NORTHCOM ASSESSES ISIL
The key threat posed by the al Qaeda offshoot terrorist group Islamic State is not the infiltration of fighters crossing the U.S. southern border but the group’s sophisticated social media recruitment effort.
That’s the conclusion of Navy Adm. William Gortney, commander of the Colorado-based U.S. Northern Command, which is charged with defense of the homeland.
“I don’t believe that it’s ISIL that we have to worry about infiltrating through our southern approaches,” Adm. Gortney told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, using an acronym for the terrorist group.
“They are a threat to us because they’re using a very sophisticated social media campaign to incite American and Canadian citizens to do harm against American and Canadian citizens,” he said. “That’s how they are trying to attack us in that regard, through that very sophisticated social media campaign.”
In addition to frequent posts seeking recruits placed on Facebook and Twitter, the terrorist group has launched a slick English-language magazine called Dabiq that lists email addresses and an encryption key for potential recruits to contact the Islamic State.
The FBI is engaged in a major law enforcement campaign to stop would-be jihadis in the U.S. from traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State.
FBI Special Agent Andrew McCabe, head of the FBI’s Washington field office, said the bureau is struggling to keep up with related cases, including seven people in the past two weeks linked to the Islamic State group. Other cases involve people in their early and middle teens who want to travel overseas.
“It’s not hard to anticipate that, as numbers begin to grow, at some point our traditional investigative approaches and capabilities will be outstripped by the sheer numbers we’re facing,” Mr. McCabe told CBS News on Tuesday.
Adm. Gortney said the border security problem involves “seams” in defenses that enemies are exploiting.
“And they’re going to move through those seams … people, drugs, money, weapons or something even greater,” he said. “And that’s why we work so hard looking down there and trying to close those seams with our homeland partnerships and with the other geographic combatant commanders.” cheating.
“Congress has the authority to request a verifiability assessment of the agreement from the administration but has not done so,” Ms. DeSutter told Inside the Ring.
Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has introduced legislation that would require the Iran agreement to be submitted to Congress.
Under the Constitution, the Senate has the power of advice and consent on foreign treaties and agreements.
Ms. DeSutter added that, based on the preliminary framework made public last week, adequate verification does not appear possible.
“Transparency measures” announced as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will facilitate violations at known locations but not at secret undeclared sites, she said.
Fred Fleitz, an ex-CIA analyst and former State Department arms control official, also voiced concerns about verifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.
“I believe the verification provisions in a nuclear agreement with Iran, based on the new framework, will fall far short of what the Obama administration claimed last week,” Mr. Fleitz said.
“Intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear program only appear certain for its peaceful program,” he said. “Inspections of possible military-related nuclear activities would take place under the IAEA additional protocol.”
Iran has said it would adopt a limited “provisional application” of an International Atomic Energy Agency protocol, which Obama administration officials have said is the key to stringent verification.
A formal agreement is to be drawn up by June 30.
“Given Iran’s record of covert nuclear activities and apparent loopholes in the framework on requiring inspections of reports of such activities, I question whether an agreement based on the framework can provide adequate verification to assure that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program,” Mr. Fleitz said.
Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz.