Terror Threat On U.S. Soil Has Risen Dramatically

News Image By Dan Hart/Washington Stand June 21, 2024
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Amid a rise in terrorist attacks across the globe in the wake of the October 7 massacre in Israel, national security experts are warning that the threat of attacks on U.S. soil has risen dramatically even as the Biden administration enacts policies that exacerbate the danger.

In December, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, remarking that before October 7, "we were already in a heightened threat environment." But since the Hamas attack, he went on, "we've seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole other level." 

Wray also highlighted the porous southern border as a primary security risk to the country, drawing attention to "a particular network [operating on the southern border]" with "ISIS ties that we are very concerned about."

In the weeks following President Joe Biden's inauguration in January 2021, he signed an executive order that reversed many of his predecessor Donald Trump's policies that had tightened the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. As a result, an unprecedented 1.7 million unvetted individuals have crossed into the U.S. interior undetected since then, which is more than were able to sneak in in the entire previous decade.

As Todd Bensman, a senior national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, explained during Tuesday's "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins," this breach could have devastating consequences for national security, especially in light of the security hole left by Biden's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021.

"There are foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS-K in Afghanistan and Pakistan that have been able to take advantage of ungoverned territories in that area, and ... the U.S. is not striking them as much so that they've been able to grow," he observed. "Chechens and Tajikistanis ... in Muslim majority regions of Russia are free to attack. We've been seeing the Russian people victimized by some of these groups. They're on the rise. ... The ideology of global jihad and Islamist supremacy under Sharia law isn't going anywhere."

Bensman continued, "We've had tens of thousands of people from those regions crossing our southern border with very minimal vetting. And that is a significant issue to the homeland because we did kind of crack down on airport traffic and people coming in on legal visas after 9/11 quite a bit. But we haven't done that much on the southern border for the last three years. 

And these Tajikistanis -- the FBI rolled up eight of them in early June -- who crossed the southern border ... were planning some sort of a bombing attack. That would be the very first time that a group of terrorists -- they caught them in three different cities -- crossed the southern border to access their American targets on U.S. soil."

Other senior U.S. officials besides Wray have also raised serious concerns over rising threats. General Erik Kurilla, commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has highlighted the growing capabilities of Middle Eastern and South Asian terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS), and affiliates like ISIS-K. 

Former National Counterterrorism Center director Christine Abizaid illustrated "an elevated global threat environment" while speaking in Doha recently. In addition, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland acknowledged that the "threat level ... has gone up enormously" during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week.

The recent Islamist attacks in Africa that have left dozens of Christians dead in Congo and thousands more massacred in Nigeria have also raised the ire of experts, who say that the Biden administration's lack of focus on combatting terrorism abroad not only has deadly consequences for innocent civilians in foreign lands but will also allow terrorist activity to intensify overseas, which will only increase the danger of that activity eventually filtering into the U.S.

Bensman went on to note that the anti-terrorism policies put in place in the country since 9/11 have proven to be effective, but dangers remain.

"We haven't been immune from terror attacks ... since 9/11," he acknowledged. "San Bernardino, Boston, New York -- there was a truck attack on a bike path there. ... They're not on the scale of 9/11, but the reason that we haven't had them ... is because over 20 years, we got pretty good at counterterrorism. We built up our FBI. We built up all of our federal law enforcement agencies. 

We started sharing intelligence between agencies. [T]he number of terror plots that we've thwarted ... are far greater than the successful ones. The threat is not diminished. It's just that we have stopped an awful lot of them over the last 20 years, and we will probably continue to do that. But they're still going to get through every now and again."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins further contended that the Biden administration's "two-tiered system of justice" has caused the American people to lose confidence and trust in the Intel community.

"I think that's something that we always should be concerned about," Bensman responded. "When I was in the intelligence business, we underwent a lot of training about what you can and can't do to make sure that we can maintain the trust of the people we served. I think that there's still a lot of that going on, but you always have had a mistrust of government power, especially law enforcement power and especially surveillance authorities. I think that's a healthy thing."

He added, "I hope that they just don't get sidetracked by political whims, such as, 'Hey, we need to back off of Islamic terror threats and move all of it over to white supremacy' and that sort of thing. We can do two things at once. The country's perfectly capable of juggling several balls at the same time like that."

Originally published at The Washington Stand

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