Anthony Moreland – In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris that left 17 dead, the French have mobilized 10,000 troops to protect against further terrorist attacks. Planned sites include Jewish temples, and mass transit hubs. The country also plans to protect mosques as they have seen a rise in revenge attacks since the Charlie Hebdo and kosher market massacres.
To really understand whether sleeper cells in America are a credible threat is to really understand the reach that IS (Islamic State) has across the globe, especially in the West. IS has roots that can be traced back to the fall of al-Qaeda in Iraq. IS was established by “Sunni Iraqis who joined the fight against extremists, the U.S. led military surge and the death of Zarqawi.” “IS defied orders from al-Qaeda’s top commanders to curtail its transnational ambitions and extremism, which led to ISIS’s expulsion from al-Qaeda in February 2014.”
IS has now been credited as being the most wealthy terrorist organization, raking in at least $3M a day. With IS’s innumerable wealth comes the ability to seek out new members across the world. IS has used money to recruit women, and young girls to become brides for the Jihadi fighters. The radical group has also exploited young children to join the cause of a caliphate state in Iraq. Their reach has already landed on American soil, as many Americans have been caught and charged with attempting to join IS.
The threat of a sleeper cell is particularly alarming because “members of a sleeper cell lead normal lives in their host country, with legitimate jobs, homes and families. Many work alone or in small groups and bear no obvious connection to other cells or networks, which helps ensure they remain under the radar. This type of organization also ensures that “a single strike does not lead to the compromise of the entire network. . .”
Thus, the threat to Western countries seems to be real and credible. This organization has the numbers and the money to bring in new members and sympathizers from all parts of the world. And, Americans are beginning to appreciate the threat. An Ex-CIA official and Senator Dianne Feinstein have agreed that there are definitively sleeper cells in the United States. Sen. Feinstein is quoted as saying, “I think there are sleeper cells not only in France but certainly in other countries and, yes, in our own.” “This calls for vigilance. … Hopefully, we can be more active in terms of doing those things which enable us to find terrorists, see who they’re communicating with and to track that.”
It is not uncommon for the United States to activate National Guardsmen or Army Reservists to protect citizens from threats at home. After 9/11, Guardsman and Reservists were mobilized to protect mass transit hubs in large cities such as airports, train stations, bus depots and ship ports. The purpose was not only to quell the possibility of future attacks but also to instill a sense of security among Americans. Since 9/11, we have seen our military activated for incidents such as the Ferguson, Missouri rioting and also along the boarder in Texas.
Assuming the threat is real, and attacks are imminent, the question then becomes do we wait out the threat or will we be proactive in protecting our interests?