June Terror Threat Snapshot: 800 ISIS Investigations in All 50 States
By Glynn Cosker
Managing Editor, In Homeland Security
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) released his Terror Threat Snapshot for June and – as usual – it makes for some disturbing reading. Topping this month’s lists of concerns is the threat here in the United States where officials have investigated more than 800 ISIS-related cases in all 50 states over the past two years.
According to the report, there were at least 152 homegrown terror plots in the United States since 9/11. Of those plots, approximately 85 percent occurred within the last seven years.
Another key point in this month’s snapshot is news of a terrorist – recently released from Guantanamo Bay – who is now filling a prominent role with al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen. In fact, the report states that over 30 percent of Guantanamo Bay detainees have “returned or are suspected of having returned to jihadist activity.”
“We face a challenging threat environment here at home as Islamist extremists abroad have dug into their core sanctuaries and expanded into new territory,” stated McCaul upon releasing the snapshot.
Homegrown Terrorists – ISIS in America
According to the report, FBI Director James Comey said that in May 2016, around 80 percent of the FBI’s 1,000-plus homegrown terrorist investigations were linked to ISIS. Comey stated: The group’s “ability to motivate troubled souls, to inspire them, remains a persistent” threat in America.
[Related article: Terrorists on Social Media: How to Spot the Warning Behaviors]
May 24: A 22-year-old U.S. citizen – originally from Albania – was arrested for attempting to join ISIS.
May 11: A 28-year-old Uzbekistan citizen was arrested for his participation in a terror cell that assisted with the travel and equipment for ISIS recruits heading to Syria.
April 29: James Gonzalo Medina, a 40-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested for plotting to bomb a Florida synagogue. He told police that the plot was for “ISIS in America.”
Terror Threat Snapshot: Foreign Fighters
The June Terror Threat Snapshot also reports that an average of 500 foreign fighters travel to Iraq and Syria each month – with spikes of up to 2,000 during busier months. The flow back is equally as alarming with thousands of them descending upon Europe where Islamist terrorists continue to infiltrate borders posing as political and economic refugees. In Germany alone, there were 40 cases of suspected terrorists penetrating borders by posing as displaced migrants.
Also of note, The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has identified “…individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through the U.S. refugee program.” That information will likely not halt the Obama administration’s plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States in 2016.
The snapshot’s other takeaways include information on foreign jihadist networks and safe havens, as well as the Iranian terror threat.
Download the full June Terror Threat Snapshot here.