Sep 11, 2021
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“The challenge has become more fundamental”: why the head of the FBI announced the threat of terrorism to the United States

FBI Director Christopher Ray said that in the last 20 years since the September 11 attacks, the level of terrorist threat to the United States has not diminished. According to him, there was only a modification of the threats, which are now distinguished by their diversity. Earlier, the head of the FBI noted that the August attack by IS * at the Kabul airport, which killed more than 200 people, is a “painful reminder” of the existing danger. Experts state that the increased risks of the spread of terrorism in the world are largely the result of the activities of the American intelligence community and the US’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The level of terrorist threat to the United States has not decreased in the 20 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – there has only been a modification of existing threats. This opinion was expressed by the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Christopher Ray during the podcast “Inside the FBI”.

“The first thing I would say about the terrorist threat now and at the time of 9/11 is that the threat remains the same. Perhaps it has only changed in some respects, “he said, noting that today’s threats” are distinguished by their diversity. “

“Individuals or small cells influenced by the Internet can launch attacks on easily accessible targets — ordinary people in everyday business — perhaps unremarkable. Easily accessible types of weapons are used: a pistol, a knife, a car, some primitive IED (improvised explosive device. – RT), the assembly instructions for which can be found on the Internet. In order to move from an idea, radicalization, directly to the implementation of an attack, they need not several months or years, but several days or weeks. I sometimes say: today terrorism is developing at the speed of social networks, ”explained the head of the FBI.

“We have much less time left to do what we have to do. This applies not only to attacks backed by ISIS * and Al-Qaeda **, but the threat of domestic terrorism is a huge problem that is of great concern to us. So the threat is more diverse. It is wider than deep, I would say, ”said Ray.

Earlier, the head of the FBI wrote in an article for The Washington Post that although major terrorist attacks have been avoided in the United States over the past 20 years, this danger from foreign terrorist organizations has not disappeared, as evidenced, in particular, by the August attack on the airport in Kabul. , which became a “painful reminder” of the existing threat.

Preventing similar attacks in the future was a top priority for Ray.

“Dealing with rapidly evolving threats like lone terrorists requires citizens to share information with authorities when something seems suspicious to them,” he added.

Against this background, The Washington Post reported that over the past two weeks, the US Department of Homeland Security has checked tens of thousands of people regarding the possibility of their resettlement in the United States and “flagged 44 evacuated Afghans as a potential threat to national security.”

  • United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • © AP Photo / Cliff Owen

Political context

The head of the FBI announced the continuing threat of terrorism to the United States on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On this day, 20 years ago, terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and sent them to civilian and military targets in the United States. The attack on the World Trade Center in New York was the largest in terms of the number of victims. In total, about 3 thousand people became victims of the attacks. US intelligence agencies blame the attacks on the al-Qaeda group and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who was liquidated in 2011.

It was after the September 11 attacks that Washington brought its contingent into Afghanistan under the guise of an anti-terrorism mission, which eventually lasted almost 20 years. The United States then decided to withdraw its troops. The hasty withdrawal of the United States from the Islamic Republic led to the destabilization of the situation in Afghanistan. The confrontation between the radical Taliban movement *** and government forces has entered an active phase. As a result, the Taliban managed to take control of almost the entire territory of the country.

On August 26, a terrorist attack took place near the Kabul international airport, which killed about 200 people, including 13 American soldiers. Washington blamed the Vilayat Khorasan terrorist group (a branch of IS in Afghanistan) for the incident, and the Islamic State also claimed responsibility for the attack.

US President Joe Biden then said that Washington would make anyone “who wants to harm America” ​​”pay the price.” On August 28, the Pentagon announced that two IS militants had been eliminated during a special operation in Afghanistan. The ministry claimed that the target of the air strike in Kabul was a car with Islamic State militants who intended to attack the airport.

Later, UNICEF representative in Kabul, Gerve de Lys, reported the deaths of seven children in the airstrike. At the same time, according to The New York Times, an employee of an American humanitarian organization was in the destroyed car.

  • Kabul, August 26
  • © AP Photo / Wali Sabawaoon

“May damage national security”

From the point of view of political scientists, the latest statements by the head of the FBI are most likely aimed at creating an information field designed to smooth the relationship between the creation of terrorist enclaves and the activities of the American special services.

“The statement of the head of the FBI is intended to divert the attention of the Americans from talking about the fact that the United States is fighting the terrorism that it itself has generated. At the same time, it is quite obvious that the risk of terrorist attacks that exists now in Europe and the United States is largely due to the activities of the American intelligence community and the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, ”political analyst Alexander Asafov said in an interview with RT.

According to him, the thesis about the continuing terrorist threat is also aimed at explaining the need to open new programs, allocate additional funds for the activities of intelligence services, as well as resume a large-scale campaign aimed at obtaining information from individuals.

In turn, Vladimir Batyuk, head of the Center for Political-Military Studies of the Institute of the United States and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences, recalled that after the September 11 attacks, the American government tightened a number of laws and made data on ordinary Americans “practically transparent for the US intelligence services,” in particular, the FBI launched a large-scale surveillance program for Americans on the Web.

“And today it causes a rather ambiguous reaction from the American public. Examples such as the cases of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, which exposed the actions of the US authorities to spy on both American citizens and foreigners, demonstrate that this problem still persists, “the analyst said.

However, according to experts, the issue of the terrorist threat to the United States is now really extremely relevant against the backdrop of the Afghan events.

“It is no coincidence that the head of the FBI is now drawing a parallel between the terrorist threat to the United States and the terrorist attack in Afghanistan, as a result of which the Americans were killed and which was a rather serious blow to the current administration – Biden’s rating went down sharply. Taking into account the situation in Afghanistan, where chaos continues and terrorist groups are actively operating against the Taliban, among the Afghan refugees there could also be people associated with terrorist structures, ”Batiuk explained.

  • September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States
  • © AP Photo / Marty Lederhandler

A similar opinion is shared by Konstantin Blokhin, a leading researcher at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. As he noted in a conversation with RT, the possibility cannot be ruled out that some evacuated Afghans could stage a series of attacks in the United States.

“The United States is unlikely to be able to protect itself from this against the background of flight and hasty evacuation from Afghanistan. The threat of terrorism is indeed becoming more urgent for the United States. Terrorists have acquired many different tools due to the development of high technologies, including UAVs. If earlier the terrorist threat was partly a tool to disguise the White House administration’s own geopolitical goals, now the challenge has become more fundamental and can really harm the US national security, ”the analyst concluded.

* “Islamic State” (IS) – the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.

** “Al-Qaeda” – the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated 02.14.2003.

*** “Taliban” – the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 14, 2003.

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