By Douglas Ernst – The Washington Times –
WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. intelligence community has observed a “significant increase” in chatter among terrorist organizations as the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks nears.
“We’ve noticed a significant increase in chatter among Islamic terrorist organizations overseas both on the Internet and phone lines,” a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Blaze.
While the intelligence community can not pinpoint whether or not an attack is planned, the official said that agencies “did see this kind of increase in chatter before the September 11 attacks.”
Deciphering chatter is more difficult than in previous years because of the rise of the Islamic State group, which threatens to drain al Qaeda of resources as it asserts dominance Iraq and Syria. Like al Qaeda, Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has openly declared its intent to bring terror to American interests around the globe.
“The threat is two-fold because ISIS is in war with core al Qaeda,” former CIA case officer Brian Fairchild told The Blaze. “ISIS was kicked out of al Qaeda in February and they’ve been fighting each other internally for leadership. ISIS is winning right now. They have captured the imagination of young Muslims from around the world and depriving al Qaeda of its own fighters. Al Qaeda is split down the middle and now you have 9/11 [anniversary approaching]. It would be beneficial to both camps that on 9/11, some great attack in the United States takes place,” he added.
The Islamic State executed American photojournalist James Foley on Aug. 19, and has used social media platforms to threaten terror attacks on American soil.
Chicago’s WGN network recently reported that a tweet from the terror group on June 20 includes a picture taken on Michigan Ave. The tweet reads “Soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will pass from here soon.” An Arabic message held up in the picture was translated “We are in your streets.”
We don’t have a strategy yet
President Obama acknowledged Thursday he doesn’t have a plan for defeating Islamist militants in Syria and backed away from imminent military action, while he also downplayed reports of a new Russian invasion in Ukraine.
“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Mr. Obama said of his plans for defeating the Islamic State in Syria. “We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”
After a week of speculation that he was about to expand U.S. airstrikes against the terrorist group — also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS — from its positions in Iraq to those in Syria, the president said he has ordered his military advisers to give him “a range of options.”
But Mr. Obama tried to tamp down the suggestion that his decision was imminent, saying “folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.”
“We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them,” Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference. “There’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.”