WASHINGTON — Renowned terrorism expert and author Sebastian Gorka said Saturday that as many as 110 jihadis linked to the Islamic State terrorist organization have either been arrested or killed inside the United States since the militant group rose to power in 2014.
Gorka, the author of the book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and the former chair of military theory at Marine Corps University, spoke during a panel discussion titled "Jihad in America" at the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit, along with Department of Homeland Security whistleblower Philip Haney and the founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Zudhi Jasser.
Gorka began by asking the mostly evangelical audience if they felt safer today than they did on Sept. 10, 2001, which produced a resounding "No!"
Gorka, the chairman of the Threat Knowledge Group who is also an adjunct professor at Joint Special Operations University and adjunct national security professor at Georgetown University, listed the statistics behind why many Americans feel that the country is facing more danger now than ever before.
He explained that two weeks ago he went to the Pentagon to take part in a briefing at the National Counterterrorism Center, where a heat map was produced showing that the Islamic State has fully operational affiliates in over 18 different countries around the world.
"Two years ago, that number was seven. In 24 months, they have more than doubled their global expanse," Gorka said. "Not only that, it controls territory in different regions of the world."
Although much of the focus on IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) has been on its territory in Iraq and Syria, IS also controls territory in Nigeria, as a faction of Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to the group. Additionally, Taliban leaders in Afghanistan have also sworn allegiance to IS.
"But that sounds very far away — the Middle East and central Asia. Let's bring it all back home," Gorka said. "My wife and I, Katharine Gorka, published a report one week before San Bernardino on what ISIS is doing in America."
According to the report published last November, at least "82 individuals in the U.S. affiliated with ISIS have been interdicted by law enforcement since March 2014."
But at last Saturday's event, Gorka said that at least 110 IS-linked jihadis have been arrested or killed by law enforcement in America since IS declared its caliphate on June 29, 2014.
"Not 10, not 50, but 110, with the most recent being the arrest a couple of weeks ago in Virginia of an ISIS terrorist," Gorka said.
A detailed list of 110 IS-linked jihadis arrested or killed in the U.S. can be found on the Threat Knowledge Group's website. The list explains the various reasons for why the named individuals were arrested or killed.
"If you look at those arrests and break them down into what they were doing, it gets even more disturbing," Gorka stressed. "Half of the people we have intercepted are what the Federal Bureau of Investigation likes to call 'travelers.' They are U.S. subjects who want to leave America to become jihadis in Iraq or Syria."
"Twenty percent of them are middle management, recruiters, people buying tickets for the jihadis to fly to the Middle East," Gorka added. "That leaves more than a third, 38 percent of everybody we have intercepted who have sworn allegiance to the new caliph, the new emperor of Islam, have decided that the best way to serve ISIS is to kill infidels here in America. They don't need to go anywhere. They can and buy a rifle, two-thousand rounds of ammunition and go to the range, practice and then go to a nightclub and slaughter 49 Americans."
Gorka continued by criticizing the U.S. government for its political correctness in the handling of the transcript of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen's phone call to police after he killed 49 at the Pulse gay nightclub in June.
"So, what has our response been? After Orlando, almost instantly the American government and left-wing media said, 'Well, Omar Mateen is a man with repressed homosexual tendencies who wanted to take revenge on a lover,'" Gorka said. "No, he is a jihadi who wants to kill people that he sees as infidels. But that reality was censored by a cabinet member of this administration. The attorney general [Loretta Lynch] removed and changed the wording of the 9/11 call, the transcript, that Omar Mateen made."
"What did he say with that conversation with that dispatcher? He wasn't asking for them to send ambulances to the Pulse nightclub. He was saying, 'I am a jihadi. I am fighting a holy war for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of ISIS,'" Gorka continued. "That had to be removed. That had to be deleted. When he said, 'Allahu Akbar, Allah is the greatest,' the Department of Justice decided that they will change the word 'Allah' in the transcript to 'God.' That's political interference in the intelligence cycle. That is a distortion of reality and that is what endangers you and every American."