The FBI’s investigation of over 100 suspected Islamists serving within the US military highlights the growing threat these undercover jihadists pose to American troops, their families and their military communities.
That growing Islamist danger, according to the FBI, comes from an array of active and reserve military personnel as well as individuals who have work or dependent access to military facilities, such as family members and civilian employees.
Moreover, of the 100 investigative cases, the FBI disclosed that a dozen of them are grave enough to be deemed “insider threats,” which it defines as someone planning a terrorist attack on a military base or is in contact with outside individuals who are exhorting them to wage jihad.
The news of the FBI investigations, which has only now become public, was first revealed in a closed session of a House-Senate Committee hearing in December 2011, a hearing that centered on investigating possible threats to military communities inside the United States.
While civilian targets may provide an easier objective for jihadists, military targets provide them an equally palatable choice.
As Republican Representative Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has said, military service members are “symbols of America’s power, symbols of America’s might. And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al-Qaeda.”
While some may dismiss the number of potential jihadists being investigated by the FBI as a miniscule percentage of the millions serving in the military, others, like Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, note, “the reality is it only took one man, Nidal Hasan, to kill 13 people at Fort Hood and injure a lot more.”
Unfortunately, since the shooting spree launched by Major Hasan in November 2009 on soldiers in Fort Hood’s processing center — an act which many consider the most serious terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 — the number of terrorist plots by homegrown Islamists targeting the military has grown significantly.
Those plots include the June 2011 arrest by the FBI of Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh at a warehouse garage where both men were in the process of picking up machine guns and grenades to use in an attack on a Seattle area military recruiting station.
After his arrest Mujahidh admitted that he was planning on carrying out the assault at the Military Entrance Processing Station — a facility that employs nearly 1,000 service people — for the express purpose of killing United States military personnel in order “to prevent them from going to Islamic lands and killing Muslims.”
In July 2011 Private Naser Abdo was arrested and charged with planning to detonate a bomb in a Chinese restaurant popular with Fort Hood soldiers and finish the job by shooting any surviving victims. Abdo, who was AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky at the time of the planned attack, confessed to his mother in a recorded jailhouse conversation that his motive to kill the soldiers was simply “religion, mom. There is no other reason.”