Thanksgiving Day Terror. Black Swan Exercise

Related reading: Predicting Future Military Threats: Implications of the Black Swan

Donald Trump’s transition team is getting a helping hand from the Obama administration on national security matters.

The administration is giving the president-elect and a select few of his top advisers sensitive intelligence briefings.

And, in addition, Trump and his team will take part in two so-called ‘black swan’ exercises that simulate a domestic or national security emergency.

The exercises are intended to help an incoming administration learn how to manage a crisis in real time in case there is some kind of global or domestic emergency in the first days of a Trump presidency.

A black swan exercise would, for example, ensure that a fledgling Trump administration knows how to activate the proper federal agencies to maintain stability.

According to a briefing book from the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition, in 2008 the Bush administration hosted two black swan exercises for then president-elect Obama’s national security team. More here from ABC.

Black Swan operations and exercises have been practiced also in the United Kingdom.

**** What is on the horizon regarding terror?

Islamic State is urging its followers to carry out acts of terrorism in New York City during the upcoming, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Jamie Schram writes in this morning’s (Nov. 14, 2016) New York Post, that “ISIS is offering a detailed how-to on using trucks as weapons of mass destruction — noting that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade would be an ‘excellent target.”


MEMRI: On November 11, 2016, Al-Hayat, one of the media centers of the Islamic State (ISIS), released the third issue of its monthly magazine Rumiyah featuring an article calling on lone wolves in the U.S. and Europe to use trucks to target large outdoor conventions, crowded streets, outdoor markets, festivals, parades, and political rallies. The article also emphasized the importance of using trucks in terrorist attacks, and provided suggestions on “ideal vehicles” to use and tactical tips for the preparation and planning of attacks.


The article, titled “Just Terror Tactics,” features images of rental trucks from companies such as Hertz and U-Haul, as well as a picture showing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. It begins by highlighting the “destructive capability” of motor vehicles and referring to the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France on July 14, 2016. While praising the Nice attacker, the article states: “This was superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who, while traveling at the speed of approximately 90 kilometers per hour, plowed his 19-ton load-bearing truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, harvesting through his attack the slaughter of 86 Crusader citizens and injuring 434 more.”


The article stresses the importance of using a vehicle that can inflict maximum damage, and describes the “ideal” vehicles for lone wolf attacks as “load-bearing trucks, large in size, reasonably fast in speed or rate of acceleration, heavy in weight, double-wheeled, possessing a slightly raised chassis.” The article continued: “If accessible, [vehicles] with a metal outer frame which are usually found in older cars [should be used], as the stronger outer frame allows for more damage to be caused when the vehicle is slammed into crowds, contrary to newer cars that are usually made of plastics and other weaker materials.”

Providing suggestions on how to acquire the vehicle, the article noted that buying it is the “easiest” option; however, it also mentioned renting, borrowing from relatives and acquaintances, hotwiring, and carjacking as additional options. Under “applicable targets” the article listed: “Large outdoor conventions and celebrations, pedestrian-congested streets, outdoor markets, festivals, parades and political rallies.”

The article further emphasized that in order to inflict maximum damage, attackers should consider targeting “any outdoor attraction that draws large crowds,” stating that “it is not conditional to target gatherings restricted to government or military personnel only. All so-called ‘civilian’ (and low-security) parades and gatherings are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”

As for “preparation and planning,” the article recommended “assessing vehicle for roadworthiness, filling vehicle with a sufficient amount of fuel, mapping out the route of the attack, surveying the route for obstacles, such as posts, signs, barriers, humps, bus stops, dumpsters, and if accessible, a secondary weapon should be attained.”

The article also provided ideas for attackers to use in order to declare their affiliation to ISIS to “have their motives acknowledged” such as writing “ISIS will remain” or “I am a soldier of the Islamic State” on pieces of papers and throwing them out of the vehicle’s window during the attack.

The article concludes by instructing attackers to stay inside their vehicles until they are no longer movable and then to start shooting pedestrians, first responders and security forces until they are killed.


Black Swan exercises are those that prepare for the unexpected and several events worldwide have been part of these operations.

1. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) or Solar Burst

As The Heritage Foundation highlighted in the documentary 33 Minutes,[3] an EMP attack could throw America back to the pre-Industrial Revolution era. A powerful solar burst would have the same impact. Should either event occur, people would have little time to react, and the damage would be incalculable.

If the U.S. were to lose power for any prolonged period of time, given the sheer number of people located in the interior of the country, mass starvation and death would become a reality. Most experts consider these events as highly unlikely ones, so little investment or planning is done related to them.

2. Pandemic Virus

Although the U.S. has prepared for a pandemic influenza outbreak, little preparation has gone into other potential viruses. More importantly, it is the unknown virus or “super virus” that represents a Black Swan for America. Recall that it was less than 30 years ago that AIDS first began embedding itself in North America. If a far more deadly and communicable virus hits America, the U.S. would quickly expend its existing resources.

3. Nuclear or Radiological Event

The U.S. has extensive knowledge of what would happen if a nuclear or radiological explosion occurred in a major American city. Theory, however, is a poor replacement for the reality of large numbers of deaths, burn victims, and physical debris. As former Vice President Dick Cheney wisely concluded, because of the sheer consequences, even a 1 percent chance of such an event occurring requires the nation to expend the necessary resources to prevent it.

4. Super-Volcanic Eruption

Seismic activity around the Yellowstone caldera is monitored, but tectonic shifts miles below the surface could result in the buildup of pressure and a super-volcanic eruption. The volcano beneath Yellowstone previously erupted, causing destruction as far away as California, Iowa, and Louisiana. An eruption, though unlikely given current readings, could have truly catastrophic consequences.

5. Nor’Easter/Hurricane

Hurricanes strike America with a fair degree of frequency. A Black Swan event would be a Nor’easter combined with a powerful hurricane that strikes New York City in the same manner as Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Between the massive flooding and wind damage, New York City could sustain casualties and physical destruction well in excess of Katrina.

How Prepared Is the U.S.?

The honest and unfortunate answer to that question is unknown and, despite attempts to ascertain that answer, will not be known if existing policy remains in place. A Black Swan by definition becomes a Black Swan because it results in catastrophic outcomes. This “delicate” balance between preparing for events and not being able to prepare adequately for all events represents the ultimate risk-based decision making.

From 2003 to 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) distributed roughly $40 billion in funding to states and localities across America. Despite years of reporting requirements, DHS is fundamentally unable to state with any degree of certainty which capabilities exist, where those capabilities exist, the level of those capabilities, and the remaining capability needs. DHS knows it has funded the acquisition of many things, but specifics beyond that are unquantifiable.

Specifically, to gain a full accounting, Congress should:

  • Be fiscally responsible. Rather than continue to spread federal funds using an “inch thick and a mile wide” mentality, Congress should target federal funds at the highest-risk states, cities, and counties where the funds could meaningfully increase the security of Americans, including reducing the number of high-risk cities that are eligible for special funding.
  • Examine cooperative agreements. The need for equality downplays the need for the grant structure and invites another approach—such as the use of cooperative agreements, where the federal government and the states can sit down as true and equal partners and negotiate outcomes at the beginning and then direct funds to achieve those desired outcomes without the need for yearly applications.
  • Appoint a Black Swan commission. Rather than wait until after a catastrophic event has occurred, Congress should appoint an independent commission for the express purpose of analyzing the threats of a potential Black Swan, identifying existing capabilities, and making recommendations on how best to correct errors made thus far and accelerate closing the gap between where the nation stands today and where it needs to be tomorrow. The commission must have the independence and resources to quickly do its job after a full review of the status quo.

Expect the Unexpected

If the catastrophe in Japan has taught any lessons, it is that America must prepare for the unexpected with as much vigor as it prepares for the expected. Because a Black Swan can be so catastrophic, in many ways the ideal role for the federal government is to lead an effort surrounding those events. With the nation’s current fiscal challenges, conserving resources for catastrophic events is more vital than ever. More here from Heritage.

Mastermind of Europe’s Terror Attacks Identified

U.S. Identifies Key Player in ISIS Attacks on Europe

Frontline: Almost a year after Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris, U.S. intelligence agencies have identified one of the suspected masterminds of that plot and a follow-up attack in Brussels.

U.S. counter-terror officials said the man, who goes by the name Abu Sulaiyman al Fransi (Abu Sulaiyman, the Frenchman) is a 26-year old Moroccan who once served in Afghanistan as a soldier in the French Foreign Legion. He did prison time for drug running before going to Syria in 2014 and joining ISIS, according to U.S. officials and French court documents. His real name is Abdelilah Himich, according to U.S. counter-terror officials.

Despite his relative youth, Himich’s military experience and knowledge of France have made him a key figure in the Islamic State’s external operations unit, which has led a terror campaign against Europe, officials said. He is thought to be in Syria.

“We believe he is one of the top guys involved in spearheading the Paris attack and the Brussels attacks,” a U.S. counter-terror official said. “He was involved in creating that infrastructure” of the external operations unit.

U.S. and European counter-terror officials were interviewed for this story as part of a report by ProPublica and FRONTLINE about terrorism in Europe.

Officials acknowledged that they have struggled to pin down details about the identities and activities of the ISIS planners. U.S. and European counter-terror officials note that several Islamic State fighters have used the nom de guerre Abu Sulaiyman al Fransi. (The nickname is spelled in a number of ways, U.S. officials say.) In the past, he has variously been described by European officials and media reports as a blond convert and a former physical education teacher.

But U.S. officials said there was strong evidence indicating that the senior French fighter in question is Himich. They said French intelligence has been informed of that assessment and agrees with it.

Click here to see the full documentary.

European counter-terror officials interviewed by ProPublica earlier this year said they also suspect that a militant known as Abu Sulaiyman the Frenchman helped to plan the Paris and Brussels attacks. But they did not disclose his full identity.

Officials said that months of investigations and intelligence work in Europe and the Middle East have begun to shed light on the command structure of what the Islamic State calls external operations. The predominantly Arab leaders of ISIS have given senior and mid-level European fighters considerable autonomy to select targets and decide details of plots in their home turf, according to Western counter-terror officials.

Nonetheless, the ISIS unit that plots attacks overseas is also quite bureaucratized, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The unit exerted increasingly direct control over plots in Europe starting in 2015, according to Western counter-terror officials, and is part of an ISIS intelligence structure known as the Enmi.

“ISIS-directed plots in Europe have usually involved several planners and organizers who might change for each project,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, the chairman of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism in Paris, who has been studying the unit. “It’s more a team process than a single mastermind’s plan.”

Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, a Syrian who served as a spokesman for the Islamic State, was a top figure overseeing external operations, counter-terror officials say. A U.S. drone strike killed Adnani in August.

There is hard evidence that another ISIS militant in Syria, a man known as Abu Ahmad, played a hands-on role in the Paris and Brussels cases, according to European counter-terror officials. A laptop computer recovered by Belgian police after the Brussels bombings in March contained encrypted communications detailing Abu Ahmad’s direct role in the plot.

During the four months after the Paris attacks, Abu Ahmad discussed targets, strategy and bomb-making techniques from Syria via encrypted channels with survivors of the terrorist cell who were hiding in Brussels. The fugitive suspects referred to Abu Ahmad as their “emir,” or leader, according to Belgian counter-terror officials.

The communications in the laptop indicate that the original plan was to hit France again, European officials say. When Belgian police closed in, however, Abu Ahmad told the fugitives to strike in Brussels instead, officials said. The suicide bombings killed 32 people at the airport and a subway station on March 22.

Abu Ahmad was described by two captured ISIS fighters as a lead planner of the Paris massacre as well. The suspects, an Algerian and a Pakistani, told interrogators that Abu Ahmad chose and prepared them for the plot last fall, and sent them to Europe posing as Syrian refugees, according to European counter-terror officials.

When the two landed in Greece in October, however, Greek border guards discovered they were not Syrian, and held them for a few weeks, according to European and U.S. counter-terror officials. After being released, the duo communicated with Abu Ahmad, who sent them money and instructions not to join the rest of the attackers, according to officials. The two suspects were arrested in Austria in December.

The men described Abu Ahmad as a Syrian, according to European counter-terror officials. But the recovered clandestine communications with the plotters in Europe indicate clearly that he speaks French, raising questions about his true nationality, the officials said.

“He has to be French, or speak French well,” a European counter-terror official said. “They use French slang.”

The investigation shows that Abu Ahmad worked with the senior fighter known as Abu Sulaiyman al Fransi, according to European and U.S. counter-terror officials. During the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, witnesses overheard gunmen talk to each other about calling a person named Abu Sulaiyman, according to European and U.S. officials.

Himich, the man identified by U.S. intelligence as Abu Sulaiyman, has an unusual story. He was born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1989, according to U.S. counter-terror officials and French court documents. His family emigrated when he was an adolescent to Lunel, a southern French town about 20 miles from Montpellier, officials say.

Lunel has a population of about 25,000 and a rich history as a Jewish cultural center in medieval times. The town has a large population of Muslim descent as the result of immigration from North Africa beginning in the 1960s.

In 2006, Himich’s name appeared in a Lunel high school newspaper as the author of an article about teenage drinking. Although he went to school in France, he remains a Moroccan citizen, according to officials and court documents. In 2008, he joined the French Foreign Legion, a legendary and hard-nosed force whose soldiers come from all over the world.

Himich “distinguished himself during various missions in Afghanistan,” according to the court documents. In 2010, however, he deserted, according to the officials and documents.

“Wanting to attend the burial of his father, he left his post without authorization,” the documents say. “After his return to France, he did vocational training to work in the security field and also considered becoming a nurse.”

A year later, he got in trouble with the law. French customs police intercepted him arriving on a train from Amsterdam at the Gare du Nord station in Paris on Dec. 13, 2011, according to court documents. Police discovered he was carrying a backpack containing 2.6 pounds of cocaine with a street value of about $55,000. He also tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.

Himich testified that he had met a Senegalese man at a hookah bar in Paris, and told him he needed money because he had left the Foreign Legion. Himich said the man hired him to bring a package from Rotterdam, offering to pay $1,600. Himich, whom the documents describe as “adopting an arrogant attitude” during a court hearing, denied knowing that the package contained drugs.

Himich spent five months in jail. He was convicted in April 2013, and sentenced to three years in prison with a year suspended, according to the documents, though it appears he did not spend much more time behind bars. It was his first criminal conviction. He appears to have followed a classic trajectory from crime into radicalization.

Despite its picturesque setting, Lunel has made headlines as a hub of extremism. By 2015, at least two dozen young people — of North African descent as well as Muslim converts — had left Lunel to fight in Syria, where at least six of them died.

Himich joined that exodus in early 2014, according to U.S. counter-terror officials. He rented a car and drove via Italy, Greece and Turkey to Syria, according to Brisard. That route is popular with Syria-bound jihadis who travel with their families, according to Italian police. Himich has a wife and two children, officials said.

In Syria, Himich first fought in an Al Qaeda-linked group, officials say. Then, like many extremists in Syria, he moved to the increasingly powerful Islamic State. He soon became a battlefield commander, according to U.S. officials and Brisard, the French counter-terror expert.

“He was quickly promoted by ISIS to lead one of its fighting brigades in the first half of 2014,” Brisard said. “His rapid rise within ISIS could be explained by his military service in the French Foreign Legion.”

France and Interpol have issued warrants for Himich’s arrest on suspicion of terrorist activity, according to U.S. officials.

Investigators believe Himich is among a group of ISIS militants in their 20s and 30s, predominantly Francophones, who plot against Europe. The group also includes two Muslim convert brothers from Toulouse, Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain, according to counter-terror officials. Fabien Clain is believed to be the Frenchman who read the official statement in which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, officials say.

The Clain brothers surfaced in an investigation in 2009 of a French-Belgian extremist network. Suspects in that case had been investigated for a bombing in Cairo and, according to investigators, told Egyptian interrogators they had discussed a potential attack on the Bataclan, the nightclub that was hit in 2015. The suspects allegedly saw the Paris concert hall as a Jewish target because the owners were Jewish and the venue had hosted pro-Israel events.

Given his military experience, Himich’s stature is likely to grow after the recent deaths of Islamic State leaders in U.S. air strikes, officials said.

“He’s probably one of the most important Frenchmen in ISIS, especially after the death of Adnani,” the U.S. counter-terror official said.

400 ISIS Fighters Roaming the Streets of Britain

Almost 400 ISIS jihadis trained in Iraq and Syria are now at large on Britain’s streets… as it’s revealed just 14 fighters who have returned to the UK have been jailed

Just 14 battle-hardened ISIS fighters who returned to Britain after waging war in Syria have been jailed, the Government has admitted.

Imran Khawaja was jailed for 12 years after he was caught trying to sneak back into Britain
Imran Khawaja was jailed for 12 years after he was caught trying to sneak back into Britain

DailyMail: The shock figure is far lower than Ministers previously claimed and means almost 400 jihadis trained in Syria and Iraq are at large on Britain’s streets.

Experts told The Mail on Sunday they could use the deadly skills with automatic weapons and bombs that they honed on the battlefield to plot atrocities such as the Paris and Brussels attacks in the UK, massacring hundreds.

Figures slipped out in Parliament reveal that the Home Office believes 850 Britons have travelled to fight for the Islamic State terror group and although many have been killed by drone strikes and in battle, about 400 have sneaked back into the UK.

Any of them could be prosecuted as it is a crime to attend terrorist training camps and also to be a member of a banned group such as ISIS.

But Ministers admit that only 14 people who have fought for Islamic State have been convicted, despite mistakenly claiming the number was 54 earlier this year.

Last night, critics urged Home Secretary Amber Rudd to give more money to the Border Force so it can catch terrorists as they sneak back into the country, as well as ensuring that police and MI5 have enough officers to track down those already here.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, who believes thousands of Britons have travelled to Syria and Iraq, said: ‘It is a tiny number who have been prosecuted and it’s absurd to say this is any form of success.

‘If they know who they are, they should be prosecuted but the police and security services don’t have the resources to do that.

Professor Anthony Glees, Director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, told The Mail on Sunday that the ‘minuscule’ number of prosecutions was ‘very disturbing’.

‘These people have been trained to be killers and people will think it beggars belief [that they haven’t been prosecuted]. What message are we sending out to the world?

‘If you go out to join a regime like so-called Islamic State, you forfeit your right to come back.’

Former Security Minister Lord West of Spithead said: ‘We know that people who have been abroad and radicalised are extremely dangerous.


Terence Le Page, 30, died in Syria in June

Terence Le Page, 30, died in Syria in June

A white convert to Islam who became a disciple of jailed hate cleric Anjem Choudary is believed to have been killed in Syria fighting for Islamic State.

Terence Le Page, 30, died in Syria in June, according to jihadists on social media. Le Page, from Lewisham, South-East London, converted to Islam around five years ago, shortly after his older brother, Dean, 31, also became a Muslim.

Both brothers then became members of Choudary’s banned group Al-Muhajiroun.

Terence took the Muslim name Abu Khalid and is believed to have gone to Syria in the middle of last year with his wife and two children.

Last night, his mother Donna Le Page, 50, of South-East London, confirmed she had received news of his death.

‘Clearly we need to be able to keep a handle on that and make sure they are properly monitored. If we’re not doing that, we are letting the public down.’

Among the hundreds of ISIS veterans at large in the UK is Maarg Kahsay, a student who fled to Syria while awaiting trial for rape.

He spent up to two months in IS territory as a fighter in 2014 but then returned home and, as this newspaper revealed in the summer, is free to roam the streets of London and live in a council flat.

Another jihadi, Gianluca Tomaselli, is working as a parking attendant at an NHS hospital in London after spending up to a year fighting in Syria.

The revelation that only 14 returnees have been convicted was quietly made in a written answer given to the House of Lords.

Ministers had claimed in May that 54 jihadis had been successfully prosecuted – but last month admitted this larger figure wrongly included dozens who had been fundraising for terrorism or attempting to reach the war zone.

In the new statement, Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: ‘Data from the Crown Prosecution Service shows that they have successfully prosecuted ten cases involving 14 defendants who have returned to the UK and are suspected of having fought in Syria and/or Iraq.’

She added: ‘All those who return from engaging in the conflict in Syria and Iraq can expect to be subject to investigation to determine if they have committed criminal offences abroad or represent a threat to our national security.’

Police and MI5 attempt to contact all those who return from the war zone to work out how dangerous they are.

Some will be left alone if they only went to experience life in the so-called Islamic State or to deliver humanitarian aid, but others will be put under surveillance to see if they form terror cells or start to plan attacks.

Other returnees will be referred to NHS mental health services or the Channel deradicalisation programme if it is felt they can be turned away from extremism.

Among the dangerous returnees who have been locked up is Imran Khawaja, who tried to sneak back into Britain

undetected by faking his own death. 

The West Londoner was caught at Dover and jailed for 12 years in February last year.

Labour’s former policing spokesman Jack Dromey MP said: ‘Britain faces the most serious terrorist threat for a generation. We need to stop jihadis going to the Middle East and we need to be confident that when people return they are under proper surveillance.’



DHS Allows Refugees into U.S. with only Testimony, no Documents

Europe, now then the United States…

Related reading: Presidential Determination Signed to Accept 85,000 Refugees

VIDEO: Obama Administration Official Admits to Allowing Refugees in to U.S. Based on Their Testimony Alone

Cruz questions administration officials on refugee program at Judiciary Committee hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in today’s Judiciary immigration subcommittee hearing, highlighted serious problems with the Obama administration’s refugee resettlement efforts, including the federal government’s inadequate refugee vetting process. While questioning State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Director León Rodríguez, and Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Carey, Sen. Cruz specifically noted that the administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism has prevented Christian refugees from the Middle East from escaping the genocide of ISIS and has also seriously undermined counterterrorism efforts in the United States.

Moreover, during an exchange with Sen. Cruz, Director Rodríguez acknowledged publicly that refugee applications can be approved based solely on the applicant’s testimony, without any documentation.

Sen. Cruz: Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval? 

Director Rodríguez: There are cases where the testimony is not necessarily corroborated by documents…I am acknowledging that, yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee…

Watch Sen. Cruz’s full opening remarks and first line of questioning, where Director Rodríguez admits that refugee applications can be approved based on testimony alone, here. Sen. Cruz’s second line of questioning can be viewed here. Below is the full transcript of Sen. Cruz’s opening remarks:

“America has long shown an incredible generosity of spirit welcoming refugees and offering them safe haven. Indeed, I am the son of a refugee who fled prison and torture in Cuba and came to America seeking freedom. But our immigration laws are not a suicide pact. The refugee program should not become a vehicle for terrorists to come murder innocent Americans.

“I and, I think, a great many Americans are deeply concerned by the willful blindness of this administration to the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. That was characterized powerfully just a few minutes ago when our Democratic colleague Senator Al Franken said we should not even ask refugees if they are Muslims. If one is trying to prevent radical Islamic terrorists from coming in, the suggestion from my Democratic colleague that we shouldn’t even ask, to me, is nuts.

“As we look at what is happening in Syria and what is happening in the Middle East, ISIS is evil. They are waging a war of genocide against Christians. They are murdering Jews. They are murdering fellow Muslims, and yet, the refugee program as administered by this administration seems to have an enormous preference for Syrian Muslim refugees and seems to actively keep out Syrian Christian refugees.

“In 2014, the Obama administration admitted 249 refugees from Syria, 224 of those, 89.9 percent, were Muslim, only 13 were Christian – 5.2 percent. In 2015, the Obama administration admitted 2,192 refugees from Syria; 2,149 were Muslim – that’s 98 percent – and only 29, 1.3 percent, were Christian. In 2016 to date, the Obama administration has admitted 11,717 refugees from Syria, of those 11,624 were Muslim – that’s 99.2 percent – and 49 were Christian – that’s 0.41 percent. All told since 2011, 14,267 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States and more than 14,000 of them were Muslim. Fewer than 100 were Christian.

“Now, those numbers are not even close to the proportional population in Syria. Ten percent of the pre-war population in Syria was Christian, and yet, 0.68 percent of the refugees being admitted by the administration are Christian.”

National Strategy to Win the War Against Islamist Terror


Related reading: Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Bureau of Counterterrorism

Chairman McCaul Unveils Counterterrorism Strategy “A National Strategy to Win the War Against Islamist Terror”

Contains 100+ policy ideas and principles for fighting terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of Islamist terror attacks in the homeland this past weekend, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) today unveiled his counterterrorism strategy, entitled A National Strategy to Win the War Against Islamist Terror. Chairman McCaul’s nonpartisan strategy contains over 100 policy ideas, recommendations, and principles for fighting terrorism.

The ideas put forward in the McCaul strategy were developed in consultation with an array of national security experts on both sides of the aisle. They are not “Republican” or “Democrat” ideas, but rather common-sense solutions for better protecting Americans.

Chairman McCaul: “As radical Islamist terror continues to sweep the globe, it has become clear that we are not winning the overall fight against it. There are now more terrorist foot soldiers and safe havens than any time in modern history, and our enemies have alarming momentum. They are reaching deep into the heart of the Western world—including our own communities—to spread their hateful ideology and perpetrate violent acts. Just this weekend we saw again that our homeland remains a terrorist target, and they have attacked our allies in places like Paris, Brussels, Nice, and beyond. Yet in recent years our strategy and policies have failed to roll back the threat, let alone contain it. That is why I’ve produced a new, national counterterrorism strategy aimed at reversing the tide of terror and protecting our great nation. The eyes of the world are now upon us, and American leadership is needed to defeat this evil.  My plan is a guidepost—for Congress and the next president—to do what is needed to win this generational struggle.”

National Strategy Social Media Release_Report


Overview of the Strategy

The McCaul strategy contains 100+ policy ideas and principles for fighting terrorism. Some are new, while others are abandoned policies we need to revive in order to protect America and its interests overseas against the surging terror threat.

The document is built around clear objectives: defend the homeland, defeat terrorists, and deny extremists the opportunity to re-emerge. It presents nine counterterrorism priorities, or “means,” needed to achieve the “ends” described above, including:

  1. Thwart attacks and protect our communities
  2. Stop recruitment and radicalization at home
  3. Keep terrorists out of America
  4. Take the fight to the enemy
  5. Combat terrorist travel and cut off financial resources
  6. Deny jihadists access to weapons of mass destruction
  7. Block terrorists from returning to the battlefield
  8. Prevent the emergence of new networks and safe havens
  9. Win the battle of ideas

This counterterrorism strategy is different than those that came before it. President Bush released a strategy for combating terrorism in 2003, and President Obama released one in 2011. Both are now outdated.

  • This strategy is written to keep pace with an evolving enemy. It proposes ways to fight terrorist propaganda online; counter homegrown radicalization; deal with terrorists’ use of encryption; and help communities better protect against IEDs, active shooter plots, and other changing terror tactics.
  • This strategy aims to bring our homeland security policies into the digital age. It proposes to improve the screening of foreign visitors, immigrants, and refugees using new technologies and better intelligence—including social media—to keep terrorists from infiltrating our country.
  • This strategy focuses on breaking the Islamist terror movement—not just defeating one group. Our nation’s last official counterterrorism strategy focused almost exclusively on al Qaeda, leaving us blind to the rise of ISIS. This plan is designed to go after Islamist terrorists, regardless of location or branding.

The bottom line is this: we cannot accept Islamist terror attacks as “the new normal.” We must defeat the perpetrators. The McCaul strategy makes clear that we are facing a long, generational struggle, but we should wage it with the same resolve we showed in defeating other totalitarian ideologies, including communism and fascism.

The full strategy is available, here.