FBI Investigating Radical Terrorists in All 50 States as Threats Hit Peak

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly / Getty Images

Robert Spencer has a very good comment on this article. I’m wondering why the word “radical” needs to be used as a qualifier for  the word terrorist.

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, April 18, 2017:

Federal authorities have open investigations into radical Islamic terrorists in all 50 states, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which is warning that the threat of terrorism in the United States has reached an all time high with radicalized individuals in the country plotting to strike “each and every single day.”

The FBI has “open terrorist investigations in all 50 states,” according to DHS Secretary John Kelly, who disclosed on Tuesday that there have been at least 37 “ISIS-linked plots to attack our country” since 2013, a number that shows no signs of diminishing.

Kelly, in his first wide-ranging public address on the threat of terrorism in America since taking office, warned that America’s borders remain wide-open and that there is evidence terror-linked individuals are exploiting these national security weaknesses and entering the United States.

“We don’t know their intentions,” Kelly said during an address at George Washington University. “We don’t know why they’re here or why they’re coming. We are completely blind to what they’re capable of.”

Terrorist also continues to sprout inside American communities across the country, according to Kelly, who said that in just the past year, there have been “36 homegrown terrorist cases in 18 states.”

“We’ve seen an unprecedented spike in homegrown terrorism,” Kelly disclosed. “These are the cases we know about—homegrown terrorism is notoriously difficult to predict and control.”

Terrorists in the United States are plotting attacks “every single day,” according to Kelly.

“I tell you, without exaggeration, they try to carry out this mission each and every single day and no one can tell you how to stop it. No one,” he said.

The United States, he continued, is “under attack” from a wide variety of bad actors, including “failed states, cyber-terrorists, vicious smugglers, and sadistic radicals.”

“And we are under attack every single day,” he said. “The threats are relentless.”

Those who slip over the border undetected, including criminals and potential radicalized terrorists, pose an unparalleled threat to the country.

“We don’t get to vet them,” Kelly said. “We don’t know their intentions. We don’t know they’re here. They slip into our country unnoticed, living among us, and we are completely blind as to what they are capable of.”

These threats just scrape the surface of the danger posed to America by terrorists inside and outside of the country, Kelly said.

“This is all bad news, but it gets much worse,” he explained. “Experts estimate that perhaps 10,000 citizens of Europe have joined the caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Thousands more are from nations in Asia, Africa and the Western Hemisphere. They have learned how to make IEDs, employ drones to drop ordnance, and acquired experience on the battlefield that by all reports they are bringing back home.”

These highly trained terrorist fighters are likely to return to their countries of origin and “wreak murderous havoc” across Europe, Asia, and the United States, among other countries.

America lacks the ability to properly vet these individuals when they attempt to enter the country, according to Kelly, who warned that scores of radicalized individuals are trying each day to enter America.

“Many are citizens of countries in our Visa Waiver Program, they can more easily travel to the United States which makes us a prime target for their exported violence,” he said.

The threat to America “has metastasized and decentralized, and the risk is as threatening today as it was that September morning almost 16 years ago,” Kelly warned.

“We are under attack from terrorists both within and outside of our borders,” he said. “They are without conscience, and they operate without rules. They despise the United States, because we are a nation of rights, laws, and freedoms. They have a single mission, and that is our destruction.”

Exclusive: Hillary Rubber-Stamped Visas for Record Number of Saudi Visitors

unnamedCounterJihad, by Paul Sperry, Aug. 8, 2016:

Despite evidence Saudi Arabian terrorists exploit the U.S. visa program, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doubled the number of visas for Saudi visitors to the U.S., while helping cut a deal with the Kingdom to waive security procedures for Saudi nationals upon their arrival in the U.S, CounterJihad has learned.

The annual number of nonimmigrant visas issued to Saudi nationals soared 93% during Clinton’s tenure as secretary from 2009 to 2013, federal data show, hitting a record 108,578 in fiscal 2013 and reversing a post-9/11 pause in Saudi visa approvals.

Before leaving office, Clinton helped negotiate a little-noticed January 2013 administration deal with Riyadh to allow Saudi visa-holders to enter the U.S. as “trusted travelers” and bypass the normal border security process. The next year, the State Department issued an all-time-high 142,180 Saudi visas, consular data show.

All told, the Obama administration has opened the floodgates to more than 709,000 Saudi nationals, most of whom applied for student or business visas, records show. It’s as if 9/11 never happened and 15 Saudi terrorists never infiltrated the country on rubber-stamped visas. The surge represents a major shift from changes in immigration policy made in the wake of 9/11, when the number of visas issued to Saudi Arabians plummeted 69.7%. In fiscal 2002, Saudi visas slowed to a relative trickle of just 14,126.

Saudi immigration was tightened after it was revealed that the State Department’s Visa Express program benefited some of the Saudi hijackers on 9/11. Less known is that two other al-Qaida-tied Saudi nationals visiting America on student visas also took advantage of the lax policy. It turns out these other young Saudi men made a “dry run” to test airline security ahead of the 9/11 hijackings.

According to the recently declassified 29 pages of the congressional joint inquiry report on 9/11, Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, both Saudi students living in the Phoenix area, tried several times to gain access to the cockpit of an America West flight while traveling to Washington to attend a party at the Saudi Embassy in 1999. Their airline tickets were paid for by the Saudi government, the documents reveal.

The FBI suspected al-Qudhaeein was a Saudi intelligence agent bankrolled by the Saudi Embassy, and agents subsequently received information that al-Shalawi trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and operated in the same circle with the Saudi hijacker who flew the plane into the Pentagon.

Coming into office in 2009, Clinton issued a cable warning diplomats that Saudi Arabia was still sponsoring al-Qaida terrorist operations.

“More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida,” states a Wikileaked secret December 2009 memo signed by the then-secretary of state. Her memo urged U.S. diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Saudi money reaching terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” Clinton said.

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances, Saudi Arabia, FY1997-2014

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuances, Saudi Arabia, FY1997-2014

In spite of her own warnings about continued Saudi-sponsored terrorism, however, she and President Obama quietly struck a deal to fast-track more Saudi students for U.S. entry during a series of high-level meetings in January 2013 with the Saudi interior minister, who had complained about delays in the security screening process and lobbied for more student visas.

Clinton, whose family foundation has received tens of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabian donors, can be seen here meeting at her State Department office with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz on the same day — Jan. 16, 2013 — that Prince Mohammed signed an agreement to join America’s trusted traveler program known as Global Entry.

As a member of the trusted traveler program, the U.S. now trusts Saudi Arabians as much as it does Canadians, who as longtime program members are considered low-risk travelers and pre-approved for entry, and more so than Germans or French, who aren’t included in the program. Thanks to the Obama administration, Saudi visitors now enjoy expedited security clearance. They bypass the normal Customs screening and proceed to Global Entry kiosks, where they receive a transaction receipt that directs them to baggage claim and exit.

In other words, Saudi visitors now go to the front of the line and skip normal Homeland Security inspections. And federal authorities now share background checking and other pre-screening duties with the Saudis.

The trusted traveler program kicks the door open to thousands of young Saudi men who will be able to stay legally in the U.S. for five years on student and vocational visas. And they won’t be monitored while they’re here. The feds stopped tracking their stays here several years ago after the Saudi embassy, along with the terrorist front group Council on American-Islamic Relations, protested to the White House and State Department.

That means terrorists among the new Saudi entrants can enter the U.S. and continue to test flight security or plot attacks while pretending to go to college. Authorities now have no idea if a Saudi national entering on a student visa actually reported to campus.

“Why would we trust them?” 9/11 survivor Sharon Premoli demanded in an interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Indeed, several Saudi visa-holders have been busted plotting terrorism or testing airline security in recent years. For example:

  • In 2013, a young Saudi immigrant living in Oregon on an expired visa was arrested for conducting a suspected dry run during a Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston. He screamed “Allah Akbar” while trying to light something in the plane’s cabin.
  • In 2011, a Saudi student was arrested on charges of plotting to bomb the Texas home of former President George W. Bush.

The Saudis can also use their vocational visas to enroll in U.S. flight schools as the hijackers did.

A recent study by the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies found that three of the five top M-1 approved schools in the U.S. are flight schools. It also found that thousands of Saudis have arrived here on M-1 visas since Clinton loosened visa restrictions for travelers from the Kingdom.

Authorities are having a hard enough time dealing with all the homegrown terrorists cropping up. The FBI has more than 1,000 terrorism cases open on ISIS suspects in all 50 states. Agents don’t need new waves of young Muslim men from Saudi Arabia to worry about tracking, as well.

By dumping potentially thousands more Saudi extremists into the homeland security system, the administration is worsening the odds that law enforcement can catch terrorists before they strike.

After Brussels, Trump, Cruz slam Obama, call for halts to immigration programs

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Fox News, March 22, 2016:

Republican presidential rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on Tuesday slammed President Obama and his polices, including the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, following the deadly Brussels terror bombings for which the Islamic State is now reportedly claiming responsibility.

“The first job of the president is to be commander in chief,” Cruz told Fox News following the morning rush-hour attacks that killed at least 31 people in a Brussels airport and on the city’s subway system. “It’s unconscionable. It needs to change. … If I am president, I will destroy ISIS.”

Cruz’s comments follow front-running GOP candidate Donald Trump calling for an end to the visa program, which allows roughly 20 million people a year to visit the United States.

“I’ve been talking about this for a long time, and look at Brussels,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” “Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it’s a disaster city.”

At a press conference earlier in the day in Washington, D.C., Cruz said the visa waiver program “no doubt” needs “serious scrutiny.”

And he called for an “immediate halt” to Obama’s recent plan to allow tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, as a result of that country’s years-long civil war.

“Our vetting programs are woefully insufficient,” Cruz said, arguing that ISIS has already stated its intentions to try to infiltrate terrorists among the refugees so they can “commit acts of jihad.”

Trump last year called for a temporary ban on all Muslins into the U.S. after the Paris attacks in November by Islamic extremists and the San Bernardino terror attacks in December. And he has vowed if elected to build a security wall along the entire U.S. southern border.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in the wake of the attacks, “Americans stand in solidarity with our European allies.”

“Terrorists have once again struck at the heart of Europe, but their campaign of hate and fear will not succeed,” said Clinton, a former secretary of state in the Obama administration. “Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”

GOP presidential candidate John Kasich said he was “sickened” by the images of the carnage and that the U.S. must “redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil.”

The other Democratic presidential hopeful, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has yet to issue a public response.

Citizens of 38 countries can travel to the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days, under the visa waiver program.

Congress recently put new restrictions on the program for dual citizens of Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, but the program overall continues.

“We’re having problems with the Muslims and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country,” Trump also said Tuesday, on Fox Business Channel’s “Mornings with Maria.”

Cruz also said at the Washington press conference: “Today’s attacks in Belgium underscores that this is a war. This is not an isolated incident. This is not a lone wolf. ISIS had declared jihad. … The time for the president’s political correctness has passed. … We absolutely have to revisit our immigration policy across the board to prevent Islamic terrorists from coming in.”

***

At about 6:25 min into the video Ted Cruz explains how Obama’so refusal to name the enemy impacts policy giving the example of how refugees are screened. If you can’t use words like jihad or ask refugees about their beliefs then you can’t screen out those who would do us harm. 

Also see:

Video: Katie Gorka on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

katie g

Click on the image above to hear Council on Global Security President Katie Gorka speaking for a counterterrorism and Homeland Security panel at the Heritage Foundation.

Main points:

  • Stop politicizing counterterrorism threat assessments and downplaying the problem. The 2011 purge of CT training has left law enforcement ill prepared to deal with today’s threats.
  • Stop asking what “radicalizes” terrorists. Pshychology, sociology (social movement theory) are not the answer. Terrorists are not victims. They choose to follow jihadism. For more on this see The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counterterrorism Strategy (.pdf)
  • Focus on jihadist ideology.
  • Stop treating terrorism as a crime. We are at war.

 

Council on Global Security President Katie Gorka on the San Bernardino shooting, ISIS threats and President Obama’s strategy for fighting the terror organization. With Deirdre Bolton on Risk And Reward.


 

Watch Katie Gorka (at 34.30 min. in) this video: Town Hall: The New Normal: Security vs FreedomKG


And on Fox and Friends:

Terror Slipping Through – Visa Security Gaps Causing Threat – The Rise Of Islamic Extremism

Stopping the Visa Waiver Program is like gun control….it won’t slow down the bad guys and would only constrain the good guys. Much more effective would be to get DHS and DOJ to focus more on terrorism and stop worrying so much about offending civil liberties. – Katie Gorka

 

Do We Really Need More Jihadists?

Raheem Kassam / Breitbart News

Raheem Kassam / Breitbart News

Breitbart, by Frank Gaffney, Dec. 10, 2015:

On Monday, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump created a political firestorm by releasing a statement, “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United Statesuntil our country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on.”

While it should be self-evident that allowing unvetted mass immigration from Muslim-majority countries is a formula for national security disaster (look no further than Europe for proof), Trump’s statement identifies an even more important problem: the fact that our leaders in Washington have not been able to “figure out what’s going on” with respect to the global jihad movement – and what it will take for us to defeat it, before the jihadists destroy us.

Mr. Trump has clearly picked up on a conviction increasingly shared by millions of Americans. They have begun to realize that the Obama administration has long been downplaying, misrepresenting and mishandling a threat more and more of us see plainly.

The killers who plotted and executed the massacre in San Bernardino are no different than Islamic supremacists the world over. For them, terror is one of the tools used to advance an agenda aimed at imposing worldwide the repressive politico-legal-military code they call shariah and establishing a global Caliphate.  Other techniques employed by the granddaddy of all modern jihadist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, involve more stealthy efforts to penetrate and subvert from within our civil society and governing institutions.

We must understand shariah and the ideological impetus it provides for our enemies’ actions. We must also recognize its inherent and unalterable incompatibility with Western civilization. And we must take action to keep jihadis from threatening our lives – and our freedoms – in furtherance of their stated goal: installing shariah worldwide.

In his statement, Trump cited a poll of Muslims in America commissioned by the Center for Security Policy earlier this year, revealing the disturbing fact that large percentages of those who responded (51%) agreed that, “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.”  

Even more troubling, nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”

Those who don’t like the poll’s results have questioned its methodology. Yet, opt-in, online surveys are used routinely to gauge the views of populations like American Muslim that are relatively small and hard-to-reach. In particular, major survey organizations like SurveyMonkey & Harris Interactive that are relied upon and quoted extensively use the same approach.

For its part, the industry trade association, the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), has issued a study of online, opt-in survey panels. It states: “There are times when a nonprobability online panel is an appropriate choice, as there may be survey purposes and topics where the generally lower cost and unique properties of Web data collection is an acceptable alternative to traditional methods.”

Examples of other surveys using the same online, opt-in panel methodology include:

The AP-GfK Poll, which is widely reported on, including one finding increasing support for gay marriage and gun control.

NBC News, including a poll recently released on Americans’ divided attitudes ongovernment surveillance; and

A Cronkite News poll conducted as part of a project focused the Sikh religious community.

The Center’s poll of U.S. Muslims, however, seems to have touched a particularly sensitive nerve, perhaps because it asked questions that other polling firms seem reluctant to ask. In addition, the results could signal that a significant portion of American Muslims hold views that reflect mainstream Islam’s shariah. Such views conflict dramatically with the Constitution and concepts of civil rights, are nevertheless reflective of the way mainstream Islam is practiced in many Muslim-majority countries.

The United States govenment has every right to determine which immigrants enter this country. And the fact is that some would-be immigrant aliens present a far greater threat than others.

Here are some of the options available to try to ensure that this threat is mitigated:

Defund the Obama administration’s breathtaking decision to allow into the United States aliens who have engaged in “limited” material support for terrorism had “limited” contact with its perpetrators.

Deny any funding for the president to bring in not just refugees, but anyone coming in under any immigration program from Syria and Iraq, given that we cannot perform adequate screening on them, until such time as Congress reauthorizes such spending.

Likewise, deny any funding for the president to bring in via any immigration program from other nations whose traditions of Islamic supremacism makes the need for such vetting imperative. These would, presumably include those deemed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be “Specially Designated Countries” (notably, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Libya, and Afghanistan). An exception could be made for aliens from Israel, provided the Israeli government deems them not to be a threat.

Defund the approval of further chain migration from such countries in the name of “family reunification” – a practice that could be used to expand exponentially the 10,000 Syrians President Obama intends to bring here and that was used to bring Tashfeen Malik to the country under a K-1 visa.

Require that funds provided to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) must be used to relocate more of its charges closer to home, which it systematically refuses to do –  causing it to run a deficit unnecessarily, since it costs 12 times more to support a refugee here than there.

Provide the funds necessary for both the southern and northern border states’ governors to deploy their National Guard to secure our land frontiers unless and until other means of denying unauthorized access across them can be assured.

Include some variation of Texas Rep. Brian Babin’s Refugee Accountability National Security Act, which would place a moratorium on refugee resettlement until Congress deems the program has been adequately reviewed, as well as a Government Accountability Office audit of its costs. Even simply defunding all refugee resettlement from Syria would be a start, though the problem of jihadis posing as refugees extends far beyond Syria.

Include some version of the bill sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, which would restore control over how many refugees the U.S. admits each year to the legislative branch, where it belongs.

Eliminate funding for the so-called “voluntary agencies” (a.k.a. VolAgs) that are paid by-the-head to resettle refugees and, therefore, have become, as a practical matter, self-interested lobbies for expanding the number of refugees ad infinitum.

Restore U.S. control over whom we deem a refugee, ending the practice of allowing the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to dictate who is eligible for resettlement here. This is especially imperative in light of the extraordinary influence over the High Commissioner apparatus (and the U.N. more generally) enjoyed the proto-Caliphate, multinational Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). That influence has contributed to the fact that, by some estimates, nine out of 10 “refugees” being admitted here under the present arrangement are Muslims.

As previously recommended by then-Sen. Joe Lieberman, revoke the citizenship of those Americans who join foreign terror organizations by banning the expenditure of funds to admit such individuals back into the United States after they have traveled abroad.

Suspend funding for the Visa Waiver program unless and until the FBI designates that participant countries have given us sufficient access to the Passenger Name Record (PNR) data that the European Union has historically withheld from us.

Given the Islamist massacre in San Bernardino, not to mention the burgeoning growth of violent and stealthy jihadist activity around the world since 2011, America must admit what so many of its leaders refuse to say: Jihad and the hateful ideology of shariah that undergirds it are problems we must address, and must address now.

IPT White Paper – Our Refugee, Asylum, and Visa Waiver Programs: A Broken System

Islamic extremeIPT News
December 7, 2015

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

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

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

Here is how that ominous report began:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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