Terror Snap Shot: ISIS Recruitment, Ability to Carry Out Western Attacks Undiminished

Posted: Feb 06, 2017 1:15 PM

Despite being pummeled by coalition forces in Iraq and Syria for months, ISIS has suffered few losses when it comes to recruitment and terror attacks outside of its territory according to the "Monthly Terror Snap Shot" released by the House Homeland Security Committee majority.

"Although ISIS faces continued counterterrorism pressure in its key safe havens, the group’s external operations plotting appears undiminished. The New Year opened with a deadly ISIS-linked attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, leaving 39 dead and demonstrating the terror group’s continued ability to inspire and organize major attacks," the report states. "European nations are moving forward with counterterrorism reforms designed to cope with the surging terror threat. Yet despite improvements, the continent still suffers from major security weaknesses that make European countries more vulnerable to attack and put U.S. interests overseas at risk."

The report warns 2017 looks "alarming" in terms of homegrown terrorism and interestingly ties Esteban  Santiago, the man who killed five people at Ft. Lauderdale airport last month, to the terror army as a potential influence for his actions.

According to a CBS News report, Santiago had visited an FBI office in Alaska prior to the shooting, stating her was being forced to watch ISIS videos online. 

The FBI confirmed that in Nov. 2016, Santiago-Ruiz walked into an FBI office in Anchorage and claimed his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency and that he was being forced to watch videos for ISIS. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital after police were called, sources said.

Meanwhile, President Trump ordered his first raid against al Qaeda operatives in Yemen last week. While a number of high value targets were taken out and crucial intelligence was collected, Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed during the operation. 

"I am very encouraged that the Trump Administration is preparing to put greater pressure on jihadists in their safe havens throughout the world. But as they do, we can expect to see militants returning to the West to build new networks and to plot more deadly operations," Chairman Michael McCaul said about the report. "I look forward to working with the new Administration on shutting down terror pathways in America. We must also remain vigilant here at home, because Americans are being radicalized at an alarming rate.”