On Wednesday, senior United States Officials said that while there is the danger of the Islamic State spreading through the Middle East, and into Europe, the group does not pose an urgent threat of an attack in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Francis Taylor, said that the DHS is “unaware of any specific credible threat to the U.S. homeland” from the Islamic State.
Taylor added that while the Islamic State was not a direct threat to U.S. soil, the group still has capabilities most terrorist organizations don’t possess, and it “constitutes an active and serious threat within the region and could attempt attacks on U.S. targets overseas with little or no warning.”
According to the Washington Post, the FBI has arrested “more than a half dozen people trying to travel to Syria to support the Islamic State,” and about a dozen people from the United States “are believed to have joined the Islamic State.”
Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nicholas Rasmussen, acknowledged that the Islamic State’s “ability to carry out complex large-scale attacks in the West is currently limited.”
The Associated Press reported that, “More than 100 Americans have traveled to Syria to fight for various militant groups or tried to make the journey.”
The Washington Post noted that after the group’s leader threatened a “direct confrontation” with the United States in January, Islamic militants have struck out at the U.S. recently by beheading two American journalists after the United States began bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq.
The Director for the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, acknowledged that the United States is concerned that an Islamic State sympathizer, who is “perhaps motivated by online propaganda,” is capable of conducting a “limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning.”
While the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 has sparked rumors that members of the Islamic State will lash out directly at the United States, Olsen said, “In our view, any threat to the U.S. homeland from these types of extremists is likely to be limited in scope and scale.”
These statements from senior U.S. officials follow a recent video from former Texas Congressman, Ron Paul, in which he quoted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who said that there is “no evidence there is anything imminent or planned” by ISIS for the United States, and that we shouldn’t “expect them to do anything here in the United States.”
During his address to the nation Wednesday night, President Obama insisted that he has the authority to carry out strikes against ISIS and yet, the fact that there is no direct threat to the United States actually disqualifies the President from that authority.
Under the Constitution, the Commander in Chief must obtain a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress in order to carry out strikes against any nation or group unless the United States is under immediate threat.