The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorist organizations pose an increasingly dangerous threat to the United States, with ISIS now linked to 105 plots targeting Western interests, according to the “Terror Threat Snapshot” for September released by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas).
McCaul’s Terror Threat Snapshots provide monthly assessments on the terrorist threats facing the homeland. According the most recent snapshot, homegrown Islamist extremism is on the rise. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that approximately 80 percent of the Bureau’s more than 1,000 active homegrown terror investigations are ISIS-linked cases.
There have been 166 homegrown jihadist plots in the United States since the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Most of these cases occurred or were uncovered since 2009, according to the report.
“We are confronting a lethal enemy in Islamist terrorists targeting the US and our allies,” McCaul said. “Eliminating senior terrorist leaders is an important part of the battle, but it alone will not achieve victory in the war against radical Islam. ISIS and al Qaeda have entrenched themselves in key terrain, capitalizing on power vacuums and exploiting the dangerous actions of the Iranian regime.”
The latest report revealed several key threats facing the United States, including the high recidivism rate among detainees freed from Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) who reengage in jihad. Homeland Security Today has reported on multiple instances of former GITMO detainees resuming terrorist activities, including the senior members of the “Taliban Five” who were traded for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a very controversial exchange in 2014.
The Director of National Intelligence’s most recent assessment of recidivism among former GITMO detainees revealed that over 30 percent of detainees released have returned or are suspected of having returned to jihadist activity, according to McCaul’s report.
The report also highlighted the danger posed by Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism; the global network of sanctuaries used by terrorist groups for training, directing and inspiring attacks; and the exploitation of social networking sites to spread propaganda, recruit followers, and incite attacks.
“President Obama has failed to confront these threats to America and its broader interests,” McCaul said. “He has, perversely, emboldened our enemies – freeing terrorists and paying ransom to terror sponsors in Tehran – and undermined the confidence of our allies and partners. Addressing this national security crisis is an urgent task facing our nation today.”