As the Obama Administration continues to ensure Americans that the situation in Iraq and Syria is under control and ISIS is continuing to retreat, U.S. Counterterrorism officials confess the threat of attacks on U.S. is growing exponentially. On Tuesday, the nation’s top counterterrorism official, Nicholas Rasmussen, testified to the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the world’s army of terrorists is “broader, wider and deeper than any point since 9/11.”
Rasmussen, who is the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, stated before the committee that while ISIS may be collapsing in the Middle East the threat of lone Islamic State warriors “has not thus far been significantly diminished.”
In the days following the latest Islamic Terror attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, the Department of Homeland Security issued a confidential warning pertaining to the security of our nation and the continuing threat of Radical Islamic Terrorism striking from within. According to the Washington Times, the report highlights the issue that these Islamic State warriors are easily radicalized by ISIS propaganda to act independently, weakening the Government’s capabilities to detect attacks before they happen.
“We face an increased challenge in detecting in-progress plots by individuals or small groups acting quickly and independently or with only tenuous ties to foreign handlers,” the report says. “Preoperational indicators are likely to be difficult to detect; therefore, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners play a critical role in identifying and reporting suspicious activities and raising the awareness of federal counterterrorism officials.”
In front of the Senate Committee, Rasmussen repeated these concerns and explained that the “flash-to-bang ratio,” the window between when an attack is planned to when it’s executed, becomes smaller with this kind of lone wolf terrorism.
“While we’ve seen a decrease in the frequency of large-scale, complex plotting efforts that sometimes span months or years,” Mr. Rasmussen said, “we’re instead seeing much more rapidly evolving threats, or plot vectors, that emerge quickly or suddenly. And this so-called flash-to-bang ratio, the time between when an individual decides to attack and when an attack actually occurs, the flash-to-bang ratio of this kind of plotting is extremely compressed and allows very little time for law enforcement and intelligence officials to get their arms around a plot.”
FBI Director James Comey also testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and said that with the diminishing of the terror cells in the Middle East we will be tasked with dealing with hundreds of independent warriors dispersed throughout the world. “The challenge will be through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people,” Comey said. “They will not all die on the battlefield, in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.”
Comey also stated that the United States “must prepare ourselves and our allies, especially in Western Europe, to confront that threat. Because when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out, they will try to come to Western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people.”
According to the Washington Times, the DHS report warned that terrorists will likely use “edged weapons, small arms, vehicle assaults and possibly [improvised explosive devices],” and that they will strike commercial facilities such as “festivals, concerts, outdoor events, and other mass gatherings,” because these extremists often pursue “simple, achievable attacks with an emphasis on economic impact and mass casualties.”