Islamic State Can Launch an Undetected WMD Attack on the US

islamic-state-chemical-attack-630x350By Brian Fairchild, Nov. 27, 2015:


  • Based on the analysis of the facts and findings below, as of November 27, 2015, the Islamic State has the intent and capability to launch an undetected WMD attack against the American homeland. Absent specific actionable intelligence, there is no way to predict the specific date or location of an attack, or the type of attack that will occur, but it is clear from the intelligence that such an attack is feasible and credible.

On November 15, 2015, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes stated that the Islamic State aspires to attack the United States in a manner similar to the November 13, 2015 Paris attacks but does not have the capability to do so.  He based his assessment on only one criteria – the number of foreign fighters that had returned to Europe.  He said that while thousands of European foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and then returned, only 40 Americans are known to have gone to Syria and returned.  His assessment, however, does not address the key criteria that would allow an accurate assessment of the Islamic State’s intent and capability to launch such an attack.

The following analysis uses primary sources to answer the following relevant questions regarding the Islamic State’s capabilities:

  • Does it have the intent and desire to attack the United States?
  • Does it have the requisite number of personnel and operational experience to conduct such an attack?
  • Does it have access to conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and, if so, can it smuggle them into the country?
  • Does it have the financial ability to finance such an operation?

Once established, an analysis of these facts leads to general findings about the capabilities of the Islamic State, and these findings allow for a logical and credible forecast of its ability to launch such an attack against the homeland.


Intent and desire to attack the United States:

The Islamic State has issued many direct threats against the United States that illustrate its intent and desire to attack inside America.  The following are a few selected threats that illustrate this point.

  • In August 2014, IS declared war against the US in a document sent to the family of beheading victim James Foley. It was addressed to the “American government and their sheep like people” and threatened the following (NOTE:  all emphasis in the text was added by the Islamic State in the original):

Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE!  AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTIL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.  You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children, so we will NOT spare yours!  You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!  The first of which being the blood of American citizen, James Foley.

  • The above threat was followed soon after by the Islamic State’s September 22, 2014, statement encouraging its followers to seek out and kill American, French, and Australian citizens in their homes with whatever weapons are available including cars, knives, and rocks.
  • On April 11, 2015, the Islamic State released an 11 minute video that specifically promised another 9/11-style spectacular attack against the American homeland.
  • On November 18, 2015, in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks, the Islamic State released two videos threatening attacks on the United States; one threatening to burn down the White House, the other showing images of New York’s Time Square in conjunction with a suicide bomber zipping his jacket over his suicide vest.


Threats that are not backed-up by trained, willing, and capable personnel are little more than propaganda.  The Islamic State, however, has the requisite number of trained, combat-hardened, and ideologically motivated personnel to conduct attacks against the United States.

  • The CIA estimates that the Islamic State has smuggled approximately 31,000 foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq.  These individuals hail from over 100 countries, including 250 Americans, and 5,000 Europeans.  But their sheer number of foreign fighters only tells part of the story.  There has also been a qualitative change in the character of today’s jihadists – they are more ideologically extreme, and much more brutal than the jihadists of the bin Laden era.  Because of the Islamic State’s extensive and widely disseminated video propaganda and statements of beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, the revival of slavery, and the inhumane execution of prisoners, there is no doubt that, before they even leave home, the thousands of foreign radical Muslim fighters that flock to the new caliphate do so fully understanding and embracing its barbaric ideology and actions.
  • In direct response to Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes’ assertion that the Islamic State is incapable of launching an attack against the US because relatively few Americans have gone to Syria and Iraq and returned, there is no Islamic State doctrine, policy, or ideological prohibition that requires it to create attack cells against the United States using only American operatives.
  • The Islamic State emerged from al Qaeda in Iraq which provides some insight into how the organization might prepare and conduct an attack against the United States, and the historical record reveals that no previous al Qaeda-directed attacks against the United States have employed American operatives. Rather, all previous al Qaeda-directed jihadi operatives, including all of the 9/11 conspirators, as well as Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber), and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the Underwear Bomber), were non-Americans who entered the United States with legal visas.  None of these attacks were discovered by American or Western intelligence agencies prior to their commencement. 
  • The fact that no previous al Qaeda-directed attacks were conducted by American citizens is not to say, however, that the Islamic State does not have the capability to include American citizens in an attack cell.  Quite to the contrary, the Islamic State has an aggressive program to recruit Americans which has alarmed and overtaxed the FBI.  According to FBI Director James Comey, in just the last year, the Bureau’s Islamic State case load has exploded to 900 active cases, a number, he says, that is quickly reaching the point of exceeding the Bureau’s personnel and financial resources. Worse, he says that the bureau is stymied in monitoring the most important of these cases because of the Islamic State’s use of digital encryption technology, which enables it to “go dark”. 


A terrorist organization can have all the intent in the world and thousands of motivated personnel, but if it does not have actual experience in conducting military and clandestine operations its threats against an adversary are not necessarily credible.  The Islamic State, however, has extensive experience in conducting both military and clandestine operations.  

  • On August 21, 2014, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addressed this very question when he stated that the Islamic State demonstrates “a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess” that represents an “imminent threat to every interest we have”.
  • This “…strategic and tactical military prowess” was demonstrated recently when, in less than two weeks’ time the Islamic State coordinated and carried-out the following three sophisticated clandestine attacks in Lebanon, Egypt and France:
  1. On November 12, 2015, just a day before the Paris attacks, an Islamic State team defeated the vaunted security measures of Hezbollah’s nerve-center in Lebanon and carried-out two suicide bombings, killing 43 and wounding 239.
  2. On October 31, 2015, Islamic State operatives conducted the first successful terrorist attack against a civilian airliner since September 11, 2001 when it thwarted security at the international airport at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and placed an improvised explosive device on-board Russian Metrojet flight 9268. The bomb detonated approximately 20 minutes after take-off killing all 224 passengers.
  3. On November 13, 2015, the Islamic State alarmed all of the world’s western security and intelligence services when, undetected and by surprise, it conducted multi-location attacks in the middle of Paris where French security was operating at its highest alert status. In approximately half-an-hour, three teams, all armed with explosive vests and AK-47 automatic assault rifles, attacked six separate locations including the stadium in which the French president was watching a soccer game, murdering 129 individuals and wounding 350.   This was the worst terrorist attack in France since the end of WWII, and represents the realization of the West’s greatest fears – that foreign fighters would return from Syria and Iraq to wreak havoc.


As stated above, the Islamic State was able to smuggle explosives undetected into Lebanon, as well as through airport security in Egypt to place a device on-board the Russian Metrojet flight.  In Paris, it demonstrated that it had the ability to smuggle conventional explosives and AK-47 assault rifles into the center of Paris.  These operations prove conclusively that the Islamic State can smuggle conventional weapons and explosives into very secure areas.  Because of the brutal nature of the Islamic State and the fact that it recognizes no moral red-line, however, analysts must also consider the likelihood that future attacks in Europe or the United States will include weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical, biological, or radioactive weapons.

  • On November 19, 2015, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned of just this possibility in future attacks against France stating: “we know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons”.
  • On the same day, American and Iraqi intelligence officials revealed that the Islamic State created an organization dedicated to creating chemical weapons and has hired scientists from Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program and elsewhere to accomplish this task.  Nobody knows how far the Islamic State’s chemical weapons program has progressed, but according to US officials, ISIS has already used mustard gas against in enemies in Iraq and Syria on at least four separate occasions. Weapons experts state that the Islamic State is likely only capable of manufacturing crude devices at this point, but a crude device detonated in a public space, such as a shopping mall, is all that is required for it to terrorize a civilian population.
  • Separate from creating its own arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, over a year ago, the Islamic State seized already existing chemical weapons from Iraq’s al Muthanna chemical weapons complex.  The seized weapons include munitions containing Sarin gas, Mustard gas, and the nerve agent VX.  The al Muthanna chemical weapons complex was Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons production line that weaponized these chemical agents in the form of mortar and artillery shells.  Many of these mortar and artillery rounds are not useable in their present form, but in 2006, then Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. General Michael Maples stated that, while these munitions could not be used as originally intended because of corrosion, “the agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents”. 
  • In July 2014, IS fighters seized 88 pounds of uranium compounds from the University of Mosul that can be used to construct a radioactive dirty bomb, and in late November 2014, Islamic State operatives boasted on Twitter that the Islamic State had created a dirty bomb from this material.  The Pentagon confirmed that the Islamic State has the capability to construct such a weapon.

Capability/Transporting WMD or conventional weapons into the United States:

Having access to such weapons of mass destruction and being able to transport them into the United States are two separate matters, which begs the question – “is it possible for the Islamic State to smuggle WMD into the United States?”

This question was definitively answered in March 2015 by US Marine General John Kelly, commander of US Southern Command in his testimony before Congress, in which he described the capabilities of drug smuggling networks and the possibility of terrorist organizations piggy-backing on these networks:

“Clearly, criminal networks can move just about anything on these smuggling pipelines. Terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even quite easily bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.

  • The Islamic State, however, does not have to rely on drug smuggling cartels to smuggle people or weapons into the United States. As recently revealed by the news media, after Islamic State troops were pushed out of the Iraqi city of Sinjar, Kurdish forces discovered that the Islamic State constructed 30 to 40 elaborate tunnels on its own.  The tunnels, some spanning over 200 meters, were wired with electricity, and contained sleeping quarters and weapons storage areas.  It is possible and credible that it could dig its own tunnels into the United States at the southern or northern borders.


  • The Islamic State is described as the richest terrorist organization on earth. It has a war chest estimated at over $2 billion dollars accrued from:  taxes, smuggling oil and antiquities, ransom for hostages, seized bank assets, donations from wealthy Gulf donors, the theft of all property and assets from the minorities it victimizes, and proceeds from zakat (tithing) and Muslim charities.
  • On November 19, 2015, media reports revealed that the US Government recently discovered that it miscalculated the income the Islamic State makes from oil. Originally, the government estimated that it made only $100 million a year, but now realizes that it makes $500 million a year from its oil smuggling operation.


  • Over the past year in numerous videos and statements, the Islamic State has specifically expressed its intent and desire to attack the American homeland, including a video presentation promising another 9/11-type spectacular attack.
  • The Islamic State has tens of thousands of experienced and blooded foreign fighters in its ranks, many thousands of which come from Western Europe and require no visas to travel to the United States. This number also includes at least 250 American citizens, but this number is augmented by the 900 American citizens, spanning all 50 states, that the FBI is currently investigating as supporters and/or operatives of the Islamic State.  It is likely that from among these thousands of operatives and supporters, the Islamic State could, at the very least, create and dispatch a 10 to 20 man team to the United States.
  • The Islamic State demonstrated its “…strategic and tactical military prowess” when it launched three sophisticated terrorist operations in less than two weeks.  By attacking Egypt, Lebanon, and France it demonstrated conclusively that it has the strategic intent and capability to launch operational teams to conduct terrorist operations outside of its immediate area of operation. All three of these attacks took Western intelligence agencies by surprise, establishing the fact that the Islamic State can smuggle its teams and weapons into very secure areas undetected.  This is due to the operational security of the selected teams as well as the Islamic State’s use of very secure encrypted communications technology.
  • The Islamic State has a two-pronged approach to chemical weapons; it is developing its own chemical weapons program, and over a year ago it seized existing chemical weapons and radioactive compounds from Iraqi institutions.  Moreover, according to U.S. officials, it has already used chemical weapons on the battlefield on at least four separate occasions.  The commanding officer of the U.S. Southern Command revealed in Congressional testimony that terrorists could easily smuggle personnel and weapons of mass destruction into the United States via the existing smuggling routes controlled by drug smuggling organizations on the border between Mexico and the U.S.  Moreover, the Islamic State has the capability of unilaterally digging tunnels, as was discovered in the Iraqi city of Sinjar.
  • With a war chest exceeding $2 billion dollars, the Islamic State can easily create, train, and fully support a ten to twenty-man operational cell dispatched to the United States to conduct terrorist operations.
  • Despite the increasing number of American, Russian, and French airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq, there is no evidence that indicates the Islamic State leadership seeks to avoid further military confrontation with any of these countries. Quite to the contrary, all evidence indicates that it is actively trying to provoke additional confrontations.  On November 24, 2015, the Islamic State released a new video that likely rates as the best piece of terrorist propaganda ever made; it throws down the gauntlet and tells the US and the international community to “bring it on!”


Based on the above facts and findings, as of November 27, 2015, the Islamic State has the desire, intent and all the capabilities required to launch an attack against the American homeland.  Within its ranks it has the expertise, trained operatives, financial resources, and possession of WMD to carry-out such an attack.  Absent specific actionable intelligence, there is no way to predict a specific date or location where attacks will occur.  It is likely, however, that the Islamic State has the capability to launch an attack, undetected, within the United States at a time and place of its choosing.

Brian Fairchild was a career officer in CIA’s Clandestine Service.  He has served in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Afghanistan.  Mr. Fairchild writes periodic intelligence analyses on topics of strategic importance.


How the Paris Attacks Increase the Threat to America

A woman takes part in a vigil in front of the French Consulate in Los Angeles as a show of solidarity with the people of France. (Photo: © Reuters)

A woman takes part in a vigil in front of the French Consulate in Los Angeles as a show of solidarity with the people of France. (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Nov. 15, 2015:

The coordinated attacks in Paris and suspected Islamic State bombing of a Russian airliner raises the risk that Islamic State supporters in the U.S. and other Western countries will spur into action. The opening of a new phase in Islamic State (ISIS) terror will also result in a fresh wave of recruits radicalized by the appearance that the Islamic State is quickly ascending.

You can watch Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro discuss this increasing threat on FOX News’ “America’s News HQ” on Saturday afternoon below:

First, there is a risk of “copycat” attacks by the Islamic State and other Islamist terrorist supporters, including those who are loyal to Al-Qaeda and want to show that the group hasn’t become a “has-been” in the jihadist world. It is hard to express the excitement that an aspiring jihadist will feel at two breakthrough moments in the war against the West in such short order. At this sensitive time, any kind of an attack—even a simple shooting or pipe bombing—takes on much greater significance.

If an Islamist terrorist is planning or considering an attack, it is difficult to resist the temptation to strike now. Even a relatively minor attack becomes part of a bigger story, rather than being forgotten amongst the wave of headlines about acts of violence. On an egotistical level, a jihadist will want to attach his name to this dramatic story.

Secondly, there are those who will worry that they might now lose their chance to strike and earn their ticket to Paradise by dying in jihad as a “martyr.” Supporters of the Islamic State have every reason to expect Western governments to become extra aggressive in rounding up possible terrorists. ISIS supporters who believe they are on the authorities’ radar could choose to act sooner instead of patiently preparing their plot and risk being foiled.

The attacks in Paris and on the Russian airliner show that the threat from the Islamic State is greater than ever, and we’ve entered a new period where they’ve moved towards more sophisticated, Al-Qaeda-style attacks in the West. They are engaging in pre-planning and dispatching teams of operatives instead of just hoping to inspire a random supporter into committing violence independently. This upgrade in quality is a powerful tool in the Islamic State’s propaganda arsenal.

The organization’s ability to recruit is largely based on the appearance of success. No one wants to join an organization whose recent history is filled with losses. Moreover, success is seen as Allah‘s endorsement; the ultimate winning argument in a theological debate among those dabbling in Islamist extremism.

Just as the Islamic State’s burst onto the scene with the capturing of Mosul in 2014 earned it a wave of recruits, these attacks will also earn it a wave of recruits and it will encourage the millions of Islamic State supporters who have yet to take up arms to finally act upon their beliefs.

It is critical that the West push back against the Islamic State’s convincing narrative of success. Those in the region understand the importance of this. We saw many tweets from people in the Middle East directed towards ISIS that told the group that their attacks in Paris cannot erase their setbacks elsewhere.

Dramatic events like these make recent losses like the killing of “Jihadi John” and the Kurds recapturing Sinjar seem like distant memories, but they deserve to be a part of the news coverage and U.S. government’s international messaging. Instead of focusing on single events that the Islamic State hopes will grab our attention, we must put them into a broader context that the Islamic State is less eager for the public to know about.


Also see:

U.S. Worries About Airport Security After Possible ISIS ‘Inside Job’ in Egypt

TSA-agents-Getty-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, Nov. 10, 2015:

Mounting suspicion that a Russian Metrojet airliner was destroyed over Egypt by a terrorist bomb, planted by an ISIS “inside man” at the airport, has led to concerns by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over possible security flaws at American airports.

This is somewhat unusual since, as CNN points out, “The U.S. has spent billions of dollars beefing-up screening of passengers with scanners and background checks.” Transportation Security Agency receives an annual budget of over $7 billion. It is fair enough to perform a review of security practices, to increase public confidence that nothing like the appalling situation at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh airport exists here, but the concerns cited by CNN run considerably deeper than that:

The worries in the U.S. lie partly in the fact that the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees air travel security, relies on the operators of the nation’s more than 450 airports to do the vetting of aviation workers. The airports use TSA contractors to do background checks, including checking terrorism databases, legal immigration status and criminal histories.

A U.S. official with knowledge of American aviation security and its vulnerabilities says that while U.S. security is viewed as the gold standard, the screening of workers poses cause for worry.

“(The TSA) checkpoint is only one part of it. You can lock that front door all you want, if you’ve left the back window open it doesn’t really matter,” the official said.

CNN cites a Homeland Security Inspector General report from June that worried the TSA “lacked effective controls to ensure that aviation workers did not have disqualifying criminal histories and that they possessed lawful status and the authorization to work in the United States.”

The inspector found 73 airport workers who passed background checks, but “should have been flagged for terrorism-related categories.” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger later argued before Congress that the true number of questionable workers was 69, not 73, and the troubling information about them “wasn’t sufficient to raise known or suspected terrorist status.”

Every review of the TSA’s actual performance argues the concerns may be valid. Screeners have consistently failed to detect explosives and weapons in security tests. Now there are serious concerns about the agency’s ability to maintain personnel security at airports.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, made this point on ABC’s This Week last Sunday. “This is a problem here at home. When we test the TSA, they fail,” said Schiff. “And I think we really need to step up our security here.”

ABC News notes that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced on Friday that enhanced security measures would be be taken with “commercial flights bound for the U.S. from certain foreign airports.” A source told CNN those airports include Cairo, Kuwait City, and Amman, Jordan.

One official who spoke with CNN said the background checks on airport workers are comparable to those for “passengers who qualify for the TSA Precheck program, which typically allows passengers to board by walking through metal detectors instead of more invasive screening machines.”

Also see:



One Chance is All a Terrorist Needs


How DHS is failing to heed its own warnings.

Frontpage, by Michael Cutler, July 5, 2015:

On June 22, 2015 the ICE Newsroom posted a startling “Top Story” news release under the category, “Document and Benefit Fraud.” The title of the news release was obviously crafted to create the illusionthat a major vulnerability to U.S. national security, the threat of a terror attack, was being addressed: “ICE-DMV partnership combating identity, document fraud.”

The news release was accompanied by a poster. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many words the above poster is worth.

Here is how the news release begins:

If you walk into your local Department of Motor Vehicles office (DMV) on any given day, you’ll most likely find a crowd of people waiting to get a new license or updating their vehicle registration.

What many aren’t aware of is that while they’re waiting in anticipation of their number to be called there may be document and identity fraud taking place just a few feet away.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) identified a potential vulnerability in which DMV employees exploit their positions by selling DMV-issued identification documents for financial gain. The access DMV employees have to the tools and technology needed to produce identity documents has been exploited by criminals who seek these documents to mask their identities and commit crimes ranging from narcotics trafficking, firearms distribution, and murder to even terrorist acts.

With these factors in mind, in December 2009, HQ HSI Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit (IBFU) launched a national outreach campaign to raise awareness about potential employee misconduct at DMV facilities. HSI Special Agent Keith Fowler, a National Program Manager within the IBFU, was charged with implementing and overseeing the outreach campaign.

Since day one, Mr. Obama and his administration have created a larcenous narrative that was carefully crafted to skirt the nexus between immigration and the threat of terrorism. The news release is consistent with that narrative and ignores the nexus between immigration and terrorism.

The 9/11 Commission certainly made note of failures of state agencies, especially Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) that enabled a number of the terrorists who wrought such destruction to assume multiple false identities by acquiring multiple driver’s licenses. However, the 9/11 Commission made it clear that failures of components of the immigration system enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves in the United States.

At the risk of stating the obvious, for the terrorists to game the process by which driver’s licenses are issued, they first need to enter the United States. If the terrorists could not have acquired visas and could not have entered the United States. They could not have attacked us.

Even if the terrorists had managed to enter the United States by stowing away on a ship or running our borders, but were unable to successfully defraud the immigration benefits program they could not have attacked us.

While the poster seeks to create the illusion that DHS is working aggressively to protect America and Americans, In reality, some of the greatest threats to national security are the direct result of the many failures of the DHS that fundamentally undermine national security and public safety.

To this point, the staff of attorneys and federal agents who were assigned to the 9/11 Commission issued a report known as the “9/11 and Terrorist TravelStaff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”

This report focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States and ultimately embed themselves in the United States as they went about their deadly preparations. Page 54 contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

The poster and press release above focus on how the administration is trying to convince state motor vehicle agencies to go after their corrupt officials who provide criminals with licenses they should not have. Does DHS have to convince state governments to seek to identify corrupt officials?

The irony is that DHS is providing lawful status to immigration law violators without any legal underpinning. USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the division of DHS that adjudicates all applications for various immigration benefits has provided hundreds of thousands of “DREAMERs” with official identity documents to signify that they have been granted temporary lawful status and employment authorization- without a face-to-face interview and without field investigations. This is a virtual open invitation to fraud.

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What Fireworks Does ISIS Plan for the 4th of July?

0 (5)PJ Media, by  James Jay Carafano On June 29, 2015:

What to make of reports that ISIS may try to pull off a terrorist attack on Independence Day?

Let’s look at the facts.

It is not the first time after 9/11 that U.S. authorities have expressed concerns about possible terrorist attacks timed to coincide with significant dates like the 4th of July.  In 2011, a senior U.S. official told reporters, “We have received credible information very recently about a possible plot directed at the homeland that seems to be focused on New York and Washington, D.C.,” timed for the anniversary of al Qaeda’s big attack on the two cities. Some hold that the assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi was scheduled to coincide with 9/11.   In fact, warnings of impending terror threats from authorities go back as far as 2002.

Next, we know that ISIS is active—both promoting and inspiring transnational terrorist attacks. Just last week near simultaneous assaults occurred in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.

Further, the US remains a prime target for terrorist activity.  There was another Islamist terrorist related plot uncovered last week—the third in less than a month.

Additionally, we can’t even be sure of where an attack might happen. Terrorists have contemplated hitting everything from high-profile targets in big cities to shopping malls in the suburbs.

None of that necessarily means that something bad will happen between grilling the hot dogs, cheering on the main street parades and watching the fireworks over the capitol.

Coordinating a terrorist attack to happen at a specific time and place, particularly when there will likely be heightened awareness and security, complicates the challenge of pulling off a terror strike–though those obstacles didn’t thwart two relative amateurs who bombed the Boston Marathon (and who had also considered conducting an attack on Independence Day).

Still, if an attack does occur the odds of any particular American being a victim are pretty small.  That’s cold comfort, as the real purpose of terrorist attacks is to terrorize us, killing us is just a consequence.

Best advice is to have a nice day, but take the common-sense precautions that people should always take in public. There are plenty of lists out there of the right steps to take. Read one.

The reality is that even the best security can’t child-proof a free society.  On July 4, of all days, Americans shouldn’t want it any other way. When a free society gives up on freedom the terrorists win.


Also see:


I’ve been searching for a good article on situational awareness and there is precious little out there. If my readers can find any please leave links in a comment. Here is an interesting one:

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Rep. Nunes: America Faces Highest Terror Threat Level Ever

ftnnunes0621-450x323Frontpage, June 25, 2015 by Michael Cutler:

Usually the first challenge I face in writing my commentaries is to come up with a concise title that captures the most salient part of the issue I am writing about. Today I found this task easy, I simply borrowed the headline from CBS News’ Face the Nation article that quoted none other than Congressional Representative Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That headline is concise and echoes the very same concerns I have had in reviewing all of the publicly available information on the issue of threats posed by international terrorists.

What is impossible to understand is how the administration, members of Congress, local and state politicians and journalists have been absolutely unwilling to “connect the impossible to ignore dots” that are flashing, not unlike the strobe lights on a police car or other emergency vehicle.

Here is the segment of the article that accompanied the headline and addressed the topic of the threat of terrorism in the United States today:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, said the nation faces “the highest threat level we have ever faced in this country” due to the flow of foreign fighters to and from Iraq and Syria and the radicalization of young people on the Internet.

U.S. officials have been warning for months about the threat posed by people from America or Western Europe who travel to the Middle East to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and then return to their home countries, where they may carry out attacks. Nunes said the U.S. is not aware of all the people who have made the trek or who have now come back, although FBI Director James Comey has said there are cases open in all 50 states.

Officials are increasingly looking for ways to combat radical jihadists’ effectiveness in recruiting supporters through social media.

“They’re very good at communicating through separate avenues where it’s very difficult to track,” he said. “That’s why when you get a young person who is willing to get into these chat rooms, go on the Internet and get radicalized, it’s something we are not only unprepared [for], we are also not used to it in this country.”

He said that investigations often “do no good” in encrypted chat rooms where those communications take place, so Americans should be diligent about reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities because “we are having a tough time tracking terrorist cells within the United States.”

The warnings are particularly pertinent with the July 4 holiday approaching. Nunes noted that there will be large gatherings in every city across America.

“It’s just tough to secure those types of areas if you have someone who wants to blow themselves up or open fire or other threats of that nature and we just don’t know or can track all of the bad guys that are out there today,” he said.

The famed playwright, George Bernard Shaw’s statement says it all:

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”

If our leaders were to seek to learn history’s lessons they should read the appropriate history books.

The 9/11 Commission Report and the “9/11 and Terrorist TravelStaff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” are the most complete and authoritative “history books” concerning the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and even included evaluations of vulnerabilities that led to previous terror attacks — both those that succeeded and those that failed. These books were prepared by the government of the United States in response to the horrific terror attacks that left more than 3,000 innocent victims dead.

My May 22, 2015 commentary for the Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) website, “Bin Laden, The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration,” addressed the fact that when the U.S. Navy SEALS raided the bin Laden compound, among the documents found in his library were a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report and a copy of an application for United States citizenship. It must be presumed that he had no intentions of filing for U.S. citizenship himself, but was contemplating embedding his terrorist operatives in the United States through the naturalization process.

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House Subcommittee Hearing on “Intelligence Void” involved in admitting Syrian Refugees

3927540564CSP, by Alessandra Gennarelli, June 24, 2015:

Wednesday, June 24th, the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled “Admitting Syrian refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat.” This hearing addressed the issue of the FBI’s inability to vet incoming Syrian and Iraqi refugees that could have terrorist ties.

Chairman Representative Peter King (R-NY) started by stating that “Americans opening doors to those who flee violence is a part of who we are” giving examples to past refugee success stories such as Albert Einstein, before summarizing the security threat in Iraq and Syria and the “vulnerabilities in the screening process.”

Rep. King went on to highlight the threat of “refugees who take advantage of the safe haven,” stating that the “savagery of ISIS” has caused the “worlds biggest refugee crisis.” He stated that the area has a “lack of stable foreign governments” and the “information and intelligence we are able to acquire is limited and often times unverifiable.”

Rep. King ended his opening statement by saying that while America “should not close [it’s] doors” it should be “thoughtful and intuitive with the most assurance that we are not importing terrorists” and that the panel testifying should “solicit recommendations on additional measures that should be taken.”

In his opening statement, Dr. Seth Jones, the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, warned that a “growing number of attacks in the US are linked back to this region” and that there are “4 million refugees based in the Syrian province.” He went on to say that Syria has the “highest number of foreign fighters, several [terrorist] groups in the region have planned to put operatives in the west including Europe, and the US intelligence understanding [in the area] is worse.” He summarized by saying that the “US does have a long standing tradition of offering asylum … however an integral part is insuring that those refugees including those in jihadist battlefields do not present a risk to safety and security in the west.”

Thomas Fuentes, former FBI Assistant Director, followed by stating that the International Police Cooperation or Interpol, is “essential in everything we do” and that lack of working partners in Syria, specifically the lack of police and government in the region, is a large reason the FBI does not have the capabilities to vet incoming refugees from the area. Thomas Fuentes stated that he has served as a member of the Executive Committee of Interpol and opened an FBI office in Baghdad, which was a crucial resource for intelligence on the area. He continued to state that a lack of government in Syria deeply affects America’s ability to gain information concerning refugees in the area.

Daveed Gartenstein- Ross, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense Democracies, began his opening statement discussing the interest the country should have in “alleviating the situation in Syria.” He added that if a terrorist group should decide to pose a terrorist as a refugee they would have to “land in a refugee camp and get picked up in the lottery process by the UN” to be chosen to come here. He continued in saying that the radicalization process of those already in the United States is the bigger problem. He gave the example of someone in the United States who has an interest in Syria and looks at the terrorist group al- Nusra as cooperative as having an alleviated risk of radicalization than imported refugees. He also stated that the declining domestic product causes a risk in handling these problems, and that a reevaluation of the US migration policy is in order. He ended by stating that the US has a bad reputation of “not standing by those who help us” and that we need to “focus on our obligation to Iraqis and Afghans who assisted U.S. efforts in these countries.”

Rep. King then asked the panel whether Jordan could be relied upon to help in the vetting process. Fuentes answered by stating that the United States has an excellent relationship with the Jordanians and their intelligence is excellent. Dr. Jones agreed in saying that Jordan does have the best handle on the problem but that there should be a layered system in which our intelligence program follows the Jordanian vetting process, and that we should not rely on anyone else to do this process for us.

Congressman Lou Barletta (R- PA) asked, “How would you access the intelligence communities to properly vet refugees for admission?” Dr. Jones commented that Syria has far fewer human collectors, intelligence capabilities and has a much weaker ability to collect information useful for the vetting process.”

Fuentes then went on to point out that since “refugees are enemies of the state, we cannot rely on that state to vet them properly.”

The witnesses were then asked about helping these refugees in ways other than bringing them into the country. Daveed answered saying that the American public has a strong duty and that “actually addressing the situation over there is important.” He commented that we could “improve the situation in camps and provide job and educational opportunities.” He supported thinking about helping the issue in the area of origin and that it would be “the best use of money.” Fuentes agreed with providing resources “that would make camps more livable” but warned that the length of time that this aid would be provided would determine the timing of terrorism, because these groups would wait until the program ends to send their men through refugee camps.

Rep. Keating (D- MA) asked about the internal intelligence found on the ground with limited people there. Dr. Jones answered that while “capabilities are better today than a few years ago … better doesn’t mean good.”

Chairman King asked about maintaining surveillance on those entering the United States as Syrian refugees. Fuentes quickly answered saying the FBI cannot track these people “unless there is a predication or indication that the person is involved in criminal activity” and that tracking a large population such as all Syrian refugees is not plausible as the amount observed has to be narrowed down before it can be initiated. Daveed followed by saying that the US vetting system is “very antiquated.”

Chairman King concluded the hearing by saying there is currently “no real answer” to the problem, and “there is still going to be risks there no matter what process we follow.” However, it is “in our national interest that something be done and we are going to have to find a way to do it…

Investigation: Undercover agents snuck fake explosives, banned weapons past TSA

7941074_GFox News, June 1, 2015:

Undercover agents were able to sneak fake explosives and banned weapons through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, in an investigation that revealed a massive, system-wide security failure at America’s airports.

The findings were part of a DHS inspector general probe. The report is still classified, but Fox News has confirmed the investigation found security failures at dozens of airports.

Homeland Security officials confirmed to Fox News that TSA screeners failed 67 out of 70 tests — or 96 percent — carried out by special investigators known as “red teams.”

In one case, an undercover agent with a fake bomb strapped to his back set off a magnetometer — but the screener still failed to find it.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a statement late Monday outlining a series of actions he had ordered in response to the findings, including more training for all transportation security officers, re-evaluation of airport screening equipment and continued covert testing.

“We take these findings very seriously,” he said.

The tests, and findings, were first reported by ABC News.

The tests were designed to push the boundaries of the screening system — set up after 9/11 — to prevent weapons from getting onto planes. These tests are covert and designed to be as challenging as possible.

Johnson reportedly sought a briefing on the findings last week at TSA headquarters.

“Red Team testing of the aviation security network has been part of TSA’s mission advancement for 13 years,” the DHS spokesman told Fox News in a statement. “The numbers in these reports never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security.”

The spokesman said “several” of the changes Johnson directed following the report are now in place.

“These actions are in addition to a number of security enhancements the Secretary has directed TSA to implement to our aviation and airport security since the beginning of his tenure,” the official said, stressing that all travelers are “subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of protection, both seen and unseen.”

On Capitol Hill, an aide to Senate homeland security committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said the chairman has not yet seen the full report but preliminary news reports “raise valid concerns in light of earlier inspector general findings and ‘red team’ tests of TSA’s vulnerabilities.”

The aide, said, “Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to secure our air travel system. It’s important for that goal to be met.”

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Matthew Dean contributed to this report.

What You Should Know About the Recent Wave of Islamist Terrorist Attacks


Daily Signal, by David Inserra, May 28, 2015:

On the evening of May 3, two men armed with rifles attacked the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Texas. While both shooters were killed before they could get inside the exhibit, this attack is the 68th Islamist terrorist plot or attack against the U.S. since 9/11.

The incident has raised significant questions about the way terrorists are being recruited in the United States and what America can do to stop them.

These two infographics tell the story about a spike in Islamist terror activity and their top targets.


U.S. Welcomes Millions of Aliens ‘Sight Unseen’

customs-450x340Frontpage, May 12, 2015 by Michael Cutler:

On May 6, 2015 Fox News reported, “Purported ISIS warning claims terror cells in place in 15 states.”

Here is how that ominous report began:

A grim online warning from a self-described American jihadist said Sunday’s terror attack in Texas was the work of ISIS and that the terrorist group has scores of “trained soldiers” positioned in 15 states, awaiting orders to carry out more operations.

The warning, which was posted on a file-sharing site, could not be verified, but was signed by Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki. That name matches the moniker of a shadowy American known to have joined a terrorist group in Pakistan several years ago and who has appeared in propaganda videos before. The chilling threat named five of the states where it is claimed that ISIS has terror cells in place.

News coverage about this threat included statements by the administration that it was prepared to pay millions of dollars to anyone who could provide information to enable them to locate leaders of terror organizations. Monetary payments for information is a good strategy. However, although it is not generally known, immigration benefits or visas for aliens illegally present in the United States and their families can provide a far greater incentive to get aliens to provide vital information. I base this assessment on my personal experience.

I spent roughly half of my career involved in conducting investigations into large-scale narcotics trafficking organizations. I had a desk at the DEA, FBI and ATF. One of my key responsibilities was to use my authority as an INS agent to identify and cultivate informants and cooperators.

The administration’s outrageous immigration policies have largely undermined this important and highly successful incentive. Consider that the administration is willing to provide just about any illegal alien with the ability to remain in the United States and even be granted employment authorization.

I addressed the nexus between immigration enforcement and the cultivation of intelligence in my November 10, 2014 article for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), “Lack of Intelligence in Failures to Enforce Immigration Laws.”

In its continuing coverage of this threat, Fox News interviewed Congressman Peter King on the day that the above article was posted on the Fox News website. King had been the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and currently is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves on the Financial Services Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The interview included a discussion about the dangers associated with the Visa Waiver Program and the threat posed by terror “sleeper cells.” My article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat,” was published by FrontPage Magazine on January 23, 2015 and addressed this serious vulnerability.

The visa process requires aliens who seeks to enter the United States to complete an application that contains approximately 40 questions and is interviewed, in person, by a consular official. Aliens who are eligible to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program do not fill out that application and face no in-person interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy.

On 9/11 the Visa Waiver Program permitted aliens from 26 countries to enter the United States without first applying for a visa. Today that list has been expanded to cover 38 countries.

Given the severity of the threats posed by international terrorists, the Visa Waiver Program should have been terminated and not expanded. However, a new threat to national security has been created within the past two years. That threat is a program known as Automated Passport Control (APC). Under this program, aliens who are eligible to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program may now enter the United States by interacting with a kiosk that looks similar to an ATM and is not to be confused with “Robo-Cop.”

Installing these kiosks began in March 2013 at international airports around the United States and the list of airports using these devices has been expanding ever since.

It is worth noting that the program references “controlling passports” but ignores the term “immigration.” Do we need to control passports or aliens who enter the United States?

This is yet another example of Orwellian Newspeak. The term “alien” has all but been expunged from the conversation except, of course, when we talk about “DREAMers” (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). Now the term immigration is about to be eradicated as well. In point of fact, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had moved most of their special agents to a new subdivision known as HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) to expunge that apparently offensive term (immigration) from the vernacular.

Read more 

‘Terrorism has gone viral’: US officials, lawmakers warn of growing jihad-inspired attacks

ISIS_Twitter_2Fox News, May 10, 2015:

Top U.S. officials and lawmakers on Sunday intensified concerns about the growing threat of jihad-inspired terror attacks against the United States, after last week’s attempt in Texas and the dire FBI warning that followed.

“I think there’s been an uptick in the stream of threats out there,” Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re seeing these directives on almost a daily basis. It’s very concerning. Terrorism has gone viral.”

McCaul’s comments follow the May 3 attack by two gunmen outside a “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas.

Tweets by one of the two gunmen, killed by police in the attack, appear to link him to radical Islamic terror groups. And Internet chatter purportedly tipped off officials about a possible attack on the event.

On Thursday, FBI Director James Comey said the attack, in which a security officer was shot in the leg, highlights the difficulties the FBI faces — as social media facilitates communication between terror groups and potential homegrown extremists.

He also said the Islamic State terror group has thousands of English-language followers on Twitter, including many in the U.S.

tfss-01f17193-eb53-4fa3-b838-98d2381295de-811740152The group also is increasingly steering followers into forums that allow for encrypted communications that can be harder for law enforcement officials to access.

In addition, the Islamic State has been encouraging followers to travel to Syria to join the self-created caliphate there, but if they can’t do that, to “kill where you are,” Comey said.

“The siren song sits in the pockets, on the mobile phones, of the people who are followers on Twitter,” Comey said. “It’s almost as if there’s a devil sitting on the shoulder, saying ‘Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill,’ all day long.”

McCaul said Comey was “exactly right” and that trying to find ISIS’ calling for terror attacks across the broad spectrum of social media is “like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

He also said the terror threat now is “one of the highest that I’ve ever seen” and warned of similar incidents in the future.

“It’s going to get worse, not better,” he said. “This is very difficult to stop.”

Also on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the U.S. is facing a new phase of terrorism in which a so-called lone-wolf terrorist, inspired by Islamic State propaganda on social media, could “strike at any moment.”

The Obama administration has said the attack in suburban Dallas last week was a “lone wolf” effort.

“We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIL’s effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others,” Johnson said on  ABC’s “This Week.”

On Friday, the Pentagon increased security measures for military bases across the country based on what officials said are increasing but non-specific threats from Islamic State extremists and supporters.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday also agreed with Comey.

“I think [the Islamic State’s message] is ‘kill, kill, kill,’ ” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a force that we really haven’t seen before, and we have to begin to cope more seriously with it, and that includes social media.”

She also suggested a changing terror environment in which Islamic extremist groups encourage a lone wolf to commit an attack, then “take credit for it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ISIS Plots to Bring the “Flames of War” the US, UK and Australia

S-Flames-of-War-Propaganda-Video-02May 9, 2015 / ISIS Study Group /

Well, we’ve come full-circle. On 08 MAR 15 we came out with an article on the Islamic State (IS) establishing a foreign fighter unit known as the “Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion” that consists of English-speakers (“The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West”). We also discussed how that unit was tasked with getting the personnel within the ranks enough experience to be sent back to their countries of origin within the next 4-5 months. The specific countries our sources said that would be most at risk were the US, UK and Australia. The Successful attack in Kabul, Afghanistan and failed ANZAC Day plot in Melbourne, Australia (check out “Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot” for more details) were merely the opening shots for bringing the “Flames of War” to the west. Recently, a cell attacked a Muhammad Cartoon contest being hosted by Pam Gellar in Garland, Texas. IS claimed responsibility for the attack. We assess that none of this is a “coincidence,” and that these attack plots are part of a much larger campaign to take the fight to the west. Furthermore, we suspect that IS-linked cells will attempt to execute attacks in the US within the next 3-4 days with additional attacks being launched in the UK and Australia – yes, we’ve been saying that for a few months now that we would be seeing this around this time of year. More importantly, we’re seeing American and Aussie foreign fighters synching up their OPs for a coordinated effort – the largest projection of IS terror on the international stage.

The Increasing Role of Aussie Jihadists in ISIS Efforts to Expand into Southeast Asia and Strike the West

Dropping the Hammer: Aussie Police Thwart ANZAC Day Attack Plot

FBI Alerted Garland Police About Elton Simpson Hours Before Shooting

Junaid Hussein Source: Central News

Junaid Hussein
Source: Central News

The US Department of Defense has announced that military installations are on “alert” for potential attacks while the professionally-bankrupt US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that there isn’t a “specific threat” made to any particular installation. DHS’ statement isn’t completely accurate according to our sources. The individual coordinating the US OPs is Syria-based UK national Junaid Hussein, and he’s reported to have been researching US military installations in Colorado and Ohio, so despite what DHS is saying IS appears to be focusing on a base in one of those two states. Hussein first appeared on the US government’s radar when it was revealed that he was responsible for establishing IS’ cyber-warfare capability. Although most people know him as the leader of the “Cyber Caliphate,” he’s also a prominent recruiter who assisted Australian foreign fighter Neil Prakash aka “Abu Khalid al-Cambodi” in the establishment of the Anwar al-Awlaqi Battalion. Hussein has previously run afoul of the British government and previously jailed in 2012.

ISIS activity prompts threat level increase at bases

Junaid Hussain: CyberCaliphate Leader And ISIS Member Was Behind CENTCOM Hack, Report Says

Hacker who stole Tony Blair’s details and bombarded anti-terror hotline with prank calls is jailed and claims his crime was no worse than those committed by Bullingdon members


Source: The ISIS Study Group

Additionally, Hussein has been passing down guidance to cells operating in western countries on target selection and giving them advice on proper OPSEC procedures. Much of this is being done on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. We find it rather amusing that DHS and the American mainstream media is just now starting to notice how heavily saturated our nation is with IS propaganda. We wrote about this in our article titled, “al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists” that was posted on 25 OCT 15. These cells are domestic in nature in that none of the personnel have traveled to Syria. However, these cells and lone wolves are only the first phase of this campaign as the Syria returnees are expected to start returning to their home countries by the end of the month. In fact, we’ve been hearing that some may have already started to trickle in. This presents a big problem in that these personnel returned with the knowledge and connections to set up their own networks and attack cells – and they will be traveling with western passports that won’t draw as much attention as someone with a Saudi or Pakistani passport.

al-Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America With its Social Media Outreach to Jihadists

The current attack plans appear to be a combination of IED attacks and shootings like what we saw in Garland or even the scenario we discussed last summer in “ISIS: Target America.” We suspect that they may opt to go with the pressure cooker IED design like the one used in the Boston Bombing. IS also took note of the response to he attack by local law enforcement and armed civilians and aren’t likely to make the same mistake. Instead, they appear to be looking at hitting soft targets in American cities in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles in addition to targeting military installations in Colorado and Ohio. Regarding the targeting of military installations on American soil, we assess that individual service members will also be targeted. Hussein and associate Riyad Khan were the guys who released the addresses, identities and photographs of 100 US military personnel in late-MAR that we covered in “Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information.” This is yet another example of the coordination that’s taking place between Cambodia and Hussein. If you recall, the ANZAC Day plot called for the targeting of an individual police officer in the same manner as the murder of British Soldier Lee Rigby. That is not a coincidence. Hussein and Cambodia are working together.

Australian listed in Isis guidebook as go-to man for recruits

ISIS: Target America

Target America: Hunting the US Military

Islamic State Urging Attacks on US Military at Home Publishes Personal Information


Some of the identities exposed by Hussein and Khan
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Another example of the Hussein-Cambodi campaign can be seen through a militant we’ve identified as Shawn Parson, a Trinidian IS member who has maintained regular contact with Cambodi over the past few months. He’s been making several posts about “plotting revenge” for the arrest of IS sympathizer Keonna Thomas and has shown a preference for targeting US government officials. The threats were made through his Twitter account (@Amriki_Irhabi) but it was taken down. The threats he’s been making appear to be connected to the ongoing threat stream as he had made specific references to US Air Force installations located in Colorado prior to his first account being taken down. When one of our staff came across him through their network analysis, we came across posts that implied that he had prior knowledge of the shootings. We suspect he was privy to this information through his relationship with Cambodi. In fact there’s unconfirmed reporting that Parson was in a photograph with Cambodi that was published in issue 8 of Dabiq Magazine. We hope somebody with some common sense in DHS has already put two and two together – but we’re not holding our breath.

Philadelphia Woman Joins ISIS: How Keonna Thomas’ Alleged Plans To Connect With The Islamic State Group Unraveled

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 3.05.40 PM

Parson’s new Twitter account @Irhabi_IS_187 (Note that he’s also following the UK’s Pied Piper of Jihad Anjem Choudray – which can be seen on the bottom right part of this screen shot)
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Shortly after setting up the new account more threats began to be posted. He’s quite the charmer, isn’t he?
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 10.03.26 AM

The guy on the right is allegedly Parson – we’re still working to confirm/deny
Source: Dabiq Magazine issue 8

Meanwhile in Australia, the Australian security forces continue to drop the hammer on IS cells in the country with another series of raids targeting safe-houses in Melbourne and Sydney. The following individuals were paid a visit by the Australian Federal Police (AFP):

Muhammad Hasan Kollab – The AFP confiscated material that was being used to produce IEDs.
Yassir Ali Bakhit

Ahmed Hussein (no relation to Junaid Hussein)
Isaac Majoub – This individual has been under investigation since November 14 and is described as a “young kid” between 15-17 yrs of age.

These individuals were planning to conduct attacks the Mother’s Day weekend. We have identified the Sydney Opera House as one of the primary targets for this series of attacks. Although the media reports are saying that its uncertain if this is connected to the failed ANZAC Day pot, we can assure you it is. Furthermore, All four individuals were in direct contact with Cambodi, who – along with close associate Muhammad Junaid Thorne – were overseeing that particular operation. We suspect that Thorne was also involved with the Mother’s Day plot. According to our sources in the country, this operation was within hours of being put into the execution phase. Our Aussie allies have once again demonstrated that they’re not professionally bankrupt like their American counterparts at DHS and ensured the safety of the civilian population. The Australian threat appears to have been blunted, for now. However, a key aspect of this strategy is to overwhelm western security forces to where something “falls through the cracks.” In fact With multiple threat streams spanning across multiple countries we see the scenario we discussed in the first installment of our Target America series on an international scale. The month of MAY is only the start with Syria returnees affiliated with the Anwar al-Awlaki Battalion beginning to redeploy back to their home countries. More will begin returning in JUN, at which time we can expect to see some of these personnel embedding themselves with the local cells comprised of individuals who didn’t go to Syria themselves. Hussein and Cambodi have been the main points of contact for linking these cells up with Syria vets. The Australian government “gets it,” but the US and British governments are still plagued with political correctness. In the case of the US, incompetence is another major factor that got us to the current situation. We assess that DHS will continue their reactionary posture which increases the likelihood of another IS attack. Not bad for the “JV Team,” huh?

Melbourne anti-terrorism raids: Police uncover explosive devices at Greenvale house in city’s north

Police conduct anti-terror raid in Melbourne suburb

‘Closest call yet’: Police say tip-off sparked Melbourne raids which found alleged improvised explosive devices

Ohio Arrest Shows Threat to U.S. from Al-Qaeda in Syria


What now for the U.S.’ relationship with Al-Nusra after an American goes to Syria for jihadist training and returns to commit terrorism?

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 19, 2015:

Al-Nusrah American citizen Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was indicted after a cleric associated with Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda in Syria) ordered him to carry out an attack here, the Justice Department announced. His plot to attack a military base in Texas was thwarted. The involvement of Al-Nusra will make it difficult for the U.S. to keep looking the other way as it gains territory in Syria.

Originally from Somalia, Mohamud grew up in the U.S. He lives in Columbus, Ohio and Islamist radicalism seems to be a family affair in this case. His brother died fighting for Al-Qaeda in Syria and was apparently a major influence in Mohamud’s radicalization.

Their younger brother, Abdiqani Aden, was arrested earlier this month during a visit to Mohamud because he made a gun symbol with his hands and pointed towards the sheriff’s deputies. He was speaking in a foreign language at the time. This is especially threatening because Mohamud’s second-choice target was a prison.

The government’s monitoring of communication between the two older brothers shows their motivations were not frustration with U.S. foreign policy or personal trials. They were inspired by a glorification of those who die in violent jihad and a belief that such “martyrs” are guaranteed entry into heaven.

His brother left the U.S. in May 2013 and went to Syria to link up with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing. Mohamud’s travel arrangements involved Al-Nusra members and that is presumably the group he joined, but his online postings showed his loyalty was with ISIS. Al-Nusra facilitators appear to have been surprisingly unconcerned by this.

This may indicate the rift between the leadership of ISIS and Al-Qaeda isn’t necessarily trickling down to most of the membership. The attacks in Paris are another example where Al-Qaeda and ISIS supporters worked together despite the quarrels of their leaders.

His brother was killed in June 2014 and he returned home afterwards. Mohamud told a close associate that he completed his training with an unidentified terrorist group in Syria and a cleric told him to return to the U.S. to carry out an attack. The indictment charges Mohamud with providing material support to Al-Nusra, so it appears that he never joined ISIS.

Mohamud began plotting but two unidentified individuals close to him reported their dialogues to the FBI and likely recorded them. One was a friend of his for three years and all indications point to one or both of these informants being Muslim. This is another example of why the demonization of informants by groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is so dangerous.

Mohamud decided his preference was to attack a military site with a prison as a backup option. He chose a base in Texas and hoped to execute three or four U.S. soldiers before achieving “martyrdom.” The FBI arrested him before he could start putting the details together.

The cleric’s involvement is an important detail because it threatens to unravel the Obama Administration’s façade that Al-Nusra isn’t a direct threat to America. It also indicates the group is putting an increased emphasis on hitting us at home.

The U.S. realized in September the air campaign against ISIS needed to include a unit within Al-Nusra named the Khorasan Group that was orchestrating terror plots against the West. The problem is that Al-Nusra is much more popular than ISIS and works closely with other Syrian rebels, including ones the U.S. supported and anticipated relying upon to fight ISIS on the ground.

The desire to avoid alienating Al-Qaeda-allied Syrian rebels and their supporters led the Obama Administration to begin promoting a myththat the Khorasan Group is an independent entity that is somehow illogically linked to Al-Qaeda but not Al-Nusra. The New York Timesrepeated it in its coverage of this case.

The myth is harmful to U.S. interests and anti-Islamist Syrians because it distances Al-Nusra from Al-Qaeda, thereby giving it a higher ceiling of public support. A Zogby poll in November found the population of Turkey favors Al-Nusra above all other participants in the Syrian civil war. A whopping 40% of Turks support Al-Nusra the most.

The indications are that Mohamud’s Syrian cleric is from Al-Nusra but it’s still significant he’s in ISIS because that would mean it is now dispatching operatives from the region to America. That would be a shift from relying on so-called “lone wolves” inside the U.S. who plan terrorism because they’ve determined that traveling to the Caliphateis unlikely to succeed.

It is true that Mohamud’s case is important because it’s the first publicly-acknowledged case of an American going to Syria for jihadist training and returning home to commit terrorism, but there’s a bigger point to be made. The U.S. is at war with Jabhat al-Nusra because it is at war with Al-Qaeda. If a Syrian rebel partner doesn’t approve of the U.S. recognizing that unavoidable fact, then that’s not a partner worth having.

Putting America in the dark

, April 15, 2015:

The recent temporary blackout in Washington that afflicted the White House, the Congress and interrupted a State Department press conference rightly provoked a spate of media commentary about the vulnerability of the electric grid to terrorist attack. The blackout reportedly was caused by a small explosion resulting from a malfunction in a transformer substation.

Nonetheless, the White House and Congress should regard the blackout as a wake-up call, a reminder that a protracted blackout can indeed be inflicted on the national electric grid by terrorists or rogue states — with catastrophic consequences for society. A nationwide blackout lasting months or years could be inflicted by physical sabotage, cyberattack, or worst of all, by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon or from a geomagnetic super storm caused by the sun.

The likelihood of a nuclear EMP attack is unknown but increasing with the proliferation of technology for missiles and nuclear weapons. NASA in a July 2014 report warned that earth narrowly missed a geomagnetic super storm in 2012.

NASA estimates that the probability of a super geo-storm is 12 percent per decade, which virtually guarantees that the world will encounter a catastrophic natural EMP event within our lifetimes or that of our children.

Yet the White House and the Congress have done nothing to protect the electric grid from a long-term blackout that, according to the EMP Commission, could kill up to nine in 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.

President Obama is willing to defy Congress and stir national controversy by issuing executive orders of dubious constitutional and public policy merit. But the White House has ignored since 2008 the draft executive order recommended by the EMP Commission to protect the nation’s life-sustaining electric grid and other critical infrastructures. This executive order is vitally necessary and clearly within the constitutional mandate “to provide for the common defense.”

The Congress, too, since 2008 has failed to implement any of the recommendations of its own Congressional EMP Commission. Despite the House unanimously passing bills such as the Grid Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act — the bills always die in the Senate, without even being brought to a vote.

The Shield Act, a bill designed to protect the national grid from EMP, championed by Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, has been trapped in the House Energy and Commerce Committee for years.

Some states — notably Maine, Virginia, Arizona, Florida and Texas — are trying to protect their grids and people from EMP, much to their credit. That the states must act because Washington won’t should put the White House and Congress to shame.

While the White House and Congress play politics, the bad guys are getting ready to wage against us what can be described as a blackout war.

The EMP Commission found the military doctrines of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran describe a revolutionary new kind of warfare that would use cyberattacks and physical sabotage, combined and coordinated with EMP attack, to black out the national electric grid and crash the other critical infrastructures — communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water.

Thus, high-tech armies and navies would be rendered obsolete.

For the first time in history, failed states such as Iran or North Korea, or terrorists could use a blackout war to destroy the most successful societies on earth. Mr. Franks noted in the congressional record in December 2014 that a recently translated Iranian military textbook calls for exactly such an attack on the United States.

The week prior to the Washington blackout, Turkey experienced a temporary nationwide blackout, all except one small Turkish province that imports its electricity from Iran, by causes still unknown. On Jan. 25, terrorists blacked out 80 percent of Pakistan — a nuclear weapons state. Last year on June 9, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula blacked out the entire nation of Yemen, putting 18 cities and 24 million people into the dark. On Oct. 27, 2013, across our unprotected southern border in Mexico, the Knights Templars criminal drug cartel blacked out 420,000 people so they could execute leaders opposed to the drug trade.

The writing is on the wall that, sooner or later, a blackout is coming our way.

April 16 marks the second anniversary of the attack on the Metcalf transformer substation in San Jose, California, that highlighted the vulnerability of the national grid. It also marks the second anniversary of North Korea apparently practicing a nuclear EMP attack by orbiting a satellite over the United States on an optimum trajectory to avoid our national missile defenses and put a peak EMP field over Washington and New York— our political and economic capitals.

Mr. Obama should observe the occasion by signing the EMP Commission’s draft executive order to protect the nation, and Congress should pass the Shield and Critical Infrastructure Protection Acts — now.

Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security and served in the Congressional EMP Commission, the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.

BREAKING: New Islamic State Video Calls for Attacks on the American Homeland, Promises Another 9/11


PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 11, 2015:

(video here)

At this juncture I would note the New York Times front page article on December 29th that described how America’s top war fighters, namely Special Operations Command, freely admit that they don’t understand the ideology driving ISIS and other Islamic terror groups:

WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?

Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.

“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.

You can call in all the marketing executives and Harvard academics all you like, but when the Obama administration – meaning the entire U.S. government – as a matter of established policy refuses to acknowledge the ideology and intentions that our enemy publishes IN ENGLISH in the form of videos, audio recordings and magazines, and actively prohibits anyone in a government department or agency from discussing or speaking about said ideology, you really are beyond hope. And so is America.


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