ISIS IN THE U.S.: On top of national security agenda

December 24, 2015
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ISIS terrorism has an unprecedented reach to the United States catching the attention of U.S. authorities that lead to the rise in federal prosecutions higher than the 9/11 twin towers.

U.S. authorities claimed that ISIS’s terrorism has become a top security issue in the U.S. As a countermeasure, part of the solution that U.S. officials did was to arrest suspects even “if there’s not enough proof of terrorist plots.”
This is made visible by the pace of federal prosecutions this year, which was not been experienced even in the aftermath of 9/11 twin towers bombing, U.S. authorities say.

A comparison on federal prosecutions made by U.S. prosecutors showed that more than 80 people were charged with terror-related offenses since the start of 2014. According to the Justice Department, this year alone, of the 60 prosecutions, the biggest number of cases is related to ISIS.

Prosecutions are widely spread across the 30 different federal court districts in the U.S. In terms of age distribution of those charged, the age varies. More than half are under 25 years old and a third are under 21 years old.

In an interview with CNN, John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security said “In some ways, it’s an unprecedented threat environment that we’re facing.” This pronouncement is backed by the pace of investigations and prosecutions by the Justice Department, which is underscoring the cause for concern.

On the contrary, President Barack Obama recently expressed disapproval of how the media handled reports on ISIS. He chided the media “for causing anxiety to the American people in their excessive reporting on ISIS.

The ISIS jihadist group, including al Qaeda has made innovations in their strategy in terrorism. Since ISIS’s attacks and capture of swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, the group has taken advantage of the social media to attract westerners to join their group. Either they can participate in the group’s terroristic moves as a fighter in ISIS’ controlled territories or they can launch attacks in their home countries.

ISIS has elevated its appeal to draw attention to a wide demographic of Americans and radicalization. And the biggest challenge facing the U.S. authorities is the difficulty to spot radicalization in private.

The U.S. federal cases include those “attempting to travel to join the terrorist group or to those who allegedly plotted attacks.” The first case of cyber terrorism involves a Kosovo national residing in Malaysia who stole U.S. military members’ personal information and provided these to an ISIS hacking group that posts online attacks on the military members.

In Maryland an ISIS recruit was paid thousands of dollars by ISIS operatives in faraway countries to fund plots in the U.S. Likewise, in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack, this was carried out by an American citizen and his wife who never had any previous law violation.

Thus, part of the solution for U.S. officials has been to arrest suspects even if there’s not enough proof of terrorist plots. Even the FBI Director James Comey himself said “that some of the arrests were done as a way to get suspects off the streets; because of concerns the agency wouldn’t be able to tell if someone has decided to initiate an attack.”

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