Terror Threats Facing US ‘Highest Ever’ in a Decade: House Intelligence Committee Chairman

Several foreign terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, have called for attacks against the United States in recent weeks.
Terror Threats Facing US ‘Highest Ever’ in a Decade: House Intelligence Committee Chairman
(L-R) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and committee ranking member Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) speak to reporters after meeting with former Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham in a closed door hearing with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on June 20, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

The United States is facing the highest number of terrorist threats in over a decade, with the Biden administration’s lax policies contributing to the problem, according to Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified to Congress that foreign terror groups have issued calls to attack the United States. Commenting on the testimony, Mr. Turner said in a Nov. 19 interview with CBS News that “what he’s indicated specifically is that, you know, more than a decade, the increase in terrorist threats to the United States, inside the United States, is at its highest ever.”

Mr. Turner, who is the House Intelligence Committee chairman, pointed out that it was “very unusual for the FBI director to so publicly make these statements and certainly in these conversations with the Intelligence Committee. The disclosure “certainly shows the extent to which these threats are troubling the director.”

“And he cites the chaotic withdrawal of Afghanistan and our loss of intelligence gathering there. He cites the southern border and individuals who are allied with international terrorist organizations that have crossed the border. You know, those are two Biden administration policies.”

During his Oct. 31 testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Mr. Wray said that the actions of Hamas and its allies following the Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli citizens would boost terror activities against America.

“In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the United States in the last five years. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the United States and Europe,” Mr. Wray stated.

Hezbollah, a Lebanese terror group, “has publicly expressed its support for Hamas and threatened to attack U.S. interests in the Middle East. And we’ve seen an increase in attacks on U.S. military bases overseas carried out by militia groups backed by Iran,” he added.

Mr. Wray expressed worries that violent extremists will be inspired by events in the Middle East to carry out attacks within the United States.

In his interview, Mr. Turner pointed out that there should be sufficient funding to protect the U.S. border, “and not just funding for the border. It needs to be policy changes.”
“Our border needs to be secured. The FBI director has specifically cited that individuals come across that border allied with international terrorist organizations [and] are a threat internal to the United States,” he said.

Illegal Immigrant Terror Threat

During a Nov. 15 House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Mr. Wray said that illegal immigrants who have not been apprehended by border officials are a “great concern” for the FBI.

He was responding to a question about whether suspected terrorists are among those who were not taken into custody at the border.

“Any time you have a group of people in the United States that we don’t know nearly enough about [it is a] source of concern for us from a perspective in our lane of protecting Americans,” he said, adding that the FBI is “aggressively using all 56 of our joint terrorism task forces” to tackle the issue.

Over the past five years, there have been increasing attempts by suspected terrorists to cross the southern border, with the number reaching record levels in fiscal 2023, he said. Such threats are “very much consuming” all of the agency’s field offices in the country.

A recent survey conducted by the Senate Opportunity Fund found that 77 percent of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed with the statement that it is important for the United States to “strengthen our border to deter foreign adversaries from entering our country.”

While 90 percent of conservatives agreed to it, this number fell to 77 percent among moderates and 56 percent among liberals.

Director of the FBI Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington on Nov. 15, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Director of the FBI Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington on Nov. 15, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Iran’s Terror Backing

According to the 2024 Homeland Threat Assessment report by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the threat of violence from extremists radicalized in the United States will “remain high” next year.

In recent times, both domestic violent extremists and homegrown violent extremists inspired by foreign terrorist organizations have engaged in violence in the United States as a reaction to sociopolitical events, it said.

“These actors will continue to be inspired and motivated by a mix of conspiracy theories; personalized grievances; and enduring racial, ethnic, religious, and anti-government ideologies, often shared online.”

The report cited Iran as the “primary sponsor of terrorism” among state actors next year as it continues to “advance plots against individuals in the United States.”

Since the United States killed top Iranian commander and designated foreign terrorist Qassem Soleimani in 2020, Iran maintains its “intent to plot attacks against current and former US government officials,” the report said.

“Iran relies on individuals with pre-existing access to the United States for surveillance and lethal plotting—using dual nationals, members of criminal networks, and private investigators—and has attempted plots that do not require international travel for operatives.”

In his Oct. 31 testimony, Mr. Wray called Iran “the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism,” confirming that the country has “directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former U.S. government officials, including right here on American soil.”

“And, along those lines, Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of seeding operatives and infrastructure, obtaining money and weapons, and spying in this country going back years.”

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