McCaul Releases February Terror Threat Snapshot
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The February Terror Threat Snapshot was released today by Homeland Security Committee (HSC) Chairman Michael McCaul. The “snapshot” is a monthly Committee assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.
Chairman McCaul: “The Islamist terror threat remains alarmingly high as recent arrests and terror plots demonstrate. ISIS recruits wage war in our communities, while thousands of deadly fighters trained in Syria stream back into the West – some of them infiltrating massive refugee flows. ISIS continues its global expansion on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the still-dangerous al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seizes greater territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin and the revitalized Iran-Assad-Hezbollah terror axis are further destabilizing the Syrian crisis in the absence of U.S. leadership. This year is on track to be as dangerous as – if not worse than – 2015 for the American homeland and our national security.”
Key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include:
- The Iranian regime gained access to $100 billion in cash from the disastrous nuclear deal and is poised for further economic relief that will fuel its global network of terror.
- An increasing number of battle-hardened fighters from Europe are returning from jihadist training grounds. Nearly 2,000 Europeans – among an estimated 6,600 Western fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq – have snuck back into Europe. A French counterterrorism official recently warned, “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries…We know the terrorists are working on this.”
- Islamist terrorists are exploiting global refugee flows to infiltrate and target the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence chief recently said terrorists “have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.” A suspected ISIS terror plotter arrested in Germany this week snuck into Europe posing as a refugee. The European Union also recently assessed there is a “real and imminent danger” of Syrian refugees inside Europe being radicalized and recruited by Islamist extremists.
- ISIS and al Qaeda are expanding their sanctuaries from North Africa to South Asia. ISIS is reinforcing its foothold in Libya, where it has amassed as many as 6,500 fighters and controls coastal territory on the Mediterranean Sea. Al Qaeda is making further gains in Yemen and its key ally in Afghanistan controls more territory than it has at any point since 2001.
- The Obama Administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. The intelligence community has assessed that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released are either known to have or suspected of having rejoined the fight. The potential transfer of detainees to the United States, prohibited under law, would also pose a threat to the American people.
- The United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11. ISIS is waging war here in the homeland, where there have been 21 ISIS-linked plots to launch attacks. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 81 ISIS-linked suspects, including six thus far in 2016.
The complete February Terror Threat Snapshot is available, here.
View the Committee’s interactive Terror Threat Snapshot map, here.