- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
WILLIAMS: The home-grown terrorist next door
Reports are released every day in Washington, but one that could prove to be of life-or-death importance was unveiled last week by the Henry Jackson Society, a bipartisan think tank with headquarters in London. “Al-Qaeda in the United States: A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses” holds up a mirror to America and provides us with a clear but terrifying image.
The report is more than 700 pages, and is a painstaking and meticulous review of all 171 al Qaeda or al Qaeda-inspired terrorists who were either killed during their attacks or convicted in court in the U.S.
Authored by research fellow Robin Simcox, the value of the data as a means of protecting Americans is underscored by the fact that the foreword was penned by Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who has led the CIA and the National Security Agency.
The excellent report challenges the post-Sept. 11 conventional wisdom about who al Qaeda terrorists were — and are. It reveals that the bulk of the terrorists in the U.S. are not highly trained foreign nationals infiltrating our borders to attack us, but our neighbors next door.
More than half of the terrorists were American citizens. A shocking 82 percent of the terrorists killed or convicted were U.S. residents. Ninety-five percent were men, and they lived in states from coast to coast and across the heartland. The highest numbers came from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, Minnesota and California.
Another remarkable data point is that 52 percent of the attackers were college-educated and nearly 60 percent were either pursuing education or were employed at the time of their arrests. These facts punch gaping holes into the self-defeating assertion that those who hate America are driven to terrorism because they are ignorant or downtrodden. As Mr. Simcox explained when I interviewed him recently, these people were not failed by our society; they were a part of it.
An inordinate number of the al Qaeda terrorists were not born into radical Islam but embraced it later in life with the fervor of converts. Religious converts have made up 24 percent of all the terrorists, and 95 percent of those converts were U.S. citizens such as John Walker Lindh, who pleaded guilty to assisting the Taliban.
One of the most striking things about this thorough study is how rigorously it steers clear of making policy recommendations. It provides the facts, and it is now up to those charged with developing our counterterrorism and homeland security strategies to decide how best to use this information.
After all, safeguarding our citizens is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s not a left-wing or right-wing issue. It needs to be an American priority.
*bull; Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 128 live from 6-7 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Become a fan at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him at www.twitter.com/arightside.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to 'man up' in horse carriage fight
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt 'Boss Hogg' town from map
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again