From Syria to Stateside: New Al Qaeda Threat to US Homeland

Seen in this image is "Abu Dujana al-Amriki," who identifies himself as an alleged al Qaeda fighter from the U.S. American officials have not been able to identify the young man and suspect the video could be part of an Assad regime hoax.

Seen in this image is “Abu Dujana al-Amriki,” who identifies himself as an alleged al Qaeda fighter from the U.S. American officials have not been able to identify the young man and suspect the video could be part of an Assad regime hoax.

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Dozens of people from the U.S. who fought in Syria have returned home and are under FBI surveillance, but American officials fear that they haven’t identified all of them, several senior officials told ABC News in interviews beginning last October.

The senior officials said that more than 50 “U.S. persons” — a designation that covers both natural-born and naturalized citizens as well as those who have lived in the U.S. — have returned here after battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the Middle Eastern nation’s bloody civil war. One of the senior counter-terrorism officials went further, saying the actual number of returning U.S. fighters from Syria is classified but is “much higher” than 50.

Not all of those who have returned are considered “jihadis” who adhere to the anti-U.S. violent ideology espoused by the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but many are suspected of such sympathies, officials say.

Al Qaeda-aligned jihadi commanders in Syria screen new American arrivals in the ranks of foreign fighters to recruit those with clean passports who have the capability to conduct future operations against the West, two national security officials told ABC News.

One of the officials compared that process of selection to how the U.S. military screens raw recruits for Special Operations Forces qualification courses.

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday the threat is one of his “greatest concerns.”

“My concern is that people can go to Syria, develop new relationships, learn new techniques and become far more dangerous, and then flow back,” Comey told reporters.

Previous estimates put the number of Americans in the Syrian conflict at 16, but researcher Aaron Zelin at the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy in a report last month said as many as 60 from the U.S. may have fought among an estimated 11,000 foreign militants in Syria.

Read more at ABC News

How Should We Treat American Jihadists?

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It is not possible to wage an effective war against an international terror network while simultaneously foreclosing the possibility that American traitors will be killed in military operations.

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

If a plane full of 200 American citizens is hijacked by foreign jihadists, the law does not tell us whether the president should shoot down the plane or let it be plowed into a skyscraper and kill 3,000 American citizens. It is the kind of excruciating decision that war makes necessary. Legal niceties do not tell us how to resolve it.

That is the problem with our debate over the treatment of U.S. nationals who join the enemy’s forces in wartime — most urgently, over the targeted killing of our fellow citizens. We want the legal answer. But the legal answer is not going to help us. Under the Constitution, Americans who join the enemy may lawfully be treated like the enemy, which includes being attacked with lethal force. That, however, tells us only the outer limits of what is permissible. It does not tell us what we need to know: What should we do?

The government’s war powers must be boundless, at least in theory. We must be able to marshal all our might to repel any conceivable existential threat. Yet the Constitution, the sole legitimate source of the government’s power to levy war, is, quintessentially, the citizen’s protection against aggression by that same government. Thus, the tension between government’s war powers and the citizen’s fundamental rights is a conundrum. It simply cannot be resolved with finality.

Neither side of our debate is satisfied with that. We want fixed rules. But fixed rules work only if they answer every conceivable hypothetical. So the debate lurches inexorably to worst-case scenarios.

Read more at National Review

 Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which is published by Encounter Books.

See also:

Report: Majority of Convicted Terrorists in U.S. Are American Citizens (dailybeast.com)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/2190907262001/report-al-qaeda-still-thriving-inside-us?intcmp=related?playlist_id=922779230001