A few months after Judicial Watch reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has nearly 1,000 active probes involving the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside the United States, a congressional inquiry confirms that the U.S. is overwhelmingly the terrorist group’s main target. The federal investigation examined the 75 ISIS-linked terrorist plots against the west to date and found that one-third of them were aimed at the U.S. or its interests overseas.
The probe was conducted by the House Homeland Security Committee, which closely analyzed dozens of ISIS-linked attacks on the west that have been recorded so far. More than one-third were aimed at the U.S., according to the committee’s findings, which were released this month in a report titled “Terror Gone Viral.” This includes the San Bernardino, California attack that killed 14 civilians, an attempted attack in Garland, Texas and plots to detonate explosives at New York City landmarks, shoot tourists on Florida beaches, live-stream a shooting rampage at a college campus and detonate pipe bombs on Capitol Hill, among others. “The rise in ISIS-related incidents made 2015 the most active year for homegrown jihadist terrorism ever tracked in the United States,” the congressional report states.
The committee used government documents, reports from nongovernmental organizations and press articles to conduct its analysis of incidents involving suspects connected to ISIS through direct communication, pledges of allegiance or ideological inspiration. The plots—some executed and others disrupted—were all planned to be carried out as violent terrorist acts. The west includes Europe, North America and Australia as well as its affiliates outside of the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq. In 2014 there were 19 ISIS-linked plots against the west, which means the figure more than doubled by 2015.
That alarming growth rate in the number of ISIS plots surpassed the growth rate of Al Qaeda-linked terror targeting western countries, the report points out. ISIS also has a big success rate, with more than 40% of the total plots getting executed. This will likely influence the group’s emphasis on frequent attempts rather than fewer long term plots, according to the congressional probe.
“ISIS’ anti-Western attacks are getting deadlier,” the report reveals. “A total of 270 people have died in ISIS-linked terror plots against the West, and more than 550 have been wounded. The average number of fatalities in each attack has gone up significantly since 2014. In the second half of that year, an average of one person died in each successful attack, but in the first half of 2015, the average death toll rose to 11. By the end of 2015, anti-Western ISIS attacks averaged a death toll of 30 people per incident.”
Things will likely get worse because ISIS has successfully “crowed-sourced” its terrorism agenda by inspiring independent followers to conduct most of its attacks, the audit concludes. The report refers to this as “franchise terror” that has lowered the cost of the group’s operations and increased the impact of the violence without having to invest in “trained jihadists.”
This congressional report comes on the heels of the disturbing revelation that the FBI has nearly 1,000 active investigations involving ISIS inside the U.S. Back in November dozens of law enforcement officials in Colorado disclosed the chilling information in an effort to kill President Obama’s plan to transfer terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to facilities in their state.
Forty-one of Colorado’s elected sheriffs fired off a letter to the commander-in-chief after the White House announced that two federal prisons in Florence (Supermax and the U.S. Penitentiary) along with a state complex near Canon City were reviewed by the Pentagon for the potential transfer. The outraged law enforcement officials say a civilian prison with an untold number of enemy combatant inmates would provide a very tempting target for anyone wishing to either free the detainees or make a political statement.