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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Threat of Domestic Terrorism

Link: Department of Justice and Domestic Terrorism

Last night I wrote a post that focused on third world debt, and earlier today I posted a short message about football.  Its safe to say that I have been avoiding the subject of today's post.  The idea of real domestic terrorism in the United States is not only hard to define, its hard to imagine.  The link I have provided does not add much to the discussion, but it does highlight the perspective that the Justice Department has embraced regarding this issue.  Since this is my blog and I am writing this post, I will be expressing my opinions about some very sensitive subjects.  My comments are opinions only, albeit opinions developed after a career in both Federal Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Community.

It would be wrong to believe that the Islamic State (from this point on referred to as "IS") is the primary domestic terror threat.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, Americans on the southern border with Mexico have been subjected to a brand of domestic terrorism for some time.  The Narco-traffickers who govern the Mexican side of the border do not hesitate to occasionally hop across the border and share some of the terror usually reserved for Mexicans.  American citizens have been kidnapped, assassinated, and terrorized for more than a decade by members of both the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels.  So when discussing "domestic terror threats", we have to be careful not to generalize.  Today I will be commenting on the domestic threat posed by Islamic fundamentalist-inspired terrorism.  Many Americans continue to misunderstand Al-Qaeda's goal in carrying out the attacks of September 11, 2001.  Too many brave, innocent people died that day, and I'm sure the bad guys were thrilled, but their real desire was to cripple the United States in as many fundamental ways as possible, for as long as possible.  They were only partially successful.  The United States transportation system, primarily air travel, was shut down.  I would never have imagined that the United States could survive as long as it did, with all the airlines grounded.  When the transportation system is disrupted, the economy suffers.  Goods do not move from assembly to market, and businessmen do not personally attend to important business.  The medical community is also affected, as patients and organs need to be transported in a time-sensitive fashion.  It was quite a contagion, as the airline shutdown affected everything, including buses, trains, banks, mail, and even port activity.  Americans were unable to live their lives as they had grown accustomed.  The events of 9-11 temporarily denied many Americans their sense of freedom, as they stayed behind closed doors, huddled around the television sets.  We also suffered from a stock market crash.  As far as September 11 goes, the disruptions were much more valuable to Al-Qaeda than the body count.  Islamic extremists have a fundamental conflict with the United States of America and how we embrace the idea of freedom.  An American family that balances its budget, takes a summer vacation to Disney World, votes, celebrates Santa Claus and Christmas, raises its children to be honest, proud citizens, is an anathema to Al-Qaeda and its associates.  Simply put, the American way of life is the real target.

Its possible that in the last decade, using a variety of methods, Islamic terror groups have seeded our cities with operatives.  When I say a variety of methods, I include domestic recruitment, illegal border crossing, and the utilization of fake passports and Visas.  I will always argue for a secure border, but for this discussion, how the bad guys arrived on scene isn't really important.  If you look at a map of the United States, you will see so many burgs that are similar in size and function.  It would not be difficult for someone keeping a low profile to get lost in a city of 250,000 (urban).  Federal Law Enforcement and local authorities have a solid grasp of the trouble makers in America's Islamic communities.  The Imams have been identified, the young stallions who frequent their daily rants in the mosques are also known, and the organizations that try to hide themselves under the guise of "educational foundation" or "charity", are on some "watch list" (I assume).  What concerns me, is the relative ease in which one hundred persons could separate and spread out towards the four corners of the United States, set themselves up domestically, and never really draw anyone's attention.  The bad guys are not stupid, at least not all of them.  Any true operative with a mission will not be spending time at anyone's mosque.  In fact, this individual with do everything possible to avoid attention.  If all one hundred of these agents have been trained and armed beforehand, and instructed to wait for a signal, its very difficult to defend against that kind of arrangement, especially in a country like ours.  I imagine the terrorists will do everything in their power to disrupt our way of life.  Possibly a sniper attack in the northwest, a grenade launched in south Florida, an automatic weapon discharged at a Supermarket in Des Moines, gas on the New York City Subway, at the same time as multiple hit-and-run incidences all over Pennsylvania, etc.  If the bad guys can orchestrate such events to take place at relatively the same day and time, they will certainly succeed in disrupting the lives of every American.

Without a doubt, our police, Federal Agents, militia and military will take care of the bad guys with precision and dedication, and in good time.  The real question will be the same one that was asked after the 9-11 attacks.  How will we let this affect the way we live?  The enemy wants us frightened.  If Americans are hesitant to embrace and share their constitutionally protected freedom, then the terrorists will have gained some measure of success.  I believe we have let down our guard a bit, especially regarding the security of the border, and sooner our later, we will have to deal with an incident of domestic terror.  We must remember the lessons from the past, and pick things up as quickly as possible.  If the authorities give the all-clear, go shopping, run your errands and play that tennis match you had to reschedule.  Help your neighbor in every and any way possible, and approach each task with a smile and conviction.  As usual, the rest of the world will be watching, to see the Americans flying their flags, gathering together, celebrating family and embracing all that is being American.  I can imagine no greater disappointment to the leaders of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

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