In dawn raids Sept. 18, 800 federal and state law enforcement officers made 15 arrests in Sydney and Brisbane. More raids were conducted the next day.
The raids were prompted by an intelligence report that Mohammed Baryalei, an Afghan refugee who became a bouncer at a bar in Sydney, is now a senior IS leader in Syria, had ordered the "demonstration" killings to "shock" and "horrify" the community.
There are about 500,000 Muslims in Australia. About 160 are active supporters of the terror group, authorities suspect. At least 20 have returned to Australia after fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq, according to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.
We're the "Great Satan" in the Islamic State's demonology. Australia isn't even the "Little Satan." Australia hasn't bombed them. We have. If IS was planning kidnappings and beheadings there, why couldn't - our wouldn't - IS be planning comparable acts of terror here?
IS doesn't pose an "imminent" threat to Americans, President Obama said. But when was the last time anything he said about national security policy turned out to be right? It wasn't in January, when he compared IS to a "jayvee team." Or in July, when he said the world is "more stable" and "less violent" than when he assumed office.
Democrats blocked Sept. 18 consideration of a bill by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex, to strip citizenship from any "American" who fights for IS. The Obama administration has "widened the loopholes" that permit Islamists to enter the United States, said a union representing federal immigration agents.
For every one who went overseas to fight, there could be as many as ten IS supporters here at home. Former colleagues still on the job have told him "with no uncertainty" that IS has established "sleeper" cells in the U.S., former CIA Middle East operative Bob Baer told CNN's Jake Tapper.
"People collecting this stuff say they're here, ISIS is here, they're capable of striking," Mr. Baer said. Some IS militants are American citizens who've returned from Syria and Iraq. Others entered the country illegally across our porous southern border, he said.
"The people who do this for a living are very alarmed," Mr. Baer said.
Evidently their political masters aren't. At a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on Terrorism Sept. 17, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, the chairman, asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson if he was aware that the week before, four Middle Easterners with ties to terror groups were apprehended crossing into Texas from Mexico.
"I've heard reports to that effect," Mr. Johnson replied. "I don't know the accuracy of the reports or how much credence to give them."
Nor, apparently, did Mr. Johnson - who got his job more because of his skill at raising funds for Mr. Obama than for security expertise - care enough to learn more. His nonchalance stunned Rep. Chaffetz.
"He says he doesn't know the answer to that," Rep. Chaffetz told Megyn Kelly of Fox News. "The answer is unfortunately yes. He's the Secretary of Homeland Security. You need to know this."
In the last year, the Border Patrol has caught 13 people from Syria, 6 from Iraq and 4 from Iran trying to sneak in across our border with Mexico, Rep. Chaffetz said.
A bulletin was sent to law enforcement agencies warning IS terrorists across the border in Juarez may be planning to attack Fort Bliss in El Paso, Judicial Watch reported Aug. 29. After that report, the El Paso offices of federal law enforcement agencies received a memo from their political masters threatening agents who speak to the media with termination and/or criminal prosecution.
This administration, it seems, is trying harder to conceal from Americans the scope of the Islamist threat than to protect us from it.