The FBI announced their agents will monitor people suspected of supporting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) more closely after the attack on a Draw Mohammed Contest hosted in Garland, TX. At the same time, Congressmen from Texas are meeting in Washington, DC to develop new methods to monitor Americans drawn to radical Islam.
FBI Director James Comey insists his agents will do a better job to find jihadists. This means the bureau will “review how they’re keeping tabs on suspected extremists, and whether more invasive monitoring, more in-person interviews and more door-knocks are necessary.”
The news from the FBI comes only a few days after an anonymous “law enforcement official” told The New York Times the FBI did not monitor Garland shooter Elton Simpson’s tweets because “there are so many like them.” They did not sufficiently follow up on him to stop the Garland attack despite his long history with al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic group in Somalia that attacked the Westgate Mall in Kenya in 2013.
“We’re trying to shake the trees more aggressively,” stated one U.S. law enforcement official.
The eight members of Congress on the Foreign Fighter Task Force, which includes former CIA agent Will Hurd, started to meet before the Garland attack. The panel is not well known, but it meets “in a secure Capitol room” twice a week. The group is responsible for “looking at threats on U.S. soil from foreign terrorist groups and the process of how Americans become radicalized.”
The congressmen returned to America after spending a week in the Middle East, including Israel and Turkey. Pete Sessions (R-TX) wrote that the panel took the trip “to examine the evolving security threats facing” America and “the flow of foreign fighters from Western countries to Syria and Iraq and their role in recent attacks against the United States” and Europe. Hurd claimed they found out the new foreign fighters “are moved swiftly to the front lines of battles, where they’re dying in disproportionate numbers.”
An American jihadist in Somalia was found to have encouraged radical Muslims in America to attack the Draw Mohammed contest. Mohamed Abduhallahai Hasan, also known as Mujahid Miski, is considered “one of the most influential terror recruiters to have taken to Twitter.” He left for Somalia in 2008 when he was only 17-years-old. Hassan regularly calls for violence on his social media accounts. He once demanded “the beheading of Frances Townsend, the Counter Extremism Project president and former homeland security advisor to former President George W. Bush.”
The FBI started to follow Simpson in 2006 “because of his radical leanings.” They sent an informant to Simpson’s mosque where they found out about his sympathetic nature towards al-Shabaab. Agents arrested him in 2010 after he made plans to travel to Somalia through South Africa. They could not place him on the No Fly List and only charged him with making false statements.