The National Intelligence boss James Clapper warns the threat posed by the Islamic State is growing in the wake of the San Bernardino and Chattanooga shootings.
Law enforcement has yet to definitively connect the alleged San Bernardino shooters to the Islamic State or any other terrorist organization. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, the man suspected of opening fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, suffered from alcohol and mental problems and was not connected to terrorists. FBI director James B. Comey said the shootings were “motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda,” most likely posts on Twitter.
Homegrown violent extremists, what the government calls HVEs, are encouraged by the shootings, according to Clapper, and are influenced the IS group’s “highly sophisticated media.”
The Islamic State produces most of its propaganda online, primarily using Twitter, making it no more or less sophisticated than the average American teenager.
Last week Twitter announced it has so far shut down more than 125,000 pro-jihadi accounts linked to the Islamic State in response to a request by the Obama administration.
Clapper told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Islamic State directed and influenced terrorists will attempt direct attacks on the US this year and the organization is infiltrating migrants from Iraq and Syria flooding into Europe.
Homegrown extremists probably will “continue to pose the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland in 2016,” Clapper warned.
The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly stated it is “unaware of any specific credible threat to the U.S. Homeland.”
Prior to the Super Bowl federal law enforcement officials said there was no specific, credible threat to the event despite warnings to the contrary. Following the Paris attacks in November Obama announced ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday that there was no “specific or credible” threat of a terrorist attack. In New York officials and law enforcement were on high alert over the Christmas holiday despite the FBI stating there was no credible threat.
Clapper’s testimony follows National Intelligence’s release of the “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.” The report claims “approximately five dozen” IS-linked individuals were arrested in the United States during 2015.
Omitted from the report is the fact many if not most of the terror plots in the United States are arranged as sting operations by the FBI.
The “cases are unjust in the extreme: a form of pre-emptory prosecution where vulnerable individuals are targeted and manipulated not for any criminal acts they have committed but rather for the bad political views they have expressed,” writes Glenn Greenwald.
Clapper’s remarks are intended to keep the war on terror in the headlines and justify the continued operation of the National Intelligence Program (an integral component of the national security state) established following the September 11, 2001 attacks.