While the FBI continues its investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist attack, new polling information points to American’s growing concerns about homegrown terrorism.
According to a New York Times poll, 79 percent of Americans’ think another terrorist attack is imminent—those numbers mirror the country’s sentiment one week after 9/11.
As details slowly emerge from the San Bernardino terror attack, US counterterrorism agencies are reporting, now—more than ever—American’s should remain vigilant.
New details released about the killers are chilling. The Director of the FBI James Comey said: “Our investigation to date shows that they were radicalized before they started courting or dating each other online As early as the end of 2013 [they] were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and married and were living in the US.”
Last Sunday President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office and confirmed the San Bernardino attack was a terrorist act and predictably renewed his call to restrict gun sales. “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.”
Even though there has been no record of someone on a no fly list buying a gun, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest doubled down and said the administration remains committed to more control: “It’s not our view that we should wait till someone is on the no fly list walks into a gun store and legally purchases a gun and kills a bunch of innocent Americans.”
Albeit America suffered a devastating terror attack that killed 14 and wounded another 22 on December 2, President Obama told CBS News: “ISIL will not pose an existential threat to us. They are a dangerous organization like al Qaeda was, but we have hardened our defenses.”
At a press conference, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan offered a grim assessment, “Wednesday’s bloodbath could have been far worse.” The husband and wife terrorists left three pipe bombs at the scene of the massacre, luckily the remote-control devices failed. The couple’s rented SUV also contained 1,600 rounds of ammunition. “Clearly they were equipped and they could have done another attack,” Chief Burguan said. “We intercepted them before that happened, obviously.”
In addition to that arsenal, federal agents raided their home and found 12 more bombs and a stockpile of ammunition. The FBI investigation also uncovered the couple’s possible links to five terrorists from al Shabab, the al-Nusra Front, ISIS as well as al-Qaeda.
There is a high probability Ms. Malik could have been stopped if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department had stricter visa requirements in place. Both agencies said they did not monitor or rely on social media postings in their screening process because it could be construed as an invasion of privacy.
According to the New York Times, “None (sic) [DHS or State Dept.] uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it. American law enforcement officials said they recently discovered those old — and previously unreported — postings as they pieced together the lives of Ms. Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, trying to understand how they pulled off the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
Immigration officials admitted they do not review social media as part of their background checks, and 15 years after 9/11, DHS is still debating whether it is even appropriate. “We run people against watch lists and that’s how we decided if they get extra screening,” said C. Stewart Verdery Jr., a senior Homeland Security official during George Bush’s administration. “In cases where those lists don’t hit, there’s nothing that distinguishes them from people we would love to welcome to this country.”
“Ms. Malik faced three extensive national security and criminal background screenings,” the New York Times reported. “First, Homeland Security officials checked her name against American law enforcement and national security databases. Then, her visa application went to the State Department, which checked her fingerprints against other databases. Finally, after coming to the United States and formally marrying Mr. Farook here, she applied for her green card and received another round of criminal and security checks. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have said they followed all policies and procedures. The departments declined to provide any documentation or specifics about the process, saying they cannot discuss the case because of the continuing investigation.”
The White House Press Secretary confirmed that Mrs. Malik entered the US on a K-1 visa that allows foreigners to marry Americans, and fast tracking their path to citizenship. “Somebody entered the United States through the K-1 visa program and proceeded to carry out an act of terrorism on American soil. That program is at a minimum worth a very close look.”
Americans are confused by all the mixed signals coming from Washington D.C. Their confusion may be justified, as George C. Scott said in the movie Patton “nobody wants a fair fight” and that is exactly what terrorists look for … gun free zones and soft targets. With gun sales going through the roof, many are asking how can disarming law abiding Americans protect the country from homegrown terrorist threats?