FBI officials directly involved in the war on terror are worried they don’t have enough resources to track the growing numbers of radicalized Americans inspired by the Islamic State, according to Newsmax.
Citing a story by The Washington Times and details from anonymous FBI insiders, Newsmax reports that the Obama administration’s plan to bring thousands of Syrian refugees to U.S. soil has only exacerbated the bureau’s concerns.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican and a member of both the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees, said during the “Capitol Hill Show” with Tim Constantine radio program that U.S. government does not have the resources to screen the new wave of Syrian refugees for terror ties, despite the Obama administrations claims to the contrary.
“They’re basically lying to you saying, ‘oh we’ve got this vetting process to make sure that they’re safe.’ But you had the FBI director testify before Congress, under oath saying that if they have no information on someone they have nothing to vet them against,” said Farenthold.
“We have testimony saying, and I think common sense also dictates that in a failed state like Syria you don’t have any government information, police reports to rely on to vet somebody,” Farenthold added. “So there’s no way to do a background check from somebody coming out of Syria. There’s no way we can find out whether they’re safe or not.”
“The administration has a calming public storyline that we have this all under control and life can go on as normal,” another official who would only speak under anonymity told the Washington Times. “But we’re one crack in the sidewalk away from a tragedy, and that crack could be an encrypted message we can’t follow, a lead we couldn’t resource or a refugee who slips in like we saw in Paris.”
According to the Newsmax report, yet another official told the Washington Times the bureau is angry that the White House and Justice Department haven’t done more to force technology companies to intercept the encrypted communications of alleged terror suspects. “We have suspects we’ve been tracking that have gone dark, because we can no longer follow their encrypted activities,” said the insider. “Physical surveillance can only take us so far and the urgency to solve that gap in the political realm isn’t there.”
As reported by Newsmax, FBI officials say they have noticed an increase of ISIS supporters in the U.S. switching to mobile and gaming apps that have deep encryption to carry out their conversation which effectively cuts off the FBI’s ability to monitor them.
FBI officials have reason to suspect a high terror threat through the New Year’s holiday, according to the Washington Times report. Intelligence indicates ISIS would most likely attack using small arms, suicide bombs and grenades at sporting events, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues.
“The attackers could look and act just like everyday Americans until they strike with weapons we haven’t seen in terror attacks here,” another unnamed official said.
Also of concern, according to the Times report, is the fact that ISIS has essentially been laying low since the FBI announced over the summer that it had disrupted multiple terror plots on U.S. soil. “While it has reduced the load a bit this fall, there are some in the intelligence community who fear it may be a sign that the sleeper cells are already here or that the arrests and publicity this summer tipped off ISIL to change its tactics and communication patterns,” said the source.