How is it that the “Department of Homeland Security” knew about the plan to pipe bomb a major New York City subway hub five days before it happened–and didn’t prevent it? Wasn’t the agency created to improve transparency and inter-agency cooperation to prevent terrorism?
According to the Washington Examiner, the department warned of a possible ISIS-related terrorist attack– and that it would be difficult to prevent what it described as “a lone wolf” attack.
Robin Taylor, acting deputy under secretary for intelligence operations at Homeland Security told the Examiner:
We assess there is currently an elevated threat of [homegrown] lone offender attacks by ISIS sympathizers, which is especially concerning because mobilized lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt their plots.
Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Taylor explained that ISIS and al-Qaeda are actively recruiting people in America using social media. He remarked:
We continue to monitor the evolving threat posed by ISIS. ISIS fighters’ battlefield experience in Syria and Iraq have armed it with advanced capabilities that most terrorist groups do not have. Even as the so-called ‘caliphate’ collapses, ISIS fighters retain their toxic ideology and a will to fight. We remain concerned that foreign fighters from the U.S. or elsewhere who have traveled to Syria and Iraq and radicalized to violence will ultimately return to the U.S. or their home country to conduct attacks.
According to intelligence reports al-Qaeda and its affiliates present a serious threat to national security because of their ability to target U.S. citizens and smaller, regional facilities using “lone wolf” tactics and varying smaller-scale techniques.
The hearing followed a July 2016 July Terror Threat Snapshot released by the Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX). The report came after the alleged ISIS-inspired attack on a gay nightclub in Orland, Florida. McCaul stated last July:
The FBI recently arrested another American ISIS supporter involved in a plot to launch an attack on U.S. soil. We are in an unprecedented global war against Islamist terrorists, as the jihadist atrocities in the past weeks in Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh demonstrated. The enemy spurs its supporters in our midst to violence while it grooms operatives to dispatch globally.
Groups like ISIS and al Qaeda have proven resilient, and continue to dominate large swaths of territory. Iran and its terrorist proxies have continued to threaten vital American interests after the Obama Administration dangerously legitimized the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions. The failure to recognize the nature of these threats and to lay out a clear, viable plan for confronting them will sadly continue to endanger Americans and our allies.
The question remains, however, what is the Department of Homeland Security doing about these threats besides having hearings and producing reports and maps?
How is it that someone was in America illegally on an expired student visa with no record of his whereabouts and still hiding and conspiring in plain sight? How is the DHS going to enforce existing laws to keep Americans safe?
What good is it to post warnings, when the warnings don’t prevent the terrorist attack from happening?
The most recent congressional hearing left American with little confidence in the agency’s ability to provide security and many unanswered questions.