House Committee Monthly Terror Threat Snapshots Track Growing Violent Extremism
“Terror threats to the U.S. homeland have reached unprecedented levels. There have been 116 homegrown jihadist plots in America since 9/11— more than half of those have occurred in just the past three years,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) said in June.
McCaul’s statement was issued along with a new monthly feature produced by the committee – the Terror Threat Snapshot.
The monthly Terror Threat Snapshots detail how “violent extremism is going viral,” aided by the internet and social media, and presents compelling data points and infographics highlighting the growing problem.
The June snapshot included the takeaways that 1) there have been 24 ISIS-linked plots or attacks against Western targets in the first half of 2015, up from 19 in all of last year; 2) the number of homegrown terror plots since 9/11 has reached 116, tripling in just the past five years; 3) foreign fighters continue to flow into Syria and Iraq. There has been an 80 percent increase in fighters traveling to the conflict zone since ISIS declared its “caliphate” one year ago; and 4) more than 200 Americans are believed to have traveled—or attempted to travel—to fight in Syria, a 33 percent increase overall since the beginning of this year.
The July snapshot included the takeaways that 1) with the recent attacks in France and against tourists in Tunisia, ISIS has now been linked to 47 terrorist plots or attacks against the West, including 11 inside the United States; and 2) the total number of ISIS arrests in the U.S. has increased five-fold in 2015 with 55 ISIS supporters detained, ten of which have been arrested in the last month. ISIS followers have now been arrested in at least 19 states.
The August snapshot included the takeaways that 1) there have been more U.S.-based jihadist terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since 9/11, and the total number of cases has increased three-fold increase in just five years (from 38 in July 2010 to 122 today); 2) since early 2014, the majority of Islamist terror plots on U.S. soil have featured plans to kill U.S. soldiers or law enforcement; 3) as of the end of July, ISIS had inspired or directed 55 terrorist plots/attacks against Western targets, including 14 in the United States, and 4) America and its overseas partners have largely failed to rollback the ISIS terror safe haven. Despite a year of airstrikes, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded ISIS is no weaker than a year ago and can field nearly 30,000 foot soldiers, including Americans and thousands of other Westerners.
Chairman McCaul has introduced legislation, the Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015, H.R. 2899, which streamlines and prioritizes the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to counter violent extremism.
“We have arrested more people in the United States this year who have been inspired by ISIS than there are officials working to keep ISIS from radicalizing Americans,” said Chairman McCaul when the bill was introduced. “Terrorists at home and overseas are bringing the battle into our homes through the internet. We cannot afford to complacently watch the threats mushroom. It is time for action, and to treat this issue like the priority that it is.”
Posted in From the Hill