If Rep Tim Bishop (D, NY) is right, there are about 40 ISIS, (or ISIL), fighters who are back in the US after having left the country to fight for the terrorist group in the Middle East. According to Bishop, the FBI has them under surveillance so the threat is not quite imminent. That is scant comfort, given the arrests in Australia this week. While all the information regarding their plans is not public, it appears that ISIL supporters in that country were planning random kidnappings in order to then behead the Australians kidnapped right off the sidewalk and film the execution. All this at the behest of an ISIL member who has Australian citizenship and ordered the terror campaign to be carried out on the streets of Australia. Clearly, similar campaigns will be attempted – if they are not already being planned, in the US. Better to alert the public about possible dangers than have the horrifying outcome of a victim of ISIL on home soil.

The odds of something like this being attempted have just shot up. With ISIL there is no limit, it seems, to their savagery and as much intelligence as possible must be accumulated and sifted through continually. Profiling potential ISIL terrorists – young angry men with roots in the Middle East who have recently returned from there might be a good place to start – but unfortunately the profiling will have to much broader than that. The medieval delusion of a revived Caliphate in the Middle East has not died with Bin Laden, it remains a motivating factor for those whose fanaticism leads to this sort of evil. One of the lessons learned from 9/11 is the vital. life-saving importance of coordinated intelligence between all levels of law enforcement and security. That cooperation is now needed even more than it has been in this last decade and a half. ISIL has to be fought on every front and thwarting their evil at home means everyone from the head of the NSA to your hometown police officer needs to be, in some way, part of the effort. Let the ACLU fret and fuss all they want. For the intelligence and police forces, to not profile and assemble the data and, you bet, eavesdrop, means to shirk their duty to defend the nation. We don’t need crazed conspiracy theories about drones attacking innocent americans. We need full utilization of all intelligence assets to safeguard citizens from a possible attempt, even a lone deranged attempt. That does not mean an overbearing apparatus that monitors every move anyone makes. It means getting to the right information as quickly as possible, and letting government lawyers worry afterwards about future lawsuits filed by the usual suspects, like the ACLU.