Ill Informed House Dem Wrongly Blasts “Ill Prepared” DHS Official

1845IPT NewsSeptember 22, 2016

Last Saturday, a Somali Muslim in St. Cloud, Minn. slashed 10 people in a local mall.

ISIS claimed him as a “soldier of the Islamic State” and Dahir Adan reportedly asked people whether they were Muslims or Christians before stabbing them. An off-duty police officer shot Adan before more people were injured or anyone was killed.

Also on Saturday night, a pressure-cooker bomb allegedly made and planted by Ahmad Khan Rahami blew up in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood injuring 31 people. Two police officers were wounded in a shootout Monday as they tried to arrest Rahami.

Officials say the casualty count could have been exponentially higher Saturday had all the powerful explosives that officials found in New York and New Jersey detonated.

Rahami’s journal makes it clear he was influenced by radical Islamists like American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani, among others.

With those attacks still fresh, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., used a House Homeland Security subcommittee Thursday to insist that the government is wrong to make the threat of Islamist terror its top priority.

Thompson blasted DHS Office of Community Partnerships Director George Selim for repeating DHS’s position that ISIS’s ability to radicalize and recruit Americans is “the pre-eminent threat to our homeland security today.”

It has been proven, irrefutably, that right wing domestic terror is the greater threat, Thompson said, adding he was “disappointed that [Selim] come before this committee ill prepared to answer the questions.”

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After the hearing, committee spokesman Adam Comis told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that Thompson was referring to a 2015 report by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University. The center surveyed nearly 400 law enforcement agencies across the country, finding most were more concerned with anti-government extremism by groups like sovereign citizens and militias.

That’s an opinion survey, not “irrefutable” evidence as Thompson claimed.

But the DHS position states a national priority, while the Triangle Center paper primarily quizzed local law enforcement. It’s a mistake to assume their challenges and perspectives are the same.

It makes sense that a sheriff in Iowa or a police chief in Arizona would worry that their people might encounter someone who somehow believes he is exempt from the law, as sovereigns do. And they often are quick to violence.

Thompson’s remarks were the most animated, but other Democrats at the Homeland Security committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency hearing, “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terrorism,” took aim at the focus on Islamic radicalization. Domestic terror, they argued, merits the greater concern.

Advocates of that position used to argue that the data supported them, citing New America Foundation figures showing more Americans since 9/11 died at the hands of domestic extremists like Dylann Roof than by Islamists.

That’s no longer true, after Omar Mateen’s June slaughter of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Mateen paused in his shooting spree to call 911 and pledge allegiance to ISIS.

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As we’ve noted, the debate over whether the Islamist or domestic threat is greater – when both are clear and present – is beside the point. Another Dylann Roof out there might tip the scales some day, at least temporarily.

The threats are driven by drastically different ideologies, and DHS should focus on ways to combat them. Hearing organizers and witnesses (including IPT Senior Shillman Fellow Pete Hoekstra, whose testimony can be seen here, and written testimony can be read here) say the Obama administration’s refusal to speak specifically about radical Islamist terror hinders that effort.

The threats also manifest themselves differently. Many incidents of anti-government violence target specific foes or involve a robbery that leads to murder.

ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and other Islamist groups have well organized media campaigns aimed at radicalizing Western Muslims and encouraging them to wage violent jihad. They seek spectacular attacks that create as many victims as possible. When those aren’t possible, they encourage random attacks like stabbings and car rammings.

Thompson seemed to equate assessments which are driven by dramatically different perspectives, and he tried to shame a national official for espousing the big picture. The congressman is free to have a separate hearing on other threats, but trying to deny the unique challenges posed by Islamist terrorism doesn’t seem to serve anyone’s interest.

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The director of The Centers Threat Information Office, Kyle Shideler appears on Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler to discuss the recent U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror.

I think what we’ve seen is really almost the radicalization of the democrat’s position when it comes to dealing with counterterrorism, We saw today Democratic members of congress who essentially were prepared to abandon countering violent extremism as a strategy, a strategy which already doesn’t work, and move on to something even more inept which was essentially telling Americans to shut up when it comes to asking questions about who is behind Islamic extremism and moving towards questions of gun control as if attacks on the first and second amendments is the best way to deal with the Islamic State and that is simply not true.

Also see:

The Democrat Party is a progressive party with all that that entails, including an ignorantly morally relativistic outlook which says that all belief systems are equal (except theirs). That party boasts a multiculturalist bent unable to recognize that different peoples hold dear different values and principles. Likewise, it refuses to acknowledge a suicidal materialist worldview that views the West as the oppressor and all others as the oppressed leading to a perverse left-Islamic supremacist alliance, wittingly for some and unwittingly for others, that threatens our very existence.

As with the socialist revolutionaries of the past, of course it would be the progressive intelligentsia that would be the first to be lined up and shot should their Islamic supremacist “underdogs” inherit the Earth.

National security-minded Democrats in the Reagan mold have largely either passed away or become Republicans.

Saddest of all, on account of how much the culture has moved, so too have Republicans.

Though the 2016 election may be viewed as a test on this thesis, clearly the public has shifted substantially in the last 14 years, on account of the wages of political correctness and the onslaught of progressive messages in media, academia, and among our political elites. Look no further than the question of gay marriage.

In the final analysis, politicians follow the public and the donors. Cultural changes lead to political changes.

Sharyl Attkisson Investigates the Cost of Terror

full-measure

Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, Sept. 8, 2016

COST OF TERROR:
Full Measure investigates how much U.S. tax money has been spent fighting the war against terrorists and its impact on the American way of life. The head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Ron Johnson, discusses the vulnerability that worries him most today.


MOST HATED MAN:
Scott Thuman reports from London on the so-called ‘Most Hated Man’ in Britain. Anjem Choudary was jailed for five-and-a-half years for urging support of ISIS. Scott reports on the sentencing as the U.K. tries to stop a generation from being recruited as terrorists.


WAR ON TERROR:
Lt. General Micheal Flynn details his plan for winning the war against terrorists. Hear why he believes speaking out about this plan ultimately cost him his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.


REFLECTING & REMEMBERING 9/11
Some of the costs of terror can’t be quantified. Like the cost to our collective psyche. Full Measure host Sharyl Attkisson remembers the events of that day and the impact of reporting the story from Washington, D.C.

A secret group bought the ingredients for a dirty bomb — here in the U.S.

radioactive

Washington Post, by  Patrick Malone, Aug. 4, 2016:

The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States.

It should have been hard. The purchase of lethal radioactive materials — even modestly dangerous ones — requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a measure meant to keep them away from terrorists. Applicants must demonstrate they have a legitimate need and understand the NRC’s safety standards, and pass an on-site inspection of their equipment and storage.

But this secret group of fewer than 10 people — formed in April 2014 in North Dakota, Texas and Michigan — discovered that getting a license and then ordering enough materials to make a dirty bomb was strikingly simple in one of their three tries. Sellers were preparing shipments that together were enough to poison a city center when the operation was shut down.

The team’s members could have been anyone — a terrorist outfit, emissaries of a rival government, domestic extremists. In fact, they were undercover bureaucrats with the investigative arm of Congress. And they had pulled off the same stunt nine years before. Their fresh success has set off new alarms among some lawmakers and officials in Washington about risks that terrorists inside the United States could undertake a dirty bomb attack.

Read more

Who’s Teaching the Class?

muslims praying

by Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
July 27, 2016

Ask any successful individual, “who was one of the most influential people in your life?” and very often the answer is a teacher. A good teacher can make all the difference in the world to an aspiring learner. But a bad teacher can have a disastrously adverse effect. Such may be the case in Nashville, Tenn. where Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall recently announced that he was partnering with the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) to provide an instructor to lead a class called “Islam 101” that will be taught to correction officers and other prison staff. The Davidson County Corrections Department has about 800 personnel and an inmate population that exceeds 2,000 offenders on any given day. With a captive audience of that size, it is vitally important to know what is being taught and who is doing the teaching. AMAC grew out of a project, called the “Muslim Rapid Response Team,” which was initiated by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

The rapid response team was formed to provide vocal opposition against an anti-terrorism bill being considered by the Tennessee Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, sought to enhance law enforcement capabilities in preventing terrorist attacks by converted jihadis in Tennessee. The bill targeted people who provided aid or material support to the individual committing the terrorist act.

This bill was offered in response to the 2009 attack by Carlos Bledsoe on a recruiting station in Arkansas which killed Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Bledsoe, who was from Memphis, was raised as a Baptist before converting to Islam in 2004 at Masjid As-Salam in Memphis. Another incident motivating the Tennessee legislators was the February 2011 arrest of Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari for conspiring to blow up former President George W. Bush’s home in Texas. Aldawsari had come to the United States from Saudi Arabia on a student visa and attended Vanderbilt University while living in Nashville.

That AMAC would oppose any law that would seek to protect the citizens of Tennessee from terrorist attacks by jihadists is disturbing. Putting the group in charge of teaching its version of Islam in the prison environment is alarming.

Why? Because we know that the potential for Islamic radicalization in the prison system is very real. Tennessee Department of Corrections’ Commissioner Tony Parker acknowledged the threat when he testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security in 2015. At the time, Parker was an assistant commissioner; he was later appointed Commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in June 2016)

Since 9/11, prison radicalization has produced numerous people hoping to go to paradise, willing to kill innocent men, women, and children in the name of Allah. That group includes people like Jose Padilla, Michael Finton, Kevin James, James Cromartie and more. In Europe, the perpetrators of the recent attacks in Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris, and Toulouse were radicalized while incarcerated for petty crimes.

Investigators found that one of the radicalizing agents in the process came from clergy and religious volunteers holding extremist views of Islam, who had not been properly vetted by law enforcement.

This development first came to light with the exposure of Warith Deen Umar, former head Islamic chaplain of the New York Department of Corrections, where I had worked for over 26 years as the deputy Inspector General in charge of the Criminal Intelligence Division. Umar was also a U.S. Bureau of Prisons chaplain. In 2003, he gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, in which he called the 9/11 hijackers heroes and martyrs. He went on to say that prisons were “the perfect recruitment and training grounds for radicalism and the Islamic religion.” Umar also was an official in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim organization which sought to be the certifying body for Islamic prison chaplains in the United States, but was rejected by the FBI because of its connection to the Council on American Islamic Relations and the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case. The Holy Land investigation unequivocally established that funds from Muslim organizations in the United States were being funneled to Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization. Tennessee’s AMAC is an affiliate of the Islamic Network Groups, whose founder and CEO Maha El Genaidi previously advised American Muslims not to talk with FBI agents without an attorney present, and to contact CAIR or MPAC of any investigative inquiries.

This type of response to legitimate law enforcement activity was also seen on a CAIR poster depicting federal agents as dark sinister shadows with the caption, “Build a Wall of Resistance. Resisting law enforcement activity when it comes to radical Islamic terrorism seems to be a long standing philosophy in these organizations.

Sheriff Hall and the Davidson county officials should follow the lead of fellow Tennessean Stephen Fincher before allowing the AMAC teach Islam 101 in their correctional system. Fincher, a three-term congressman from Tennessee’s 8th congressional district, recently introduced a bill (HR 4285), the “Preventing Terrorism from Entering Our Prisons Act.” It would mandate the thorough screening of volunteers and religious workers for terrorist links before granting access to any prison. This was also the recommendation of the DOJ’s Inspector General in 2004.. Failure to implement this requirement, the IG noted, would only exacerbate an existing problem.

Allowing Islamic clergy into the jail without proper vetting is akin to putting the fox in charge of the hen house. And we all know how that story ends.

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.

How Trains Are A Prime Target for Terrorists

targetby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
July 26, 2016

On July 18, a young man stormed through a train outside of Wurzburg, Germany. Crying “Allahu Akbar,” (God is greatest) he brandished an axe high into the air, then slashed at the men and women seated around him. Within minutes, the car, as one persondescribed it, ” looked like a slaughterhouse.”

Then he fled.

By the time the day had ended, five people had been seriously wounded: four on the train, and a woman who had the misfortune of walking her dog at the moment he passed by. She remains in critical condition.

A day later, the Islamic State took credit for the attack, calling the killer, a 17-year-old refugee who was ultimately shot and killed by German police, a “soldier for ISIS.” It was the first full-scale Islamic terrorist attack in Germany.

But it was not the first Islamic terrorist attack on a train. Far from it: starting with the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid and the July 7, 2005 bombings of the London Underground, trains and metros have been a common target for extremist groups. Some efforts, like the bombing of the Brussels metro station this past April, succeeded; many more have failed. But the attempts, successful or not, betray a gaping hole in international security, and one that may not be easy to repair.

In fact, a 2007 report from the Council on Foreign Relations noted that “security professionals see trains as some of the likeliest targets.” Consequently, when it comes to the possibility of a major attack on U.S. or European railway or metro systems, former Homeland Security officer Sean Burke told Boston’s WCVB news, “We have to expect it. That’s the bottom line.”

Such an attack, if large enough, could be devastating. While air traffic remains substantial, five times as many people ride trains as fly in the United States, and in Europe, the rapid, efficient and low-cost trains often offer the best transportation options between countries, especially in an era of long airport security lines and early check-ins. Moreover, freight shipments, including highly toxic industrial chemicals, travel the same routes as passenger trains, frequently passing through densely populated areas. Because of this situation, the Council on Foreign Relations reported in 2007 that former White House Deputy Homeland Security Adviser Richard Falkenrath considered such trains “the single greatest danger of a potential terrorist attack in our country today.'”

Yet security on both continents is weak, and in Europe, often at the bare minimum; one will rarely find a policeman or other security personnel at a train station in the Netherlands, for instance. Even on international trains, like the high-speed Thalys between the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, customs and immigration officials are few and far between. Rarely is anyone asked for ID (let alone a passport), and there are, as in the U.S., no security screenings even at major rail stations like Paris’ Gare du Nord and Berlin Hauptbanhof.

Which may in part explain why the real identity of the axe-wielder in Bavaria is still uncertain: at a July 20 press conference in Berlin, officials admitted that his name is still uncertain since he, like many other asylum seekers, entered the country without a passport or other identifying papers. Indeed, Time reports that, “Authorities have discovered that he could be from Afghanistan or Pakistan, and that the information he provided to officials in Germany could be partly or entirely false.”

It also likely explains the many other, less successful attempts on European trains, such as the 2006 plot to bomb trains at the Cologne station; an attempt to blow up the main train station in Bonn in 2006; a suspected plot disrupted last New Year’s Eve tosend suicide bombers onto trains in Munich; and the foiled attack by Ayoub el Khassini, who opened fire on a Thalys train in August 2015. In the latter instance, three American tourists – two of whom were in the military – ultimately overpowered and subdued the Moroccan-born Belgian resident, who had boarded the train armed with a Kalashnikov, pistol, hammer, bottle of petrol, nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, and other weapons.

Yet, counterterrorism and national security officials in the U.S. as well as Europe admit there is little they can do. As Time notes, in Europe, “some of the trains linking major cities stop at countless small towns along the way,” and the cost of installing metal detectors and setting up TSA-style inspections at all of these stations would be prohibitive. As Christophe Piednoel, a spokesman for the French SNCF railway toldLiberation, “Stations are public places….We cannot ask the French to wait one hour before boarding a train. Moreover, 15,000 trains cross France every day, and traverse 3000 stations.”

The same is true in the U.S., where some say Amtrak, which carries over 30 million passengers a year through 46 states and parts of Canada, is a prime target. Tracks pass through tunnels, across bridges, in and out of remote villages and major cities. As Burke also told WCVB, “The passenger rail system is designed to be open. It’s specifically put in densely populated areas. [It’s] a system that is vulnerable really from the beginning of its trip to the end of its trip.”

Added to that is the threat of toxic, chemical freight, which is carried in pressurized tanks: the CFR report points out that “security along their route tends to be lax, and at times tanks sit unmonitored in rail yards for days at a time.” Despite this fact, efforts to reroute such shipments have failed; not only are they costly, but impractical, since many of the shipments are themselves bound for populated areas, including major cities.

Despite this danger, the TSA all but overlooks train safety, budgeting just 2 percent of its spending on train and subway security, according to the New York Times. Even considering the practical complications and costs of adding metal detectors to all train stations and subway entrances in the country, this hardly seems like enough. New York subways are regularly patrolled by transit authority police who will perform random searches of bags, but with 5.6 million passengers riding the system daily, these measures scarcely seem adequate.

What is especially disturbing is that security officials, both in the U.S. and in many European countries, even seem aware of this: after the Paris attacks in November 2014, K-9 teams swept train stations across America. And after the Brussels metro attacks, train terminals saw a stepped up police and military presence in a number of major cities and even some smaller European towns. In New York and Washington, D.C., security was intensified not just on trains and subways, but also on bridges, tunnels, and even highways.

And then, suddenly, they were gone. It was as if the dangers in New York and Washington and Chicago were resolved, once the perpetrators of the attack in Brussels had been arrested or killed.

True, records show that TSA at airports have failed to stop a single terrorist attack (though they did find over 2,200 firearms, along with grenades, knives, and other weapons in 2015). At the same time, that may be because their presence discourages potential terrorists from attempting to strike on board a plane these days. There are, after all, easier options. Like trains.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

US Preparing for Islamic State’s ‘Terrorist Diaspora’

FILE - Demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014.

FILE – Demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group’s flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq, June 16, 2014.

VOA, by Jeff Seldon, July 14, 2016:

Top U.S. counterterror and law enforcement officials are offering grim warnings about what awaits once the Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate ultimately collapses.

Much of the U.S. and coalition strategy against IS has been predicated on the idea that without the ability to hold territory in Iraq and Syria, the terror group will falter, unable to make good on its promise of a utopian society.

Yet as the fall of the IS caliphate looks to draw nearer, U.S. officials are increasingly cautious, saying the group will remain a dynamic and formidable threat for some time to come.

“We all know there will be a terrorist diaspora out of the caliphate,” FBI Director James Comey told the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday.

“Those thousands of fighters are going to go someplace,” he said. “Our job is to spot them and stop them before they come to the United States to harm innocent people.”

As many as 40,000 foreign fighters from more than 120 countries are believed to have flocked to the conflict in Syria, with a majority of them joining IS while the group grew and saw its fortunes rise as it advanced across Iraq.

Now, Comey and others worry the terror group is in a prime position to take advantage of the flow home.

“ISIL’s external operations has been building and entrenching during the past two years,” according to National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen. ISIL is an acronym for Islamic State.

“We don’t think that battlefield reverses alone in Iraq will be sufficient to degrade that terrorism capability,” he said. “Over time we will degrade their capability … but there may be a significant lag.”

Forged documents

Adding to the concerns is the terror group’s use of forged documents to get its operatives into Europe, where some became key players in the terror attacks that rocked Paris and Brussels.

“We know it’s a part of ISIL’s tradecraft,” Comey said.

U.S. Homeland Security officials say they have bolstered the department’s abilities to detect fraudulent travel documents, though the risk remains that an IS operative could find a way to sneak into the U.S.

Concerns also persist about the challenges facing some U.S. allies, especially in Europe where, despite ongoing crackdowns, intelligence officials fear IS has become “deeply rooted,” using perhaps hundreds of jihadists who returned from Syria and Iraq to mold thousands of would-be foreign fighters into guerilla units.

“The Europeans have made progress since the horrific attacks in Paris and Belgium, but clearly more progress has to be made,” CIA Director John Brennan said Wednesday during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.

“Some of the countries themselves, their internal and external services, will not talk with one another; they’re not knitted together,” he said.

Just getting intelligence on IS is proving to be problematic.

“ISIL is a savvy, experienced adversary that knows how we collect intelligence,” Rasmussen said Thursday. “I would describe our efforts to gain an understanding of ISIL intentions and strategy and direction as being a harder target right now than what we faced with al-Qaida.”

Social media

One area where officials say they have made good progress is in efforts to prevent U.S. citizens from traveling to join IS. But even there, concerns persist as officials worry some may be heeding the terror group’s call to stay home and find ways to carry out attacks where they live.

The threat of attacks inspired by IS messaging on social media is also increasing.

FBI officials have said they are currently investigating about 1,000 such cases, but face difficulties as many of the would-be terrorists are not actively communicating with other sympathizers or operatives.

“The prospect of homegrown violent extremism — another San Bernardino, another Orlando — is number one on my list,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told lawmakers Thursday when asked what keeps him up at night.

“We are not winning the war against Islamist terror,” House Homeland Chair Rep. Michael McCaul said Thursday.

“Each day we stick with half measures, ISIS is able to dig in further and advance a murderous agenda,” he said, using another acronym for the terror group. “Overall they are not on the run, they are on the rise.”

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

GOP Leaders Push Expansion of Obama’s FAILED ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Agenda

GOP-leaders-McCaul-McCarthy-CVE.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, JULY 5, 2016

After the House passed the “Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act” last month, which doesn’t actually counter terrorist radicalization, with overwhelming Republican support, the House GOP leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Homeland Security chairman Mike McCaul, are pushing this weekH.R. 5611 that will expand Obama’s failed ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ (CVE) agenda.

The bill would add more money and infrastructure to the Department of Homeland Security’s existing CVE apparatus that has proved a major flop with no discernible results.

As I noted here at PJ Media back in April, the administration’s CVE policies are collapsing into absurdity:

These programs are also a practical failure in preventing violent extremism. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported on one Somali youth leader in Minneapolis associated with government-funded CVE programs who later attempted to join the Islamic State.Remarkably, as the Obama CVE programs are in complete meltdown, Republican leaders such as Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation are openly embracing Obama’s CVE agenda — and even calling for its expansion.

Using the stated goals established by the White House the CVE programs are a failure by every measure, so after repeated failures prior to the terror attacks in Boston, San Bernardino and now Orlando, it’s a mystery why GOP leaders are pushing these bills to increase the measures that led to those failures.

The McCarthy/McCaul bill will expand Homeland Security’s community engagement programs at the time that the existing engagement pilot programs are being openly rejected by the targeted communities in the cities they are intended to serve.

The programs are such a disaster that NPR had to report earlier this year that even if the CVE programs don’t work, they are somehow still mystically beneficial to the community.

One community that has had the worst radicalization problem in America – the Minnesota Twin Cities area – has also had considerable CVE cash rain down on it without success.

And yet the Associated Press recently reported on the case of Abdirizik Mohamed Warsame, who was involved in the city’s CVE programs and yet still tried to join the Islamic State.

Another questionable CVE effort in the Twin Cities has been the “jihadi rehab” program pushed by the federal judge hearing many of the area’s terrorism cases whose results have been at best mixed.

One review of the Twin Cities “jihadi rehab” program notes that the organization sponsoring the program doesn’t actually have any experience rehabilitation jihadists, and the heart of the program is little more than a Social Justice Warrior reading list.

It’s no surprise then that two other men who were recently convicted of attempting to join the Islamic State asked to be included in the “jihadi rehab” program, a request that the federal judge denied just yesterday.

In fairness, it’s not just U.S. CVE programs that are failing.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week of a case where a German teenager who was enrolled in a government-sponsored deradicalization program who shortly after went on to bomb a Sikh temple. There have been other similar cases, such as one recently in Australia:

So the obsession by GOP congressional leaders of picking up failed Obama administration policies (such as the laughable Pentagon Train & Equip program for Syrian rebels) at points after those policies and programs are demonstrable failures would make for an interesting psychological study, but it makes for awful public policy.

That notwithstanding, the GOP leaders are being cheered on by a CVE industry of organizations and academic programs who are looking yet again to cash in on their poor judgment with little to show except for continuing the CVE clown show.

H.R. 5611 was pulled yesterday from the House Rules calendar, but it still expected to reappear sometime this week before Congress adjourns for the political conventions.

State and Local Law Enforcement Must Take the Lead Against Jihad

Crime Scene

Crime Scene

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton, July 4, 2016:

In case you haven’t noticed, the global Jihadist insurgency has entered a new, more dangerous phase in the past two years.

The number of Jihadis and the number of attacks that they have carried out–as well as the number of casualties they have inflicted and the number of countries they operate in–has grown drastically.

The excellent, private IntelCenter organization estimates that the Islamic State has killed 18,000 people in 28 countries since they declared their Caliphate on 29 June 2014.

This includes individual acts of Jihad carried out in this country in places like Orlando, Chattanooga, Boston, Garland, San Bernardino, Queens and Philadelphia.

There is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue. The effort to take down the caliphate is half-hearted at best because it simply isn’t something our president is interested in. He feels as if he killed Bin Laden and that should have been enough. Never mind that the world has become awash in Jihad since then.

Because of the complete lack of leadership on this vital issue, our federal bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus is not even allowed to study Islamic threat doctrine–the very doctrine that the Islamic State cites repeatedly.

Time and time again we find that the warning signs of the Jihadi attackers were missed. We were warned about the Tsarnaev brothers (the Boston bombers) repeatedly by the Russians and the FBI knew that their mosque was founded by a convicted Al Qaeda member. Yet they were still able to carry out their attack.

There were warning signs about the San Bernardino Jihadis as well. The female, Tafsheen Malik, used a fake address to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. She also gained entry into the U.S. under the horribly flawed federal “Visa Express” program that allows applicants to bypass the interview in the screening process.

Moreover, DHS whistleblower Phillip Haney has testified before Congress and written in his new book, “See Something, Say Nothing,” that he had been ordered to cease investigations into Tablighi Jamaat, the notorious Islamist organization that had ties to the San Bernardino mosque.

Then there is the case of Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, who was twice interviewed by the FBI because he was in the contact list for an American Islamikaze bomber in Syria and because he made “incendiary” remarks to co-workers about Jihad. Oh, and his Dad posted pro-Taliban videos too. He was given the all-clear, only to end up massacring 49 innocent Americans.

What all this points to is the vital need for state and local law enforcement to take the lead against Jihad inside this country. I promise you, the NYPD does not wait for the FBI to vet suspected terrorists. Other state and local agencies around the country need to take the same approach, albeit with resources that can’t match the NYPD, which is probably the most effective counterterrorism law enforcement organization anywhere in the world.

The fact is, the Feds are unaccountable. They can’t follow up all the leads they have now and very often have a lack of knowledge as to what or who they are dealing with. I have a hunch that the FBI agents who interviewed Omar Mateen probably thought he was creepy at best, but they had nothing to charge him with and they had to go about their business. Complicating matters even more is the fact that both the FBI and DHS are forbidden from tying Islam to terrorism. That restriction right there makes them ineffective at conducting counterintelligence operations.

State and local cops are not unaccountable. They have deep roots in their communities. If an Omar Mateen is in someone’s precinct and they know he is a known associate of an Islamikaze bomber and made threatening statements about terrorism, they will keep an eye on him way past the initial interview. There won’t be much more important in that precinct once an Omar Mateen comes to the local cops’ attention.

Furthermore, state and local police are not under any restriction to refrain from studying the enemy threat doctrine. If the local sheriff or police chief is bold enough, he will mandate that his intelligence and investigative people get educated about the threat in an objective, unbiased manner–allowing the subject matter to take them where it leads them, rather than starting from the position that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism.

State and local police are now at the tip of the spear in this war. 15 years ago America sent soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines overseas to protect us all from Jihad. Today, local law enforcement is being tasked with protecting soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from Jihad inside our own country. This is a profound shift in this war that has been lost on the overwhelming majority of the American people.

In Garland, Texas, it was a 62-year old motorcycle cop who gunned down the two Jihadi attackers who were wielding AK47s.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was the local police who gunned down Mohammad Abdulazeez.

In Boston, it was Boston PD who ran down the Tsarnaev brothers.

In Queens, New York, it was rookie patrolmen who were targeted by and gunned down Zale Thompson.

The San Bernardino shooters were killed by members of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.

In Philadelphia, it was a police officer sitting in his patrol car that was targeted by Edward Archer in the name of ISIS.

And, of course, we know that it was the Orlando Police Department who responded to Omar Mateen’s massacre.

By the time DHS and FBI show up, they have to ask permission to cross the crime scene tape. In Marine Corps parlance, by the time the Feds get involved, it’s “right of bang.”

State and local police need to prepare to operate against Jihadis “left of bang,” and that means taking their own initiative and not depending solely on our bureaucratized, federal counterterrorism apparatus for training or intelligence about potential bad guys in their jurisdictions.

Homeland Security Advisory Council: Covering for the Enemy Threat Doctrine

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton

America is at war and we continue to be prevented from identifying and understanding our enemies as a result of influence operations targeting our bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus.

The latest evidence of this long-standing and, unfortunately, very effective influence campaign comes from the revelation that the “Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee” of the Homeland Security Advisory Council to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a recommendation that urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as “jihad” and “shariah” in communications about the threats that we face….

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/homeland-security-report-calls-rejecting-terms-jihad-sharia/

This is nothing new. We have heard CIA director John Brennan reject the term “jihadist” and the State Department under Condoleezza Rice rejected the use of the term as well.

We have covered the damaging efforts by our enemies to prevent the actual correct use of the term “jihad” extensively here on Terror Trends Bulletin in the past…

https://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2013/01/13/cairs-new-disinformation-campaign-on-jihad/

But the effort to suppress even mere mention of the word “shariah” is actually much more damaging than the suppression of the word “jihad.” That’s because shariah is THE enemy threat doctrine.

To understand our enemies, their motivations, their intentions and their strategy, one must study shariah. Shariah is everything to the jihadists. It is the code that they follow and its full implementation is their goal.

Forbidding the use of the term shariah, much less suppressing study of shariah in the present conflict is the equivalent of forbidding intelligence agencies from studying Mein Kampf in World War II or the works and words of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao during the Cold War.

Anyone who would recommend that we avoid studying and talking about shariah simply must have a nefarious purpose.

By way of review, shariah is Islamic law. The terms shariah and Islamic law are completely interchangeable; they refer to exactly the same thing. Shariah is an immutable theo-political-legal-military code derived from the Islamic doctrinal trilogy, made up of the Quran, the Sirah (the biography of the prophet Mohammed) and the Hadith (traditions, sayings and stories compiled about the life of Mohammed).

Every single Jihadist terrorist group in the world–without exception–has as its stated goal the imposition of shariah: the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyef, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Al Shabaab–all of them.

So, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be carefully avoiding the use of the term shariah, our enemies have been using it quite commonly, frequently and prominently, as if to illustrate the absurdity of the DHS recommendation.

What follows is a compilation of quotes from jihadi leaders and Al Qaeda and Islamic State documents that reveal the central importance of shariah to their movement. This is why Americans must familiarize themselves with shariah.

SHARIAH ACCORDING TO THE JIHADISTS THEMSELVES

• The sharia has forbidden us from taking infidels as confidants, inducting them into our secrets.
• The sharia forbids us from appointing infidels to important posts.
• The sharia forbids us from adopting or praising the beliefs and views of the infidels.
• The sharia forbids us from assisting infidels against Muslims; even the one who is coerced has o excuse to fight under the banner of infidels.
• The sharia commands us to battle infidels—both original infidels and apostates, as well as hypocrites. As for waging jihad against the infidels who have usurped the lands of Islam, this is a duty considered second only to faith, by ulemaic consensus.
• The sharia does not accept the excuses made by hypocrites—that they befriend the infidels because they fear the vicissitudes of time.
• We are duty-bound by the sharia to help Muslims overcome the infidels.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

Osama bin Laden sits with his adviser and purported successor Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview in Afghanistan, Barack Obama

Democracy is based on the principle of the power of creatures over other creatures, and rejects the principle of God’s absolute power over all creatures; it is also based on the idea the men’s desires, whatever they may be, replace God absolutely, and on the refusal to obey God’s law. In Islam, when there is a disagreement or a difference of opinion, one refers to God, his Prophet, and the commands of sharia.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

Read more

Homeland Security Instructed To Combat Violent Extremism With Political Correctness

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before a House Judiciary committee hearing on the 'Oversight of the US Department of Homeland Security' on Capitol Hill in Washington July 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before a House Judiciary committee hearing on the ‘Oversight of the US Department of Homeland Security’ on Capitol Hill in Washington July 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Daily Caller, by Peter Hassan, June 13 2016:

Less than a week before Omar Mateen walked into an Orlando gay club and killed or wounded more than 100 people, the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) submitted its Countering Violent Extremism report to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson. The report instructs the DHS not to use any language that might be “disrespectful” to Muslims, including (but not limited to) the words “jihad,” “sharia” and “takfir.”

The report was crafted by an HSAC subcommittee that Secretary Johnson created in November 2015. The head of that subcommittee, Farah Pandith, was appointed by Johnson in May 2015. The subcommittee published the report on June 9.

In addition to combatting violent extremism by reaching out to “gender diverse” Americans and teaching youth “appropriate online etiquette,” the report recommends that the DHS “avoid stigmatizing specific communities.”

The report urges DHS officials to “Reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”

For example, the report says the DHS should be “using American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like ‘jihad,’ ‘sharia,’ ‘takfir’ or ‘umma.’”

The report acknowledges that, “There is a disagreement among scholars, government officials, and activists about the right lexicon to use around the issues of violent extremism.”

Nevertheless, the report states, “Under no circumstance should we be using language that will alienate or be disrespectful of fellow Americans.”

“We must speak with honor and respect about all communities within the United States. We should give dignity to the many histories and diversities within our nation and advocate for a consistent whole of government approach that utilizes agreed terms and words. Tone and word choice matter,” the report states.

The report includes other recommendations for countering violent extremism, such as: “Focus on gender diversity of youth through careful attention to the range of push and pull factors that attract individuals of differing gender.”

The report also recommends countering extremism by teaching youth “appropriate online etiquette.”

The report instructs the DHS to “Develop a curriculum in partnership with the Department of Education and education experts and non-profits to disseminate to schools, teaching children appropriate online etiquette to mitigate online hate.”

The DHS website states that HSAC, “Provides organizationally independent advice and recommendations to the Secretary, including the creation and implementation of critical and actionable policies for the security of the homeland.”

Follow Peter Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

See also:

2016 ISIS Threats in the USA so far…

by FSM NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, February 19, 2016

If you think ISIS is not a direct and immediate threat to Americans in America, think again…

20160219_dhsisisthreatinamerica2016

Chairman McCaul: “The Islamist terror threat remains alarmingly high as recent arrests and terror plots demonstrate. ISIS recruits wage war in our communities, while thousands of deadly fighters trained in Syria stream back into the West – some of them infiltrating massive refugee flows. ISIS continues its global expansion on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the still-dangerous al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seizes greater territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin and the revitalized Iran-Assad-Hezbollah terror axis are further destabilizing the Syrian crisis in the absence of U.S. leadership. This year is on track to be as dangerous as – if not worse than – 2015 for the American homeland and our national security.”

Key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include:

  • The Iranian regime gained access to $100 billion in cash from the disastrous nuclear deal and is poised for further economic relief that will fuel its global network of terror.
  • An increasing number of battle-hardened fighters from Europe are returning from jihadist training grounds. Nearly 2,000 Europeans – among an estimated 6,600 Western fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq – have snuck back into Europe. A French counterterrorism official recently warned, “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries…We know the terrorists are working on this.”
  • Islamist terrorists are exploiting global refugee flows to infiltrate and target the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence chief recently said terrorists “have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.” A suspected ISIS terror plotter arrested in Germany this week snuck into Europe posing as a refugee. The European Union also recently assessed there is a “real and imminent danger” of Syrian refugees inside Europe being radicalized and recruited by Islamist extremists.
  • ISIS and al Qaeda are expanding their sanctuaries from North Africa to South Asia. ISIS is reinforcing its foothold in Libya, where it has amassed as many as 6,500 fighters and controls coastal territory on the Mediterranean Sea. Al Qaeda is making further gains in Yemen and its key ally in Afghanistan controls more territory than it has at any point since 2001.
  • The Obama Administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. The intelligence community has assessed that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released are either known to have or suspected of having rejoined the fight. The potential transfer of detainees to the United States, prohibited under law, would also pose a threat to the American people.
  • The United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11. ISIS is waging war here in the homeland, where there have been 21 ISIS-linked plots to launch attacks. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 81 ISIS-linked suspects, including six thus far in 2016.

Read the Full Report from the House Homeland Security Committee – Click Here

CIA Director Brennan’s 60-Minutes Interview Encapsulates The Dangerous & Naive Approach This Administration Has Adopted In Combating The lslamic State

CIA Director John Brennan warned that ISIS will try to attack the U.S. in the future, but said their chances of success are definitely not 100 percent. (Photo : Twitter Photo Section)

CIA Director John Brennan warned that ISIS will try to attack the U.S. in the future, but said their chances of success are definitely not 100 percent. (Photo : Twitter Photo Section)

Fortuna’s Corner, by R. C. Porter, Feb. 15, 2015:

CIA Director John Brennan’s Sunday night (Feb. 14, 2016) interview aired on the CBS show ’60 Minutes,’ was profound for what he said; and, what he didn’t say.   During last night’s interview,
     Scott Pelley of CBS News asked Director Brennan:  “Is ISIS coming here [the U.S.]?”
     Director Brennan said:  “I think ISIL does want to eventually find it’s mark here.”
     Scott Pelley:  “You’re expecting an attack in the United States?”
     Director Brennan:  “I’m expecting them to try to put in place the operatives, the material, or whatever else they need to incite people to carry out these attacks clearly.  So, I believe their attempts are inevitable.  I don’t think their successes necessarily are.”
     Later in the interview, Mr. Pelley asked Director Brennan:  “Does ISIS have chemical weapons?”
     Director Brennan:  “We have a number of instances where ISIL has used chemical munitions on the battlefield.”
     Mr. Pelley later remarked;  “The CIA believes ISIS has the ability to manufacture small quantities of chlorine, and mustard gas.  And the capability of [ISIS] exporting those capabilities to the West [are]?”
     Director Brennan:  “I think there is always the potential for that.  This is why it’s so important to cut off the various transportation routes, and smuggling routes that they have used.”
     But, here is the real ringer: 
 
     Scott Pelley:  “What do you think our policy would be after an ISIS-directed attack in the United States?” 
 
     Director Brennan:  “If there is a major attack here, and we had ISIS fingerprints on it — certainly, this would encourage us to be even more forceful in terms of what we need to do [to combat this looming threat].”
 
     Scott Pelley:  “If our policy after an attack in the United States would be more forceful, WHY ISN’T THAT OUR POLICY — BEFORE AN ATTACK?”
 
         Director Brennan:  “Well, I think we’re being as forceful as we can, in making sure that we’re being surgical as well.  What we don’t want to do is alienate others within that region; and, have any type of indiscriminate actions that are going to lead to deaths of additional civilians.”
 
       There it is in a nutshell.  We (the United States) aren’t going to do anything that might upset anyone in the region — apparently until we have dead Americans littering the streets of the continental United States.  Then, we’ll alienate the hell out of them.  But, we apparently have to have innocent American blood spilled here first.  This interview isn’t getting the attention and seriousness it deserves.  This administration is being derelict with respect to taking all deliberate measures to protect us here at home.  God help us if ISIS does launch a successful attack here and this POTUS and Director Brennan have to stand in front of the victim’s families and the American people and explain why they did not act more aggressively beforehand.
 
      The Intelligence Community was heavily criticized and ripped apart in the aftermath of 9/11 for a ‘failure of imagination,’ and for failing to ‘connect the dots.’  We now have a CIA Director publicly warning that ISIS intends to attack the U.S. homeland; but, we — the U.S. Government is attempting to wage an antiseptic war against an avowed and determined enemy — because we do not want to offend people in the region.  
 
    If you think the 9/11 Commission was critical and rough on the Intelligence Community — you ain’t seen nothing yet — if ISIS is successful.
 
     This kind of naive thinking is also behind the short-sighted intent to close Guantanamo; and, the imposition of overly restrictive rules-of-engagement our warfighters are operating under, as they try and kill these malcontents over there — before they come here.
 
     And, as far as ISIS’s message potentially finding fertile ground here — well, that’s why in addition to killing ISIS physically, we also have to kill the message and the idea.  I know I sound like a broken record, but there is no better way to do that than to have a 21st century Crimes Against Humanity Trials (a 21st century version of the WWII Nuremberg War Crimes Trials 70 years ago) — and indict and prosecute Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his key henchmen — in absentia if necessary — so their philosophy and message can be condemned in a similar fashion that Nazism was.  But, that might offend some people over there — so, this would appear a non-starter under this POTUS, and CIA Director.
 
     God help us if Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill had taken this kind of stance against Nazi Germany.  No, I do not want to go there.
 
         We have all the dots we need — to understand that we face a clear and present danger from the Islamic State.  But, we apparently believe that if we fight with soft gloves, close Guantanamo, and say the ‘right things,’ — we’ll be safe.  If it were only so.  

MCCAUL RELEASES FEBRUARY TERROR THREAT SNAPSHOT

Homeland Security Committee, Feb. 8, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The February Terror Threat Snapshot was released today by Homeland Security Committee (HSC) Chairman Michael McCaul. The “snapshot” is a monthly Committee assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

Chairman McCaul: “The Islamist terror threat remains alarmingly high as recent arrests and terror plots demonstrate. ISIS recruits wage war in our communities, while thousands of deadly fighters trained in Syria stream back into the West – some of them infiltrating massive refugee flows. ISIS continues its global expansion on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the still-dangerous al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seizes greater territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin and the revitalized Iran-Assad-Hezbollah terror axis are further destabilizing the Syrian crisis in the absence of U.S. leadership. This year is on track to be as dangerous as – if not worse than – 2015 for the American homeland and our national security.”

Key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include:

  • The Iranian regime gained access to $100 billion in cash from the disastrous nuclear deal and is poised for further economic relief that will fuel its global network of terror.
  • An increasing number of battle-hardened fighters from Europe are returning from jihadist training grounds. Nearly 2,000 Europeans – among an estimated 6,600 Western fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq – have snuck back into Europe. A French counterterrorism official recently warned, “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries…We know the terrorists are working on this.”
  • Islamist terrorists are exploiting global refugee flows to infiltrate and target the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence chief recently said terrorists “have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.” A suspected ISIS terror plotter arrested in Germany this week snuck into Europe posing as a refugee. The European Union also recently assessed there is a “real and imminent danger” of Syrian refugees inside Europe being radicalized and recruited by Islamist extremists.
  • ISIS and al Qaeda are expanding their sanctuaries from North Africa to South Asia. ISIS is reinforcing its foothold in Libya, where it has amassed as many as 6,500 fighters and controls coastal territory on the Mediterranean Sea. Al Qaeda is making further gains in Yemen and its key ally in Afghanistan controls more territory than it has at any point since 2001.
  • The Obama Administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. The intelligence community has assessed that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released are either known to have or suspected of having rejoined the fight. The potential transfer of detainees to the United States, prohibited under law, would also pose a threat to the American people.
  • The United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11. ISIS is waging war here in the homeland, where there have been 21 ISIS-linked plots to launch attacks. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 81 ISIS-linked suspects, including five thus far in 2016.

TerrorThreatSnapshot_February_Social-Media-862x1024The complete February Terror Threat Snapshot is available, here.

View the Committee’s interactive Terror Threat Snapshot map, here.

Home-drone terrorism

1006073240CSP, by Ben Lerner, Jan. 6, 2016:

Originally published at The Hill

In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack that took the lives of fourteen victims in San Bernardino, California last month, a raft of information has been coming out regarding the identities and histories of the perpetrators, and also the arsenal they had amassed to carry out their plans.

Amidst all the reporting, it would be easy to miss a significant item that authorities found among the weaponry, as reported by Fox News:

“…Another source said investigators discovered a dozen pipe bombs in the house, as well as small explosives strapped to remote-controlled cars – a signature of terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, according to counter-terrorism experts.”

Why remote-controlled cars? Well, it turns out that as much as jihadist terrorists may value their own deaths in the course of their attacks, they also favor using any weapon that maximizes the number of casualties, and the fear that entails, whether they themselves are killed in the process or not. Hence the high utility of and interest in improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which can be built cheaply and detonated from afar, allowing operators to evade detection and therefore minimize interdiction. Add an ability to move the explosive to a specific location by remote, and you have a low-tech but lethal precision-guided weapon.

Those advantages of the remote IED – precision, evasion, cost-effectiveness – have prompted authorities increasingly to worry that terrorists will turn next to another device to help them carry out attacks: drones.

Drones have the potential to function essentially as the aerial version of the remote-controlled car bombs found in that San Bernardino apartment. They could be rigged to carry small explosives and sent to a target as a precision-guided weapon, or could be deployed without an explosive and just flown, deliberately, into a jet engine. And even if the user in question opts not to use the drone itself as a weapon, it can still operate overhead with a camera and provide what the military calls intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance (ISR) to support an attack on the ground, for example by providing intelligence on additional targets or possible escape routes for the attackers.

Non-state actors are already either deploying drones in the field or are drawing concern from security experts about their potential to do so. Both Hezbollah and Hamas have sent (for now) non-weaponized, rudimentary drones of limited capability into Middle Eastern skies, including one Hezbollah drone that made it 140 miles into Israel. Drug cartels are already attempting to use drones for smuggling narcotics, and some in law enforcement have speculated that cartels will find value in drones for surveillance purposes. The New York Police Department has beenworried for some time about the potential for terrorist attacks on New York City using drones.

Given the threat posed by drones in the hands of terrorists or criminals, there is an urgent need to grapple with how to secure American skies in effective, sensible ways. Broadly speaking, policymakers should proceed on this front bearing two things in mind:

Deploy counter-drone technologies to protect U.S. airspace. Addressing the terrorist/criminal drone threat will require the deployment of counter-drone technology, sooner rather than later, that can be used to safely disable and bring down drones in non-military environments. The military has been working on fielding counter-drone technologies for some time – the Navy has already made significant advances with deployment of directed energy technology to counter threats from Iranian drones and other weapons in the Persian Gulf, and recent reporting indicates that the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) and Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) have been collaborating extensively to identify workable counter-drone options as well. While the homeland security side of the federal government appears to be catching up on this front, the question remains as to whether effective technology will be ready in time for use against this kind of bad-actor drone in the skies over American cities and infrastructure – particularly when, unlike their military counterparts, those responsible for homeland security are more constrained to avoid counter-drone measures that involve blowing one up in mid-air over lower Manhattan or knocking out electronic communications in downtown Washington, D.C.

Recognize the limitations of traceability and “geo-fencing.” In recent months, there have been numerous unauthorized drone flights in U.S. airspace – near airports, near commercial aircraft, over sporting events, and in some cases, in the path of wildfire relief efforts – the preponderance of which appear to have been the result of reckless or careless drone use, rather than a malicious intent to cause harm. These kinds of incursions have prompted the Department of Transportation to announce that it will require those who use drones to register them with the department by February of 2016. It is thought that having operators register their drones will give law enforcement an opportunity to trace drones back to their operators in certain circumstances for deterrence and accountability purposes, though there is room to debate whether this is unnecessarily burdensome for your average law-abiding user, and whether a more effective way to create deterrence and accountability would be through tracing manufacturer serial numbers, via the retailer, back to the point of sale.

Of course, having the ability to trace a drone back to its owner only matters after a drone has already flown into restricted airspace – it won’t prevent incursions from taking place. That reality has prompted drone companies to explore the option of manufacturer-installed “geo-fencing”technology that pre-programs a drone to render it incapable of flying into restricted airspace.

Policymakers should recognize that while traceability mechanisms and geo-fencing could be important public safety tools to better manage increasingly crowded airspace and mitigate irresponsible or reckless drone use, they will not solve the problem of malevolent drone use. Terrorists and criminals won’t register themselves under any system, or make themselves otherwise vulnerable to having ownership traced back to them, and a determined terrorist or criminal will be all the more inclined to disable geo-fencing features, and perhaps all the more capable of doing so.

Drones are already doing much good in American skies for law enforcement, homeland security, and a variety of industries putting them to innovative use. As is the case with all beneficial technologies, however, bad actors will find ways to use a drone’s otherwise positive qualities to cause harm. Dealing with that threat will entail understanding which counter-drone technologies can be usefully applied to preventing terrorist/criminal acts, and which ones are less likely to get that particular job done, other potential benefits notwithstanding.

Feds lose track of thousands who have had visas revoked

acis2-768x542

The Gorka Briefing, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Dec. 19, 2015:

A recent hearing on the Hill where the govt has no idea the number people whose visas have been revoked or where they are was like watching an Abbott and Costello sketch. On Fox to talk about this.

RELATED:

TERRORIST TRAVEL: VETTING FOR NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS (House Oversight Committee)

TAKEAWAYS

  • The Obama administration claims to have “very extensive screening procedures” in place, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rejected a plan to review the social media accounts of visa applicants. Current plans to review social media remain in the “pilot” phase.
  • For years, terrorists have used social media to promote their mission, recruit other terrorists, and plan attacks. DHS’ vetting process must evolve to stay one step ahead of those who pose a risk to national security.
  • In FY 2013 and FY 2014, DHS has apprehended and released more than 66,000 criminal aliens back into the United States.
  • Since 1996, Congress has required that an exit system be put in place to determine visa overstays. The biometric exit system has yet to be put in place, and DHS has failed to issue a mandated report to Congress on the number of overstays who remain in the U.S. in violation of the law.
  • DHS and State Department officials were unable to report the number of immigrants who had their visas revoked but still remain in the United States.

(see more plus videos)

Feds can’t say whereabouts of those whose visas were revoked over terror threat (Fox)

The Obama administration cannot be sure of the whereabouts of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. who had their visas revoked over terror concerns and other reasons, a State Department official acknowledged Thursday.

The admission, made at a House oversight hearing examining immigrant vetting in the wake of major terror attacks, drew a sharp rebuke from the committee chairman.

“You don’t have a clue do you?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Bond initially said the U.S. has revoked more than 122,000 visas since 2001, including 9,500 because of the threat of terrorism.

But Chaffetz quickly pried at that stat, pressing the witness about the present location of those individuals.

“I don’t know,” she said.

The startling admission came as members of the committee pressed administration officials on what safeguards are in place to reduce the risk from would-be extremists. . . . (read the rest)

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Also see: