By Leo Hohmann
The FBI failed to stop another terror attack, this time in Chattanooga, and the pressure building on the bureau from President Obama’s reckless immigration policies may be reaching a boiling point, say security experts.
And the problem goes far beyond a loose border, where some 400,000 illegal aliens enter each year.
It’s also the ease with which someone from a hostile Middle Eastern country can get a visa.
Under current U.S. immigration policy, an ISIS terrorist doesn’t need to hop a fence or swim a river to reach America. He can enter the U.S. legally as a student, as a skilled guest-worker, as a refugee, as an entrepreneur, or as a tourist – and fly here in the comfort of a jumbo jet.
According to U.S. Census data, the U.S. welcomes about 100,000 Muslim immigrants legally each year. This represents the fastest growing segment of immigrants coming to America.
While some may enter with questionable backgrounds, the chances are greater that they will get radicalized after they arrive.
Take the case of Chattanooga terrorist Youssef Mohammad Abdulazeez.
He arrived with his parents from Kuwait in 1996 at the age of 6. He attended U.S. schools, and by all accounts was a fully assimilated U.S. naturalized citizen.
Abdulazeez was a success story just waiting to be told by Obama’s newly created White House Taskforce on New Americans, which collaborates with community-organizing groups like Welcoming America to convince Americans that expansive immigration brings only good things to their cities and towns.
But something happened over the last two years of Abdulazeez’s life that changed him. Last year, at the age of 23, he traveled to Jordan and Yemen for seven months, and U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t sure who he visited or what he may have been taught while visiting the Middle East.
When he returned home, he grew his beard out and started writing a Muslim blog in which he made philosophical statements that could easily be interpreted as anti-Western. His father was also investigated for a questionable donation to an Islamic charity a few years ago and placed on a watch list. Abdulazeez Sr. ended up being cleared of any wrongdoing.
A prophetic statement
FBI Director James Comey’s dire warning to Congress several weeks before the Chattanooga attack now seems prophetic because it applies perfectly to young Muslims like Abdulazeez.
The message of ISIS to Western recruits is this: “Come to the so-called caliphate, and if you can’t, kill somebody. Kill somebody where you are,” Comey said.
“He told them, with obviously deep concern, that his agency is simply incapable of managing the threats now proliferating across the entire country,” said Clare Lopez, vice president of research and analysis for the Center for Security Policy and a former CIA analyst.
“Even there, Comey was holding back on what he must know is the reality of this situation: We have living among us some percentage of a sub-set of Muslims, who may be legal or illegal immigrants, refugees or, like Abdulazeez, a naturalized American citizen, who feel zero allegiance to this country – and instead identify above all with the global Islamic ummah,” Lopez told WND.
And with the U.S. so liberally allowing more Muslims into the country – about 800 new refugees a month come from one country, Somalia, arguably the most jihadist-rich country in the world – there is no telling how many have become radicalized or are in the process of being radicalized.
“We have no idea if there are hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands across America today who decide to pledge their allegiance instead to the Shariah doctrine of jihad,” Lopez said.
And where do they go to feed on the poison of Islamic jihadism?
“Family influence, Muslim Brotherhood-dominated mosques, Islamic centers and online indoctrination all play some role,” Lopez said. “But neither Comey nor the FBI nor local law enforcement currently has the legal or investigative tools to identify and stop such individuals before they take the next step on the pathway to violent jihad.”
Burden falls to local cops
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is one of the local law enforcement officials that Lopez says will have to take up the slack from a White House administration that shows no interest in seriously addressing either the immigration issues or the national security problems related to Islamic terrorism.
“I can’t go through an airport without getting pulled aside for pre-check scans and searches. And while they’re doing that to a guy in law enforcement they can let a guy like Mohammad Abdulazeez spend seven months traveling the Middle East … are you kidding me?” Clarke told WND. “That’s a red flag. Just like the Boston bombing, the older guy was traveling through Chechnya before the attack. That’s a hotbed of terrorism, Chechnya, so you see why I say we suck at intelligence? We don’t have a strategy.”
Clarke said immigration must be cleaned up and specifically Muslim immigration.
“We have got to force this issue. That’s why I’m glad Donald Trump is in the race. He’s probably not going to win, but he’s going to make this Republican field talk about some issues they would rather not discuss,” Clarke said. “Our immigration policy is a disaster. Multiculturalism is a disaster, and it failed miserably when European countries all opened their borders and now they’re all tightening up. France demands assimilation now. So now, yes, we do have to look at immigration as a national-security threat.”
More attacks predicted
Clarke said he fully expects that Obama will continue to do everything in his power to muddy the waters and disassociate the Chattanooga killings from Islamism.
“You see where this is going to go with this administration for the next 72 hours,” he said. “We’ll hear from him that it has nothing to do with Islam when it has everything to do with Islam.”
Clarke, who recently earned his master’s degree in security studies from the Center of Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School, said the Obama administration has no strategy for protecting the homeland against Islamic terror.
The FBI notoriously scrubbed its training manuals of all reference to Islam and terrorism in 2011. That concession was made in response to complaints by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, to then-National Security Adviser John Brennan, who is now in charge of the CIA.
“And that’s why it’s just going to get worse,” Clarke said. “You’re going to see more attacks, where they target two different sites and expand across the nation in different states. I think we have to find a role for U.S. citizens in this as well but until we get a strategy, that’s not going to happen.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions issued a statement Friday that connects the growing threat of terrorism to record levels of legal immigration.
“More details will need to be collected in coming days, but from what we know so far the (Chattanooga) terrorist in question appears to be an Islamist radical who immigrated to the United States from Kuwait, and who reportedly later applied for and received U.S. citizenship,” said Sessions, chair of the subcommittee on immigration and the national interest.
‘The visa clearinghouse of the world’
Sessions cited a recent warning by the Citizenship and Immigration Council that declared, “Our government cannot effectively track these foreign visitors and immigrants … Applications for entry are rubber-stamped. We’ve become the visa clearinghouse for the world.”
Sessions provided a list of 21 terrorist attacks and foiled attacks involving immigrants allowed into the United States from hostile Islamic countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
The list includes the two Boston Bombers from Chechnya in 2012, the six Somali-Americans from Minnesota charged in April this year with trying repeatedly to leave the country to join ISIS, an Uzbek refugee in Idaho arrested for planning an attack on military installations and recruiting others to make bombs, an immigrant from Syria who applied for and received U.S. citizenship and was accused of planning to “go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers execution style.”
And the list goes on. WND has reported on many other cases of Muslim immigrants and the children of immigrants who went on to commit terrorist acts or provide material support to terrorist groups, including a Somali cab driver in Washington, D.C., who recruited members for al-Shabab in Somalia and now sits atop the FBI’s “most wanted terrorist” list. There is also the case of Hoda Muthana, the 20-year-old Yemeni-American, daughter of immigrants from Yemen, who left her comfortable life in her parents’ suburban Birmingham, Alabama, home in November 2014 to become an ISIS bride in Syria.
Lopez said that with so many Islamic immigrants in the U.S. and the Obama administration not taking the threat of Islamic terrorism seriously, more of the burden will fall to state and local law enforcement.
“To meet this threat, our security and law enforcement officers need better and more honest leadership from the top,” she said. “We are engaged in a great civilizational jihad with the forces of the global jihad movement.”
Local cops ‘must understand what jihad is’
Local sheriffs and police chiefs are in desperate need of information that will help them understand the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, but they’re not going to get it from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, the FBI or any other federal agency.
“Local police and sheriffs need to understand for themselves what jihad is, where it comes from, and what indicators and warnings they must look for to keep their communities safe – because this jihad is asymmetric, decentralized, and dependent on jihadis who already are living among us, just like Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez,” Lopez said.
The Abdulazeez family weren’t refugees from a war zone on whom a proper background investigation might be very difficult, if not impossible. This was a family with a known history, proper documents, and presumably Americans who could vouch for them when they came to the U.S. in 1996.
“The problem is the refusal of this White House and our national security leadership more broadly to confront the reality of the global jihad movement,” Lopez said.
She said State Department officials are forbidden to even query an immigrant’s ideological position on jihad and Islamic law before approving his visa application.
“They are not allowed to find out whether they are good fits to live in our Republic, to pledge unreserved allegiance to our Constitution, to live under rule of man-made law, and to assimilate into our Judeo-Christian-based society,” she said.
Then, when events occur that should raise red flags – like the father’s possible financial donation (zakat) to a questionable Islamic entity, the shooter’s trip to Jordan, or his visibly increased Islamic devotion – they just don’t. Our federal officials are forbidden to know the meaning of the indicators and warnings like these – they will lose their jobs if they even suggest such obvious signals ought to constitute probable cause to trigger an investigation.
Clarke said U.S. taxpayers are not getting a lot of bang for their buck in the way of effective intelligence gathering. That’s because too much is wasted on non-threats.
“This country spends an estimated $58 billion a year on our intelligence services. They missed 9/11, they missed Fort Hood, they missed the Boston bombing and what I think we’ll find here with this one (in Chattanooga) is that they missed some red flags, too.”
Bachmann’s voice echoes from halls of Congress
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has long been concerned by the developing trend: Rising immigration from hostile countries and rising incidents of Islamic terror. When she served in the House, few listened to her warnings.
“Terrorism is real, barbaric and will continue on American soil until the U.S. determines to get serious about prevention,” she said. “Across the world, wherever Muslim immigration has been allowed to flourish, a connection to terrorism has flourished also.
“No one has a right to immigrate to America. It is our choice as to who we allow to gain entrance to our great land.”
Bachmann lays much of the blame for today’s failed immigration system at the feet of former Sen. Ted Kennedy.
His “devious experiment” with the 1965 Immigration Act “fundamentally transformed” America’s immigration system into one that now allows 1.1 million immigrants to enter the U.S. legally each year, far beyond the scope of what any other country would consider wise.
“America is our country. It is time the politicians listen to us, the people who support this nation,” Bachmann said. “Not to the international business conglomerates who demand a continuous supply of cheap labor and pass on the true negative social costs to us.”
And those socials costs, as America is now finding out, extend well beyond the cost of providing welfare benefits. Sometimes, those costs can be paid in blood.