I fear that his stance is shared by a great many post Americans. How often, during the course of your day, do you have conversations about jihadist threats - or Chinese cyberattacks, or Russian buzzing of US planes in international airspace, or Iran's insistence that post-America will remain its enemy even if a nuke deal is reached?
Somebody better be thinking about such things. Senator Jim Risch and FBI director James Comey, among others, would welcome someone stepping up with some ideas for addressing the plethora of ISIS threats within the homeland:
“That’s going to happen here,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN today in reference to the Tunisia beach attack just before the ISIS anniversary in June, in which a gunman killed 38 people, mostly Brits. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”Of recent attack plots uncovered in the United States, the senator said, “some were quite imminent …within days, one within hours or minutes.”The Defense Department has had all facilities on increased alert — Force Protection Bravo — since May.But Risch noted that we’re at a “point in history where encryption taken a very sophisticated turn” — as ISIS steers online adherents to encrypted browsers and chat messaging systems that render them anonymous. (See: ‘War Is Deceit’: Tipsheet Tells Jihadists How to Shake Off Intel Agencies During Online Ops)That was the focus of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, at which FBI Director James Comey called Twitter “almost a devil on their shoulder all day long” of would-be jihadists, “saying: Kill, kill, kill, kill.”“Al-Qaeda would never vet an operative by tasking them. ISIL says, ‘go kill, go kill; here’s a list of military members you can go kill, go do it,’” Comey said. “We are stopping these things so far through tremendous hard work, the use of sources, the use of online undercovers. But it is incredibly difficult. I cannot see me stopping these indefinitely.”“So I’m not trying to scare folks. I just want people to know this is a change in my world, in the top responsibility of the FBI, that implicates this ‘going dark’ problem.”The dark area means even if they were armed with a court order to access the communications, the feds still lack the technical ability to access them.
Comey later told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “We have disrupted just in the last few weeks very serious efforts to kill people in the United States.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the high threat lingers because Ramadan lasts “a few more weeks”; the Islamic holy month ends July 17.
“ISIL currently communicate on Twitter, sending communications to thousands of would-be followers right here in our country,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told the Judiciary Committee. “When someone responds and the conversations begin, they are then directed to encrypted platforms for further communication, and even with a court order, we can’t see those communications. This is a serious threat, and our inability to access these communications with valid court orders is a real national security problem.”
“This is not your grandfather’s al-Qaeda; this is a group of people using social media to reach thousands and thousands of followers, find the ones who might be interested in committing acts of violence and then moving them to an encrypted — end-to-end encrypted messaging app,” Comey added. “Our job is to look at a haystack the size of this country for needles that are increasingly invisible to us because of end-to-end encryption. This is something we have to talk about as a people."
This is not something that can be solved by navel-gazing or distraction.
It is very late in the day.