Chairman King Statement on Recent Terror Arrests in Maryland and Florida
Arrests Involving U.S. Military and al-Shabaab Underscore Importance of Radicalization Hearings
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on the two recent terror arrests of Craig Baxam, a radicalized former U.S. Army soldier, for attempting to join al-Shabaab, and Sami Osmakac, a Kosovar-American for plotting to attack U.S. military personnel in Tampa.
King said: “As disturbing as these arrests are, they certainly do not come as a surprise. Within the past year, I have convened two House Homeland Security Committee hearings, part of a series of radicalization hearings, to examine these very topics: radicalized Muslim Americans joining al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab and the Islamist terror threat within and to the U.S. military community.
“At one of the hearings in December, the Committee learned that the threat of radicalized military personnel becoming involved in terrorist activity is very serious, with radicalized soldiers launching two successful attacks on military targets and the recent disruption of at least five recent terror plots involving military insiders and 11 involving former military personnel or those who attempted to join a law enforcement or intelligence agency. At this same hearing, we heard testimony reinforcing that al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and its adherents seek to target military personnel here in the homeland.
“During a separate hearing in July, we found that an increasing number of Muslim Americans – more than 40 – have joined al-Shabaab.
“I am quite concerned that, during the time he was being radicalized, Baxam was deployed to Korea working as a signals intelligence cryptographer, one of the most sensitive jobs in the U.S. military and intelligence communities.
“In the Osmakac case in Tampa, I have been reliably informed that the tip which led to his arrest came from within Tampa’s Muslim American community. The good citizen or citizens who reported Osmakac to authorities deserve great credit for doing what too many leaders in the Muslim American community too often fail to do. I have long advocated for increased cooperation between Muslim leaders and law enforcement, so this development is a positive sign.”
On December 7, King convened, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, a hearing entitled “Homegrown Terrorism: The Threat to Military Communities Inside the United States.”
On July 27, King convened a hearing entitled “Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland.”
Information on the entire series of radicalization hearings is HERE.