A 24-year old Maryland man was arrested this week for allegedly plotting attacks targeting US military members on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Just weeks beforehand, there were several bombings and bombing attempts in New York and New Jersey, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has linked to Ahmad Khan Rahami, a suspected terrorist.
These incidents reveal that the threat of terrorism on American soil shows no sign of abating, according to the October Terror Threat Snapshot released by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX).
McCaul’s monthly Terror Threat Snapshots provide monthly assessments of the terrorist threats facing the homeland.
“The recent arrest in Maryland of an ISIS supporter plotting to kill a US service member and the attacks in Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey are stark reminders that Americans face a serious Islamist terror threat at home,” McCaul stated. “The alarming surge of ISIS and al Qaeda-linked violence across the West is, in large part, fueled by a jihadist movement that is deeply entrenched in critical regions across the globe.”
The report provided the following key takeaways:
- Although it has been 15 years since the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States continues to grapple with the threat posed by terrorism. There have been an estimated 171 homegrown terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11, according to the FBI. In 2016 alone, ISIS-linked attackers have killed or injured 145 individuals in the United States.
- Guantanamo Bay detainees released under the Obama Administration continue to return to jihad at an alarming rate. In September, a recidivism report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that 122 of 693—17.6 percent—of former GITMO detainees have re-engaged in terrorist activities as of July 15, 2016. Another 86 of 693—12.4 percent—are suspected of re-engaging.
- During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing in September, FBI Director James B. Comey warned of a “terrorist diaspora” from Syria and Iraq. While some will die on the battlefield, the rest will spread across the globe.
- Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, continues to threaten US interests by “dismantling the sanctions regime, developing more robust military and nuclear capabilities, spreading its malevolent influence throughout the Middle East, and sustaining the conflicts that empower extremists of all stripes.”
“Not to be outdone, hostile state actors like Russia and Iran continue to exploit a power vacuum, extending their own influence at America’s expense while also stoking the very conflicts that help sustain terrorist groups,” McCaul said.