In January, President Obama referred to al-Qaeda linked groups in Iraq and Syria as “a jayvee team.” Nine months later, ISIS has declared a caliphate, brutally executed religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, and beheaded two American journalists as they continue to make threats.
On radio this morning, Glenn asked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to use her expertise from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to shed some light on the history of the ISIS threat.
On June 29, ISIS declared a caliphate and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the caliph. As Bachmann explained, Baghdadi has an important backstory. U.S. forces arrested him in 2005, and he was held in the U.S.-run Camp Bucca in Iraq until 2009. Upon his release, Baghdadi reportedly told guards, “I’ll see you guys in New York.” He then returned home to reorganize his troops on the ground.
“In 2010, he spent the year reconstituting the Islamic State,” Bachmann said. “Last year, there was a wave of car bombs all across Iraq to destabilize the nation.”
Earlier this year, Baghdadi issued a rare recorded threat to the U.S. warning a “direct confrontation” was to come. Bachmann described his comment as “very strategic.”
“Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day,” Baghdadi said. “So watch, for we are with you, watching.”
While the bloodthirsty tactics of ISIS have just recently made mainstream media headlines, Bachmann said the government has been studying this threat for months. One particular aspect that she has focused her attention on is the threat of homegrown terrorists from Minnesota. Thus far, we know two Somali Americans have died fighting alongside ISIS in Syria. Both men lived in the Minneapolis area.
“We have known about this ISIS threat for months. This is not a new thing,” Bachmann said. “So I went to the FBI and asked them about Minneapolis. We have been a hotbed for terrorism,” Bachmann said. “Now we know there were thousands of… people holding European passports fighting with ISIS. Well over 100 with U.S. passports fighting.”
Because of ISIS’ intent to defeat the United States, Bachmann has been working on legislation that would prohibit Americans who have gone overseas to wage jihad from returning to the U.S. As of now, Bachmann said individuals with a U.S. passport cannot be prevented from reentering the country.
“How can we not prevent them from coming in, if they joined up with an enemy that has declared war on us? Isn't that logical we would stop them before they ever get into the United States,” she asked. “So I went back to my office and directed my staff… to draw up legislation to prevent Americans with American passports who have gone to join ISIS… from coming back into the United States. Now, it would have to go through the legislative process, [and] that's a slow process. We're running out of time.”
Bachmann urged those listening to contact their local congressman and senator and demand corporation on this issue. While it will not solve the threat of ISIS, it will close a major loophole in our national security system.
“What you could do to help me is: People who are listening… could contact their member of Congress – both their house and senate member,” Bachmann concluded. “But also send a message to the White House that we need full, immediate, fast track cooperation on this legislation.”