Tags: America's Forum | War on Terrorism | Ryan Mauro | terrorists | sleeper cells | intelligence | jihadists

Ryan Mauro: US Intelligence Not 'Connecting the Dots'

By    |   Friday, 16 January 2015 11:13 AM

Terrorist sleeper cells exist in the United States but, says national security analyst Ryan Mauro, estimating the number is difficult.

"We know that they have to exist because we’ve had terrorist attacks here, we have terrorist people trying to finance attacks from here," Mauro said Friday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"Al-Shabab for example, the al-Qaida branch in Somalia, they were running a recruitment network in the U.S. for quite some time and probably still are," he said. "They just chose not to carry out an attack because it was more beneficial for them to fundraise and recruit from here than to sacrifice the whole network by setting off a bomb."

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Evidence of sleeper cells are plentiful, including the Boston Marathon bombing and the 2009 Fort Hood shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan, a radicalized Islamist, but intelligence officials are in many ways hog-tied to get the culprits before they act.

"We have a problem with connecting the dots on one hand," he said, "and also with the original intelligence of collecting and identifying these very hard targets that immerse themselves in these communities, and it’s a real challenge.

"And you just throw on top of that this issue of our border security issues and the in-flow, out-flow of people from Europe with these open visas, it’s going to be a real challenge for the security and intelligence elements here."

There’s also a problem with officials going after the low-hanging fruit, he said, rather than those planning or financing terror attacks.

"I have meetings with counterterrorism personnel who complain of the same thing, where they say look, if we have to go after someone and invest our time, we’re going to focus on the easiest one to prosecute, the ones that we believe are going to set off the bomb.

"But that does nothing to stop the people that are inciting, the people that are creating the intellectual foundation for those attacks and ... that has to be how we define the threat," Mauro said.

"The French are doing it. The Europeans aren’t doing it. If you look in the Muslim world, you have Islamist and non-Islamists all using terminology like that. We’re really the only ones left that won’t do that."

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Terrorist sleeper cells exist in the United States but, says national security analyst Ryan Mauro, estimating the number is difficult.
Ryan Mauro, terrorists, sleeper cells, intelligence, jihadists
Friday, 16 January 2015 11:13 AM
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