A Simple and Effective Counter-Sleeper Cell Strategy

by GREGORY D. LEE January 14, 2015

In light of the recent lone-wolf and sleeper cell attacks in Ottawa, Sydney and Paris, in which scores of people were killed and wounded, another strategy must be implemented to counter future attacks.

The Ottawa shooter was denied a passport by Canadian authorities because they felt he intended to travel to Istanbul and make his way to the battlefield in Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since he was denied the opportunity to perform jihad in Syria, he decided instead to commit it at the Canadian war memorial and parliament.

The Sydney shooter at a coffee shop was an Iranian "refugee" who converted from being a Shia to Sunni Muslim, became sympathetic to al-Qaeda, and failed to assimilate into Australian culture. He was arrested several times for violent acts, including the attempted murder of his wife.

Two American teenage girls of Somali parents actually flew to Istanbul in hopes to have sexual relations with ISIS members to increase their numbers before being discovered and returned to the U.S.

One of the shooters in Paris attended a terrorism training camp conducted by ISIS and the two others attended training by the al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, and then returned to France to carry out their evil deeds. All three were born in France, but chose to be jihadists rather than support their country of birth.

It's obvious that many young, self-radicalized Muslims want to be jihadists. France estimates that their numbers are in the hundreds. It's impossible to measure how many there are worldwide or how many more will join their ranks in the future.

One simple strategy in countering this trend is for Western nations to not only allow, but encourage these jihadist wannabes to travel to Syria and other places to join ISIS or the AQAP, but with this caveat: anyone who leaves the country to join ISIS or an al-Qaeda affiliated group would be considered an act of treason and the renouncement of their citizenship. These people would have their passports revoked, placed on a worldwide no-fly list, and barred from ever returning to their home countries. This would decrease the chances of trained terrorists returning to their former homelands to continue jihad.

Western governments should let it be known that anyone who travels to a foreign country an attempt to join, assist or facilitate a jihad movement would result in their citizenship immediately being revoked or immigration status canceled. Enough is enough.

Allowing these radical Muslims to travel to join ISIS would give U.S. and NATO air assets more opportunity to give these people martyrdom on the Syrian and Iraqi battlefields instead of the streets of Ottawa, Paris or New York City.

Western intelligence and security forces can only accomplish so much. There are possibly many more radicalized, or potentially radicalized Muslims in the Western world then there are government agents to monitor their activities.

Hopefully the events in Paris will wake up American liberals and stop them from further attempting to degrade the effectiveness of local law enforcement, the NSA, FBI, and the CIA. They should realize that the U.S. is ripe for similar attacks. The very organizations they criticize are the ones trying to prevent another attack.

They need to show support for their local police who are the front line defenders against homegrown jihadists. They need to stop worrying about the "militarization of the police," which is pure nonsense. In news footage of the French police in action in Paris, they looked "militarized" because the situation demanded it, and I didn't hear Parisians complaints about them using helicopters and armored vehicles to quell the violence.

The sooner Western nations take aggressive, affirmative action against their homegrown jihadists the better off they will be.     

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe. Visit his website athttp://www.gregorydlee.com/ and contact him at info@gregorydlee.com.


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