On Friday, the Pentagon raised the threat level across all military bases and compounds within the United States to “Force Protection Bravo” in response to the “increased and predictable threat of terrorism”, announced Captain Jeff Davis of U.S. Northern Command. The threat level was raised after FBI Director James Comey admitted that ISIS has thousands of sympathizers currently living inside the country ready to wage jihad. The FBI has also ordered agents to put under 24/7 surveillance more than one hundred U.S. residents that are considered possible terror threats.
Officials from the FBI told ABC News that agents have been ordered to review the cases of so-called “marginal” or “borderline” suspects, terms that had been applied to one of the gunmen in the Texas attack, Elton Simpson of Phoenix. Simpson, who the FBI was familiar with but considered “more talk than action”, underscores the current threat environment posed by terrorists who are already here.
To those who have been paying attention, Comey’s admission over the threat posed by ISIS comes as no surprise given the fact that in late February Comey warned that he had “home-grown violent extremists investigations in every single state.” One only needs to look at the arrests made by the FBI this year alone to affirm Comey’s warning.
For instance, on April 20, six Minnesota men, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Adnan Farah, Hanad Mustafe Musse, Guled Ali Omar, Abdirahman Yasin Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, were arrested and charged with Conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). As described in the criminal complaint, these men worked over the course of the last 10 months to join ISIL,” said U.S. Attorney Luger noting that, “even when their co-conspirators were caught and charged, they continued to seek new and creative ways to leave Minnesota to fight for a terror group.”
On April 8, Joshua Van Haften of Wisconsin, was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources, namely himself as personnel, to ISIL as he was apprehended at O’Hare Airport in Chicago after his arrival on an international flight from Turkey.
On April 2, two Queens residents of New York were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction in a plot to construct an explosive device for use in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. As alleged in the complaint, the defendants Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui had repeatedly expressed their support for violent jihad. Moreover, Velntzas and Siddiqui also declared that they were “Citizens of the Islamic State.”
On March 26, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmond and Jonas Edmonds of Illinois were arrested for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). As alleged in the complaint, in late 2014, Hasan Edmonds came to the attention of the FBI. The investigation subsequently revealed that he and Jonas Edmonds had devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel overseas for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL. Hasan Edmonds, a current member of the Illinois Army National Guard, planned to use his military training to fight on behalf of ISIL.
These four cases represent only a small portion of the threat that is within our country as over 20 other cases have been opened in 2015 alone with individuals conspiring to support ISIS in states from Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Texas, California and many others. This is precisely what Pamela Geller intended to expose last Sunday in her “Draw Muhammad Cartoon Contest” which resulted in the deaths of two ISIS jihadists.
Geller writes that, “By drawing them out, we exposed their network. We were able to expose the network without getting anyone killed. The FBI are now going after the sources. They are gleaning intel from their computers as we speak. We smoked out a terror structure and the FBI has [now] put more American terror suspects under constant surveillance following the deadly attack.” Yet, the media has attacked Geller while failing to comprehend the very threat that she helped exposed.
What we’re witnessing is critical to understand as it represents a new evolution of terrorism aimed at inciting “lone-wolfs” to attack individuals within our country who do not bow to the Islamic doctrine of Shariah. On Tuesday, ISIS posted a message warning that the attack on Sunday was “only the beginning” of their effort to establish fear in the heart of their enemy.
The warning by ISIS notes, “Our aim was the khanzeer Pamela Geller and to show her that we don’t care what land she hides in or what sky shields her; we will send all our Lions to achieve her slaughter…Everyone who houses her events, gives her a platform to spill her filth are legitimate targets. We have been watching closely who was present at this event and the shooter of our brothers. We knew that the target was protected. Our intention was to show how easy we give our lives for the Sake of Allah.”
Furthermore, ISIS states that they “have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday, We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan…The next six months will be interesting.”
This warning comes at the heels of a new warning posted today, May 11, by a group of hackers affiliated with ISIS were threatening to carry out a cyber attack—dubbed “Message to America”—against a number of targets about 2 p.m. EST today. The targets were not identified on ISIS forums and social channels but the hackers are promising something “surprising” that “will frighten America”. As Gilad Shiloach of Vocativ notes, “ISIS supporters calling themselves the Cyber Caliphate hacked into the Twitter account of the United States Central Command in January.”
At this point we must come to the harsh realization that the terrorists are amongst us in our country and they are prepared to attack and die for their values, their beliefs, and their religion. When we are attacked again and left unprepared by a media that directs our attention to attacking Pamela Geller, they have effectively taken the attention off of what she exposed, the terrorists in our midst.