When the history of the War on Terror is written, 2009 may be seen as the year we began to shift our sights from the Islamist terrorists outside the US, to the homegrown Jihadists. Despite the fact that it was predicted two years ago, many are still surprised (or unwilling to recognize), the Islamist threat from within.

Back in 2007 the Council on Foreign Relations reported:

Experts say it is quite likely the next terrorist attack in the United States will not be the work of well-trained al-Qaeda operatives sent from abroad, but rather that of an American citizen. As al-Qaeda leaders focus more of their energy on trying to inspire others to commit acts of terror, most security and counterterrorism officials believe their message will resonate with at least some small number of Americans. Such fears tend to focus on American Muslims, which might seem logical given recent events in Europe. Yet the American Islamic community also has proven one of the government’s best resources for preventing the emergence of homegrown Islamic terrorists.

“The possibility of a ‘homegrown’ terrorist attack against New York City or any other American city is real and is worsening with time (PDF),” Richard A. Falkenrath, New York City’s deputy police commissioner for counterterrorism, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. This kind of threat is particularly troublesome to counterterrorism officials because it is hard to anticipate the motives or actions of a homegrown terrorist. Yet despite the high probability of a homegrown terrorist attack, experts say such an event is likely to have a relatively small impact when compared to attacks by conventional terrorist networks. As CFR Senior Fellow Steven Simon told a recent symposium, homegrown terrorists are often “feckless and ineffective,” though they have at times proven quite lethal. Simon cautioned that self-radicalized individuals and groups can become far more dangerous when they reach out for support from more established terrorist networks.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, the Obama Administration is first figuring out there may be a threat from within:

Anti-terrorism officials and experts see signs of accelerated radicalization among American Muslims, driven by a wave of English-language online propaganda and reflected in aspiring fighters’ trips to hot spots such as Pakistan and Somalia.

…the number, variety and scale of recent U.S. cases suggest 2009 has been the most dangerous year domestically since 2001, anti-terrorism experts said:

  • There were major arrests of Americans accused of plotting with Al Qaeda and its allies, including an Afghan American charged in a New York bomb plot described as the most serious threat in this country since the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • Authorities tracked other extremism suspects joining foreign networks, including Somali Americans going to the battlegrounds of their ancestral homeland and an Albanian American from Brooklyn who was arrested in Kosovo.
  • The FBI rounded up homegrown terrorism suspects in Dallas, Detroit and Raleigh, N.C., saying that it had broken up plots targeting a synagogue, government buildings and military facilities.

Even though the administration and the MSM will not brand it that way, you need to include Major Hasan’s attack on Fort Hood in this category. And then there is a previous attack on the U.S. military, a shooting in June by an American convert who killed a soldier and wounded another at an Arkansas recruiting center, described as a case of a lone wolf radicalized in Yemen, according to Homeland Security officials. Lone wolf or not, that was terrorism.

Things are getting so troublesome, that even Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is using the “T” word when describing the homegrown threat.

“We’ve seen an increased number of arrests here in the U.S. of individuals suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, or supporting terror groups abroad such as Al Qaeda,” Napolitano said in a speech in New York. “Home-based terrorism is here. And, like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront.

Oops she said it twice in the same paragraphs.

……”You are seeing the full spectrum of the threats you face in terrorism,” former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.

“Radicalization is clearly happening in the U.S.,” said Mitchell Silber, director of analysis for the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department. “In years past, you couldn’t say that about the U.S. You could say it about Europe.”

Islamist Radicalization Mr Silber. Remember the words of Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago:

“Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.” Sun Tzu The Art of War.

Not all Muslims living in America are terrorists, in fact the vast majority of US Muslims are peaceful and patriotic. But to ignore the fact that most of the domestic terrorists in this country are Islamists is just sticking your head in the sand.

..American Muslims are wealthier, better educated and better integrated because the United States does a good job of absorbing immigrants and fostering tolerance, experts said. During the last decade, Americans have been a rare presence in the Al Qaeda-connected camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan that have trained hundreds of Westerners and thousands of recruits from Muslim-majority nations.

Nonetheless, recent investigations have run across Americans suspected of being operatives of Al Qaeda and its allies who were trained overseas and, in several cases, allegedly conspired with top terrorism bosses. They include a convert from Long Island, N.Y, who was captured in Pakistan late last year; a Chicago businessman accused of scouting foreign targets for a Pakistani network; and at least 15 Somali American youths from Minneapolis who returned to fight in their ancestral homeland.

“A larger trend has emerged that is not surprising, but is disturbing,” Chertoff said. “You are beginning to see the fruits of the pipeline that Al Qaeda built to train Westerners and send them back to their homelands. . . . This underscores the central significance of disrupting the pipeline at its source.”

….Meanwhile, Silber said in recent congressional testimony: “There have been a half-dozen cases of individuals who, instead of traveling abroad to carry out violence, have elected to attempt to do it here. This is substantially greater than what we have seen in the past, and may reflect an emerging pattern.”

The truth just may be that it is not substantially greater, its just that our public servants are finally calling it what it is, Muslim Terrorism:

“People focused on the idea that we’re different, we’re better at integrating Muslims than Europe is,” said Zeyno Baran, a scholar at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington. “But there’s radicalization — especially among converts [and] newcomers, such as the Somali case shows. I think young U.S. Muslims today are as prone to radicalization as Muslims in Europe.”

Almost every a radical Islamist is identified, cat calls of Islamiphobia are hurled at the investigator who “outed” the threat.

In contrast to the heightened extremist activity in the United States, Europe has remained relatively calm this year. But the West needs to keep up its guard on both sides of the Atlantic, said Farhad Khosrokhavar, an Iranian French scholar who interviewed jailed extremists for his book “Inside Jihadism.”

“You can be middle-class and have bright prospects but become a jihadist,” he said. “We have to broaden the analysis. This idea of American exceptionalism, the comparison with Europe, should not blind us to the fact that we are going toward a broader participation in jihad.”

 The United States may have taken a step toward recognizing the threat of domestic Islamists, but it was a very tiny step. It is not just the threat of domestic terrorism America needs to concern ourselves with. Our leaders must also remember that not all Jihad is violent. We must accept that our freedoms have allowed Islamists to target our way of life for a slow death via sharia and political correctness.

Along with a surge in Afghanistan, we need to worry about America. We also need a surge at home: to roll back Islamism’s infiltration of our schools via PC, our financial system via Sharia finance, and our government which is still trying to “connect” with organizations they have identified as terrorist, such as CAIR and ISNA. We need to identify threats against our way of life and protect our freedom here at home, or we will soon lose them.