It could be a tragic mistake to allow political clutter and post-election discourse to lower our guard to a very real and growing threat within the United States – domestic terrorism. And all the “walls” and “extreme vetting” we can muster won’t protect us from attackers already in the U.S.

Based on a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Terror Threat Snapshot,” we could be facing one of the “worst years on record for homegrown Islamist extremism.” So far in 2016, 26 individuals in 13 states have been arrested for domestic terrorist-related activity, per the DHS.

In the snapshot, FBI Director James Comey estimates around 80 percent of his Bureau’s 1,000-plus active homegrown terrorist investigations can be traced to ISIS. Comey called the acts that account for that statistic “the greatest threat to the physical safety of Americans today.”

You may recall, just under a year ago, Comey revealed his agency had ongoing ISIS related investigations in every state of the union.

“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” Comey told a winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see,” he added.

Some of the major arrests listed in the snapshot are simply too close for comfort.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a 35-year old U.S. citizen was arrested after attempting to hire a cell of terror operatives with a goal to ultimately launch attacks within the United States.

In Fairfax, Virginia, a 36-year old U.S. citizen and a police officer for the Washington Metro Transit Police was arrested for undisclosed, ISIS-related charges.

In Detroit, Michigan, a citizen who recently converted to Islam was arrested for “possessing a destructive device and acquiring explosive materials without a license.”

And, of course, just this week in Columbus, Ohio, a student who had complained about how Muslims were portrayed in the media injured 11 people with a car and knife attack in what police believe may have been an act of terror.The “takeaways” from the DHS report are no less alarming.

ISIS’ message continues to resonate with American citizens as more extremists plot attacks on American soil and attempt to travel overseas to join the terror group.

ISIS has targeted the West at an alarming rate, marked by a recent surge in ISIS-linked plots to attack U.S. and allied interests abroad.

ISIS and al Qaeda continue to take advantage of safe havens to consolidate their power and territory, as well as plan attacks.

Guantanamo Bay detainees are continuing to return to the fight to replenish the ranks of jihadist organizations.

Please understand, I’m not advocating we live our lives in constant fear. The ultimate purpose of terrorism, beyond obvious destruction and mayhem, is to rattle our lifestyle, widening the path for an insurgence of the Islamic Caliphate and Sharia law within our Western culture.

But, I believe it’s a reasonable assumption domestic terrorist attacks will escalate as the new administration and our allies begin to heighten the attacks on ISIS abroad. We must remain vigilant and in a perpetual state of preparedness. See something, say something.

It’s paramount that we unite against the threat of domestic terrorism.

ISIS isn’t concerned with our political affiliation.


Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger and a Cabell County resident.