Are Islamic Sleeper Cells In The US Planning The Next Terrorist Attack?

Mark Morgan, the former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump Administration warns current weak U.S. border security, combined with America’s support for Israel, could trigger a new wave of domestic terror activity…

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The Hamas terror attack on Israel is having ripple effects around the world, and the porous U.S. borders are once again in the spotlight. “The same terrorists that just carried out this horrific attack in Israel—their hatred and their unwavering commitment … to do harm to the United States, is alive and well,” Mark Morgan, who served as acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump Administration.

Mr. Morgan continued:

“Nobody in their right mind can say that our border is secure.There’s a real concern that terrorists have already crossed the U.S. border, particularly within the group of more than 1.6 million illegal immigrants who evaded Border Patrol upon entry and are unknown to officials.”

During the past 11 months, 151 people on the terror watchlist have been arrested by Border Patrol agents after crossing illegally; while tens of thousands of other “special interest aliens” have entered and already been released. “Special interest” means that they come from countries with direct ties to state-sponsored terrorist groups. Countries such as and including Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan.

Mr. Morgan warns another terror attack inside the United States like the 2013 Boston bombing or the 2015 San Bernardino, California mass shooting and attempted bombing, are imminent.

“It’s coming. No one can predict, but what I will say is, there could already be a cell in the United States planning the next terrorist attack, and we would have no idea. That’s a fair statement; that’s not hyperbolie.”

Terror concerns in the United States are escalating, especially as thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets around the country.

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In a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego on Oct. 14, FBI Director Chris Wray encouraged law enforcement officers to stay vigilant:

“You’re often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence. In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we’ve got to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own.”

Meanwhile, the FBI also issued a mixed message statement on Oct. 9, saying that it doesn’t have “specific or credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States stemming from the Hamas attacks.

The lack of intelligence may or may not mean much, because the attack on Israel showed a “colossal intelligence failure.” Mr. Morgan, who also served as an FBI agent for 20 years, said that a terror event such as the Oct 7th Hamas attack which killed 1,400 Israelis, including children, could serve as an international “trigger event.”

“We have people in our own country that are actually supporting Hamas, supporting the actions of babies being decapitated, of being burned alive, of women being savagely raped and videotaped. When you have this deep-rooted, irrational ideology, to be inspired to move to radicalization, then action can be very quick. Generally, it takes an event—and we have that now.”

Hamas sympathizers brandishing Palestinian flags stood outside of the White House on Oct. 14 chanting “Free Palestine.” Many of these same demonstrators wore head and face coverings commonly associated with Islamic jihadist groups.

National security lawyer and regional analyst Irina Tsukerman said much the same about the threat that Hamas agents pose to the United States.

“There is significant pro-Hamas support in the United States already, both among leftist radicals and apologists in academia, and Palestinian activists and their allies, such as the crowds rallying with Hamas in various big cities around the United States in the past few days.”

Ms. Tsukerman said she disagrees with the FBI’s Oct. 9 statement that suggests there’s no current specific threat to the United States:

“The FBI is wrong. Khaled Meshaal called for his supporters to attack Western and other targets. … That could well include the United States or at least Jewish and Israeli targets in the United States.”

Mr. Meshaal is the former chief of Hamas. In a cryptic recording sent to international media outlets, initially reported by Reuters on Oct. 11, the terrorist commander said, “To all scholars who teach jihad … to all who teach and learn, this is a moment for the application [of theories].”

On Oct. 8, an Iran proxy terrorist group called Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) also warned the United States against getting involved in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The terrorist group warned:

“Palestine is not Ukraine. Any direct American entrance into the conflict for the crumbling entity [Israel] will make all American positions in the region legitimate targets.”

The fanatical group is one of many through which Iran pushes its political agenda in the region. Another one of these is Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is reportedly holding Israelis captive amid the newest conflict with Hamas.

Like Hamas and KSS, Hezbollah is also an Iranian-funded Islamic terrorist group. In 2020, the U.S. State Department stated that Iran provides $100 million in annual aid to Hamas and another $700 million to Hezbollah. However, while most of these organizations’ actions are limited to the Middle East, Hezbollah has established terrorist cells operating in the Americas.

Wave Of Mobilization

In Latin America, Hezbollah has quietly been putting down roots for decades: and, the U.S. government is aware of it.

A 2012 U.S. Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence report noted:

“It is important to note that the relationship Hezbollah has developed with criminal and terrorist groups in Latin America has escalated from one of mutual accommodation and benefit in the spheres of money laundering, contraband, and financing to more direct and deadly forms of collaboration.”

On Sept. 12, the U.S. Department of Treasury enacted sanctions against three persons directly associated with Hezbollah’s illicit financial activities in Latin America.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said:

“Over the past decades, Hezbollah has built a well-oiled, multibillion-dollar money-laundering and drug-trafficking machine in Latin America that cleans organized crime’s ill-gotten gains through multiple waypoints in the Western hemisphere.”

In the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel, some intelligence members believe that sympathetic terrorist cells such as Hezbollah, which operate in remote parts of South America, will take a less direct approach to undermining U.S. security interests.

Evan Ellis, Latin America analyst and professor at the U.S. Army War College:

“I see this more as a long-term strategic play. The United States could have “serious issues exhausting its resources supporting Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

Mr. Ellis also pointed to Iran’s recent actions to quietly maneuver and reengage with its “anti-U.S. friends” in Latin America. These nations include Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

In June, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro signed a new agreement deepening bilateral cooperation in multiple areas. One of the sectors is security cooperation.

“We are on the right side of history, Iran and Venezuela. Together, we will be invincible,” Mr. Maduro said during the signing event.

Mr. Morgan said that it’s well known that the regime has “proactively released criminals from Venezuela to encourage them to come to the United States.”

He said:

“This new war in the Middle East should tell us that global terrorism is alive and well. And they have their tentacles across the entire world. They are trying to radicalize as many people as they can.”

There’s no movement of Islamic terrorist organizations—in the Americas or elsewhere—without some knowledge, consent, or support from Iran. The Middle Eastern anchor nation has wielded its anti-Western ideological agenda through Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Iran also hasn’t been shy about strengthening its connections in Latin America outside of predictable alliances with authoritarian regimes such as Venezuela.In February, two Iranian warships arrived at Brazil’s famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Then, in July, Bolivia announced its entry into a formal defense agreement with Iran, prompting immediate security concerns from neighboring countries, including Argentina.

Through its proxy groups in the region, security analysts say that Iran has access to a wealth of funding from illicit activities such as drug and arms trafficking. There is some terrorist intent [from Hezbollah], but in general, the pattern seems to be this is an area for raising money and building networks.

There currently seems to be “a collection of opportunities that are coming together to create a perfect storm.” Ms. Tsukerman agreed.

“Given the level of Hamas and Hezbollah coordination and the fact that there is now a wave of mobilization, it is clear the two terrorist organizations could easily be joining forces to provide weapons and other material support to their counterparts inside the United States, or even plan an attack or other subversive activity from their base in South America.”

Border Reality Check

Many law enforcement officials have stated the overwhelmed U.S. border is a gaping hole in the nation’s armor. Mr. Morgan maintains that depleted border forces can’t perform thorough intelligence interviews to vet & identify potential terrorists.

At best, border officials only have sufficient time and resources to do a “rudimentary check” on special-interest aliens before releasing them into the country. By law, they should all be detained pending a thorough vetting process and the outcome of any claim to asylum they may make.

In the past eleven months, border officials have apprehended more than 2.8 million illegal immigrants; the highest number in such a span on record.

“We have just decided as a country, if somebody illegally enters our borders, in violation of our nation’s sovereignty, in violation of the rule of law, we have said that because we have a moral obligation to help ‘those in need,’ we have allowed our compassion to be hijacked. And we have stuck our heads in the sand with any potential negative downstream impacts to our nation’s safety and national security.”

Customs and Border Protection didn’t respond by press time to requests made by The Epoch Times specifically regarding the number of special-interest aliens who have been apprehended at the border in the past year or who have been released into the United States.

Mr. Morgan suggested that the United States’ current top priority should be for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to conduct extensive interviews and background checks on the tens of thousands of special-interest aliens who have been released into the United States during the past several years and beyond.

“That should be our top priority now” saying he would target special-interest aliens “because they come from countries already known to sponsor, harbor and encourage terrorism. And we just want to make sure that they’re not involved in that ideology. “That’s only reasonable. That’s only rational.”

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