CLAY DUBBERLY ’DOAH STAFF WRITER
The threat for lone wolf terrorist attacks has risen with the Sunni militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), calling for U.S. citizens to take up arms and conduct small- scale attacks against Americans.
ISIS recruiters have been foraging the interwebs in attempts to help radicalize, recruit and receive funds for their cause.
The use of online social media site, Twitter, has been employed ef- fectively by ISIS recruiters.
The U.S. intelligence community estimates that over 100 Americans have left to fight for ISIS. Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Matthew Olsen, says that they’re “talking numbers that are very rough and may well be conservative. Because these are some degree of identification we’ve made of these individuals, so the number is actually likely to be higher than that.”
Three teenage Colorado girls were communicating with ISIS through Twitter and eventually attempted to leave to join the militant group in Syria.
The girls were apprehended before reaching Syria. Unfortunately, not all radicalized persons are caught before joining up with the militant group.
One U.S. law enforcement official said, “It’s alarming that American youths are being radicalized to such a degree they’re willing to jump into the great unknown.”
ISIS has called for radicalized “lone wolves” in the United States to show up at the homes of military personnel and “slaughter them.”
One British jihadist tweeted: “You could literally search for soldiers, find their town, photos of them, look for addresses in Yellowbook or something. Then show up and slaughter them.”
According to a Fox News report, Syrian militants have been using Twitter to “[encourage] Muslims in the West to target soldiers with spontaneous attacks using [knives and guns].”
Canada recently raised its terror- ism threat level from low to medium because of recent lone wolf attacks on two Canadian soldiers.
Since ISIS entered Iraq this summer, they have been on a crusade to eliminate members of the media. They have released videos of at least four beheadings of journalists, including two Americans: Steven Sotloff and and James Foley. In Mosul, Iraq, at least 20 journalists were apprehended and executed by militants.
Since the ISIS recruiting campaign, many have left to fight for the militant group. A CIA source told CNN that about 2,000 Westerners have gone to fight in Syria, though it is unclear how many joined a militant group.
UK authorities believe that at least 500 have joined ISIS, and French authorities estimate that at least 700 have followed suit.
An ISIS spokesman tweeted advice on how to kill Americans: “Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes.”
In the past, Al Qaeda made similar calls to Americans. In fact, the support base for ISIS is larger and more radical, so their pronouncement is heavier.
Despite the despondent threats ISIS jihadists issue to Americans, some U.S. officials believe that ISIS threats are baseless.
Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland security, said “there is no credible intelligence at this time to suggest that there is an active plot by (ISIS) to carry out an attack in the United States.”
“Public postings by people claiming to be (ISIS) supporters on social media threatening to carry out attacks against the United States and our allies have been made, and we are aware of them. The product ref- erenced is based on such open source social media reports from earlier this summer and is not considered to reference specific, credible evidence of a plot against the homeland,” Boogaard said.
“The United States remains vigilant about threats to U.S. citizens at home and abroad. Ensuring the safety of our citizens is a top priority. Our security posture will continue to respond appropriately to protect the American people,” a senior State Department official said.