Skip to comments.Somalis in U.S. draw FBI attention
Posted on 12/29/2008 3:43:22 AM PST by Cindy
Somalis in U.S. draw FBI attention War at home seen as lure
The FBI is expanding contacts with Somali immigrant communities in the U.S., especially in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, fearing that terrorists are recruiting young men for suicide missions in their homeland.
FBI Special Agent E.K. Wilson, spokesman for the Twin Cities FBI field office, described the effort as community outreach. Many members of the Somali community are concerned over disappearances, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
KSTP.com: "FEDS INVESTIGATE MILITARY INFO FOUND IN MPLS. APT." by Nicole Muelhausen, Web Producer (SNIPPET: "Inside a closet, they found numerous rolls of maps. "We ran into a bunch of blue prints of Minneapolis-St. Paul Army Air Force property. It had thickness of walls, hour ratings, explosives and fires," said one of the men with the cleaning crew, who wished to remain anonymous.") (Note: Video included.) (Updated March 5, 2009, 23:31 pm)
A little out of order, timeline wise, but fyi:
More than 500 American Somalis go to wage jihad in their homeland
(JERUSALEM POST, February 17, 2009) via JIHAD WATCH.org ^ | February 18, 2009 | n/a
Posted on February 19, 2009 2:54:47 AM PST by Cindy
SNIPPET: “Dozens of Somali children have left the United States in secret to join the Islamist fight against the foreign forces in Somalia. The largest group comes from Somali families in Minneapolis and Minnesota.[...]”
SNIPPET: “Abdinur Hussein, a Somali national who lives in Minnesota, the state with the largest Somali community in the U.S., believes that more than 500 youths might have gone to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist rebels.”
(Excerpt) Read more at jihadwatch.org ...
Note: The following text is a quote:
Associate Executive Assistant Director, National Security Branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Statement Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
March 11, 2009
Good morning Chairman Lieberman, Senator Collins, and members of the Committee. I am pleased to be here today. Thank you for the opportunity to provide the FBIs perspective on the issue of threats from Somalia and their effect on the security of the United States. I will also discuss our assessment of why a number of individuals have left the United States to train or fight in Somalia, and how the FBI is working with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to respond to the threat.
Somalia continues to be wracked by instability and, despite efforts to bring some measure of peace and stability to that country, is still plagued by conflict among various competing factions. The rise of viole nt extremist Islamist elementslike the al-Shabaab militia, which has made significant gains in the aftermath of the Ethiopian invasion in late 2006has made the security environment there even more unsettled. Al-Shabaab is one of the most significant forces on the ground in Somalia and has conducted a range of operations against a number of differ ent targets inside the country. While the Ethiopian government withdrew all combat forces in mid-January, al-Shabaab has conducted follow-on attacks against African Union peacekeeping troops, as well as international aide workers. Al-Shabaabs use of tactics such as suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, and murders only serves to burnish its reputation for violence.
Beyond the threat al-Shabaab poses in Somalia, its connections to other extremists in the region and beyond add to concern over its activities. Al-Shabaab has links to the al Qaeda in East Africa networkincluding individuals responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzaniaand maintains ties with al Qaeda leaders in Pakistans Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Al Qaedas focus on Somalia is in part reflected in its propaganda: top al Qaeda advisor Ayman al-Zawahiri, for example, proclaimed in a February 2009 statement that gains made by al-Shabaab in Somalia were a step on the path of victory of Islam. Such propaganda suggests al Qaeda leaders see Somalia as a potential recruiting, training, or staging ground for anti-U.S. or Western operations in the region, or even more disturbing, around the globe.
Dynamics in the United States
An estimated two million to three million Somalis live outside of Somalia or the Horn of Africa, and the ethnic Somali community in the United States is estimated to range from 150,000 to 200,000. However, high rates of illegal immigration, widespread identity and documentation fraud, and a cultural reluctance to share personal information with census takers has prevented an accurate count of the ethnic Somali population inside the United States. Ethnic Somalis began arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the mid-1990s on the heels of a broader resettlement program, and the area is now home to the single largest population of ethnic Somalis in the United States. Other cities with reported large concentrations of ethnic Somalis include Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; San Diego, California; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Since late 2006, we have seen several individuals from the United Statesmany with ethnic ties to Somalia and some without such connectionstravel to Somalia to train or fight on behalf of al-Shabaab. The number of individuals we believe have departed for Somalia is comparatively larger than the number of individuals who have left the United States for other conflict zones around the world over the past few years. And we have seen more individuals leave from the Minneapolis area than from any other part of the country.
In Minneapolis, we believe there has been an active and deliberate attempt to recruit individualsall of whom are young men, some only in their late teensto travel to Somalia to fight or train on behalf of al-Shabaab. We assess that for the majority of these individuals, the primary motivation for such travel was to defend their place of birth from the Ethiopian invasion, although an appeal was also made based on their shared Islamic identity. A range of socio-economic conditionssuch as violent youth crime and gang subcultures, and tensions over cultural integrationmay have also played some role in the recruitment process. We also note that several of the travelers from Minneapolis came from single-parent households, potentially making them more susceptible to recruitment from charismatic male authority figures.
While there are no current indicators that any of the individuals who traveled to Somalia have been selected, trained, or tasked by al-Shabaab or other extremists to conduct attacks inside the United States, we remain concerned about this possibility and that it might be exploited in the future if other U.S. persons travel to Somalia for similar purpos es. The fact that one of the Minneapolis youths participated in a suicide attack in northern Somalia in late October 2008which we believe is the first instance of a U.S. citizen participating in a suicide attack anywherehas only added to concern over the possibility that individuals may engage in terrorist activity upon their return to the United States.
Comparison to the United Kingdom
Much has been written about the circumstances of many South Asians in the United Kingdom, and how a variety of factors has contributed to an environment in which hundreds of individuals became involved in extremist activity there and in South Asia. Among the factors having some impact on South Asian communities in the United Kingdom are social and cultural alienation, demographic patterns, underemployment or unemployment, youth and gang-related violence, the existence of active extremist recruitment and facilitation networks, and natural access to an active conflict zone based on family or ethnic connections.
For the overwhelming majority of immigrant Muslim-American communities inside the United States, this U.K. environment stands in sharp contrast. As recent public opinion pollssuch as the May 2007 Pew Poll and recent Gallup Pollhave shown, Muslim-Americans are for the most part well-integrated, and they achieve statistically higher levels of economic and educational achievement than most other minority groups within the United States. While poll results show that grievances do exist for Muslim-Americans, the vast majority do not condone the use of violence to provide any redress.
Despite the events in Minneapolis and examples of U.S. persons from other parts of the country who have traveled to Somalia for training or fighting, we do not believe that Somali communities here face the same challenges as similar South Asian communities in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, some of the same factors that have contributed to the high level of extremist activity in the South Asian U.K. environment are evident in some Somali communities inside the United States, which indicates the need for heightened outreach and engagement in order to prevent these from manifesting into direct threats to the Homeland.
Outreach and Engagement
Since the 9/11 attacks, the FBI has developed an extensive outreach program to Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh communities to develop trust, address concerns, and dispel myths in those communities about the FBI and the U.S. government. In the wake of developments in Minneapolis, the FBI initiated a pilot program focused on enhancing outreach and engagement activities with select field offices that were dealing with some aspect of the Somalia traveler issue. This program is still in the proof-of-concept phase, but is expected to provide multiple benefits for the FBI and the Somali communities within the purview of the select field offices.
Partnership with State and Local Government
The FBI has long partnered with state and local law enforcement. In the counterterrorism domain, that partnership has been sustained through more than 25 years of involvement in the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) throughout the country. While the FBI is the lead federal agency for terrorism investigations inside the United States, we recognize the vast resources, experience, and insight our state and local law enforcement partners have within the areas in which our field offices and satellite offices reside. One such example includes a partnership among our Minneapolis Field Office and local law enforcement, educators, and social service agency representatives to discuss issues of interest and concern regarding the Somali community there.
We are leveraging our relationships with state and local law enforcement in various field offices beyond the traditional JTTF structure to enhance our understanding or insight into the Somalia issue and its possible impact on the United States, including fostering new initiatives with units involved in traditional criminal or gang programs.
Intelligence Community Collaboration
The FBI continues to work with other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community to assess, evaluate, monitor, andif requireddisrupt, any potential threats based on activity related to extremism in Somalia. FBI analysts work closely with their counterparts at the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Nation al Counterterrorism Center to evaluate events in Somalia and how they might affect the United States. Operationally, FBI agents work with a range of counterparts to develop programs to collect intelligence and disrupt any possible threats relating to individuals who have traveled to Somalia for extremist activity, or wish to travel in the future. Information regarding analysis and operations is shared routinely and continuously, and up to the highest levels of decision-makers in various agencies.
Threat to the Homeland
On balance, we are concerned about the recruitment of individuals from the United States to Somalia and their involvement in training or fighting there. While there are likely a variety of motivations affecting such individuals, it remains unclear whether the allure of Somalia as an active conflict zone has diminished in the wake of Ethiopias withdrawalthereby removing a primary grievance based on nationalismor whether it will continue to attract individuals from the West who see Somalia as a permissive environment given ongoing instability.
While al-Shabaabs foothold in Somalia remains tenuous, it has secured a number of gains in recent months, and its proclivity for extreme violence remains a hallmark. Most worrisome are links between al-Shabaab and al Qaeda associates in the region and elsewhere, and the degree to which Somalia will become another safe haven from which to train, recruit, and then deploy Westerners already there for attacks against their home countries is an open question. Currently, there are no clear indicators that this is occurring, but there are several gaps in our understanding of events there that preclude a more robust understanding of the nature and severity of the threat to the West or United States.
Today, the FBI continues to collect intelligence and assess any potential threats to the United States based on activity related to extremism in Somalia. We are working closely with our U.S. Intelligence Community and law enforcement counterparts to analyze the vulnerability of the United States to such an attack. We will build on these relationships as we continue efforts to stay ahead of the threats and protect our Homeland.
We thank the Committee for its continued support of the FBI and its national security mission. And we look forward to continuing to work with you to protect our nation and its citizens.
By Ryan Mauro
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 12, 2009
SNIPPET: “Last month, the British government controversially refused entry to Geert Wilders, enforcing a ban it had placed on the Dutch parliamentarian for his anti-Islam film, Fitna. While Britain works to eliminate the threat from the critics of Islam, however, the British government is facing a far greater peril from the spread of radical Islam on its own territory.
The CIA reportedly has warned President Obama that Islamic extremists living in the United Kingdom are now viewed as the greatest threat to the United States. Around 40 per cent of CIA activity on homeland threats is now in the UK. This is quite unprecedented, one British official was quoted as saying in The Telegraph.
Further heightening the threat, these extremists are becoming ever more connected with overseas terrorist networks. Dozens of British citizens are believed to have traveled to Somalia, to fight alongside Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants seeking to seize the country from the current government. The Somali militants are reportedly receiving funding from the large Somali community in the United Kingdom. British Muslims have also been providing Taliban forces in Afghanistan with bomb parts, while others are thought to have joined the battlefield and fought against the British military.
Britains terrorist networks are vast. According to a joint intelligence report by Britains Defense Ministry, MI5 and Special Branch, there are thousands of terrorism supporters in the country. These findings echo an earlier warning from the director of MI-5 that there were at least 2,000 people in the country identified as posing a threat to national security. It is also estimated that there are some 200 terrorist networks functioning in Britain today who are involved in at least 30 plots, The Telegraph reported in November 2008.”
Bookmarked, thank you.
You’re welcome Velveeta.
“The U.S.-Somali Experience”
By Douglas Farah
SNIPPET: “Officials are still trying to assess the scope of the problem but say reports so far do not warrant a major concern about a terrorist threat within the United States. But intelligence officials said the recruitment of U.S. citizens by terrorist groups is particularly worrisome because their American passports could make it easier for them to reenter the country.
This represents a movement toward the “Europeanization” of the Islamist threat in the United States, where terrorists recruit among the disasporas in an adopted country (or where the young people are second generation and feeling lost between two worlds.) The recruits, with the requisite language skills and knowledge of how society functions, are far easier to hide plain site than foreigners would.”
March 11, 2009 12:29 PM
“Somalia’s rising tide of extremism”
By THOMAS JOSCELYN
March 12, 2009 4:29 PM
“Waiting for the American Jihad”
by Gary Bauer
March 17, 2009
“Exclusive: Are Somali Jihadists in Nashville?”
SNIPPET: “For a few days in February and March of this year, my field counterterrorism researchers and I visited Nashville, Tennessee. I had obtained information in Richmond, Virginia, that a group of Muslims originally from Somalia had relocated to Nashville. Additionally, there were several media organizations (conservative and liberal) and individuals reporting concerns for our national security in regards to some Somali nationals missing from various U.S. cities and likely organizing to commit Jihadist activity against America.”
“Al Farooq Nashville TN: Ali Al Timimi (Role Model for Children)?”
Posted by Dave Gaubatz at 6:37 PM
(March 17, 2009)
“Source: ‘Several’ Missing Somali-Americans Back in U.S. After Overseas Terror Mission”
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Mike Levine
SNIPPET: “Families that belong to this Minnesota mosque, Abubakar As-Saddiqu, were suspected of having a role in their loved ones’ disappearance.
Many of the Somali-American men who were recruited to join an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group overseas have returned to the United States, according to a source familiar with an FBI investigation into the matter but the FBI still has not revealed publicly if it is pursuing arrests in the case.
“Some of the guys who were missing aren’t missing anymore,” the source said. “Some of them got blown up and some of them came back, and some of them are still there [in Somalia].””
Thanks to But Three Lefts Do and Rushmore Rocks for the ping to this thread.
Note: The following post is a quote:
Somali man’s return to Minn. has locals buzzing
StarTribune ^ | 3/22/09 | ABBY SIMONS and RICHARD MERYHEW
Posted on March 22, 2009 10:31:38 AM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo
A young Somali man from Minneapolis believed to have been recruited by a terrorist group to travel to his war-torn homeland has returned to Minnesota, a community leader said Saturday.
Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, said Saturday that the 22-year-old man was recruited for jihad before a change of heart led him to return in recent months. Jamal wouldn’t confirm the man’s identity, saying that he and his family fear for their safety and are in hiding. Others identified him only as Kamal.
The disappearances of perhaps a dozen young men from the Twin Cities have traumatized and divided the local Somali community.
Jamal also wouldn’t say why the man went to Somalia or how he financed the trip, but said he apparently returned because “his expectation was not what he wanted when he went over there. ... I think he simply didn’t like what he saw over there.”
Jamal said the man has met with FBI investigators but is not in jail.
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
January 28, 2009
FBI concerned about Somali jihadists in America
dated 1:12 p.m. EDT, Wed March 11, 2009
“Domestic terror threat growing, Senate committee warns”
WASHINGTON (CNN) -
SNIPPET: “The hearing, conducted by the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, focused on the attempted recruitment of young Somali-American men by al-Shabaab, “a violent and brutal extremist (Somali) group” with significant ties to al Qaeda, according to the U.S. State Department.
“Over the last two years, individuals from the Somali community in the United States, including American citizens, have left for Somalia to support and in some cases fight on behalf of al-Shabaab,” noted the committee’s chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut.
Al-Shabaab — also known as the Mujahedeen Youth Movement — was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in March 2008.”
Just imagine fleets of taxi cabs driving into the Target Center. </s>
March 26, 2009
“Looks Like al Qaeda in Somalia is Having a Bad Day”
SNIPPET: “Al Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate’s (al-Shabaab) website looked like this yesterday.
Is somebody having a DNS problem? So. Freaking. Sad.”
Well now, this is a good question...
SNIPPET: Who is Abu Mansoor al-Amriki?
Hint: Photos included.
7 posted on April 1, 2009 3:30:37 PM PDT by Cindy
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Special Dispatch - No. 2304
April 1, 2009 No. 2304
New Somali Jihad Film Shows American Commander in Shabab Al-Mujahideen, Abu Mansour Al-Amriki
SNIPPET: On March 31, 2009, the media division of the Somali jihadist group Shabab Al-Mujahideen released a 31-minute video featuring Abu Mansour Al-Amriki, an American commander in the Al-Qaeda-linked group. Abu Mansour has been shown before among the Somali jihadis, but this is the first time that his face has been left uncovered. Approximately half of the video is taken up by Abu Mansour; the majority of the time he speaks in English, but he gives a short talk in passable Arabic as well.
The soundtrack to the video includes jihad anthems and raps in American-accented English, presumably performed by Abu Mansour. At the end of the video, another English-speaking jihadist, who is not identified, calls on foreign youth to join the jihad in Somalia.
8 posted on April 1, 2009 3:35:40 PM PDT by Cindy
“Relatives Of Missing Minnesota Somalia Americans Use Ties To Homeland In Search”
http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/197047.php ^ | By Stable Hand at April 1, 2009 11:02 AM | n/a
Posted on April 1, 2009 3:54:05 PM PDT by Cindy
ADDING to post no. 38:
April 1, 2009
An American jihadist in Somalia