Terror Threat Snapshot – March 2017

Each month, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security releases a report entitled “Terror Threat Snapshot,” which it describes as “a monthly assessment of the Committee’s continuing effort to highlight the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.”  While the scope of the report completely ignores the threat of terrorism from milieus other than that of Islamism, (for more information on why this is so problematic, see this article), the monthly report does an excellent job of summarizing the current threats that Islamist extremism poses, and highlights U.S. counterterrorism efforts both in the U.S. and overseas.

The March version of the report, entitled Terror Threat Snapshot, March 2017, was released on March 7 by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), who said,

This month marked a grim milestone, as we surpassed 200 homegrown jihadist cases in the United States since 9/11. Most of those plots or attacks occurred in just the past few years, driven by an explosion in terrorist recruitment and radicalization online. Meanwhile, ISIS, al Qaeda, and other Islamist terror groups overseas are proving to be resilient, and they remain focused on attacking America and our allies. I am concerned the tactics they are using in distant conflict zones—from bomb-dropping drones to chemical weapons—could be used against us. That is why I plan to work with the new Administration to redouble our efforts to best plan for addressing emerging threats—and to ensure that a failure of imagination does not lead to failures in our defenses.

To date, 2017 has been a very active year for the Islamist extremist milieu, which is responsible for 13 plots or attacks against Western targets so far.  While the United States is often named as the ultimate enemy in jihadist and Islamist discourse, the threat level in Europe remains even more elevated than that of the United States due to a variety of factors, including its geographical proximity to the IS [Islamic State].  From 2013 to the present, there have been a total of 183 IS linked plots to attack the West, including 74 in Europe, 72 targeting Westerners in areas outside of the U.S. and Europe, and 37 in the U.S.  According to the report, the “Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims it is still tracking more than 1,000 homegrown violent extremists in the United States, most of which are part of ISIS-related cases” as well.

Clearly, the terrorist threat posed by Islamist extremism is persisting, and this report does an excellent job summarizing the most recent attacks as well as the latest counterterrorism efforts.

The report can be viewed in its entirety on the Homeland Security Digital Library here, and more information can be found on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security here.

For more resources related to Jihadist/Islamist domestic terrorism, check out the Featured Topic on this subject at the Homeland Security Digital Library.  Other Featured Topics that might be of interest include: Domestic Terrorism and Extremism, Lone Wolf Terrorism, Suicide Bombers, and Nuclear Weapons.