Does the Islamic State pose an “imminent threat” to the U.S. homeland? Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel seems to think so -- and indeed said so publicly at the Pentagon last week. Several Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, are also in agreement with him.
But not everyone is. Gen. Martin Dempsey, for example, believes the group is merely a “regional threat,” and therefore Americans shouldn’t be overly concerned about their lethal capabilities outside the Middle East. At least not yet anyway:
Despite threats to the contrary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff insisted the Islamic State terror group is a regional threat and said he would not recommend U.S. airstrikes in Syria until he determines that they have become a direct threat to the U.S.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaking to reporters on board a military plane traveling to Afghanistan, said Sunday that he believes the Sunni insurgent group formerly known as ISIS is not currently plotting or planning attacks against the U.S. or Europe.
But if ISIS is not a menace to the U.S., then what, exactly, are we supposed to make of this? Via Breitbart:
On August 9 a tweet sent with the hashtag #AMessagefromISIStoUS shows someone holding a piece of paper with Arabic writing in front of the Old Republic Building in Chicago. ...
WGNtv.com reports the message on the paper as, "Soldiers of the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria will pass from here soon." The message is dated "20 June, 2014."
The tweet above was presumably blasted out by an ideological adherent of ISIS living in the U.S.: the photo on the left is the Old Republic Building in the Windy City, the one on the right is clearly the White House. So this begs the question: Is this tweet merely propagandist fodder, meant to deal a psychological blow to the American public and thwart U.S. intelligence officials, or should Americans be genuinely concerned? According to one analyst (who, according to her, recently spoke off-the-record with DHS officials) perhaps the answer is the latter (via Soopermexican):
“We believe ISIS is already here.”
And strangely enough, even if they aren’t, Guy explained earlier today how ISIS-aligned extremists could very well enter the United States rather easily and with impunity:
Some estimates suggest that as many as 12,000 ISIS fighters hold American or European passports, prompting calls for an overhaul of US visa protocols.
That’s a frightening static -- and one that should send shock waves through U.S. and European intelligence communities everywhere.