Security officials have told the Associated Press that the Islamic State has trained at least 400 attackers and sent them into Europe as sleeper cells ready to carry out terror attacks.
“The network of interlocking, agile and semi-autonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria,” the AP reports.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps “designed specifically to train for attacks against the West.”
The officials say the fighters have been given orders to find the right time, place and method to carry out their mission.
The AP report did not say how the 400 attackers got into Europe but one can only surmise that they entered among the ranks of the more than 1.5 million migrants who have been welcomed over the past two years by Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Greece and other countries.
The U.S. is also increasing its intake of “refugees” under President Obama, who is bringing 85,000 to U.S. cities and towns in fiscal 2016 followed by 100,000 in fiscal 2017. The previous ceiling had been set at 70,000 per year.
Obama has been in a war of words with some members of Congress for more than a year about the security risks posed by Syrian refugees, 10,000 of whom he plans to permanently resettle in U.S. cities this year. But, in the end, Congress fully funded his request for expanded refugee resettlement.
Refugee resettlement is supported not only by Democrats but a large portion of the GOP who see it as a means of providing cheap labor for corporate interests. The world’s largest yogurt plant run by Chobani in Twin Falls, Idaho, for example, is staffed 30 percent by foreign refugees.
Various meatpacking plants in Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Kentucky are also heavily staffed with refugees from Somalia and other countries.
But not all Republicans are on board with the growing refugee resettlement program.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., issued a statement Tuesday night saying the European problems with Islamic immigrants and their involvement in terrorism should serve as a case study for the United States but so far the warning signs have not been heeded and the same mistakes are being made on this side of the Atlantic.
Sessions, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest, said the threat of Islamic terrorism must be confronted on every level with “clarity and resolve.”
One of those levels is the U.S. refugee program, a program President Obama is expanding both in numbers of overall refugees and the numbers coming from terrorist countries like Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. People from these countries pose significant vetting challenges.
“Clearly, the refugee and migration policies of Europe and the United States must be thoughtfully reconsidered. The United States Refugee Admissions Program must be significantly altered and all its components closely examined,” Sessions said.
A bill that would do exactly that was introduced in the House last week by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Raul Labrado, R-Idaho, but it is not expected to get past Obama’s veto pen even if it should pass both houses of Congress.
“It cannot be the policy of the United States that millions of foreign nationals are able to demand permanent entry into this country as refugees or asylees, particularly when our law enforcement and intelligence communities cannot adequately screen these individuals for security risks,” Sessions said. “There must be limits. We know many terrorists have used and will use this process, and every other available method, to gain entry into our country.”
14 ‘refugees’ in U.S. arrested in last year
Indeed, at least 14 individuals admitted to the United States as refugees have been implicated in terrorism in the last year alone, Sessions said.
ISIS operatives have warned in their own words they will use the refugee system to infiltrate Western countries. They have already done it in Europe. To refuse to take them at face value would be a huge mistake, Sessions said.
“Certainly many people around the world have desperate needs, but many bad actors seek to exploit human tragedy,” Sessions said, adding that the primary role of government is to protect the American people.
Besides, he said, there are better and more efficient ways of helping those in need than to resettle a few thousand of the millions who have been displaced by wars in the Middle East.
“We should use all reasonable efforts to help those in crisis by creating safe zones and providing aid close to their homes. This will allow those displaced to return home when the violence abates,” Sessions said. “The Europeans have requested the establishment of safe zones, but the United States continues to ‘study’ the situation and has not taken sufficient action. This stalling must end. And countries throughout the region that have done little to accept those who have been displaced must do more.”
In the end, Europe’s failed immigration policies have led to large enclaves of radicalized Muslims who have never assimilated.
Terrorism expert Steven Emerson says the fact that terrorists were able to thrive, and hide, in the capital of the European Union, ought to be a wake-up call to every Western nation.
“As shocking as (Monday) morning’s simultaneous terror attacks at Belgium’s airport and in its Metro system may be, they show the disturbing depth of the terrorist infrastructure which was allowed to take root in the European Union capital’s back yard,” Emerson wrote on his website, the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
A series of police actions targeting elements of that infrastructure involved raids in Molenbeek, a Brussels suburb that has been dubbed “Europe’s terrorism capital.”
Saleh Abdeslam, the key surviving player in November’s jihadist attacks in Paris, was arrested in Molenbeek Friday.
“Police were thanked by a hail of bottles, stones and other debris by locals more loyal to the terrorist than the land that gave them refuge,” Emerson noted.
Minneapolis or Dearborn as the next Brussels?
Could future “terrorism capitals” be developing in the United States, where large enclaves of Muslim immigrants are already established in cities like Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dearborn, Michigan?
Some critics of the Obama immigration and refugee policy believe so.
A group called Secure Michigan put out a statement Wednesday pleading with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to renew his opposition to Obama’s plan to resettle more than 5,000 mostly Syrian refugees in the state this year.
Overall, Obama wants to bring 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. this year and many more in 2017. He is also bringing in tens of thousands from Somalia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Iraq. Obama claims he has the authority to resettle refugees from the Middle East even in states where governors have said they are not welcome.
WND last week published an investigative look at the failures of the Somali refugee program, which has been marred by terrorists and fraudulent claims of family relationships that don’t exist.
Obama’s resettlement program has sparked an organized backlash among residents in Michigan, South Carolina, North Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and Montana.
The Secure Michigan statement reads in part:
“As we are witnessing in Europe and as we have been told by top U.S. security and intelligence officials, the dangers of ISIS infiltration into the waves of Syrian refugees is only accelerating, posing a grave and growing threat that we must recognize and effectively combat. We have been warned by FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Congressional Homeland Security Committee Vice Chair Candice Miller of Michigan, and leading defense and intelligence analysts that the Middle East refugees cannot be vetted. Furthermore, Director Comey has said the FBI lacks the resources to stay atop the ISIS terrorist threats in all 50 states that his agency is monitoring. Knowing the risks of terrorist infiltration, radicalization, passport forgery and identity fraud and the alarming rise of violent crime and rape across Europe attributable to the refugee communities, it would be irresponsible, indeed reckless, to allow unvettable refugees to come to Michigan.”
Sessions is also seizing on the European experience as a teachable moment in history.
“The sad truth is that the extreme and misguided refugee and immigration policies of Europe provide us with valuable insight,” he said. “Europe has (taken in) migrants from areas with histories of terrorism in such large numbers that assimilation has failed. This has allowed radicalization to occur. The Brussels attacks underscore the risks that these failed policies have created.
“Our country always seeks to help those in need as we are able, but the huge cost must be accounted for and the people’s safety protected. Unless we change, the danger to the people of the United States will surely get worse. Defeating this generational threat is the challenge of our time. It will not be easy or quick.”
He said defeating al-Qaida or ISIS will not mark the end of radical Islam. There are dozens of loosely affiliated groups that teach hatred and intolerance for Western values.
“Experts tell us that this dangerous radicalization may last for decades. A strategy that is strong, relentless and realistic must be developed that can gain bipartisan support along with the support of our allies, within and without the region. This is essential and doable. With such a well-considered strategy, we can defeat terrorism and further peace in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.”