GOP senator: U.S. ‘certainly vulnerable’ to ISIS

Updated 6:55 AM EDT, Mon May 11, 2015
An ISIS fighter who speaks perfect English with a North American accent is shown orchestrating the mass execution of a group of men in an ISIS recruitment video called "Flames of War."
PHOTO: Al Hayat Media
An ISIS fighter who speaks perfect English with a North American accent is shown orchestrating the mass execution of a group of men in an ISIS recruitment video called "Flames of War."
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
PHOTO: Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Hear from the people who made the journey inside the minds and the hearts of ISIS. Watch Fareed Zakaria’s special report, “Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World,” Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

(CNN) —  

The United States is “certainly vulnerable” to becoming a new front line in the fight against ISIS, Sen. Ron Johnson said Sunday.

The Wisconsin Republican who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “State of the Union” Sunday that attacks inspired by ISIS, like one against a provocative cartoon contest in Texas a week ago, are allowing the group to convey a “winner’s message.”

“The best strategy the U.S. can employ to defeat this is actually defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria so that the reality is conveyed that this is not a winning organization, it is a losing organization,” he said.

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Johnson admitted, though, that tracking ISIS sympathizers in the United States is a particular challenge, since the group has communicated with potential recruits over social media and because law enforcement officers can’t track every possible suspect.

“The problem is, what do you do with the not-guilty-yet?” Johnson said. “We do have laws, we have a Constitution, and it’s extremely difficult for law enforcement officials when you might have tens of thousands of sympathizers – how do you track them all?”

Johnson cited a figure published in March: There are about 46,000 – though maybe as many as 90,000 – Twitter accounts that support ISIS.

“Now, Twitter is starting to shut those things down,” Johnson said. “But just consider maybe 90,000 people drawn to this barbaric ideology. So we have got a very large haystack. We’re looking for a needle in it.”

Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, said 22,000 foreigners have joined the terror group’s ranks in Iraq and Syria.

Of those, McGurk said, 3,700 are from Western nations, and 180 Americans have sought to join the organization. Fifteen of those Americans have been charged with supporting ISIS by the Justice Department.

“Long-term we are going to degrade and defeat this organization, but we have been clear from day one it’s going to take a long time,” McGurk said.

Two other experts said the threat of ISIS now is greater than what al Qaeda posed to the United States at the time of the 9/11 attack.

“We’re in much more serious circumstances today than we were after 9/11,” said Tom Ridge, who served as secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.

He said al Qaeda is “now a global scourge,” and ISIS is growing, making the threat the groups pose “far more complicated today.”

“Remember back then we thought about al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and a few other places?” Ridge said. “Well, we’ve seen al Qaeda metastasize. It is now a global scourge. And you have the ascendancy of ISIL. The combination of those two groups – their appeal to the lone wolfs and we see them acting in Belgium and in France and in Canada and the United States so the threat factors and the nature of the threats are far more complicated and far more serious today than on September 12, 2001.”

Ridge proposed having local and state law enforcement officers help the FBI track ISIS sympathizers in the United States.

Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican and former House Intelligence Committee chairman, said the FBI can’t do any more to track ISIS sympathizers in the United States.

“If you treat this as a law enforcement issue that you’re going to deal with, we are going to lose and we’re going to lose badly,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s asking community leaders in meetings what they’re doing to counter the narrative of ISIS – which he said “is slick. It is effective.”

Pushing back against that message, Johnson said, “has to come from within the community.”

“It has to come from Islamic leaders, who frankly can talk the language better than the federal government can,” Johnson said.

“And so when I meet with community leaders, Islamic leaders, that’s one of the things that we urge them to do,” he said. “Some have begun it. We’ve seen some good progress, but there is a lot more that can be done.”