Here’s A Short List Of Foreign-Born Terrorists Reporters Can’t Believe Exist

tsarnaev

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, January 30, 2017:

When arguing with the Left about matters of national security and terrorism, one becomes accustomed to their habitual moving of goal posts and artificial construction of sample sizes that deliberately exclude relevant cases.

The most notorious example, of course, is the beloved “since 9/11…” canard, such as the oft-repeated although false claim that since 9/11 right-wing terrorists have killed more Americans than Islamic terrorists.

The recent executive order by the Trump administration on immigration led to an urgent desire to proclaim that there is no terrorism threat from immigrants. The most egregious example: A tweet from The New York Times’ White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who is also a CNN analyst. She posed the question, “Other than San Bernardino shootings, has there been a terrorist attack involving a non-US-born attacker since 9/11?”

Of course, there is no sensible reason for excluding San Bernardino shooter Tasheen Malik, who was born in Pakistan, from a list of terror attacks. The attack killed 14 and took place only last year.

But even within the confines of such a ludicrously constructed sample, the question surprised more up-to-speed denizens of Twitter, who quickly bombarded Haberman with lists of successful and unsuccessful attacks carried out by non-U.S.-born individuals, including some of the most notorious recent terror attacks.

Yes, Foreign-Born Immigrants Have Committed Terrorism

Among such individuals: the Tsarnaev brothers of the Boston Marathon bombing, who were both born abroad. Tamerlan was born in Kyrgyzstan in 1986, and Dzhokhar was reportedly born in Dagestan.

The 2015 Chattanooga Recruiting Center shooter, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, was born in Kuwait and lived in Jordan before migrating to the United States at the age of six. He killed five people.

Ohio State University attacker Abdul Razak Artan, who ran over several fellow students with a car before attacking them with a butcher knife, was a refugee born in Somalia who had only been in the United States for two years.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, born in Afghanistan, detonated a bomb near a 5K run event, then another in downtown Manhattan in October of last year.

Dahir Adan, a Somali born in Kenya who immigrated to the United States as a child, launched a mass stabbing attack at a St. Cloud Minnesota mall in 2016. And these are only a few recent examples.

Let’s Just Define Away Counterexamples

While it might be amusing to imagine that a mainstream media figure of some note is totally oblivious to any of the details of recent terror attacks, it’s almost beside the point. Had Haberman known better, perhaps she’d have simply constructed a question that did meet what appears to be her preformed opinion that foreign-born individuals are nearly incapable of representing a threat.

That was the position CNN took in its piece on the Trump administration’s executive order. The piece moved the goal posts yet again, insisting that no refugee had carried out a fatal terror attack in the United States. That’s surely cold comfort to the families of those killed by Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, two Iraqi refugees settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

After their fingerprints were discovered on Iraqi IEDs, the two Iraqi refugees were caught in an FBI counterterrorism investigation, where Alwan bragged about using a sniper rifle to kill American troops abroad. The two plotted to kill returning U.S. troops as well. An IED constructed by Alwan is believed to have killed four Pennsylvania National Guardsmen in 2005.

That case resulted in a six-month freeze on Iraqi refugee resettlement in 2011 as U.S. authorities attempted to clamp down on serious screening problems. But, according to CNN’s twisted logic, these Iraqi refugees were never a threat. Ironically, the more attacks American law enforcement successfully prevent or mitigate, the less of a threat there is, according to the CNN model.

If one were truly interested in whether there is a terror threat from individuals born abroad, one would examine the totality of activity, not a narrowly constructed definition aimed to minimize it. That’s what senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions did last June when they examined 580 individuals successfully prosecuted on terrorism offenses from September 2001 until 2014. According to the senators, 380 were foreign-born and at least 40 were refugees. While not all of those cases involved successful or attempted terror attacks, all involved cases that were terrorism-related.

Haberman’s offhand tweet is a snapshot of the willingness of the mainstream media to engage in reflective self-censoring, a kind of doublethink, where reporters seem to remain proudly unaware of key evidence that would contradict their pre-established conclusions. Unfortunately for The New York Times correspondent, not everyone on social media was inclined to play along.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle has worked for several organizations involved with Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications and briefed legislative aides, intelligence, and law enforcement officials and the general public on national security issues.
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Soros Money, Muslim Advocates Leader, Helped Weaken Homeland Security Policies

osfby John Rossomando
IPT News
October 7, 2016

A Muslim legal group, girded with $1.8 million in grant money from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF), has helped influence major policy changes in the war on terror, including the Department of Homeland Security’s screening of individuals with suspected terror ties and the FBI’s training program for its agents working in counterterrorism.

Internal records, made public by the hacking group DC Leaks, show OSF spent $40 million between 2008 and 2010 on programs aimed at weakening U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Muslim Advocates’ Executive Director Farhana Khera played a key role in shaping the foundations’ spending. Khera co-authored a 2007 memo that “informed” the foundations’ U.S. Programs Board’s decision to create the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC), a Sept. 14, 2010 OSF document discussing the program’s reauthorization, shows.

The NSHRC’s goals included:

  • Closing Guantanamo Bay, eliminating torture and methods such as the extraordinary rendition of prisoners, and ending the use of secret prisons;
  • Ending warrantless and “unchecked” surveillance;
  • Ensuring that anti-terrorism laws and law enforcement activities do not target freedom of speech, association or religious expression;
  • Reducing ethnic and religious profiling of people of Muslim, Arab or South Asian extraction;
  • Decreasing secrecy and increasing oversight of executive actions, and expose U.S. government or private individuals who abuse or violate the law.

Some of these policies, such as closing Guantanamo and ending enhanced interrogation techniques, already were also advocated by Obama administration. OSFclaimed its work laid the groundwork for implementing those policies. The Edward Snowden leaks cast light on the depth of the government’s warrantless surveillance activity. The other goals are more difficult to assess.

Muslim Advocates was founded in 2005 as an offshoot of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. It often criticizes U.S. counterterrorism strategies that use sting operations and informants as discriminatory.

Papers released by the anonymous hacker group DC Leaks show that OSF budgeted $21 million for the NSHRC from 2008-2010. OSF spent an additional $1.5 million in 2010. The NSHRC also received a matching $20 million contribution from Atlantic Philanthropies, a private foundation established in 1982 by Irish-American Chuck Feeney billionaire businessman.

OSF made 105 grants totaling $20,052, 784 to 63 organizations under the NSHRC program. An Investigative Project on Terrorism tally shows Muslim Advocates received at least $1.84 million in OSF grants between 2008 and 2015.

A funders’ roundtable created by OSF in 2008 helped coordinate the grant making among several left-leaning foundations, ” in order to “dismantle the flawed ‘war on terror’ paradigm on which national security policy is now based.” At least “two dozen” foundations participated in the roundtable’s strategy sessions as of the end of 2008.

Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, called the Soros foundations’ $40 million program both hypocritical and ironic. He noted that the 2011 OSF-funded Center for American Progress report “Fear, Inc.” complained that seven conservative foundations donated $42.6 million to so-called “Islamophobia think tanks between 2001 and 2009.” The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other major Islamist groups routinely use the $42.6 million funding number to portray their opponents as being pawns of dark forces.

“It’s amazing that one foundation donated an amount that CAIR and [Muslim] Advocates say is the huge sum of money that funds the entire anti-jihad campaign,” Jasser said. “… That wasn’t from one foundation. That was an addition of [the money given to] everybody that they threw under the bus.”

By contrast, OSF and Atlantic Philanthropies spent $41.5 million in just three years. OSF dedicated another $26 million to the NSHRC program from 2011-2014.

OSF additionally funded a study by the New America Foundation equating the terror threat posed right-wing extremists with al-Qaida. An Oct. 17, 2011 memo discussing NSHRC grants notes that New America received $250,000, partly to write two reports. The first aimed at creating a “‘safe space’ in which Muslims in America feel free to hold controversial political dialogues, organize without fear of unwarranted government surveillance.” The second aimed to “correct mistaken public beliefs that Al-Qaeda’s brand of terrorism is unique to Islam and that most terrorists are Muslim.”

The paper promised “to show how adherents of each extremist ideology use different language to justify very similar political means and goals. By demonstrating parallels among militant groups, this paper will aim to separate politically focused terrorism from the religion of Islam.”

Arguments from this report continue to help frame how Democrats and their allies talk about the jihadist threat. New America’s statistics and arguments recently came up in a House hearing about the threat from homegrown Islamic terrorists.

“According to the New America Foundation, there have been more incidents of right-wing extremist attacks in the United States than violent jihadist attacks since 9/11. I’m not minimizing jihadist attacks. In that light, can you explain what your office plans to do with respect to domestic right-wing extremism?” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., asked Department of Homeland Security Office of Community Partnerships Director George Selim during a House subcommittee hearing last month.

New America’s effort to conflate right-wing extremists with al-Qaida glossed over a major difference – namely al-Qaida’s reliance on mass casualty attacks and suicide bombings.

New America’s latest data shows that jihadists have killed more people since 9/11 than right-wing extremists.

“What you’ve uncovered is the fact … that the Soros foundation works to obfuscate on national security,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates clearly is a prime example of the sickness in Washington related to dealing with the central reforms necessary to make within the House of Islam.

“You’ll see that the Soros foundation is spending money on organizations that deny the very principles they are defenders of, which are feminism, gay rights, individual rights. Muslim Advocates’ entire bandwidth is spent on attacking the government and blocking any efforts at counterterrorism.”

Muslim Advocates also opposes discussion on reform within the Muslim community and supports those who have theocratic tendencies, Jasser said.

“You have evidence here that the Soros foundation is part and parcel of the reason for the suffocation of moderation voices – reformist voices – in Islam,” Jasser said. “Muslim Advocates really ought to change their name to Islamist Advocates, and what the Soros foundation really is doing is just advocating for Islamists.”

OSF also contributed $150,000 in 2011 and $185,000 in 2012 to a donor advised fund run by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It used this money to pay Hattaway Communications, a consulting firm run by former Hillary Clinton adviser Doug Hattaway, to develop a messaging strategy for Muslim Advocates and similar organizations. Hattaway’s message strategy painted Muslims as victims of American national security policies.

Khera used Hattaway’s strategy to paint the New York Police Department’s mosque surveillance strategy as “discriminatory.”

OSF funded groups, including Muslim Advocates, the ACLU, and the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed lawsuits challenging the NYPD’s surveillance program as unconstitutional. Police Commissioner William Bratton ended the policy in 2014.”Their only ‘crime’ is that they are Muslim in America,” Khera wrote in a June 6, 2012 op-ed posted on CNN.com.

The NYPD monitored almost all aspects of Muslim life ranging from mosques and student associations, to halal butcher shops and restaurants to private citizens.  A federal district court dismissed the suit, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in October 2015. New York settled the lawsuit in January, placing the NYPD under supervision of an independent observer appointed by City Hall.

Downplaying Radicalization and the Jihadist Threat

OSF accused conservative opponents of “borrowing liberally from Joe McCarthy’s guilt by association tactics.” It complained in a Sept. 14, 2010 memo to its U.S. Programs Board that the “homegrown terrorism narrative” resulted in “discriminatory” targeting of Muslims by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI.

Khera often expresses similar sentiments. She accused the FBI of engaging in “entrapment operations” to target “innocent” Muslims after former Attorney General Eric Holder called sting operations an “essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing terror attacks.”

Khera likewise characterized law enforcement training materials discussing the Islamic extremist ideology as “bigoted, false, and inflammatory” in her June 28 testimony before a Senate Judiciary  Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, Federal Courts.

She and her organization played a central role in late 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive. FBI counterterrorism training materials about Islam contained “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims,” she complained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter. She objected to describing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an,” says that zakat can be used to help “those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America issued a 2011 fatwa saying zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Following Khera’s letter, then-White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan announced a review of “CVE-related instruction across all levels of government.” This review resulted in a purge of 700 pages of material from 300 presentations. This included PowerPoints and articles describing jihad as “holy war” and portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as group bent on world domination.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws describe these ultimate ambitions and imply the need for violence: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.”

Khera’s influence with the Obama administration

Khera enjoys close connections with the Obama White House. Visitor logs show that Khera went to the White House at least 11 times.

Khera played a central role persuading the Obama administration to purge Department of Homeland Security records related to individuals and groups with terror ties, former Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) Agent Phil Haney told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

His superiors ordered him to “modify” 820 CPB TECS records about the Muslim Brotherhood network in America, Haney said. Irrefutable evidence from the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas financing trial proved that many of these groups and individuals assisted Hamas, Haney said.

The HLF trial substantiated deep connections between American Islamist groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a Hamas-support network created by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.

A 2009 OSF funding document claims credit for helping persuade then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to order a review of border screening procedures. It also reveals that Muslim Advocates worked with “DHS staff to develop a revised border policy.”

The Muslim Advocates’ report recommended the “review and reform of … [Customs and Border Patrol policies and practices that target Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans for their First Amendment protected activities, beliefs and associations; and … law enforcement and intelligence activities that impose disparate impacts on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.” It also asked DHS to prevent CPB agents from probing about political beliefs, religious practices, and contributions to “lawful” charitable organizations.

Muslim Advocates claimed a pivotal role in getting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reverse a new 2010 policy enhancing the screening on travelers from 14 countries, many of them predominately Muslim. The rule was proposed in the wake of the attempt by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a Detroit-bound plane weeks earlier.

Muslim Advocates and several OSF grantees met with Napolitano and other top DHS officials, and the policy was canceled three months later. Muslim Advocates claimedthat the Obama administration “made special mention” of its role in reversing the TSA policy.

“This broke into the open with the great purge of 2011 and 2012,” Haney said, recalling Brennan’s letter to Khera announcing that materials she complained about would be removed.

The purge accompanied a practice of meeting with Islamist groups as community partners, Haney said.

In addition to the purge of training material, documents related to people and groups with terrorism ties such as Canadian Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi and the Pakistan-based Tablighi Jamaat movement also disappeared from CPB records. (Tablighi Jamaat often serves as a de facto recruiting conduit for groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban.)

Investigators might have had a better chance of thwarting the San Bernardino and the June Orlando shootings had those Tablighi Jamaat records remained available, Haney said, because the shooters’ respective mosques appeared in the deleted 2012 Tablighi Jamaat case report.

The Obama administration’s “absolute refusal to acknowledge that individuals who are affiliated with networks operating here in the United States, and their deliberate deletion of any evidentiary pieces of information in the system, has made us blind and handcuffed,” Haney said. “The proof of it is San Bernardino and Orlando.

“They obliterated the entire [Tablighi Jamaat] case as if it never existed.”

Haney’s claims have met with some skepticism. Haney stands by his claims and says critics “made a lot of factual errors.”

Still, Muslim Advocates’ success reversing the TSA policy was among the accomplishments showing that it “has proved itself to be an effective advocate on the national stage,” an April 25, 2011 OSF document said. It recommended renewing a $440,000 grant to “support the core operating costs of Muslim Advocates.”

In doing so, the Soros-funded OSF weakened U.S. national security and potentially left it vulnerable to the jihadi attacks we have been seeing in the homeland since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

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.”

video

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.

***

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.

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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.

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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.