Washington, DC — The FBI is investigating an estimated 5,000 terrorism cases across the world, including 1,000 in the United States involving homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) deemed the “greatest terrorism threat” facing the American homeland, the agency’s director told lawmakers on Wednesday.
FBI Director Christopher Wray made the startling revelation during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee hearing on threats against the homeland, telling lawmakers, “Right now, as I sit here, we’re currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world. And about 1,000 of those cases are homegrown violent extremists, and they are in all 50 states.”
“In the last year or so, we’ve made hundreds of arrests of terrorism subjects,” he added.
While testifying alongside the FBI chief, Russell Travers, the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), added that the United States has experienced “at least three attacks” at the hands of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) linked to jihadi groups, compared to five in 2017.
Wray and Travers determined that HVEs remain the most prominent threat against the United States.
“As we have assessed in recent years, U.S.-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) remain the most persistent Islamist terrorist threat from al-Qa’ida and ISIS-affiliated supporters to the United States,” Travers testified.
The FBI assesses HVEs are the greatest terrorism threat to the Homeland. These individuals are global jihad-inspired individuals who are in the U.S., have been radicalized primarily in the U.S., and are not receiving individualized direction from FTOs [foreign terrorist organizations]. We, along with our law enforcement partners, face significant challenges in identifying and disrupting HVEs.
Wray acknowledged that homegrown jihadis pose an evolving threat that is increasingly difficult to combat, telling lawmakers:
We now face homegrown violent extremists, or HVEs, who self-radicalize at home and are prone to attack with very little warning. This HVE threat has created a whole new set of challenges with a much greater number, much greater volume of potential threats, and each one of them with far fewer dots to connect and much less time to prevent or disrupt an attack.These folks are largely radicalized online, and they’re inspired by the global jihadist movement.
Despite the significant losses of territory and manpower the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has suffered in Iraq and Syria in recent months, it remains a “relentless and ruthless” menace, Wray declared.
He added that the United States also remains concerned about al-Qaeda more than 17 years after the 9/11 attacks.
“We remain concerned that groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qa’ida (AQ) have the intent to carry out large-scale attacks in the U.S.,” Wray stressed.
While testifying alongside the FBI chief, Russell Travers, the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), noted that ISIS’ maintains a “robust” global presence beyond Iraq and Syria.
“Although ISIS’s safe haven in Iraq and Syria has largely collapsed, its global enterprise of almost two dozen branches and networks, each numbering in the hundreds to thousands of members, remains robust,” Travers noted in his written testimony.
Specifically, the NCTC chief mentioned that ISIS continues to operate branches in Afghanistan, Libya, the Sinai, West Africa, and Yemen where it is mobilizing fighters and to execute attacks “against local governments and group rivals, fomenting and leveraging instability in these already beleaguered areas.”
“Other, less formal ISIS-aligned networks, including elements in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines, continue to conduct attacks that showcase the group’s reach,” he added.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) recently warned that ISIS is recovering and regrouping in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS “is reconstituting a capable insurgent force in Iraq and Syria despite efforts to prevent its recovery by the U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition,” ISW reported.
Rich Higgins is an expert on the nexus between theological doctrines and information age unconventional warfare, and has spent 20 years combating terrorism in a variety of senior positions within the Department of Defenses.
Higgins, an early supporter of President Trump, served as director for strategic planning in President Trump’s National Security Council (NSC).
That all changed when a memo that he had produced for President Trump on the political warfare that he was to face internally from the Deep State, and externally from the media and like-minded interest groups in collusion with the administrative state, leaked out to the public.
Higgins’ memo was dismissed as conspiratorial, and he was fired from the NSC.
What he foretold has risen to the forefront again in the wake of the unsigned New York Times op-ed detailing measures taken by Trump administration officials to “Resist” the president, and seek to sabotage his agenda.
I had Higgins on the podcast to discuss the “Deep State’s” efforts to subvert the president’s agenda, whether there was an effort to purge like-minded individuals from Trump’s national security and foreign policy team — and why, what can be done to reform the administrative state, the ramifications of the politicization and weaponization of our national security and intelligence apparatus and much more.
What We Discussed
Higgins’ reaction to the anonymous New York Times op-ed about the brazen Resistance within the Trump White House which seemed to confirm precisely what he warned of in his memo
How the litany of allegations being raised against Judge Brett Kavanaugh in his Supreme Court confirmation hearings plays into Higgins’ thesis
Whether there was a concerted effort to purge national security and foreign policy officials in the Trump administration who sought to advance Trump’s agenda, and what Higgins believes the establishment felt so threatened by that it would require such a purging
Why Higgins believes it isn’t the Deep State or Obama holdovers that are to blame for the sabotage of President Trump’s policies, but rather the Republican Party itself
Higgins’ believe that Resistance to Trump was largely driven by vested financial interests — specifically centered on China — and the belief Trump would upend the major investments of the last 30 years in restructuring the global financial architecture and economy, hurting said vested interests
How to reform the “Deep State”
The “whiff of tyranny” in the air over the ability for the intelligence community to use its surveillance powers against American citizens, up to and including spying on and seeking to undermine and bring down the president
Higgins’ view on protecting liberty in the face of powerful surveillance tools and the need to counter our adversaries
The imperative to bring back civics and reunite the country on the basis of shared values, principles and knowledge of and reverence for our Founding
What Higgins would add to his memo to the president if he had the chance today
The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Ben’s Opening Monologue
We’ve talked at length on this podcast about the determination of the national security and foreign policy establishment to thwart those who threaten their Wilsonian progressive agenda, and more importantly their self-interest and power, whether in crushing whistleblowers like Adam Lovinger or seeking to subvert the agenda of the president.
Another loyalist of this administration who was devoted to advancing President Trump’s vision in national security and foreign affairs – and was outspoken in sharing his views on countering “The Resistance” – was a Director for Strategic Planning at the National Security Council.
His name was Rich Higgins, and a memo he wrote to the president about the political warfare he was facing – seeking to destroy his presidency – was leaked out, precipitating his being booted from the National Security Council, along with many other like-minded colleagues.
That memo has proven particularly prescient in outlining the goals, tactics and strategies of those actors seeking to sabotage and collapse a presidency – actors who hail from both political parties.
The onslaught against President Trump from individual federal judges overruling lawful policies clearly within his power, to the limitless Mueller investigation – itself the fruit largely of a salacious and unverified dossier gleaned from second and third-hand Russian sources, used it seems to perpetrate a fraud on the FISA court – to the endless leaks of the most sensitive conversations, to insubordination among staffers and general resistance by Trump administration officials — in name only — has been unprecedented.
At the very least our visibility into them has been unprecedented.
Regardless of your views on the president, if you’re intellectually honest you should be gravely concerned about the long-term ramifications of these actions because they threaten the very core of our political system.
Here’s what Higgins wrote in his infamous memo dated May 2017:
Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead to his election. Those individuals and groups seeking the destruction of President Trump actually seek to suffocate the vision of America that made him president. Hence, the end state is not just a delegitimized, destabilized, immobilized and possibly destroyed presidency; but also a demoralized movement composed of a large enough bloc to elect a president that subsequently become self-aware of its own disenfranchisement.
The recent turn of events give rise to the observation that the defense of President Trump is the defense of America. In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump. Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic.
Even if you disagree with Higgins’ take, if you care about “the institutions” – no, not the bureaucracies themselves and the political leaders at the top of them, but the values and principles they are supposed to exist to further – then you have to defend not just this president, but the presidency itself against attacks on the real fundamental institutions: Separation of powers, checks and balances, consent of the governed and popular sovereignty, law and order and federalism.
The attacks on this administration are not politics as usual. They are antithetical to our system of government, and they are eviscerating these institutions.
And that’s why I believe and have long asserted that the real story of the Trump presidency is the exposure of the fact that our political establishment, our administrative state, in collusion with our media, are doing more to damage America than any foreign power could ever dream of – they are revealing the utterly corrupt and rotten nature of our political betters.
The consequences of the measures they’ve taken because they lost in 2016 – and never anticipated that their efforts might be exposed and their designs threatened — are going to last for decades.
In the wake of just in recent weeks the anonymous New York Times op-ed about the sabotaging of presidential policy by people supposed to serve him, and the revelations about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire to expose the president, and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him in an effective coup, on top of the mountain of other egregious words and actions, in this episode, I talk with the man who foretold all of this – former director at the National Security Council Rich Higgins.
Ben Weingarten: Rich, earlier in September first there were revelations that came out from Bob Woodward’s book, and then seemingly coordinated following that was an unsigned New York Times op-ed, very unprecedented, laying out all the various ways that essentially members of the Trump administration — his subordinates — were doing things to make decisions on the president’s behalf, sabotaging him if you will. These revelations were followed with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supposedly commented about potentially wearing a wire with the president, and talked about invocation of the 25th Amendment and on, and on and on.
All of these things seem to confirm a thesis that you wrote while you were in the National Security Council.
But first, I just wanna get your initial reaction…to what was revealed in that New York Times op-ed.
Rich Higgins: I think what the Times op-ed speaks to is just that we seem to be incapable of finding a bottom to the behavior of the bureaucracy. We just go lower, and lower and lower. And bureaucratic infighting — there’s nothing really new to that. Everybody who’s ever worked at the Pentagon or in any of the government agencies recognizes the old “pocket veto,” and other techniques like that — removing stuff from your boss’s desk. What’s not recognizable is the public flouting of it, and the public flouting of it is a sort of a reflection on the leadership capability of the president himself. That’s unprecedented.
And I think between that and the comments by Rosenstein and others, what we see is it’s a pattern of behavior emerging — not just by elements within the bureaucracy, but by the media itself — that is just hell-bent on destroying this president.
Ben Weingarten: Yeah and you speak about, in the memo that you wrote — and we’ll delve into some specifics on that in a minute — you speak about the fact that what is unprecedented, and what is fundamentally different, is that we are not witnessing politics as usual here. This is about actually not only trying to delegitimize, destroy and take down a presidency, but also completely eviscerate the vision, and really the constituency that that president spoke for. Does the last-minute blitz of allegations, accusations that we’ve seen thrown at Judge Kavanaugh fit into your thesis? So in other words, is this fundamentally different from what we’ve seen, say, in the case of “Borking,” or the Anita Hill smears against Justice Clarence Thomas?
Rich Higgins: My personal opinion is that what’s driving the allegations against Kavanaugh is a more concerted effort on the part of the establishment to bury the lede, if you will, on the potential revelations that have to do with the FISA abuses, and the FISA abuses specifically targeting the president.
Kavanaugh just seemed to fly right on through things until the president started inkling towards removing Rosenstein and releasing some of the FISA application documents, or declassifying at least portions of them. And instantly this sort of ambush crops up where it just dominates every single news cycle, every single talk radio show. The American public isn’t stupid. When you see every channel, 24/7, covering the same thing, you have to ask yourself “What is going on here, and what is being protected?”
My personal opinion on the Kavanaugh thing is, sure, it’s another instance where the Left gets to look like it’s opposing the president, but in reality, I think it is more a defensive action on their part to try and keep the headlines from the real story, which is the FISA abuses and the unprecedented weaponization of our intelligence community against the seated president, and really against the constituents, the 60 million people who voted for him.
Ben Weingarten: Early on in this presidency we saw that many of the folks in particular in the national security and foreign policy space who agreed with the president’s views as articulated during the 2016 election on a whole number of issues — the global jihad, Iran and its place in that jihad, Israel, China, Russia, any number of other issues were all summarily either sidelined or demoted, or thrown out of the administration altogether. And that includes yourself, someone who we interviewed previously Adam Lovinger, Monica Crowley, obviously General Flynn and many others as well. Do you believe that there was a concerted effort to purge people who sought to advance the president’s views? And if so, why?
Rich Higgins: Well, I mean, I think there are myriad reasons why. But remember, the president is… He’s not a politician…He’s not from the “Old Boy’s Club.” He came in as a businessman, a real estate developer, a production capitalist and he ran on issues that the establishment, both Republican and Democrat, was loath to address. And these constituents first form in the Tea Party in opposition to the socialist drift that was taking place in the country. And so the president comes forward, he puts forward some foreign policy positions — and I would prioritize the China angle to everything that we’re discussing because it really was the China angle that I think freaked out the financial masters of the universe, if you will, because so much of our foreign policy for the past 30 years has been governed by the peaceful rise of China. Well, the intelligence community was asleep at the switch on that, the Defense Department asleep at the switch on that, and now we finally have a president who recognizes that these aren’t just benign intentions, and that there is some threat there — to go along with just the abject disasters of the Obama administration. What can you say about his just pandering to the jihad, pandering to Iran, it was just, it was an embarrassment.
So when the president comes in with people who want to support his position, immediately the establishment which brought us to this position in the first place takes over his personnel shop. And I think Steve Bannon said it best — and I keep quoting this, but it’s true — in the “60 Minutes” interview he called it the “original sin” of the administration was believing that they could work with the Republican Party. And I think that’s the real issue is that the establishment Republican party decided that anybody who supported Trump during the campaign was fair game. And they took out Monica [Crowley], and they took out Mike Flynn and they took out Steve [Bannon] and all of the folks who actually were true Trump supporters throughout the campaign were off-ramped. Most of them never even made it into the administration. Some of us who struggled mightily made it in, but only to last for a few months, and it was absolutely a concerted effort.
But yeah, I don’t just blame the Obama holdovers, albeit they’re part of it. That type of stuff goes on in any administration turnover. What I couldn’t get past is the Republican Party’s betrayal of Trump who’d just won them the presidency, ensured the Supreme Court and prevented the Hillary Clinton disaster from taking place. The very people who supported him were the ones that were betrayed.
Ben Weingarten: In your memo, which was a memo essentially addressed to the president and those who actually believed in advancing his agenda, you talked about the fact that those opposed to him in the political establishment — and that covers any number of people with varying views at least ostensibly…And you said that they were going to wage political warfare in any number of different areas, primarily through advancing narratives that would ultimately delegitimize and again take down the president.
You said that the president came in as a businessman, not as a politician. He was cast by the media during the election, and of course to this day, as someone who is incompetent, someone who was not a self-identified Tea Party conservative, so presumably someone that the establishment might have thought they could have co-opted. What was it about the President that made him be perceived as such a threat to their prerogatives, that it requires an unprecedented level of political warfare that you predicted?
Rich Higgins: I think the underlying threat that he represents is to the financial capitalist system. The president is a production capitalist guy, and at the international finance level, he is seen as a return to America’s manufacturing core. And in so being, he represents something that is anathema to every investment that these international financiers have made for the past 30 years, where you were going to have an ascended manufacturing base in China, a consumer market economy in North America. And Trump, driving around, or flying over or visiting places like in Ohio and Pennsylvania, he spoke to the working class of America, and said “We’re not just gonna die a slow, quiet death while China takes over our production capacity.
And we can get deep into the ideological aspects of it, although it’s probably beyond the scope of this interview, but it really dives into the control of the means of production. What were the Marxists always about? And I think Trump’s seen as somebody who wanted to return America to its essence, and that is not where the international money has been for the past 25, 30 years.
The second thing, I think, and it’s not too often spoken about, but it probably is worthy of some research is, the media helped create President Trump, particularly in the Republican primary, where I think they thought that Trump would be the easiest target for Hillary, right?
And if you remember, he was getting billions of dollars in earned media. Billions of dollars. And he basically became the nominee on the back of the media — he’s the media’s own creation, who then turned and consumed their darling in Hillary. And I think that’s part of the reason you see this just vitriolic hatred coming out of the media. It’s almost personal at a level where they feel responsible for having made him in the first place.
Ben Weingarten: How can what’s been termed the Deep State — and we can view it as a part of the administrative state, it just so happens that it’s perhaps been most brazen in law enforcement and national security and foreign policy — how can it ever be cleaned out, reformed, put back into a box essentially, when people at the top, the political leaders within each of these bureaucracies, are so committed to perpetuating their self-interest, their power, their jobs, their livelihoods?
Rich Higgins: I think that the Deep State can be brought to heal very quickly. The speaker, Speaker Ryan, if he would stop bungling these budgets and just hold these agencies and departments to account for their individual budgets instead of these omnibus bills where he pushes through the funding for ten, or 11 or 12 different departments and agencies at once, you could basically say, “Justice Department — we are not funding you, or the FBI, until…The House of Representatives has one real power: That is the power of the purse. And so far, they’ve chosen not to use that power.
And I think I’ve said this in the past, everything that we see happening to President Trump and to Kavanaugh is happening under Republican leadership, right? It’s not Democrats that are doing this. It’s not the Deep State. It is the Republican leadership that is allowing this stuff to happen, and they need to be called to task for allowing it.
When Clarence Thomas was beat to death over his nomination process back in the early ’90s, it was a Democrat-controlled Senate. It was not what we have today, which is Mitch McConnell and the theater that we have.
When the intelligence community got out of control, in the past, you didn’t have senators like [Sen. Richard] Burr standing around and watching it happen.
And I think until Congress decides to fulfill the mandate that its voters have given to it, and it’s Article One responsibilities, the Deep State is gonna continue to do what it does. I don’t think it’s doing anything that any bureaucracy doesn’t do.
I think that the politicized utilization of our intelligence capabilities during the last election cycle, and going into this presidency, was a reflection of the Obama administration’s just utter lawlessness and post-Constitutional order, which the president’s candidly been elected to fix, and has had very little help from the Justice Department or Congress in doing so.
Ben Weingarten: One of the silver linings of the drip-drip of revelations on any number of issues, whether it’s just unprecedented leaks that themselves threaten national security, whether it is potentially the perpetuation of a fraud on the FISA court, the double standard in the treatment of the Clinton email investigation versus Trump-Russia — which is then used as a pretext to investigate everything essentially related to Trump is that this just vitriolic, overwhelming counter-reaction by those who really loathe the president has exposed that they’re willing to take actions well beyond what is even remotely legal in order to protect their power. And that’s a silver lining that the president himself has even alluded to in a recent interview — he talked about the fact that he thinks one of his crowning achievements may be revealing the corruption, the deep rot within our system. So it’s being exposed. Do you believe there will be any justice?
Rich Higgins: Without getting too spiritual on you, I think the American people can reclaim their government.
Will we ever see justice? I don’t know what that is. I think we will see some people held to account for their actions, and their decisions.
What I worry more about, and this…This is the long-term damage that’s done, right, is when the next turnover occurs between administrations, are Trump administration employees, is the Trump intelligence community, gonna do this to its opponents? I mean, the danger here is that we’ve created this cyclical disrespect, and this polarization inside of the country that’s very hard to fix. And the confidence of the American public in their government, in their intelligence community with these massively powerful surveillance tools, and the possibility for the abuse of those tools…And candidly, if they’re willing to abuse their power and authority to oppose the president, then how’s a regular, everyday “Joe Citizen” supposed to feel safe? And that’s the trendline I think that I find most alarming in all of this is that…There’s a whiff of tyranny in the air, and we see that with John McCain’s staff guy and the IRS targeting of the Tea Party groups, we see it in Fast and Furious, we see it in the denials of the truth regarding Benghazi, we saw it in the extra-Constitutional treaty creations with countries like Iran that the Obama administration tried to do where it was basically a presidency or administration by executive order.
And we’re at real danger of moving into a post-Constitutional phase of our country. And the country will not survive that.
So I…as far as justice goes, I guess that the “small j” justice — we’ll find out when they bring in Comey and these others, and finally get them to start talking in front of a grand jury, hopefully. As far as the longer-term concerns though, the country’s hurting, and I hope we take it with a level of seriousness and reverence, candor that it’s gonna take to fix it.
Ben Weingarten: You talk about the abuse of things like surveillance tools, and all the sophisticated technologies that we have, and it’s a very scary thing to the average citizen to think that essentially, we could be living in something that is trending towards something like the kind of intelligence dictatorship that we’re seeing more and more reveal itself in a place like China. On the other hand, those tools, if they’re put in the hands of the right people, can be used to infiltrate terrorists, jihadist networks and other criminal networks as well, to actually help keep us safe. And you’ve spent the bulk of your career focusing on keeping the American people safe. So how do you think about — and I think that it is sort of a strawman argument — but the idea of liberty versus security? How are we going to balance the idea that you need certain tools to keep the homeland safe, but on the other end, if those tools are turned against their citizens, it’s game over for Constitutional liberties?
Rich Higgins: Yeah, I guess in that one respect in terms of my national security portfolio I’m more of a libertarian. I don’t believe we get as much utility from using those surveillance tools domestically as we may believe. Maybe there are incidents that I’m not aware of. I doubt that. The thing that concerns me most is that we’ve only really had these capabilities in place since post-September 11th attack, and only 10 or 15 years into having these capabilities in place — and they are improving every year — we’re already seeing them being abused on a massive scale for political reasons. Where will we be in 50 years?
I have no confidence in man. I’m a student of Hobbes. And I think the Founding Fathers recognized that a standing army was the greatest threat to the Republic. I think they probably agree with me that a standing intelligence community spying on its own citizens is a huge threat to the Republic. The Founding Fathers would not support it at all.
So yeah, that’s one libertarian perspective on it. I guess that’s probably my only libertarian thread, but it’s just, I think it’s just too tempting, it’s too powerful to be left unchecked.
Ben Weingarten: And you talk about, in a sense, the challenges that we have in terms of polarization, and really at its core social cohesion — do we as a country, share the same set of values and principles, or not? And the memo that you wrote where you lay it out, essentially, all of the goals tactics and strategies of those engaged in political warfare against this presidency is really the practical application of the broader idea of at its highest level using narratives and meta-narratives to cause dissent within the body politic and then essentially capitalize on the chaos that will follow. How do we as a nation grapple with these poisonous narratives that are tearing us apart?
Rich Higgins: I think the number one thing we can do, and I’ll say some stuff that I don’t normally talk about: I think we need to recognize, number one, that the conservative movement as it’s understood in America today has failed. And I think it, it’s accepting the fact that whether Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” or the Bush years…it has failed.
And we need to recognize that the Left in this country is currently unopposed. What we see happening in the Democratic Party right now is…they’re becoming the Bolsheviks in front of our eyes. Seated U.S. senators can’t go out to dinner in Washington, D.C. Seated cabinet secretaries can’t go out to dinner in Washington, D.C. without being fully harassed and threatened.
And I think we are in a pre-violent phase, which could very likely drift into violence. And I think that we’re not seeing this because…Again, the Republicans have been the target of a hundred years of Marxist-Leninist if you will, multiculturalist indoctrination. And because the Republicans adhere to these politically correct narratives, they are far more concerned about being labeled a sexist — for example, with this Dr. Ford-Kavanaugh allegation — they’re far more concerned about being labeled a sexist than they are about fidelity to the Constitution, or executing the responsibility as a senator to the point where they’ve allowed…Judge Kavanaugh to be dragged through the mud with his family, his two small children, and just smeared ferociously by what are just cheap, salacious allegations by a person who admits having been intoxicated at the time they ginned them up. I mean it’s insane.
And so…looking forward what do we do about it? I think it’s time to reconstitute the conservative movement that is inclusive of an educational component where we bring back civics; where we begin to teach people about the founding of America. We removed the Bible from the classroom in the 1950s. We removed civics from the classroom in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and replaced them with social studies. And you now see generations — what the former KGB officer Bezmenov would’ve called “demoralization” — we now have generational demoralization, where we have an entire generation of people under the age of 40 who are not versed in the American founding political philosophy, and that’s a really, really dangerous place to be.
And Reagan faced these same issues back in the ’80s, but he was dealing with folks like Tip O’Neill, and the World War II Greatest Generation guys who were still serving, who all saw themselves as Americans, and part of the same country. And we’re reaching the point right now where we’re not just one country. We’re two countries, and we’re two countries in conflict with one another.
Ben Weingarten: Lastly, if you were to write an addendum to your memo to the president today, having witnessed what we’ve witnessed over about the last year and a half since you put that memo out, what would your message be to the president?
Rich Higgins: Number one with a bullet would be get control of this personnel shop. Personnel is policy. And number two would be, I think…even in the campaign, the president is a fantastic student. He makes some mistakes here and there, it is true, but as somebody who was an early supporter of his, supported him all through the campaign, and then have continued to support him, I think…He’s learning how to operate at the international political level. And we saw in his speech at the United Nations, the most full-throated defense of America, and the idea of America, since probably Ronald Reagan. And it was a…It’s an amazing speech. If your listeners haven’t seen it, they should go and they should really sit down and take in and listen to what he’s talking about because he’s casting a vision for the future of America, that I’m proud to share with my children.
On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and 851 wounded in the worst shooting attack in American history. The Islamic State said they were going to attack Las Vegas and claimed responsibility for the attack after it happened.
The FBI and the Las Vegas Sheriff still claim they have “no idea” what the motive was for this attack.
Facts on the Table
The Islamic State publicly stated Las Vegas was a target, then claimed credit for the attack, explaining the man founded dead inside his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, Stephen Paddock, converted to Islam a few months prior and was a “soldier of the caliphate.”
UTT’s analysis of the facts as we know them today reveal: Paddock conducted pre-operational surveillance on several targets before settling on Las Vegas; Paddock initiated the assault prior to his planned time because his preparations were interrupted by a security guard, making it more likely more shooters were going to join him since there were many guns and two shooting portals in the two separate rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay rented by Paddock; the Las Vegas Sheriff revealed Paddock left no suicide note, and all other evidence points to the fact Paddock intended to escape after the attack; and because the Islamic State has never claimed an attack in the West in the manner they did for this attack – and claimed it 4 times – when they were not responsible.
Then there is the curious case of Australian Brian Hodge, a left-wing activist who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
By his own admission, Hodge was inside one of the two rooms rented by Paddock, and on the 32nd floor during the shooting. Hodge told reporters he hid in bushes outside the Mandalay Bay for “three and a half hours” when in fact the shooting was over in approximately 20 minutes and Hodge was ten miles away shortly after the shooting.
Hodge ended up being at a motel in Las Vegas (Knotty Pine) with three individuals from an area in Mexico with high Islamic State activity. Coincidence?
Then from October 2-4, Hodge traveled to New Mexico and spent time in a restaurant owned by a Turk who is on a Watchlist and hails from an area in Turkey with high Islamic State activity. Oddly, the restaurant owner has gone silent on his social media since a few days after the attack.
Posing for what appears to be a “trophy” photo, Brian Hodge stands outside the Mandalay Bay after the worst shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas, Nevada
Notably, several people have now written about Brian Hodge being a suspect in this attack, yet Hodge has made no effort to clear his name or set the record straight.
Hodge has also not responded to UTT’s requests for an interview.
Since the worst shooting attack in American history, there have been no Congressional hearings, the FBI and the Las Vegas Sheriff’s Office never looked as the Islamic State as a possible suspect in this attack, and over 900 Americans are dead/wounded without even a hint authorities have any desire to get these questions answered.
Worst case scenario – this was the first joint Islamic State/Antifa attack in the United States.
What can you do? Ensure your sheriff’s office and local police department understand the Islamic threat, specifically, the Muslim Brotherhood network, their modus operandi, and sharia (their doctrine), because knowing this information radically changes how police do their jobs on a day to day basis regarding attacks such as this.
Questions keep coming about how the U.S. justice system responded to a New Mexico compound that housed five alleged would-be jihadists and 11 reportedly malnourished children along with the remains of a twelfth child who died on the compound.
A federal grand jury recently indicted the five alleged jihadists on weapons and conspiracy charges, alleging the group created their compound in the desert outside Taos, New Mexico as a training camp and firing range to facilitate a “Common plan to prepare for violent attacks government, military, educational and financial institutions” and sought to “engage in jihad and form an army of jihad” according to the federal indictment published by the Department of Justice on September 11.
The five suspects—Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Lucas Morten, Subhanah Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, and Jany Leveille—had previously faced state charges of child abuse, but the charges floundered in court after a New Mexico judge dismissed charges against all five suspects when state prosecutors missed a 10-day deadline for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors argued extenuating circumstancesbut were rebuffed.
The federal charges echo information first laid out in the state prosecutors’ motionurging the judge in the case to reconsider the judge’s dismissal of bail, given evidence that the suspects had discussed targeted attacks against “corrupt institutions,” including schools and an Atlanta-area hospital. Suspects reportedly had repeatedly discussed a willingness to fight and kill law enforcement, and to die as “martyrs.” Prosecutors cited testimony from children inside the camp saying they were being trained to conduct school shootings or other attacks.
The five suspects were arrested after local police launched a raid to respond to reports of child abuse from inside the camp, only to discover a shooting range, multiple weapons, and documents describing a potential terrorist attack, including a document titled “Phases of a Terrorist Attack.”
Neighbors Were Telling Police Disturbing Information
The federal charges highlight what appears to have been a disconnect between state and federal law enforcement over how to address the New Mexico compound and its armed residents. The compound was under surveillance from both local and federal law enforcement, but it took several months for law enforcement to intervene despite reports from the local community.
Sirraj Ibn Wahhaj faced a Georgia-issued child abduction warrant, and neighbors reportedly identified the missing child, Abdul Ghani, who was known to possess a limp. A child with a limp was also reportedly detected by FBI aerial surveillance.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe has told media that local authorities didn’t intervene over concerns they lacked probable cause to act. But CNN reported that a local officertold neighbors law enforcement’s “hands were tied” by the FBI.
“‘We’ve gotten multiple calls on this child but, at the same time, our hands are tied because the FBI has whatever they got going on up there with them,’” CNN quoted the officer as saying, according to a recording the news channel acquired.
This would not be the first case in which a disconnect between federal and local officials led to potential danger for a local community. In Garland, Texas, a free speech protest and cartoon contest on May 3, 2015 was targeted by two Islamic State-linked jihadists armed with rifles, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. The attack took place while an undercover FBI agent shadowed the two attackers and took pictures.
While the FBI says they warned Garland police that the two may have had an interest in the target, police guarding the event say they were never warned of an impending assault. Simpson and Soofi injured a security guard before being shot dead by a quick-acting Garland police officer.
Failing to Intercept ‘Known Wolves’
Repeated incidents of western law enforcement agencies having detailed intelligence on terror suspects, yet failing to prevent attacks has led to the use of the term “Known Wolves” by policy critics, who say agencies aren’t doing enough to preempt terrorism by those under surveillance.
Feelings of mutual distrust between local and federal law enforcement linger, despite the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) system intended to incorporate local and state law enforcement with the FBI’s efforts. While local law enforcement complains of having hands tied or being left uninformed of dangerous jihadists in their midst, federal law enforcement sometimes sees local law enforcement as compromised.
Examples include Fairfax County Police officer Weiss Rasool, who in 2005 allegedly searched police databases and tipped off terror suspects, who were preparing to fleewhen federal law enforcement swooped in to make an arrest. And in 2009 FBI agents fumed when a local imam tipped off Najibullah Zazi, the leader of a three-person terror cell plotting bombings in New York City. The imam had been contacted by New York Police Department officers looking for intel.
While federal authority over terrorism cases predominates, the New Mexico case feeds local law enforcement’s growing perception that they can’t assume the FBI has the situation under control. It also indicates the difficulties for local law enforcement when complicated cases with possible terror links are suddenly thrust into their laps.
It’s local law enforcement, not federal agents, who remain most likely to receive community tips, and to recognize changes in their neighborhood beats. Local law enforcement is also more likely to be the first to spot tell-tale signs of criminal schemes to finance terrorism, or crimes like child or domestic abuse that may open a window of intervention, as occurred in the New Mexico case.
While investigators’ handling of the child abuse case in New Mexico raises concerns, the use of state-level terrorism prosecutions has seen significant success in states like neighboring Arizona, where counterterrorism laws do not require an “overt act” to prosecute, as federal terrorism laws do, making preemptive prosecutions of would-be jihadists more viable.
We should continue to expect better cooperation between all levels of law enforcement in the effort to defeat jihadist terror. But at the end of the day, local law enforcement should not accept having their “hands tied” from protecting their communities nor take a back seat on counterterrorism.
Kyle Shideler is the director of the Counter-Islamist Grid (CIG), which identifies, documents, and exposes Islamist networks operating in local communities.
Jihadist threats from homegrown terrorists rose for the third consecutive month, with at least six people arrested or convicted in August of attempting to launch attacks on behalf of the Islamic State and other terror networks, according to a new congressional report.
The increase in jihadist incidents from July brings to 159 the total number of cases related to homegrown terrorism across 30 states since 2013, the House Homeland Security Committee found in its monthly report on terrorism in the United States.
“Cases of homegrown Islamist extremism in the U.S. continue to be an issue of concern,” according to the committee report, which tracked the first uptick in this type of activity in June following five months of stagnation.
Last month, ISIS released a new audio message purportedly from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling for more attacks in the West. If verified, the recording is the first to feature al-Baghdadi in nearly a year and disproves Russian reports that its military killed him in an airstrike in Syria.
The Pentagon recently said ISIS remains a threat and is “well positioned” to rebuild despite substantial military defeats against the group that led to the collapse of its self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, has warned the group still has the capacity to conduct external operations against the United States and its allies.
On Aug. 10, a Chicago native now living in Israel was indicted for attempting to travel to join ISIS after traveling with two other people from Chicago to Egypt before reaching Turkey. Faress Muhammad Shraiteh, 21, was denied entry into Turkey, but the other two were granted entry and successfully reached ISIS.
Two weeks later, a 25-year-old man living in Florida was indicted by a grand jury for distributing information regarding explosives and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group.
At least one terror plot was foiled in Europe over the same period.
Shortly after authorities arrested a Russian citizen on suspicion of planning a terror attack in Germany on Aug. 22, an Afghan asylum seeker seriously injured two Americans in a stabbing attack in Amsterdam.
Violent extremists hoping to attack the United States from within remain a top concern for the FBI in 2018.
A sampling of terror arrests, indictments and convictions as well as other threats posed by Muslims in the U.S. during the month of August.
…the Obama administration decided it’s deportation of Mr. Khammasi would also be overturned, so it reopened the case and released him from custody Nov. 7, 2016, according to a Homeland Security official.
Indiana: Woman Who Married Jihadi Charged With Providing Material Support to ISISSamantha Marie Elhassani, aka Samantha Sally, 32, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, was charged on Aug. 22, in a two count indictment with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated terrorist organization, and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to ISIS.
The jury five women and seven men sentenced Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh, a former Baylor College of Medicine resident, to 10 years on probation for raping the patient while she was tethered to machines and receiving treatment for an acute asthma attack.
After 9/11, the FBI warned the public about a number of potential terrorists they believed were being groomed for an encore attack. The feds described them as “the next Mohamed Atta” and put them on their Most Wanted Terrorists list. Today, these dangerous suspects remain on that same list and are still at large. Yet oddly, the FBI no longer talks about them.
The only thing that’s changed, besides the descriptions of their appearances, is that the FBI is now offering bigger rewards for them, along with several key al Qaeda leaders also still on the loose.
Families of 9/11 victims want to know why, after two wars costing trillions of dollars, do we appear no closer to capturing these top terrorists? Did the FBI stop hunting for them? Has it given up hope of finding them?
Terrorism experts are equally troubled by the delay in bringing them to justice.
“I’m concerned about these individuals still being at large,” said Philip Haney, former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism analyst. “It should be the government’s top priority to locate and apprehend them.”
One would-be terrorist who was said to be planning to lead another attack on the US, following in the footsteps of 9/11 ringleader Atta, is the English-speaking Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, who spent time in Florida before fleeing the country in the wake of the attacks.
The Saudi-born suspect, also known as “Jaffar the Pilot,” is still featured prominently on the FBI’s website as a Most Wanted Terrorist. (The bureau has added a “digitally enhanced” photograph of Shukrijumah sporting a full Islamic beard.) In 2010, the feds indicted the 43-year-old for his alleged role in a 2009 plot to attack New York’s subway system.
The FBI believes Shukrijumah is helping run al Qaeda’s operations from Pakistan, while Islamabad claims its military killed him years ago. Considering that Pakistan has lied before about killing al Qaeda members — and about harboring Osama bin Laden — US officials are dubious of its claim.
FBI headquarters confirmed the Shukrijumah case remains open and that counterterrorism agents are still hunting for the indicted fugitive.
“The cases you mention remain open, active FBI investigations with large rewards continuing to be available to those who provide information about the cases mentioned,” said Michelle Goldschen of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs in Washington.
Shukrijumah also has New York connections. His late father served as a translator for the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, at his mosque in Brooklyn before he was imprisoned for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist plots.
After 9/11, the US government fingered the street-smart Shukrijumah as the ultimate al Qaeda “sleeper agent,” and potentially more dangerous than even Atta. In fact, he was said to have been handpicked by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, aka KSM, to carry out an encore plot to detonate nuclear devices in several US cities simultaneously.
Today, his mentor KSM is locked up at Gitmo, where he awaits punishment for his crimes — which frustrates 9/11 survivors to no end.
“When you consider the US government’s absolute ineptitude and abject failure to prosecute those they currently already have in custody in Gitmo — where they’re still in the pretrial phase 17 years after the attacks — you have to wonder whether, perhaps, the US government has just done a cost-benefit analysis and determined that it’s not quite worth their time to bring any al Qaeda terrorists to justice or provide a modicum of accountability and closure to the innocent victims of terrorism,” said Kristen Breitweiser, who lost her husband, Ronald, in the World Trade Center’s south tower.
Another potentially dangerous suspect still eluding authorities is Abderraouf Jdey. Also known as Faruq al-Tunisi, he is a trained pilot who has a Canadian passport and was said to be slated for a “second wave” of suicide attacks after 9/11. He was identified in martyrdom videos recovered in Afghanistan.
An FBI poster places a $5 million bounty on Jdey’s head and includes a photo “retouched” to show how the 53-year-old might look today. The New York field office is handling tips on Jdey, along with Shukrijumah. (Unlike Shukrijumah, Jdey has not been indicted in absentia.)
Then there are the still-at-large al Qaeda leaders Saif al-Adel, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The trio was listed among the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists after 9/11 and the three remain there today — in spite of $10 million rewards for information leading to the capture of both al-Adel and Abdullah and an additional $25 million bounty for Zawahiri. Just last month, the US doubled the reward offers for al-Adel and Abdullah.
Zawahiri took command of al Qaeda in 2011 after US forces killed kingpin Osama bin Laden, who for years was sheltered in Pakistan. While we don’t hear much about al Qaeda anymore, it’s alive and well. In fact, terrorism experts warn it’s been growing in strength, not waning, since bin Laden’s death.
Zawahiri has declared plans to replace ISIS at the forefront of global jihad. He’s also given a central role in the organization to bin Laden’s son, Hamza. And he recently called on Muslims during a 17-minute videotaped address to attack American interests “everywhere” — echoing a fatwa issued by bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks.
DHS’s Haney said that Zawahiri is “consolidating power” under a new terror umbrella — AQIS, or al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent — adding that the center of gravity of the global jihadist movement is shifting to that region.
“An argument could be made that Zawahari is not only the world’s most experienced jihadist now, but also the most dangerous one,” Haney warned.
And yet the FBI still cannot seem to get much traction hunting down him or other 9/11-era terrorists.
The FBI declined to comment on why it’s taken so long to capture these bad guys.
“We would decline any further comment due to the ongoing nature of the current investigations,” Goldschen said.
Paul Sperry is a bestselling author and former Hoover Institution media fellow.
The Islamic Movement in the United States manifests primarily as an espionage and counterintelligence threat, not merely as a “terrorist” threat.
When operatives in the Islamic Movement meet with police chiefs, elected officials, FBI Directors, business leaders, Pastors, Rabbis and others, they portray themselves as friendly, but they are working to recruit and use them, much as U.S. government counterintelligence operatives recruit foreign assets.
These jihadi operations may take months or years to develop, but the benefits of having an influential American official working for jihadis is a major victory for the Islamic Movement.
Examples of successful penetration operations include:
President Clinton’s Islamic Advisor Abdurahman Alamoudi, who created the Muslim Chaplain Program for the Department of Defense and met with Mr. Clinton more than any other muslim in America, was an Al Qaeda financier who is now in federal prison.
Senator Richard Durbin’s go-to guy for all things Islamic prior to his hearing on the civil rights of muslims in America was Mohamed Magid and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Magid was the leader of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which was identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and a financial support arm for Hamas leaders and Hamas groups overseas.
The Islamic Movement also identifies conservative threats to their Movement and targets them for destruction, ensuring they lose their influence.
When Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne publicly decried the Sharia Courts in Irving, she was targeted by muslim leaders. Several months later the Clock Boy Operation was launched against her. Democrats attacked her for her “civil rights” failures in the incident, and Republicans called for a review of the zero tolerance policy in incidents of this nature. Mayor Van Duyne was left standing alone as Islamic leaders planned.
Most Patriots aware of Milwaukee’s Sheriff David Clarke were drawn to him for his outspoken call for law and order, strong stance on national defense, and for boldly stating America needs to police muslim communities.
Sheriff Clarke was also considered for positions inside the Trump Administration.
In walks Hedieh Mirahmadi. A classic honey trap.
Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi grew up a shia muslim of Iranian decent who later converted to sunni Islam. Mirahmadi is an attorney with a degree in Islamic doctrine from the As-Sunna Foundation. She is the founder of the World Organization for Resource and Development and Education (WORDE), and the former Secretary General of the Islamic Supreme Council of America.
Red flags about Ms. Mirahmadi include her close working relationships with Muslim Brotherhood organizations and leaders like Salam al Marayati, participation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative, and the fact she publishes articles about Islamic doctrine (sharia) that are patently false despite the fact she has a degree in the subject.
Most notably, Ms. Mirahmadi works with federal agencies and police organizations around the United States to discuss “extremism” and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet, none of the groups with whom she works have demonstrated any level of understanding of the jihadi’s doctrine – sharia – nor the Muslim Brotherhood network and their modus operandi.
In fact, the agencies with which Mirahmadi work, have a completely counter-factual understanding of sharia and the Muslim Brotherhood.
So, the Islamic Movement targeted Sheriff David Clarke and sent Mirahmadi in. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this operation, UTT offers the following:
Sheriff Clarke went from calling for police to patrol muslim neighborhoods 18 months ago to recently calling people on social media speaking truth about Islam “racists.”
When articles written by investigative journalist Laura Loomer were published a year ago about Hedieh Mirahmadi’s questionable background, Sheriff Clarke publicly attacked and mocked Loomer.
This week Sheriff David Clarke admitted he was duped, and openly stated Hedieh Mirahmadi is a Muslim Brotherhood operative.
The lesson for everyone reading this article is that David Clarke is one of many Patriots who have been duped by Muslim Brotherhood operatives acting on behalf of our Islamic foes, even if they are not intentionally doing so.
Twenty years Abdurahman Alamoudi was the “pillar of the Islamic community in Washington, D.C.” and turned out to be an Al Qaeda operative.
After 9/11, Anwar al Awlaki was considered the “new face of Islam in America” and gave presentations at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, but turned out to be an Al Qaeda operative killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
In 2005, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Mike Rolince gave Mohamed Magid an award, and in 2016 FBI Director James Comey presented Magid with the FBI Director’s Award.
Mohamed Magid was the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood organization which seeks to overthrow the U.S. government and establish an Islamic State. Evidence entered into the largest terrorism financing trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history (US v HLF, Northern District of Texas, 2008) reveals ISNA provides financial support to Hamas organizations and Hamas leaders overseas.
Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The threat from the Islamic Movement in the United States manifests itself primarily as an espionage and counterintelligence threat, not merely as a “terrorist” threat.
It is high time the U.S. government treats Islamic spies working to destroy America the same way it treated the Rosenbergs.