Journal: Home-Grown Terrorism in USA

08 Immigration, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 11 Society, Government, Law Enforcement
Full Review Online

The Homegrown Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland (ARI)

Lorenzo Vidino

ARI 171/2009 – 18/12/2009

EXTRACT 1: All these plots are very diverse in their origin, degree of sophistication and characteristics of the individuals involved. Yet they all contribute to paint the picture of the complex and rapidly changing reality of terrorism of Islamist inspiration in the US. Moreover, they smash or, at least, severely undermine an assumption that has been widely held by policymakers and analysts over the last 15 years. The common wisdom, in fact, has traditionally been that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, were virtually immune to radicalisation.

EXTRACT 2: The wave of arrests of the last months of 2009 has contributed to shedding light on a reality that is significantly more nuanced, showing that radicalisation affects some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. Evidence supporting this view has been available for a long time, as the cases of American Muslims joining radical Islamist groups date back to the 1970s.[12] According to data collected by the NYU Center on Law and Security, for example, more than 500 individuals have been convicted by the American authorities for terrorism-related charges since 9/11.[13] Most of them are US citizens or long-time US residents who underwent radicalisation inside the US.

Phi Beta Iota: Recommended by Contributing Editor Berto Jongman.

See also:

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Reference: WH CT Summary, POTUS Directive, DNI Blurb

08 Immigration, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, Analysis, Ethics, Government, Law Enforcement, Methods & Process, Military, Office of Management and Budget, Policy, Reform
White House Summary

EDIT of 9 Jan 10: Note seven comments from retired senior officers.

Critique of the CT Summary for the White House

This is a negligent piece of work that fails to include all that is known merely from open sources of information, but more importantly its judgments are misdirected.  This incident remains incompletely investigated until the person who video-taped events on the airplane comes forward and is identified.

Where we differ:

1. It was passengers who restrained the individual, not the flight crew, as is stated in the first paragraph.

1)  Does not identify the primary error.  The Embassy officer (or CIA officer) who interviewed the father did not elevate the matter.  The same kind of mistake occurred when the Taliban walked in and offered us Bin Laden in hand-cuffs.

2)  The absence of a machine-speed cross-walk among US and UK visa denials is noted, but the weakest link is overlooked.  The Department of State either didn’t check their visa files or, as has been remarked, may have failed to get a match because of misspelling.  The necessary software is missing. State continues to be the runt in the litter (we have more military musicians than we have diplomats) and until the President gets a grip on the Program 50 budget, State will remain a dead man walking.

3)  Another point glossed over: the intelligence community, and CIA in particular, did not increase analytic resources against the threat.  Reminds us of George Tenet “declaring war” on terrorism and then being ignored by mandarins who really run the place.

4)  “The watchlisting system is not broken” (page 2 bottom bold).  Of course it is broken, in any normal meaning of the word “system”.  John Brennan is responsible for the watchlisting mess, and this self-serving statement is evidence in favor of his removal.  If we are at war, we cannot have gerbils in critical positions (quoting Madeline Albright).

5)  “A reorganization of the intelligence or broader counterterrorism coummunity is not required…” at the bottom of page 2.  Reorganization, in the sense of moving around blocks on a chart, may not be required, but the entire system is broken and does need both principled redesign and new people the President can trust with the combination of balls and brains and budget authority to get it right.  Thirteen years after Aspin-Brown we still have not implemented most of their suggestions; the U.S. intelligence community is still grotesquely out of balance; and the Whole of Government budget is still radically misdirected at the same time that our policies in the Middle East are counterproductive.

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Journal: Out of Touch with Reality II

07 Other Atrocities, 08 Immigration, 09 Justice, 10 Security, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Methods & Process

Full Story Online
Full Story Online

The Elephant in the Room: A war of ideas within Islam

Backward views hold sway in much of the Muslim world. And yet there is hope.

By Rick Santorum    Thu, Nov. 5, 2009

The students, one man and two women, wore Western-style clothes and spoke English with little or no accent. They disputed my description of Islam as it's practiced in the Middle East, maintaining that al-Qaeda's version of Islam in no way reflects the Islam that is practiced around the world.

So I asked them a question: Should apostates – Muslims who convert to another religion – be subject to execution?

One of the women quickly said no. She insisted that she was free to leave Islam if she wanted to, and that she knew other people who had done so without a problem – in the United States.

I said I wasn't talking about her and others' freedom of religion in this country. What if they lived in a Muslim-majority country?

Silence. Eventually, the young man blurted out, “That's different.”

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2005 Reference: Results and Implications of the Minuteman Project (Narco Sector, Arizona, US-MX Border)

08 Immigration, 10 Security, 11 Society, Hill Letters & Testimony, White Papers
Full Report Online

Key Finding:

A successful immediate replication of the Minuteman Project would require an average 12 –24 enforcement personnel per mile, or around 36,000 total additional personnel to adequately secure the entire 2,000 mile southern border. An additional 12,000 support personnel may be necessary to provide services over an extended deployment.