On January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of United States of America. Although the nation will have a new leader, one of our greatest challenges will remain the fight against terrorism. According to a report released in December by the Staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security, the U.S. faces its highest terror threat level since 9/11. And they expect it to persist throughout 2017.
The 9-page report provides a statistical overview of the current threat of terrorism both in the U.S. and abroad, including home grown Islamic extremism, ISIS terror plots, foreign fighters, foreign jihadist networks and safe havens, Guantanamo Bay detainees and the Iranian terror threat. Below are a few highlights from the House Committee’s 2016 year in review:
- Since 9/11, the nation has seen 227 homegrown jihadist cases with a recent surge of 115 cases in 2015 and 2016 alone. ISIS’ shift in messaging — from joining the jihad in Syria and Iraq to carrying out attacks in fighters’ home countries — is likely to accelerate this trend.
- Throughout the year, ISIS conducted 62 attacks, wounding 732 and killing 215 in places like the United States, France, and Belgium. The threat to Europe and the United States will persist in 2017, particularly as jihadists flee from Mosul and Raqqa.
- The Iran nuclear deal — coupled with instability in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — has reenergized Tehran’s hardliners and placed the regime in a stronger position to achieve regional hegemony. Iranian aggression, particularly in the Persian Gulf, has become routine and remains largely unopposed. If left unchecked, Tehran will continue to threaten United States’ interests at home and abroad.
- The Obama Administration transferred 48 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in 2016. The Director of National Intelligence assesses that at least 30 percent of all former Guantanamo Bay prisoners are known or suspected to have returned to terrorism following their release. As of early December 2016, 59 prisoners remain in detention.
THE THREAT OF ISIS
There’s no doubt that terrorism, both home-grown and abroad, remains a complex threat to the U.S. and its allies. The Trump administration likely will face an uphill battle as terrorist organizations like ISIS continue to wage war on the West. Time will tell if President-Elect Trump will be able to follow through on his promise to keep Americans safe at home. In the meantime, we can all help protect each other simply by staying informed and alert. With this in mind, we’ve uploaded the full House Committee on Homeland Security December 2016 Terrorism Snapshot for your convenience.