More than 150 Americans have joined 20,000 others fighting for the Islamic State (ISIS) and pose a clear and present danger of terrorist attacks in the United States.
The threat of violence in the United States from ISIS recruits could be carried out by less than a dozen “uncoordinated and unsophisticated” attacks, National Counter Terrorism Center director Nicholas Rasmussen said at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday.
The Islamic State on which President Barack Obama wants Congress to declare war has grown into a monster that finally prompted the president on Wednesday to ask Congress to give him the power that he already has under the Constitution to unilaterally declare war.
Obama wants broad support, and his decision not to use the power under the Constitution and instead turn to Congress for support could make it difficult for future presidents to declare war at a time of emergency.
He has ordered Air Force strikes on ISIS by relying on a general Congressional authorization from 2002 for military operations against Al Qaeda and other terrorist threats, but the ISIS’ success in working through social media in the United States has brought the threat of war to the shores of the United States.
US-led global task force raids have killed and wounded thousands of ISIS fighters, and it seems that for every one that dies, 10 new ones show up for the funeral.
“The number of those seeking to go to Iraq and Syria is going up,” Counterterrorism Director Nicholas Rasmussen testified at the hearing.
We assess that at least 3,400 of these fighters are from Western countries, and that number includes also over 150 U.S. persons who’ve either traveled to the conflict zone or attempted to do so.
Homeland Committee Chairman Michael T. McCaul, a Republican from Texas, said the Islamic State “now controls an area equal to the size of Belgium” despite US-led aerial bombings, and “governs millions of people, draws on billions of dollars in revenue and commands tens of thousands of foot soldiers.”
“This evolving Islamic terrorist landscape has given rise to the dual threats of foreign fighters returning to the United States and homegrown terrorism,” he added.
McCaul cited ISIS social media for “inciting their followers and potential recruits to wage war…in their home countries, and it’s working.
“ISIS social media also gives step-by-step instructions on how to get to the fight and how to return,” he said.
The committee investigated profiles of American who have traveled or have tried to travel to join the ISIS and sis covered that they come various backgrounds without a single stereotype.
The list includes six teenagers from Chicago and Denver who were recruited online.
McCaul said he was “worried about our ability to combat this threat abroad, but also here at home.”