From 1970 to 2011, there were 104,689 terrorist incidents worldwide. Terrorism directed at the United States homeland accounted for 2.3 percent of these attacks.
At least 60 terrorist plots targeting the United States have been foiled since 9/11, largely prevented by U.S. law enforcement. The top five post-9/11 domestic targets include the U.S. Military (16 plots); New York City (14 plots); mass gatherings (nine plots); mass transit (eight plots); and critical infrastructure and Washington, D.C. (six plots each).
After 9/11 until the end of 2011, the non-Western world—everywhere besides Western Europe and the Western Hemisphere—experienced 28,904 terrorist attacks. Of these, nearly 60 percent (17,153) targeted private, infrastructural, educational, media, or religious individuals and institutions.
As of July 15, 2013, 603 detainees from Guantanamo Bay have been transferred: 532 detainees pre-January 22, 2009, and 71 detainees post-January 22, 2009. Of those transfers, 100 (16.6 percent) have been confirmed as re-engaging in terrorist activity. In total, 164 detainees are still held at Guantanamo Bay.
U.S. citizens are being recruited to join al-Qaeda and its affiliates. At least 10 Americans have joined jihadists in Syria, and between 2007 and 2010, over 40 Americans traveled abroad to join Somalia’s al-Shabaab.
While the Islamic State may be new to most Americans, the group recently renamed itself simply ‘Islamic State, has existed under various names and in various shapes since the early 1990s.
The leader of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi was released from the U.S. detention camp named Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border in 2009. When he was freed, Baghdadi reportedly told U.S. Army reservists from Long Island, New York, “I’ll see you guys in New York”.
Through its seizure of oilfields, banks, weapons, and other resources, ISIS has amassed a war chest estimated to total $2 billion according to NBC News. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) warns that “the threat ISIS poses cannot be overstated”. Feinstein, who has criticized President Barack Obama for being “too cautious” in confronting ISIS, calls the terror group “the most vicious, well-funded and militant terrorist organization we have ever seen.”
Recently, a CIA spokesman told CNN that the Islamic State “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.” Months prior, U.S. officials, put the figure at just 10,000.
Through its sophisticated social media recruitment and other means, ISIS has successfully recruited 2,000 Westerners—a key terror asset whose passports could allow re-entry into Western countries to carry out attacks. The Daily Mail reported that at least three Minnesota women have traveled to Syria to assist ISIS fighters. Two American ISIS members have already been killed, both from Minnesota.
ISIS now controls 35,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. In its drive to expand the caliphate, ISIS now controls 35,000 square miles of territory—an area roughly the size of Indiana. A former Pentagon official, Janine Davidson told the New Yorker, “ISIS now controls a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”
In addition to ISIS’s videotaped beheading of American journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines, the terror group has slaughtered innocents in mass killings, raped women, abducted thousands of women and girls for use as sex slaves, and, according to the State Department, forced parents to watch as ISIS terrorists “beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam”.
ACT for America is the nation’s largest grassroots organization focused on promoting national security and defeating terrorism. ACT for America has 890 chapters and 280,000 members including chapters in 11 countries worldwide.