Why Worry About “Importing” Terrorists, When the Regime Can Grow Its Own?

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

This year, while the Trump administration has fixated on what it describes as acute peril posed by immigrants and refugees from the Muslim world, there have been three domestic terrorism-related incidents involving American-born military veterans.

Esteban Santiago, accused of murdering five people in a January 6th shooting rampage at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Airport, was a mentally disturbed ex-National Guard soldier who was born in New Jersey. Several weeks before his killing spree, Santiago — who was living in Anchorage, Alaska — contacted the FBI to tell them that the CIA was controlling his mind and “forcing” him to join ISIS. Following a brief psychiatric detention, Santiago was given back his personal firearm, and a few weeks later made the fatal trip to Florida.

After his arrest, Santiago allegedly said that he had carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS. This may be a manifestation of an ongoing delusion, or the confession of a “lone wolf” terrorist — but given the Deep State’s track record it wouldn’t be wise to rule out the possibility that Santiago had told some version of the truth to the FBI prior to the attack.

On January 31, four days after Trump issued his travel ban executive order, another American-born ex-soldier named Joshua Cummings calmly walked up to a transit guard in Denver and shot him in the head. The victim, 56-year-old Scott Von Lanken, was a pastor who worked part-time as a private security officer. Cummings, a former Army Sergeant and a recent convert to Islam who had relocated to the Denver area from Texas, had alienated several members of the mosque he was attending through his overt militancy and intolerance. He likewise claimed, after the fact, that he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS.

On Christmas eve the leaders of that congregation sent an urgent email to the Department of Homeland Security describing Cummings and expressing their concern that “He seems pretty advanced in his path of radicalization.” Leviathan’s apex security agency either did nothing to act on that intelligence, or quietly abetted the subject’s worst impulses. The former possibility would be unconscionable, but the latter, once again, cannot be discounted — as the third recent terror-related episode illustrates.

Just two days ago (February 21), the FBI announced the arrest of Missouri resident Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. on charges of offering material support to ISIS.

Hester was born in Missouri and converted to Islam following a brief and unsuccessful stint in the U.S. Army and now calls himself Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki. He came to the attention of the FBI through a series of social media posts in which he condemned Washington’s foreign policy and what he viewed as the government’s consistent abuse of Muslims. Among his complaints were the Obama administration’s bombing of Yemen and – ironically – US and Israeli support for ISIS, which he did not recognize as representing authentic Islam.

“A true Muslim,” Hester argued, “would never commit suicide bombing during Ramadan at the Prophet’s [mosque],” an incident that he took as demonstrating that ISIS was either apostate or a group controlled by enemies of his religion. Citing the example of right-leaning citizen militias and similar community self-defense groups, Hester spoke of an interest in organizing the “Lions of the Ummah” for the purpose of defending fellow Muslims against violence. On the evidence provided by the FBI, it doesn’t appear that Hester was inclined toward “direct action” against the US government until after he was targeted by the Bureau’s Homeland Security Theater troupe.

Last August, as documented in the federal criminal complaint, Hester was approached online by an FBI informant posing as a fellow Muslim who explored the depths of his grievances and carefully channeled them in the direction of prosecutable offenses. Over the next six months two FBI provocateurs guided Hester through the familiar ritual of radicalization.

Prior to being contacted by the FBI, Hester had considered moving to a Muslim country.

“I don’t like America, like for my kids,” Hester told an FBI terrorism facilitator (yes, that is how the Bureau’s Homeland Security Players have been described in federal court documents). Hester elaborated by saying that he was new to the Islamic religion and was often confused by what he read about its tenets online. His ever-helpful “friend” asked if Hester was “looking for an Islamic state,” eliciting an affirmative response from the subject that would later be used as evidence of an allegiance to ISIS.

The criminal complaint offers the de rigueur disclaimer that as the scripted “plot” unfolded, Hester was offered several chances to withdraw. It also documents that at one point, after the undercover operatives had seduced the subject into the alleged conspiracy, one of them threatened to harm his family if he “talked about any plans” or otherwise defied the instructions of his handlers.

Hester was eventually told to obtain roofing nails and other materials for pipe bombs that were supposedly to be used in a series of attacks on President’s Day. He was arrested at a storage facility on February 17.

It may never be known if Esteban Santiago was acting under the influence of the CIA or some other intelligence agency. While there’s no evidence that Joshua Cummings carried out a false-flag attack, the Homeland Security Department could be considered an accessory before the fact, given the advance warning it received from the Denver mosque. Lorenzo Hester’s “terrorist plot” was a pure FBI contrivance.

None of these “military-age men” came from any of the countries subject to the Trump administration’s travel ban. Shutting down immigration completely — or encasing the continental United States in an impregnable force field — would do nothing to protect the public from dangers that can be synthesized by the same agencies that supposedly provide that protection.

- Advertisement -
Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan


  1. I’m a little concerned by the vehemence with which you condemn the government for not following up on warnings from Cummings’ mosque. If someone contacted Homeland Security and told them that Will Grigg was making radical and threatening pronouncements, what would you expect to happen? If agents showed up at your door, would you consent to be interviewed by them? You of course realize that if you do consent, you’ve placed yourself in a position of great jeopardy, as they can turn any slip-up in your statements into a deliberate lie for which you can be convicted of a felony. Whether you do or do not allow them to question you, how much energy would you expect them to expend on trying to determine if you’re a possible terrorist?