Tags: America's Forum | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | synagogue | ISIS | Palestinians | copycats

Michael Hayden: Synagogue Killings Were Inspired by ISIS

By    |   Wednesday, 19 November 2014 10:55 AM

This week’s deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by Palestinians wielding meat cleavers, knives and a gun was likely inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS), according to "America’s Forum" guest Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

"Just based on the externals, it looks as if we had some ISIS-inspired, perhaps self-radicalized, Palestinians," Hayden said Wednesday on the Newsmax TV program. "It certainly was in the style of those videos that ISIS has been posting very recently."

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"We've seen something similar in the Bronx, we've seen something similar in Ottawa, and now we've got it in Jerusalem. We even have, I mean obviously less dramatic examples, but Americans, people living in the mainstream of American life, wanting to go to the Middle East to join ISIS.

"So you do have this sense that the self-radicalized, the ISIS-inspired folks are becoming a bit more dangerous. That's probably a bit more likely in terms of the kind of terrorism we might see in the near future."

Two Palestinians killed four men — three of them rabbis — worshipping inside the synagogue, according to The New York Times. The Palestinians burst into the house of worship shouting "God is great!" in Arabic as they began the slaughter.

A fifth man, a police officer, died later Tuesday of wounds suffered in a shootout with the assailants.

Hayden said the recently released ISIS video showing the beheadings of American aid worker Peter Kassig and more than a dozen Syrian soldiers has been very helpful in gleaning information about the violent militant group.

"We'll take advantage of it," Hayden said. "They've already had some facial recognition work done, and I believe both the French and the British have identified some folks in that line of ISIS fighters who were beheading the Syrian airmen. So, of course, we'll make use of that kind of stuff.

"It's also interesting that the production quality of that video seemed to be inferior to some of the other ISIS productions," he said. "Now I don't want to read too much into this, but it could be they're beginning to feel a little bit of the pressure of American airpower overhead and they've had to curtail some of their activities."

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U.S. surveillance programs leaked last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden alerted terrorists to American tactics and resulted in helping the terrorists, according to Hayden.

"Let me be clear about this, because Snowden and his supporters keep saying, 'There's been no shred of evidence that anything he's revealed has harmed American security,'" said Hayden.

"When I go talk to folks at NSA and say, 'OK guys, straight up, is this work getting harder to do?' The reaction I get is they just roll their eyes and say, 'Oh my God, yes.'

"So we're not going to go out there and catalog for our enemy, even though we'd like to catalog it for our public, how much we've lost in terms of our coverage. But Matt Olsen, who just left as head of the National Counterterrorism Center … has been very explicit about this.

"Yes we have lost track of some terrorists, our ability to track these people and their intentions has become more difficult, more challenging for us to do."

Hayden spoke out against the proposed USA Freedom Act, which would end the National Security Agency’s current collection of telephone metadata and replace it with a more cumbersome process to check on telephone numbers reasonably associated with terrorist activity.

"The first concern is that the Freedom Act, the Leahy bill, hasn’t gone through regular order," he said. "There have been no committee hearings on this proposed statute. This is a big deal. We don't need to create a false sense of urgency here, and try to rush it through the lame-duck session.

"Let's let the Congress, who's going to have to live with it, deal with it after we come back in January."

ISIS, according to Hayden, remains the United States’ most concerning threat, and its  tactics are inspiring some troubled people around the world.

"ISIS right now only has regional reach," he said. "It has global ambition but regional reach. So what we're going to see for a while going forward is the lone wolf, the self-inspired, maybe the small group being launched out to the Middle East. Maybe something as bad as what we saw on Christmas Day 2009, remember the underwear bomber and the aircraft over Detroit?

"But my advice to my family, my advice to my countrymen, is keep calm, carry on, but if you see something, say something."

While Hayden would like to see tightened border security, he did not seem overly concerned about terrorists entering through the South, saying there is "scant evidence" that it has occurred.

"Up to this point, the cartels and other crime syndicates there probably have a pretty good idea of how hard we might come down on them, were they to opt to move terrorists — as opposed to undocumented workers or even drugs — across that border," Hayden said.

"So far it hasn't materialized" as a threat, he said. "But let me end where I begin, it's not zero."

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This week's deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by Palestinians wielding meat cleavers and knives was likely inspired by the Islamic State, Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, told "America's Forum."
synagogue, ISIS, Palestinians, copycats, terrorism
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 10:55 AM
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