wanting to join these terrorist groups.”

The young Canadian who appears in the recruitment video ended up dying while fighting as a member of ISIS in Syria.

“It’s definitely a bad thing,” said senior Basik Gorkem.

The Bergen County school was one of many the FBI has come to with its alarming message – regular American kids could be vulnerable to this kind of propaganda.

“It was videos and all social media that no one is really that aware of what’s happening; how deep they go into Facebook and Twitter now,” said senior Aaron Brunert.

“I would say I am more interested than I am scared,” said senior Robert Harris. “I want to know how to find terrorists; how to stop them from doing things.”

The FBI said more than 150 Americans have traveled abroad to join ISIS – some of them teenagers.

“Our students; our young people have to understand that they have a part to play in counterterrorism operations here,” said Leo McGuire, security director at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School.

The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages. They hope to make sure they don’t fall prey to propaganda that ISIS is putting on the Internet.

In the past, the FBI community outreach program in the past focused on issues such as cyberbullying.

U.S. Islamists pushback on U.S. counter terror efforts

The Muslim community has to realize that a lot of the responsibility lies with them to cooperate with law enforcement
– Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)

Cultural Jihad, May 14, 2015:

King: Muslim Groups Complain About Harassment, Surveillance When Asked to Help Fight ISIS

From: Pjmedia.com
By Bridget Johnson, May 11, 2015

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) charged that all U.S. Muslim groups are doing is “complain about the fact that they’re being harassed and they’re being surveilled” as they need to step forward and help stop jihadi recruitment on U.S. soil.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a brief statement Friday that the group “engaged with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson during two separate meetings focused on the Obama administration’s new countering violent extremism (CVE) program in New York.”

“CAIR officials met previously with the secretary on the same issue in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles.”

King said a source in the meeting told him Johnson was “asking for them to step forward and be more cooperative” as they complained about harassment.

“Well, if we keep that attitude up, we’re going to get nowhere. The Muslim community has to realize that a lot of the responsibility lies with them to cooperate with law enforcement,” King said this morning on MSNBC.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  We highlighted the new CVE program when it was rolled out with a DOJ announcement in September 2014.  In February 2015, CAIR  stated that the “CVE is not an effective use of public resources ” so the observed lack of cooperation should not be surprising.

The push by Islamic groups in the the U.S. has been towards the MPACs Safe Spaces program announced last year.   Safe Spaces places an emphasis on two key points:

  • the mosque/Muslim community makes the determination of  threat levels and when law enforcement is allowed to be involved.
  • the sanctity of the mosque is a priority

In other words, the interests of the mosque and its community apparently take precendence.  This view was expressed by Salam Al-Marayati, president of  MPAC who wrote in 2014:

Safe spaces are needed so that government informants and extremist recruiters are prevented from violating the sanctity of the mosque. In essence, we want to enhance both a spiritual safety and public safety.

As we indicated in “Islamist damage control – Safe Spaces revisited, the Safe Spaces Initiative can be tied into several front groups for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) such as CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS).   The author of the “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” is Alejandro J. Beutel – the lead face in MPAC’s organized effort to move U.S. law enforcement towards a community oriented policing model that effectively allows the Muslim community to exercise considerable control and influence.  He was a junior fellow with the Minaret of Freedom Institute.   According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, “The Minaret of Freedom Institute [is] a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation“.

MPAC reported that during a June 2014 meeting of American Muslim and Syrian leaders in Chicago, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson applauded the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for launching its community-based Safe Spaces Initiative.

RELATED:  In 2011 CAIR-California promoted a conference titled, ““FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas: Know Your Rights and Defend Our Communities.”  According to a Fox news report:

… the website of CAIR’s California chapter, features a sinister-looking FBI agent with the headlines “Build a Wall of Resistance” and “Don’t Talk to the FBI.” The poster was designed in the late 1970s or early 1980s and has been reproduced by various groups and activists since then in response to alleged harassment by the FBI and to protest grand jury subpoenas.

poster on cair site

 

***

Also see:

FBI knew shooter might go to Muhammad drawing contest

FBI crime scene investigators document evidence outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where two men opened fire Sunday night on police who were guarding a contest to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. (Brandon Wade/AP)

FBI crime scene investigators document evidence outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where two men opened fire Sunday night on police who were guarding a contest to draw artoons of the Prophet Muhammed. (Brandon Wade/AP)

Washington Post, by Adam Goldman, May 7, 2015:

FBI Director James B. Comey said Thursday his agents learned hours before the start of a cartoon contest and exhibit depicting the prophet Muhammad that one of the gunmen had expressed interest in going to the controversial event in Texas, but there was no indication he was planning an attack.

Comey said the FBI sent an intelligence bulletin to local authorities through its Dallas field office that included a picture of Elton Simpson, 30, and other details such as his associates and possible license plate numbers.

“But we didn’t know more than that,” Comey said in an interview with reporters at FBI headquarters.

Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, 34, who lived in Phoenix, were killed by a local traffic officer as they opened fire at a conference center in Garland, Tex., where the competition was taking place.

The two men were heavily armed, U.S. law enforcement officials said. They had six weapons — four handguns and two semiautomatic assault rifles. Soofi is thought to have purchased one of the rifles on Craigslist, officials said.

All of the weapons were purchased legally, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Comey also provided details about the FBI’s long-standing interest in Simpson. He said FBI agents in Phoenix began investigating Simpson in about 2006, based on information that he was looking to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate and a U.S.- designated terrorist organization.

Simpson was arrested in 2010 after he bought a plane ticket to South Africa. He was charged with lying to FBI agents in connection with terrorism. He was convicted, however, of a lesser charge the following year and sentenced to three years’ probation.

Comey said the FBI continued to investigate Simpson until 2014. Agents in Phoenix reopened the case in March, Comey said, after “we developed information that he was making statements on social media that might indicate a renewed interest in jihad, but this time with” the Islamic State.

He added that the “investigation was open, but far from complete.”

Comey declined to discuss whether the FBI was also looking at Soofi, but other officials said agents in Phoenix were preparing to investigate him when the shooting took place.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Soofi’s mother, Sharon Soofi, said her son had discussed Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American preacher who took on a prominent role in al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate before he was killed in a 2011 drone strike.

Soofi’s mother said her other son, Ali Soofi, lived with his brother and Simpson. She said Ali Soofi was concerned about Simpson’s influence on his brother and recently moved out.

Comey said the FBI will review whether the bureau made any missteps and could have stopped Simpson and Soofi before the attack. But, he said, he hasn’t seen any indications that his agents missed a major warning sign.

The roommates apparently fell under the sway of the Islamic State, which has been using social media, including Twitter, to encourage attacks in the United States.

Comey said the Islamic State’s effort to recruit and motivate people in the United States to try to do harm was paying dividends.

“If you can’t travel, kill where you are,” Comey said, echoing the Islamic State’s message to followers. He described the Islamic State’s message as a siren’s song, one easily accessed on phones or computers.

“It’s almost if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ all day long,” he said.

Comey also discussed whether the attack was actually directed by the Islamic State. He said al-Qaeda previously would train its operatives so they could be vetted before getting an assignment.

“But what we see [the Islamic State] doing is trying in a way to test people’s bona fides by urging them to kill,” he said. “Sometimes supplying with them hit lists, sometimes suggesting particular targets, but other times just ‘kill in our name.’ In a way, the old paradigm between inspired or directed breaks down here.

***

FBI Gave Police Three Hour Warning Before Garland Attack (truthrevolt.org)

ISIS: Potentially ‘Thousands’ of Online Followers Inside US Homeland, FBI Chief Warns

ABC News, May 7, 2015:

There may be as many as thousands of people inside the United States consuming online “poison” from ISIS alone, and, “I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there,” FBI director James Comey warned today, referring to one of the men who opened fire outside of an event in Texas earlier this week celebrating artists’ portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad.

“We have a very hard task” in trying to identify and stop anyone inspired to launch an attack inside the U.S. homeland, Comey told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas and a small group of reporters.

Such efforts have become particularly challenging because ISIS has reconfigured and redefined terrorist recruitment, according to Comey. In fact, while the FBI is trying to find that so-called needle in a haystack, “increasingly the needles are invisible to us,” he said.

As recently as two years ago, someone in the United States who wanted to consume “radical poisonous propaganda” would have to seek that out on the Internet, most likely on a jihadist web forum. So the FBI focused its investigative efforts on those jihadist web forums, Comey said.

But “that has changed dramatically, especially with [ISIS] and their use of social media,” where on phones in people’s pockets they ask Americans and other foreigners “to travel to the so-called caliphate to fight” but simultaneously say, “If you can’t travel, kill where you are,” according to Comey.

PHOTO: Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey, Jan. 2, 2014.

PHOTO: Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a parade at the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey, Jan. 2, 2014.

“It’s almost as if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long,” he said. “[They are] recruiting and tasking at the same time. … In a way, the old paradigm between ‘inspired’ and ‘directed’ breaks down here.”

And with that distinction “no longer relevant,” is it all the more challenging for the FBI to determine whether someone seeking jihadist propaganda online or even promoting themselves is “a talker or a doer,” as Comey described it.

There’s also the question, “Where are they on the pathway from ‘talker’ to ‘doer’? And that’s really hard,” Comey added.

Those are the exact types of questions the FBI faced with Simpson.

Comey acknowledged today that Simpson had been under FBI watch since 2006, when the agency opened an investigation on the Phoenix-area man based on information suggesting he wanted to join al-Shabab, the al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia. Simpson was ultimately indicted on terrorism charges and convicted, but due to questions over the government’s case he never went to prison and was sentenced to probation. The FBI officially closed its case into Simpson last year.

But two months ago, based on social media postings suggesting “renewed interest in jihad” with ISIS, the FBI reopened its investigation into Simpson, hoping to determine “what he was up to,” according to Comey.

After spending recent weeks trying to identify people inside the United States who might have interest in attacking the community center in Garland, Texas, hosting the controversial cartoon contest, the FBI developed information “just hours” before the event on Sunday that Simpson might be among those interested, Comey said.

About three hours before the event was to begin, the FBI sent Garland police an intelligence bulletin warning that Simpson may be interested in traveling to Texas and attacking the event, according to Comey, who said the bulletin included a picture of Simpson and a suspected license plate.

Garland police spokesman Joe Harn wouldn’t discuss the FBI bulletin specifically, but he told ABC News that in terms of “any information that we had that these guys were coming to Garland from Phoenix, we had no information on anything like that.”

Nevertheless, the FBI had no reason to believe Simpson would actually try to carry out an attack, and, “We didn’t have reason to believe he left Phoenix,” Comey said. The bulletin was simply a precaution, Comey indicated.

Comey praised the traffic officer who killed Simpson and his roommate and accomplice, Nadir Soofi, before they could seriously hurt anyone. The pair were killed outside of the community center. Comey said the officer was an “extraordinary example” of judgment, skill and calm.

Comey, meanwhile, warned that even when the FBI finds someone who has in fact connected with ISIS, keeping track of that person is becoming increasingly difficult. More and more, ISIS is making contact with individuals on Twitter or Facebook and “steering” them to encrypted forms of communications, he said.

“[We see] a connection made, and then it disappears,” said Comey, adding that even with a court order some of those encrypted communications are impenetrable.

EXCLUSIVE: FBI, DHS Assessed Terror Attack Threat to Texas ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest as ‘UNLIKELY’

h0ixM.AuSt.91PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 5, 2015:

The Feds, influenced by false narratives about the causes of terror, failed yet again. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Public Safety took the threats seriously and saved lives.

As online chatter about a Muhammad cartoon contest began to escalate last week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin last Thursday. The bulletin acknowledged the potential threat, but downplayed the possibility of any violence targeting the event.

The bulletin concluded that while the event could inspire violence abroad by contributing to terrorist messaging, it was “unlikely” that such violence would happen in the United States.

A copy of the FBI/DHS bulletin is provided exclusively by PJ Media below.

On Sunday night, two men – Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, roommates from Phoenix — did in fact show up at the event location in Garland, Texas, armed with semi-automatic weapons and body armor. Both were quickly killed in an exchange of gunfire before there was any direct threat to anyone inside the facility. One police officer was shot in the ankle — he was treated at the hospital and later released.

According to sources involved in the investigation into the terror attack and law enforcement preparations leading up to last Sunday’s event, there was virtually no online chatter about the cartoon contest until early last week.

The chatter began when news broke that two Muslim congressmen, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, had appealed to Secretary of State John Kerry to deny entry into the U.S. for Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Wilders was scheduled to be the featured speaker at Sunday’s cartoon contest.

One law enforcement source who was monitoring potential threats to the event told PJ Media the following:

[Ellison and Carson] clearly set things off. Nothing was being said until that news story came out, and then the usual suspects began to talk about it. By the time the weekend rolled around, there were clear and identifiable incitements calling for an attack on the event.

During this crescendo of online chatter, an FBI/DHS bulletin titled “‘Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest’ in Texas on 3 May Likely to Prompt Violent Extremist Reaction Abroad; Violence Less Likely at Home” was sent out to law enforcement agencies four days before the event was held.

The bulletin initially acknowledges a potential threat existed following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January and the attack on an event where a Muhammad cartoonist appeared in Copenhagen in February:

On 3 May 2015 the “American Freedom Defense Initiative USPER” (AFDI) is sponsoring in Garland, Texas a “Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest,” for the stated purpose of “defend[ing] free speech and not give[ing] in to violent intimidation.” The FBI and DHS assess this motivation refers to deadly violent extremist attacks over recent months on institutions or events perceived as defaming the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Although there is no specific, credible intelligence concerning threats to the event thus far, we assess that this event carries the risk of being targeted by violent extremists because past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, to include threats against both artists and publishers.

But by the end of the FBI/DHS analysis, they conclude that since such attacks had not happened here yet, they were unlikely to now:

Although past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, we have not yet seen such violence in the United States. The most frequent reaction among US-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) is discussion and verbal disapproval via online communication platforms, including websites with violent extremist content and social media sites.† We assess it is unlikely that any one event perceived to defame Islam would alone mobilize HVEs to violence; however, such events are incorporated into violent extremist messaging and narratives involving Western persecution of Muslims, which we do assess overall to contribute to radicalization to violence.‡ US-based HVEs remain largely unconnected to each other, and their behaviors are often highly individualized, impeding our ability to predict their reactions with a great deal of confidence. We also judge US-based HVEs and violent extremists in other Western nations who are skilled in information technology have the capability to carry out a cyber-intrusion attack against organizations or individuals perceived to be defaming Islam.

On Sunday night, that analysis proved to be wrong.

The bulletin concluded with a list of suspicious activities, which they warn could still be “constitutionally protected.”

A source I spoke to last night suggested that the conventional wisdom of federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies on the nature of the domestic terror threat is reminiscent of a pre-9/11 mentality:

These agencies are stuck in a belief that domestic terrorism is something that happens “over there” and that will never come here. They get reinforced by our media and academics who tell them that jihadist terror in Europe is something that only happens because of alienation and poverty — not realizing how dramatically things have changed over the past few years. Where we used to see individuals and small groups traveling overseas to fight with terrorists, virtually every Western country, including the U.S., now have hundreds who have joined the jihad in Syria and Iraq.

This bulletin they put out last week is an example of how analysis and threat assessment gets done. Rather than looking at what happened in Paris and Copenhagen and determining that the threat was escalating, they rely on preformed biases to spin the facts to fit their narrative to conclude there was no threat. My concern is that they are now going to look at what happened [Sunday night] and determine that it was a random one-off event rather than a warning sign of what’s quickly headed our way.

According to those close to the investigation, the real heroes who quickly eliminated the threat on Sunday were the Texas Department of Public Safety, who took the online threats seriously. The threats included inciting tweets from known foreign Islamic State operatives overseas (namely, IS cybercaliphate chief Junaid Hussain), leading them to deploy a “massive” presence at the cartoon contest event.

The response from the FBI and DHS following yet another intelligence failure remains to be seen.

FBI/DHS JIB & Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Texas on 3 May;