January Terror Threat Snapshot: 21 ISIS-linked Plots in the US
By Glynn Cosker
Managing Editor, In Homeland Security
The House Homeland Security Committee has released its Terror Threat Snapshot for January. The report reveals 72 ISIS-linked attack plots on Western targets since the terrorist group began its worldwide campaign – including 21 ISIS-linked plots inside the United States.
The report also mentions 139 terrorist cases involving homegrown Islamist extremists since 9/11, along with a running tally of ISIS supporters arrested in the U.S. to date: 79 people.
See each month’s Terror Threat Snapshots here.
The House Committee’s chairperson, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), releases the comprehensive document each month in an attempt to make all U.S. citizens aware of the growing threat to national security and homeland security from radical extremists.
Featuring strongly in this month’s snapshot was last week’s horrifying attack by an ISIS-supporter on a Philadelphia police officer while the latter was sat in the driver’s seat of his patrol car. A dozen shots were fired into the car.
“The heinous ISIS-linked attack on a policeman in Philadelphia is a grim reminder of the Islamist terror threat we face today,” stated McCaul as he introduced his January Terror Threat Snapshot. “ISIS and al Qaeda terrorists are expanding their networks and carving out sanctuaries abroad, while their supporters and operatives have been plotting terror attacks in the West.”
Rochester NY Terror Plot
One of the ISIS-related plots uncovered in this month’s terror threat snapshot involved the arrest of Rochester, N.Y. resident Emanuel Lutchman who planned to attack a restaurant on New Year’s Eve. Lutchman said he received instructions from an overseas ISIS agent and spoke of his desire to travel to join ISIS. He also recorded a video pledging his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, according to the committee’s report.
Another alarming development, outlined by the report, was the arrest on terror-related charges of two refugees from Iraq who had resettled in the United States. To prevent such occurrences, McCaul sponsored a bill that passed the House in November entitled the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015. McCaul believes enactment of the bill would “overhaul the security vetting of Iraqi and Syrian refugees being resettled in the United States.”
Other key points of January’s Terror Threat Snapshot:
- Foreign fighters are returning home from jihadist battlefields in Syria and plotting attacks in the West: Islamic terrorists returning to Western nations from Syria are an increasing threat to homeland security in the United States. The Nov. 2015 Paris terror attacks were carried out by a group of foreign fighters.
- Terror detainees released from Guantanamo Bay are continuing to rejoin terror organizations: A member of al Qaeda who was recently released from Guantanamo Bay allegedly resurfaced as a member of al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate and called for renewed attacks on the West.
- The U.S. faces an unprecedented terror threat level at home due to a continued failure to destroy ISIS: Police and other law enforcement officials have arrested nearly 80 individuals in ISIS-related cases in the U.S. since 2014, with 62 arrests occurring in 2015 alone.
Download January’s Terror Snapshot here, and stay tuned to In Homeland Security for February’s report on Representative McCaul’s next terror threat snapshot.