The following was released today by Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee:
The Majority staff of the Committee on Homeland Security has conducted an investigation into the threat by al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen in Somalia, Al Qaeda’s major ally in East Africa, and its efforts to radicalize and recruit Muslim-Americans inside the U.S. The key finding is that there is a looming danger of American Shabaab fighters returning to the U.S. to strike or helping Al Qaeda and its affiliates attack the homeland. U.S. intelligence underestimated the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Yemen’s capability of launching attacks here; we cannot afford to make the same mistake with Shabaab. The Majority staff interviewed dozens of current and former counterterror officials, scholars, diplomats and other experts on Shabaab and Muslim-American radicalization to reach these conclusions:
1. Shabaab has an active recruitment and radicalization network inside the U.S. targeting Muslim-Americans in Somali communities. It also ensnared a few non-Somali Muslim-American converts, such as a top Shabaab commander:
• At least 40 or more Americans have joined Shabaab;
• So many Americans have joined that at least 15 of them have been killed fighting with Shabaab, as well as three Canadians;
• Three Americans who returned to the U.S. were prosecuted, and one awaits extradition from The Netherlands;
• At least 21 or more American Shabaab members overseas remain unaccounted for and pose a direct threat to the U.S. homeland.
2. Shabaab has the intent and capability to conduct attacks or aid core Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen with striking U.S. interests and the U.S. homeland.
3. Shabaab has not only openly pledged loyalty and support to Al Qaeda and AQAP in Yemen, but has cemented alarming operational ties to both groups.