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;

Judicial Watch Pinch-Hitting for the FBI

201305301_fbi_agents_largeFamily Security Matters, by Janet Levy, April 30, 2015:

Despite the growing menace and media savvy of the terrorist Islamic group ISIS, the FBI appears to be, once again, failing in its investigative and enforcement responsibilities. The agency that let us down with 9/11 and, afterward, reacted mainly in a flurry of political correctness and appeasement toward Muslims is now trying to reassure the American public that we have nothing to fear from ISIS on the North American continent.

This despite warnings from the nonprofit Judicial Watch of ISIS activism in Mexico, and recent ISIS-related arrests in Minnesota.  More is needed from the nation’s top domestic intelligence and security agency than this whistling in the dark if we are to be safe in our own country.

Official government estimates of ISIS recruits vary widely from 20,000 to 50,000.  Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the federal National Counterterrorism Center, who places the number at more than 20,000, reports that fighters hail from 90 countries, with an estimated 3,400 from Western countries, including over 150 from the United States.  Rasmussen admits that there is “likely more information out there that we have not yet been able to collect,” and that there could also be “greater numbers of foreign fighters, and potentially even greater numbers of individuals from western countries and the United States who’ve traveled to the conflict zones.”

Meanwhile, FBI assistant director for counterterrorism Michael Steinbach has reinforced the level of risk by admitting, “Certainly I would not be truthful if I told you we know about all the returnees.”

This equivocation and uncertainty by government sources contrasts dramatically with the recent findings of Judicial Watch, a government watchdog with more than 20 years of investigations and litigation in pursuit of open and honest government.  Last week, Judicial Watch revealed in anonymous accounts from a Mexican army officer and police inspector that two ISIS camps exist perilously close to the U.S. border west of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – one only eight miles from El Paso, Texas, and the other very close to Columbus and Deming, New Mexico.

According to Judicial Watch, Mexican army and law-enforcement personnel discovered Arabic and Urdu documents, layouts of a nearby U.S. military installation, and prayer rugs in an area  controlled by a powerful Mexican cartel engaged in drug trafficking and human smuggling across the understaffed and poorly controlled U.S. border.  Mexican intelligence sources reported to Judicial Watch that ISIS maintains a network of “spotters” in New Mexico’s East Potrillo Mountains for terrorist border crossings and to monitor activities at nearby universities, government facilities, and power plants.

In September last year, Judicial Watch reported that ISIS operatives across the border were planning car bomb attacks in the United States and that U.S. agents were on alert to deal with “this imminent terrorist threat.”  Despite assurances by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that no credible threats had been identified, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (R-Glendale) said, “It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez, or they were in the last few weeks.”

Franks has long been accustomed to government inaction in the face of Islamic threats, having been one of five congressional signatories of the much derided and ignored 2012 report identifying Muslim Brotherhood operatives who had infiltrated the U.S. government at the highest levels of national security.  But his 2014 border concerns were similar to those voiced independently by Texas governor Rick Perry, Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Penn.), Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas).

All these claims have been derided by Democrats as Republican hysteria related to Obama’s executive amnesty program for illegal immigrants, even though, in August 2014, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a bulletin to law enforcement entitled “ISIS Interest on the U.S. Southwest Border.”  The bulletin referred to ISIS social media messaging about how to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to carry out “unspecified border operations.”

Immediately following the recent Judicial Watch disclosure, FBI supervisors called a meeting with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez.  Based on information supplied to Judicial Watch by an anonymous “high level intelligence source,” the goal of the meeting was to “devise a press strategy on the JW report as well as to uncover the identity of the informants.”

According to a Facebook posting, Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) asked the FBI director, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and the secretary of homeland security if currently any terrorist threat exits on the U.S. southern border.  O’Rourke posted that “[t]hey answered that there was not nor has there ever been any terrorist, terrorist plot or terrorist organization that was able to exploit our border with Mexico.”

Yet, just this week, federal authorities arrested yet another group of individuals seeking to travel to Syria and fight alongside ISIS.  Six Minnesota men were charged as part of an ISIS terror probe exposing a “peer-to-peer” network model of recruitment organized through social media and local contacts.  This is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in the United States and Western societies as more young Muslims and new converts glorify the Islamic State and aspire to join its quest for a caliphate.

In light of JW disclosures, the question must be asked: how credible are FBI reports on the domestic ISIS threat, as well as Islamic terrorist threats in general?

The bureau has been embroiled in controversy for more than a decade for its obvious appeasement activities and policies toward Muslims.  After missing the 9/11 plot, the FBI hired Arab-American Muslim translators recruited through Muslim Brotherhood sources.  Those sources included the American Muslim Council, an organization founded in 1990 by Abduraman Alamoudi, a self-admitted supporter of Hamas and Hezb’allah who is currently serving a prison term for a 2003 assassination attempt on the late Saudi prince Abdullah.  The FBI also turned to the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas funding trial.  As recounted in investigative journalist Paul Sperry’s 2005 book, Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, the FBI employed several translators of questionable loyalties before completing background checks and approving required security clearances.  Sperry revealed that former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmunds claimed that some Muslim translators celebrated the attacks in house, purposely mistranslated documents, and even notified targets of investigations. [emphasis added]

Following the 9/11 attacks, then-FBI chief Robert Mueller required FBI agents and new recruits to attend Muslim sensitivity workshops led by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), another Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF Hamas funding trial.  Taking a cue from the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Strategic Plan for America,” widely referred to as the “Explanatory Memorandum,” the words “jihad,” “Islam,” and “Muslim Brotherhood” were purged from the FBI lexicon in 2007.  In 2009, responding to the demands of CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America, the FBI purged all counterterrorism training materials deemed critical of Islam and “re-educated” FBI agents exposed to so-called “Islamophobic” training.

All of these measures are in line with the objectives presented in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Explanatory Memorandum “to prevent the infidel from learning about Islam.”  Even FBI agents who taught directly from Muslim Brotherhood strategic documents and Islamic doctrinal tracts were disciplined and sidelined, even though their material had been previously approved by upper management.

Recently, the FBI assured Chicago police that no links exist between the North American Islam Trust (NAIT) and the Muslim Brotherhood, even though a federal judge ruled that “ample evidence” associated NAIT with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Hamas.  Further, documents in the HLF financing case name NAIT as being part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  But Chicago police chief James Kruger conveyed the FBI message, saying, “I can reassure the community that there is no threat to our community and that NAIT is a legitimate non-profit religious organization as filed with the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue.”

It is indeed alarming that FBI actions and statements continue to be on the order of “nothing to see here, move along,” even as the threat from radical Islamists grows worldwide and advances in America.  Tragically, government inaction has reached the point where the work of an independent government watchdog organization has greater legitimacy than the federal agency charged with investigative and prosecutorial responsibilities necessary to keep Americans safe.  Have we reached a point where the FBI is so politicized and compromised by outside influences that it can no longer do its job effectively?

San Diego Man Arrested for Working for Al-Qaeda Sharia Court in Syria, Fighting with Terror Group

PJ Media, by Patridk Poole, April 23, 2015:

Yesterday the FBI in San Diego arrested Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, a naturalized U.S. citizen since September 2008, for making false statements to U.S. Embassy officials, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI related to his time in Syria and Turkey over the past two years. Kodaimati left the U.S. in late December 2012 and returned on March 23.

According to the FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed today in the case against Kodaimati, the 24-year-old man 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 his role mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Ultimately, Kodaimati was tripped up by his posts to Facebook.

According to the FBI, he stated in a September 2013 private message on Facebook that he worked for the sharia court in Hanano near Aleppo. He would post media statements from the Nusra-operated sharia court to social media.

The FBI complaint also alleges that Kodaimati was a close associate with a senior ISIS operative in the area, with whom he mediated on behalf of others in the area to resolve conflicts between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He also posted pictures to his Facebook account (now removed) of him with another known ISIS operative.

In his Facebook communications, he also recounted how he, his father and his brother fought with Jabhat al-Nusra against the Assad regime for four months.

He was initially questioned at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on March 10 and 11. He was later questioned about his activities in Syria by Customs and Border Patrol upon his reentry to the U.S. at the airport in Charlotte, NC, on March 23, and later by the FBI in Charlotte on March 25. After being questioned at his home in San Diego yesterday, he was taken into custody.

Here’s the FBI complaint:

Kodaimati Criminal Complaint by Stewart Bell

Ohio Terror Suspect Was Caught Lying to FBI Two Days After Becoming Naturalized U.S. Citizen

Image: Abdirahman Sheik MohamudThe FBI allowed Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud to obtain a passport, travel to Syria to fight with al-Qaeda, and return to conduct terror attacks.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 21, 2015:

An Ohio man indicted by a federal grand jury on terrorism support charges last week,  was questioned by the FBI two days after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

During that questioning, he was caught lying about his identity.

Several days later, Mohamud applied for a U.S. passport and was allowed to travel to Syria. There, he fought and trained with Jabhat al-Nusra — an official al-Qaeda affiliate — and then was allowed to return to the U.S. where he planned to launch terror attacks inside the U.S.

These remarkable revelations of FBI failure emerged from documents unsealed by the federal court and from last week’s indictment.

According to the indictment (p.2), Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 18 last year, and applied for a U.S. passport a week later:

On or about February 18, 2014, MOHAMUD became a naturalized U.S. citizen. On or about February 25, 2014, MOHAMUD submitted his U.S. passport application.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the FBI interviewed Mohamud on Feb. 20th — two days after his naturalization ceremony — during which FBI agents caught him lying about his identity:

The FBI first spoke to Mr. Mohamud more than a year ago, but that intervention didn’t appear to prevent the native of Somalia from traveling overseas. During the Feb. 20, 2014, interview, federal agents said Mr. Mohamud tried to lie about his identity. He first told investigators he was his older brother, Abdifatah Aden, who had already left the U.S. in 2013 and was believed to be fighting in Syria on behalf of Nusra Front and raising money for the cause, according to court documents.

“When challenged about his truthfulness, he admitted his true identity,” Mr. Flowers of the FBI wrote in a court affidavit. It wasn’t clear from court documents how agents reacted to Mr. Mohamud’s reversal.

And yet, Mohamud was allowed to obtain a U.S. passport and travel to Turkey six weeks later, where he joined up with terror operatives after crossing the border into Syria.

After Mohamud returned to the U.S. last June, the newly unsealed court documents claim that he then began weapons training with others in the Columbus area. The Wall Street Journal article continues:

Three months after he returned from training with violent extremists in Syria, a 23-year-old Ohio man hosted a shooting group at a local gun range, federal authorities allege in newly unsealed court papers.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud rented a shooting lane in the Columbus area last September, court papers say. When a range officer offered to instruct him and his two associates how to use their borrowed pistol, Mr. Mohamud allegedly declined, implying he could teach the others.

“Organizing weapons training is consistent with individuals who previously obtained training from … training camps to, upon return to their homeland, seek to recruit a group of young male adults in order to lead them to be like-minded jihadist believers prepared to fight,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Flowers wrote in court documents.

For eight months until his arrest in late February this year, Mohamud was allowed to roam freely within the U.S. and train others in handling firearms.

Here is a timeline of events:

Feb. 18, 2014: Mohamud becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Feb. 20, 2014: The FBI interviews Mohamud, during which time he is caught lying about his identity. The same day he communicates with his brother already in Syria about his travel plans to join him.

Feb. 25, 2014: Mohamud applies for a U.S. passport.

April 8, 2014: He purchases a one-way airline ticket with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

April 18, 2014: He departs the U.S. and arrives in Turkey the following day.

June 3, 2014: His older brother, Aden, is reported killed fighting in Syria.

June 8, 2014: He returns to the U.S.

Approx. Sept 2014: He trains others in handling weapons at a Columbus firing range.

Feb. 25, 2015: Mohamud is arrested on state terrorism support charges.

April 16, 2015: He is indicted by a federal grand jury.

Even with an FBI informant among Mohamud’s associates, it would be hard to paint this as the Bureau’s finest hour. As I noted here at PJ Media last week, the FBI has been less than forthcoming to the public about the scope of the threat of U.S. persons who have traveled to fight in Syria and the number of those who have returned.

As additional details become available, it may become even more clear how the FBI botched the handling of this potential threat.


Terrorism expert Patrick Poole discusses the latest on threats from ISIS and other extremist groups operating in the American heartland.


Minnesota Martyrs


Also see:

FBI Director’s Call for Moral Clarity Raises Logical Questions

UTT, by John Guandolo, April 20, 2015:

On April 15th, FBI Director James Comey delivered strong and heartfelt remarks at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual National Tribute Dinner about the reality of good and evil in the world.  The Director’s comments gave insight into the man leading the nation’s most important law enforcement and intelligence organization.


Specifically, Mr. Comey raised the question of moral rights and wrongs when he said:

“I believe the Holocaust is the most significant event in world history…the most horrific display in world history of inhumanity.  But it was also the most horrific display in world history of our humanity—of our capacity for evil and for moral surrender.  And that…is the reason I require every new FBI special agent and intelligence analyst go to the (Holocaust) Museum. Naturally, I want them to learn about abuse of authority on a breathtaking scale. But I want them to confront something more painful and more dangerous: I want them to see humanity and what we are capable of.
I want them to see that although this slaughter was led by sick and evil people, those sick and evil leaders were joined by, and followed by, people who loved their families, took soup to a sick neighbor, went to church, and gave to charity.
Good people helped murder millions. And that’s the most frightening lesson of all—that our very humanity made us capable—even susceptible—of surrendering our individual moral authority to the group, where it can be hijacked by evil. Of being cowed by those in power of convincing ourselves of nearly anything.”

These are powerful and true words spoken by one of the most powerful men in America today.  So it is right and just to assume he is presenting his honest appraisal of good and evil as he sees it.

However, this makes the institutional actions taken by the FBI towards Islam and the global jihadi Movement – and those actions the FBI fails to take – even more perplexing.

If the FBI Director has the capacity for moral clarity, especially with regards to the Jewish community, relevant and critical questions must be asked of him.

Why is he not speaking out with the same vigor about the Global Islamic Movement which is killing hundreds of thousands of people across the globe (over 300,000 in Syria alone in the last 3 years/100,000 by July 2013), calling for the extermination of the Jews and the subjugation of non-Muslims under Sharia, and the establishment of the global Islamic State (Caliphate)?

Why is the FBI allowing U.S. Hamas leaders to travel overseas to places like Auschwitz with Jewish leaders under the guise of “religious tolerance?”

Why is Director Comey silent about the largest Islamic organizations in America which are engaged in supporting violent jihad?  The FBI itself conducted a fifteen (15) year investigation into the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) – the largest Islamic charity in America when it was indicted after 9/11/2001.  US v HLF was the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in U.S. history.  Evidence in that trial reveals the most prominent Islamic organizations in North America are a part of a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the United States government, and are also engaged in espionage and a massive counterintelligence operation domestically?

Leadership and moral clarity have been absent from our government leadership for several years now.  Mr. Comey’s comments are refreshing.  Yet, is it possible Director Comey has this level of moral clarity with regards to the evils of the Holocaust and yet cannot see the Islamic Movement for what it is?