Homeland Security Michael Chertoff recently stirred up a controversy in Europe when he revealed that the US is worried about Islamic terrorists using legal loopholes to enter the US from Europe.
US fears Europe-based terrorism
One of the biggest threats to US security may now come from within Europe, US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff has told the BBC.
He said militant attacks and plots in Europe over recent years had made the US aware of the "real risk that Europe will become a platform for terrorists".
Mr Chertoff said it was likely security checks on travelers from Europe would be increased.
But he said steps would be taken to ensure travel and trade were not hit.
In the interview on the BBC's World News America, Mr Chertoff said he had seen "home-grown terrorism begin to rise in Europe".
I have to say the biggest threat comes from overseas, and one of the places we are increasingly worried about is Europe" Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary.
He cited deadly bomb attacks on Madrid and London, and a terror alert affecting UK-US flights in August 2006, as well as "people travelling from South Asia and the Middle East into Europe and carrying out attacks there".
He said it was important to increase security checks on passengers from Europe - most of whom are currently able to enter the United States without being screened first because of a visa waiver programme.___________________
January 19, 2008
Spain Arrests 14 Suspected Islamic Militants in Barcelona
By The ASSOCIATED PRESS
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Spanish police on Saturday arrested 14 people suspected of links with Islamic terrorism, the prime minister and Interior Ministry said.
Civil Guard officers made the arrests in the northern port city of Barcelona as part of raids planned with the National Intelligence Center, the Spanish equivalent of the CIA, a ministry statement said.
Authorities did not rule out more arrests, the ministry said.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero confirmed the report to journalists and said the investigations continued.
Officials gave no further information, but the newspaper El Pais said on its Web site that officers searched a mosque, several homes and an unofficial prayer site.
Most of those so far detained were believed to be Pakistani nationals, Europa Press Agency said, while Spanish TV news channel CNN+ reported that traces of chemicals that could be linked to explosive material had been seized for analysis.
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was due to give more details at a midday news conference, the ministry said.
Europe's worst Islamic-linked terror attack took place in Spain on March 11, 2004, when bombs went off in railway carriages during the morning rush hour near Madrid's Atocha station. The attack killed 191 people injured more than 1,800. Twenty-one people have been convicted of involvement in that attack.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, Spanish police have arrested hundreds of Islamic terrorism suspects, many in connection with the Madrid attack.
In recent years police have focused on cells suspected of recruiting mujahedeen fighters and suicide bombers, or of collecting money to finance Al-Qaida-linked groups abroad.
The train attacks were claimed by Muslim militants who said they had acted on behalf of al-Qaida to avenge the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq, but Spain's courts found no evidence al-Qaida ordered or financed the attacks.____________________In this case, the perps are Pakis living in Spain. From an Investors Business Daily Editorial:Unlike other foreign visitors, visa-waiver travelers are not required to disclose their place of birth, any previous citizenship or their visa history. These are key counter-terror indicators often denied U.S. security officials as they process European travelers.
While they can augment inspections at the airports, they still for the most part are blind to high-risk passengers boarding flights on the other side of the pond. Which makes in-bound flights a risk to both passengers and any likely targets in the flight's path.
Posing the greatest threat right now are Muslim citizens from Britain who were born in Pakistan or who recently have traveled to that al-Qaida hotbed.
Pakistan-based al-Qaida is targeting for recruitment not only citizens of visa-waiver countries, but also ethnic Pakistanis who can easily travel back and forth to Pakistan for training.
It's no coincidence that Pakistani Britons were behind the 2006 foiled plot to blow up 10 airliners over U.S. cities, which was staged out of London.
It's not for nothing that the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid is British and got his training in Pakistan.
Three of the 7-7 London bombers were of Pakistani origin, it's worth adding, and could have used the waiver scheme to enter the U.S.
Some 800,000 British citizens are of Pakistani descent, providing al-Qaida with a huge potential pool from which to recruit terrorists. Al-Qaida reportedly has set up a branch of operations in the U.K.
The terror group may have found one of the weakest points in our security network. Who would have thought the biggest terror threat to America would come by way of our biggest ally?
The good news is Chertoff sees the loophole. Bad news: Nobody seems to know how to close it.
Washington has been persuaded that changes in the visa-waiver program would slow tourism and cause economic damage to both the U.S. and Europe.
Chertoff wanted to impose restrictions on British citizens of Pakistani origin, but London strongly resisted._________________But we also have problems with the Wahhabists, the Iranian mullahs, the Taliban, Jemaa Islamiyah and countless other Islamist malcontents. Hmm, could these disparate groups have anything in common?
London has strongly resisted common sense restrictions that would "profile" some of their fine citizens and apparently there is a growing resistance movement in Washington. Both IBD and Diana West have recently addressed the problem of political correctness which we seem incapable, so far, of overcoming. From the IBD editorial:The mandate to wage jihad is also taught, still, in Saudi school textbooks, Coughlin says, and explains why the home to Islam's holiest shrines is the No. 1 foreign supplier of suicide bombers in Iraq.
"The first 'radicalizing' lesson that Saudi youth receive that motivates them to travel to Iraq and fight coalition forces does not come from 'extremist' groups like al-Qaida," he observed, "but rather is taught as part of Saudi Arabia's standard secondary school curriculum."
Bottom line: "The enemy is driven by Islamic law," he warned — not poverty, lack of education or other socioeconomic factors often used by official Washington and the punditry to blur the demonstrable link between Islamic devotion and terror.Unfortunately, Coughlin's critical findings were too politically hot for Pentagon brass trying to make nice with Muslim groups at the urging of Muslim aides involved with them. So instead of the aides, he got the boot, which is outrageous but not surprising for Washington._______________The IBD editorial also points out that Hesham Islam, an aide to the PC Defense Secretary Gordon England was Coughlin's nemesis. IBD says Islam took great offense over briefings Coughlin "...prepared for the U.S. military warning that major U.S. Muslim groups were fronting for the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement based in Egypt. " According to IBD, "...Islam who was born and raised in Egypt, is heavily involved with one of the groups — the Islamic Society of North America, which U.S. prosecutors last year named an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terror-funding case."
Chertoff better pick and choose his words carefully and if the trends continue, so should we.
Down on your knees now.