Despite concerted efforts to halt the influx of Americans and others to travel abroad to join Islamist jihadists, the efforts “have largely failed,” concluded the October “Terror Threat Snapshot,” a monthly assessment of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s “continuing effort to highlight the growing threat America, the West and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.”
Asserting, “We need decisive American leadership,” committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) stated, “Islamist extremist groups are consolidating their control over crucial terrain and seizing the initiative to expand their global footprint. Destabilizing aggressors, from the Putin regime in Russia to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror in Iran, are filling the void of American withdrawal to disastrous effect."
"This global surge in radicalism and instability has directly contributed to the elevated threat level here at home," McCaul stated, saying, "We need decisive American leadership that starts with shoring up our defenses and advancing a credible strategy to stop the threats at the source.”
The current Terror Threat Snapshot stated, “Despite a year of airstrikes, the United States and its allies have failed to rollback ISIS. In fact, the group has largely maintained its core terrorist safe haven while expanding its global footprint. ISIS kept its grip on Iraq’s Anbar province as the counter-offensive to take back the key city of Ramadi was put on ‘operational pause.’ Its affiliates in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and the Caucasus showed their growing strength by launching attacks or targeting local security forces over the past month.”
Other key takeaways from the latest snapshot:
- “ISIS’s global campaign has fueled attacks against Western targets at an unprecedented pace. As of early October, the group had inspired or directed 61 terror attack plots against Western targets, including 17 in the United States. There have been more than twice as many ISIS-linked attack plots against Western targets in 2015 (41) than in 2014 (20). Now, officials have expressed concern that ISIS may be exploiting refugee flows to enter the West undetected.”
- “The homegrown Islamist extremist threat in the United States has escalated dramatically this year. There have been more US-based jihadist terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since 9/11. The number of US terrorist cases involving homegrown Islamist extremists has gone from 38 in July 2010 to 127 today—more than a three-fold increase in just five years.”
The new snapshot comes on the heels of the committee’s bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force having found “authorities have only managed to stop a tiny fraction of the hundreds of aspiring US jihadists from leaving the country to join terrorists abroad. Moreover, the US government lacks a strategy for combating terrorist travel, and glaring security gaps overseas are putting the American homeland in danger.”