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.

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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

 

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Also see:

U.S. Military Bases Raise Security Level as FBI Director Warns of ISIS Threat

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, My 8, 2015:

FBI Director James Comey warned on Thursday that potentially thousands of people inside the United States are consuming recruitment “poison” and directives to attack the U.S. from Islamic State (ISIS), which he compared to “a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, “‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long.’”

Comey elaborated to a small group of reporters that ISIS is using social media in an unprecedented manner to reach large amounts of people on personal electronic devices. From Syria, the jihadists are initially contacting individuals on Twitter and then directing them to encrypted venues where U.S. authorities lose the communications.

J.M. Berger, an analyst at The Brookings Institution, told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “We’re [the US] getting creamed on social media.” He added that ISIS’s magazine, Dabiq, which is named after a key town in Islamic eschatology where the Muslim and Christian armies will face each other, is another effective propaganda tool.

Social media, however, does not sufficiently explain why people join ISIS; a tweet in itself will not cause someone to kill and wish to join the caliphate. People who support ISIS must first be indoctrinated to accept shariah law obligations regarding waging jihad.

Comey noted that ISIS’s recruitment is difficult because the group says if foreigners cannot travel to “the caliphate” to fight, then they should kill wherever they are, thus breaking down the model of “‘inspired’” versus “‘directed,’” making it difficult to determine if someone is a “‘talker or a doer.’”

In a chilling assessment, Comey described how “the haystack is the entire country. We are looking for the needles, but increasingly the needles are unavailable to us. … This is the ‘going dark’ problem in living color. There are other Elton Simpsons out there that I have not found and I cannot see.”

Simpson was one of two men who launched a failed attack in Garland, Texas against a “Draw the Prophet” Muhammad contest before being killed. Authorities have been watching him since 2006 for terrorist-related activity, and he was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years probation.

Simpson was indoctrinated well before reaching out to Islamic State from attending the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP), which has produced multiple terrorists beyond Simpson and his partner Nadir Hamid Soofi. ICCP’s imam has strong connectionsto Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. It is reasonable to ask what role the Garland shooters’ mosque played in preparing the men to be susceptible to ISIS propaganda.

The Texas attack is not an isolated incident as other ISIS-inspired acts have taken place on American soil. As recently as Thursday, for example, 21-year-old Christopher Lee Cornell, who was arrested last year for planning an assault on the US Capitol, was additionally accused of providing material support to ISIS. Furthermore, 20-year-old John Booker, Jr. was arrested a month ago for allegedly trying to bomb Fort Riley in Kansas in support of ISIS.

The FBI Director’s warnings and aforementioned events, among others, helped cause all US military bases to raise their security levels to “Bravo,” the third of five levels of alert and the highest point since the 10th anniversary of 9/11, because of a threatening environment created by ISIS. The Pentagon defines level “Bravo” as an “increased and predictable threat of terrorism.”

Admiral William Gortney, head of the U.S. Northern Command, which manages U.S. military instillations in the continental US, signed the order “as a prudent measure due to a lot of things in the news lately.”

Comey’s comments and Gortney’s security order make clear that Islamic State’s ability to recruit sympathetic Muslims from within the United States poses a real threat to the American homeland, and not just to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

In countering this enemy, however, the U.S. must remember that it is the ideological content of the message, and not the chosen media, that leads jihadists to join the fight.

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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.

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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.

Texas Attack: It’s Not (Just) About the Cartoons

The attackers at the Texas event Elton Simpson (Left) and Nadir Soofi. Background: the Curtis Culwell Community Center where the attack took place.

The attackers at the Texas event Elton Simpson (Left) and Nadir Soofi. Background: the Curtis Culwell Community Center where the attack took place.

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 6, 2015:

A misleading and dangerous narrative has formed in the wake of the shooting in Garland, Texas that is music to the ears of Islamists: That there’s a causal relationship between the Mohammed drawing event and the attack on the event. Many figures in the media are conflating the target with the motivation.

The facts speak for themselves. The first perpetrator who was identified, Elton Simpson, was first investigated by the FBI all the way back in the fall of 2006. The court documents show that the FBI was tracking a suspected plot to establish a sleeper cell in Arizona and Simpson was associated with the organizer. The FBI used a presumably Muslim informant who attended Simpson’s mosque.

Simpson was recorded telling the informant about his desire to quickly enter Paradise by dying in violent jihad. He blasted Muslims who didn’t believe they are required to fight overseas and framed the conflict as one between democracy’s “man-made laws” and “Allah‘s laws.” He talked about the need to rebuild a caliphate. All of this happened roughly eight years before ISIS made “caliphate” practically a household word and before the Mohammed drawings contest was ever mentioned.

Simpson was a convert who was born in Illinois and moved to Phoenix. He was convicted in 2011 for lying to the FBI about his plan to go to Somalia and join Al-Qaeda’s affiliate there named Al-Shabaab. He was only fined $500 and sentenced to three years probation because the judge dropped the terrorism charge. Here’s an excerpt from the astounding ruling:

“It is true that the Defendant had expressed sympathy and admiration for individuals who ‘fight’ non-Muslims as well as his belief in the establishment of Shariah law, all over the world including in Somalia. What precisely was meant by ‘fighting’ whenever he discussed it, however, was not clear. Neither was what the Defendant meant when he stated he wanted to get to the ‘battlefield’ in Somalia.”

Simpson’s co-conspirator was his roommate, Nadir Soofi, who was born in Garland, Texas, where the shooting took place. He was raised there until he was three years old. He and his brother then attended a private school in Pakistan and moved back to America when their mother divorced their Pakistani father.

A friend of Soofi’s since sixth grade said he noticed his radicalization process happening over several years. He strangely switched from being a dog-lover to a dog-hater and became an “internet jihadi” while suffering from “loneliness and struggling in the U.S.” after moving back from Pakistan. His Facebook page shows he followed popular radical preachers like Khalid Yasin and Zakir Naik.

Simpson swore allegiance to the Islamic State and the pair attacked the Mohammed cartoons event but that doesn’t mean they were motivated by the event. The event was simply the most attractive target for implementing his long-held jihadist beliefs. If the event was cancelled, another target would have been chosen because the fundamental objective was murder and dying.

Simpson wasn’t even motivated by the Islamic State, per se. He had adopted the jihadist ideology years before ISIS burst onto the scene. The Islamist premises that made the Islamic State attractive is where the problem originates.

The  says Simpson was a consistent attendee and Soofi sometimes also came. Simpson was popular among the other young attendees.

As pointed out by former CIA officer Clare Lopez, the mosque’s Facebook page says it is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity whose links to Hamas earned it being called an unindicted co-conspirator designation in a terrorism-financing trial.

Lopez also notes that the mosque’s imam, Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Ahmad Sulaiman, is a member of a the North American Imams Federation, a group so radical that it is interconnected with the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, an anti-American Islamist organization that supports Hamas and forbids Muslims from serving food to the U.S. military.

The Federation had (or has) an official linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami group in Bangladesh; Sulaiman was even convicted as a war criminal there. Daniel Greenfeld discovered that the mosque held an event with Lauren Booth from PressTV, a propaganda outlet for the Iranian regime. Lopez also noticed that Simpson converted to Islam around the same time as he began attending the mosque, strongly indicating that his original interpretations of Islam were shaped by what was being preached at the mosque.

The mosque’s leadership has given contradictory answers about how long Simpson attended. Mosque president Usama Shami told one media outlet that he stopped showing up around 2010 when he was indicted. To another, Shami said he attended for a decade and stopped coming two or three months ago.

Shami says Simpson had a lot of friends at the mosque and never expressed radicalism. Yet, the FBI informant wasn’t previously friends with Simpson and seemed to have had no trouble getting him to talk about his radicalism, making it hard to believe that Simpson didn’t express this to his other friends at the mosque.

Shami is already positioning to redirect attention away from Islamism and onto its opponents—especially the U.S. government—as Islamists reflexively do. He seemed to suggest that the FBI provoked Simpson’s radicalization by saying that he saw a personality shift after he was indicted. Shami claims he suddenly saw an “absence of happiness” but no radicalism.

This is typical Islamist deflection. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates, claims that the FBI is purposely radicalizing innocent Muslims. In its condemnation of the Texas shooting, it accused the terrorists and event organizers of having the same agenda.

Islamist radicalism is what breeds Islamist terrorism, even if some non-violent Islamist radicals disagree with terrorism. In order for someone to join the Islamic State, he or she must first have the extreme beliefs of sharia governance and rebuilding the caliphate. In order for someone to join Hamas, he must first be anti-Semitic. And for someone to attack people drawing Mohammed, he must believe that critics of Mohammed deserve death.

The media’s focus on the Mohammed drawings contest misses the mark. Whether or not one agrees with holding the event is irrelevant as to why this attack happened. It happened because of the desire to find a target; not because of the target itself.

Every second the media spends implying a casual relationship between the event and the attack is a second wasted.

Watch Clarion’s Ryan Mauro’s interview about the attack on Fox News:

Also see:

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.

comey-300x213

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?

Kansas: Fort Riley Jihad Plotter Taught by ISNA Imam Assigned by the FBI

bizarroworld

By Creeping Sharia, April 20, 2015:

via Islamic leader tried to mentor terror suspect.

TOPEKA (KSNT) – John T. Booker Jr. Is being charged with plotting a suicide bomb attack on Fort Riley. Booker Jr. Also goes by the name Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. Prosecutors say he told an FBI informant he wanted to kill Americans on behalf of ISIS.

“It’s had a shocking affect,” Omar Hazim has been the Imam at the Islamic center of Topeka for more than 25 years.

Last year the FBI reached out to him, after Booker Jr posted his terrorist intentions on Facebook.

They asked him to help show and explain to Booker Jr. the true Islamic beliefs, “it’s a message of love and tolerance, it’s a message of mercy and respect and forgiveness.”

Hazim then got Booker Jr. Involved in Friday prayers and Sunday prayer classes, teaching the history and beliefs of Islam.

“I wanted to do what I could to try and unravel those ideas and show him over and over and over again what the holy Koran says about acts of terrorism,” says Hazim.

But even with the almost a year of teachings, Booker Jr. still followed through with his initial intentions, going against everything the Islamic community believes. “It’s completely contrary to everything that the Koran teaches and it’s contrary to our life style here,” says Hazim.

Hazim says the community will continue to pray and are glad that no one at Fort Riley or Booker Jr. Was hurt.

 More via FBI Attempt to De-Radicalize Kansas Jihadist Fails – Now What? | causingfitna.

A Kansas Muslim leader is claiming he was assigned by the FBI to try and de-radicalize the man who recentlly tried to bomb Fort Riley for Allah. The video can be seen below along with more footage of the Topeka Muslim leader at a press conference in Topeka, KS defending Sharia Law.

There is much more to this story when you consider Imam Omar Hazim’s association with groups like the Midland Islamic Council……. a story for another day……

…in the opinion here at Causing Fitna, this is some really dumb sh%^……


Hazim is blatantly lying to the media – as permitted in Islam – and they don’t even bother to fact check him on his statements. But many others have and the verdict ain’t pretty for non-Muslims.

What About the Good Verses in the Quran?

…there is nothing positive in the Quran for non-Muslims. Period. And there are 527 verses in the Quran that are intolerant to non-Muslims, 109 verses calling on Muslims to make war on non-Muslims.

More via The “Good” in the Koran

The Koran addresses three audiences-Muslims, kafirs and humanity as a whole. In looking for the good, we cannot use verses that advocate good for Muslims, such as a Muslim should not kill another Muslim as kafirs are not Muslims.

Kafirs have many names-unbeliever, infidel, polytheist, agnostics, atheist, and apostate. Every verse that deals with kafirs is negative and/or violent.


Is it any wonder why Booker aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan was more inspired to wage jihad after receiving direct instruction from an imam of the unindicted co-conspiring ISNA who taught Hassan the Koran?

A year ago, the FBI assured the public and the military that Hassan was not a threat.

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Also see:

FBI Director: ‘I Have Home-Grown Violent Extremist Investigations in Every Single State’

Published on Feb 25, 2015 by PoliPix

FBI Director James Comey explains why fighting terrorism is still one of the FBI’s top priorities during a speech at the National Association of Attorneys General meeting, February 25, 2015.

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By Susan Jones, Feb. 26, 2015:

(CNSNews.com) – “Counterterrorism remains the bureau’s top priority, FBI Director James Comey told a gathering in Washington on Wednesday — the same day federal authorities in New York charged three immigrants, all Muslim, with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State.

“I have home-grown violent extremist investigations in every single state,” Comey told a meeting of state attorneys general. “Until a few weeks ago, there was (sic) 49 states. Alaska had none, which I couldn’t quite figure out, but Alaska has now joined the group. So we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states.”

Comey said the terror threat has “metastasized” in recent years, as the “progeny of Al Qaida take root” in safe havens such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya, using the Internet and social media to spread their propaganda and recruitment “at the speed of light.”

“So why do I tell you this?” Comey asked. “To explain to you why this remains at the top of the FBI’s list, and to explain to you why the conversations I have with our state and local partners in all 50 states matters so much today.

“Because ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song through their slick propaganda, through social media, that goes like this: ‘Troubled soul, come to the Caliphate; you will live a life of glory; these are the apocalyptic end times; you will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called Caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.'”

Comey said terror attacks no longer have to be large-scale to advance the terrorists’ mission. While Osama bin Laden’s followers flew planes into buildings, today’s terror groups advocate the killing of small groups and individuals: And if (they) can capture it on video and if it’s somebody in uniform, all the better, because it will advance (their) mission.”

Comey also said it’s “highly unlikely” that a federal agent will be the first to hear about suspicious behavior: “It’s going to be a deputy sheriff,” he said. “It’s going to be a police officer who knows that neighborhood.”

Comey emphasized the importance of joint terrorism task forces that have been set up all around the country to counter the emerging “lone wolf” or returning-foreign-fighter threat.

“So all of us leaning forward to push information to each other and to make sure that if we see something, it quickly gets to the right place, is critical to responding to this threat.”

On Wednesday, a joint terrorism task force in New York announced the arrests of three men from Brooklyn, two of whom were planning to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.

One of the suspects, 19-year-old Akhror Saidakhmetov of Kazakhstan, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was trying to board a flight to Istanbul, with plans to head to Syria, authorities said.

Another man, 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev of Uzbekistan, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said. Both men were in the country legally.

A third defendant, 30-year-old Abror Habibov of Uzbekistan, is accused of helping to fund Saidakhmetov’s travel plans. Habibov was in the U.S. on an expired visa.

Earlier this week, two immigrants with ties to Southern California were sentenced to 25 years in prison for plotting to murder U.S. troops in Afghanistan and for providing material support to al Qaeda.

As CNSNews.com reported, one of the men was a naturalized U.S. citizen who came here from Afghanistan (and later returned). The other was a legal permanent resident from the Philippines.

***

Published on Feb 27, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Also see:

al Shabaab Calls for Attacks in the West

Published on Feb 22, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Group behind Somali mall attack calls to target the West. Reaction from former FBI special agent Tim Clemente

 

Watch the new Al Shabaab video at Jihaology.net: “The Westgate Siege – Retributive Justice”

 

CSP, by Phil Kittock, Feb. 23, 2015:

One day after a double-bombing in Mogadishu, al-Shabaab released a video calling for attacks on malls in the West including the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. The video addressed the deadly 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya which killed over 60 people and lasted four days. At the end of the video, a masked figure asks:

“If just a handful of mujahedeen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week then imagine what a dedicated mujahedeen in the West could do to the American or Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world?”

He goes on to name several western malls, before encouraging viewers to “hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said that US intelligence has not yet identified a credible threat, but urged shoppers to exercise caution in light of the video. The Mall of America has implemented heightened security, according to their statement. However, the lack of a credible, organized threat does not preclude the possibility of a “lone wolf” attack on any of the aforementioned sites or others throughout the West. A lone gunman or small group could wreak havoc in a soft target such as a major shopping mall before being taken down by law enforcement personnel. The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has the largest Somali population in the US, and has been a recruiting ground for al-Shabaab in the past. However, US officials currently do not believe that extremists within the country are likely to respond to this video with an attack.

This threatening video serves as evidence that al-Shabaab will continue to pursue both local objectives in Somalia as well as global jihad against the West. The group emerged as a militia aligned with the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Mogadishu in 2006 and splintered off as an independent organization after Ethiopian forces dismantled the ICU. Under former leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, al-Shabaab announced its formal relationship with al-Qaeda. Despite this shift towards a balance of international and national interests, most of al-Shabaab’s attacks have come in East Africa- particularly in countries involved in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which has collaborated with Somali forces to drive al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu and the key port of Kismayo. Godane was killed in September of 2014 but it appears that his successor, Ahmed Umar, is continuing al-Shabaab’s dual mission.

The death toll from al-Shabaab’s latest major attack has reached 25, with around 40 wounded. Two bombers struck a Mogadishu hotel on February 20th – one using a vehicle to deliver explosives to the front gate and another who detonated their device inside. An al-Shabaab spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack which killed the deputy mayor of Mogadishu and two lawmakers.

*****

American Malls Are Threatened by Somalian Terrorists — and the DHS Secretary Is Warning Shoppers of the Danger, The Blaze, by Zach Noble, Feb. 23, 2015:

It’s a chilling, very specific message — and it had Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warning shoppers of the threat.

After Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab released a video calling for attacks on shopping malls throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada, Johnson took to CNN Sunday morning to advise caution.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson told CNN’s Gloria Borger. ”There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.”

The Minnesota Mall of America was one of the malls listed by name in al-Shabab’s Saturday video, and has promised to boost security measures.

As CNN noted, al-Shabab could have special pull in Minneapolis due to the city being home to America’s largest Somali population.

The call to shopping mall violence harkens back to al-Shabab’s 2013 terror attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya — an attack in which several Americans were reported to have participated.

In 2013, For the Record reported that terror group al-Shabab could be planning an attack on The Mall of America:

 

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Al Shabaab Threatens Mall Attacks in the US, Canada and UK, by Jerry Gordon, at NER:

In NER articles in 2009 and 2013 we drew attention to the possible US Mall attack scenarios.  After the devastating 2013 Westlake Mall episode, we wrote:

Could a Nairobi type Swarming attack happen in the US?

Because there were allegations that there may have been émigré Somali Americans in the Westgate Mall attack, that raises serious questions from counterterrorism agencies in the US whether returning Jihadis could undertake a Nairobi type swarming attack on a mall here. In May 2013, two returning Al Shabaab US recruits were convicted in a Minneapolis Federal court and given lengthy sentences on charges including in one case, conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim and injure.

A CNN report endeavoring to answer this “what if” question chronicled a series of actions at American Malls, some of which have been thwarted, but others have not. It noted these:

In the past few years, federal prosecutors say they have thwarted two planned attacks on malls, each of which would have been carried out by single attacker:

–Nuradin M. Abdi, a Somali citizen living in Columbus, Ohio, was sentenced in 2007 to 10 years in prison after admitting he sought terrorist training in Ethiopia to carry out attacks, including a never-attempted attack on a mall in 2002.
–Derrick Shareef of Rockford, Illinois, was sentenced in 2008 to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to plotting to set off grenades at a Rockford shopping mall. Shareef was a convert to Islam who was recorded saying he wanted to kill “infidels.”

But attacks which have succeeded in causing casualties at American malls in recent years have been carried out by young lone gunmen with no apparent cause to promote:

–A 19-year-old man killed eight people and then himself at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall in December 2007.
–An 18-year-old man killed five people before he was killed by police at a mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February 2007.
–A 22-year-old man killed two people and then himself at a mall near Portland, Oregon, in December 2012.

“Soft targets always attract the terrorists because they’re usually not defended,” said Lt. Col. Rick Francona, CNN’s military analyst. “It’s a very effective way of causing a lot of panic, a lot of damage very quickly and achieving the objective of terrorizing people.”

One possible target could be the giant Mall of America (MoA) complex in Bloomington, Minnesota. It lies within easy reach of the largest Somali émigré community in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul with more than two dozen Al Shabaab recruits, 10 of whom have been killed.

The CNN article noted what precautions the MoA has taken against this possibility:

“I think that if you’re looking for a hundred percent safety, you should probably wrap yourself in bubble wrap and never leave home,” said Doug Reynolds, security director of the Mall of America.

A strategy to minimize the damage a lone attacker or an armed group could do before authorities arrive can be seen twice a month at the giant mall in Bloomington, Minnesota, which is visited by 43 million people a year.

A voice comes over the public address system and announces that everyone, customers included, should take shelter in back rooms of the mall’s stores. Employees lock doors and lower security gates.

“If something bad should happen here, we don’t want our response to start with law enforcement will be here and will protect you,” Reynolds said. “We want to know what can be done before law enforcement gets here.”]

The Al Shabaab Nairobi type swarming attack is eerily reminiscent of the Black Friday swarming attack scenario we discussed in our June 2009 article, Foot Soldiers of Islam involving returning Al Shabaab US recruits engaged in an action not unlike the Nairobi Mall attack.  We noted:

We saw in the tragedy in Mumbai, India, [on November 29, 2008], the devastation, death and destruction wrought by a ‘swarming attack’ of a limited number of Kashmiri and Pakistani extremists. Counter terrorism experts and the FBI consider such swarming attacks as a high risk in America.

[ . . .]

The casualties from such orchestrated swarming attacks could be devastating and the economic impacts, significant. Currently, we don’t have local counter terrorism forces trained in weapons and tactics to combat Mumbai-type swarming attacks in high risk communities in this country.  We need to make that an important counter terrorism priority, including penetration of such local Jihadi networks.

****

At Clarion Project, Ryan Mauro analyzes the new al Shabaab video in terms of the group’s desire to compete with the Islamic State, their desire to attack within the United States and ability to do so:

Threat Watch: ‘Countering Extremism” with extremists

 

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Feb. 19, 2015:

On February 18th, President Obama convened an international “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Summit” at the White House. While being touted as a “new program,” in fact the Summit is a doubling down on a failed program based on a flawed concept.

Unfortunately, the local partners that have been chosen in each of three “model cities,” have time and time again shown to be groups who themselves are responsible for indoctrinating young Muslims to join terror groups.