Al Qaeda is issuing a new threat against the U.S. Navy and personnel around the world, reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Times. Those threats include naval vessels, nuclear weapons deployed by the Navy and even extend to the family of Navy members.
The sad fact is such threats can not be expected to come solely from external sources. Nidal Malik Hasan, a radicalized Muslim Army officer, single-handedly killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood. A U.S. Navy sailor, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted in 2008 for sending classified information about his fleet's travel plans in what prosecutors said was his hope of creating an attack like the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. In 2005, Army Sgt Hasan Akbar was convicted and sentenced to death in a military court martial for murdering fellow soldiers in Kuwait in a grenade attack on the eve of invading Iraq.
He said "he was concerned about U.S. troops killing fellow Muslims in the Iraq war."
Then there are other cases involving nonviolent acts of internal sabotage. Samar Khalil Spinelli, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who is a native of Lebanon, pled guilty in 2007 to conspiring to help her acquaintance, Nada Nadim Prouty fraudulently obtaining naturalized U.S. citizenship after both engaged in sham marriages for immigration purposes. Prouty had worked as an FBI agent and CIA case officer. Spinelli admitted she obtained her U.S. citizenship through fraud.
Once naturalized, Spinelli and Prouty enjoyed high level security clearances. Prouty pled guilty of naturalization fraud, was stripped of her U.S. citizenship and ordered deported to her native Lebanon. That deportation was withheld; ostensibly due to the sensitive information and training she amassed during her tenure as both a FBI and CIA agent.
Other cases unrelated to terrorism show people can slip through the cracks. Last month, it was reported that a 22-year active duty U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer serving in a sensitive post at the Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, Fla. was arrested on passport fraud charges. It turned out he served his entire Navy tenure under an assumed identity. The case demonstrates how schemes exist for people to infiltrate our armed forces without getting caught.
The Christmas day near-miss attack aboard the Amsterdam to Detroit Northwest airliner was a clear reminder we are directly engaged with a determined Islamist enemy. That enemy has just publicly stated its intention to specifically target a branch of our armed forces. As its message resonates with an increasing number of westerners, accountability must replace complacency within the military and other government bureaucracies.