For patrons at an unnamed Chicago bar this past Friday, happy hour could have had a less than happy ending, as the FBI arrested 18-year-old in an attempt to detonate a car bomb right outside. Thankfully, the FBI had been tracking Daoud for months and had disabled the bomb, ensuring the public was never in danger. However, Daoud’s arrest still serves as an important reminder of the continued threat of terrorism against the United States and the growth of homegrown extremism.
With Daoud’s arrest this weekend, there have now been 52 publicly known, Islamist-inspired terrorist plots since 9/11. Of these, at least 43 could be considered homegrown plots. In other words, the plot was to be carried out by an American citizen, legal permanent resident, or visitor radicalized within the U.S.
The fact that the U.S. hasn’t seen a successful large-scale attack since 9/11 truly points to the success of our intelligence and law enforcement. In the case of this most recent plot, the FBI had been tracking Daoud’s emails and communications on Jihadi Internet forums, where he expressed a desire to engage in violent jihad and sought advice on how to kill Americans in “accordance with the Quran.” In May, undercover FBI agents reached out to Daoud and ensured that his plot was foiled.
The threat of terrorism remains real, and the U.S. must remain vigilant. Ensuring that the terrorists aren’t successful the next time around requires that the U.S. take a proactive approach to halting terrorism and promote a true strategy for countering violent extremism.
This week’s most recent foiled plot should serve as a reminder that there is no room for complacency.