New ISIS manual shows US in crosshairs; FBI has 900 ongoing ISIS-related investigations

A 64-page terrorist operations manual recently released by an Islamic State supporter on Twitter underscores concerns that the US homeland remains firmly in the group’s crosshairs. FBI Director James Comey told US intelligence officials last month that the Bureau has approximately 900 ongoing Islamic State-related inquiries, most of which involve homegrown suspects.

The manual provides detailed instructions on successfully carrying out terror attacks.

“I think the manual format gives them sort of a how-to process and therefore it’s another indication of the danger we face in dealing with these self-motivated jihadists,” said former FBI Associate Deputy Director Oliver “Buck” Revell. “I think it shows a great deal of critical analysis at the heart of the movement and that they are certainly knowledgeable, and they are not ignorant of our methodologies and even our technical capabilities, and we would be wise not to underestimate their capabilities.”

A former high-ranking EU intelligence source tells the Investigative Project on Terrorism that three former members of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service who currently are in Raqqa, Syria, wrote the English-language manual, which was derived from earlier Arabic lectures.

It notably instructs lone jihadists and members of terrorist cells to conceal their Muslim identities in the West.

You should make sure to not look particularly attached to religion. A man who works on a secret operation should meddle in the general population. If you can avoid having a beard, wearing qamis (Islamic clothes), using miswak (a sort of toothbrush recommended in the hadiths), and have a booklet of dhikr (Islamic devotional booklet) with you, it’s better. Also, you shouldn’t be going to often to places like mosques, Islamic institutes or Islamic libraries. You should also wear western-style cloths to appear neutral and not draw attention to yourself.

The manual also directs jihadists to have plausible cover stories such as posing as engineers, doctors, or tourists, and instructs them not to rush their attacks.

The manual repeatedly cites the prophet Muhammad or his companions for religious justification for its recommendations….

“With the presence today of social media, Google and so on, collecting intel on a target has become significantly easier than 10 years ago. There is today a part you can do online from your home, and some other specific info you can complete with an inspection on the target’s location site,” the manual states.

All of this shows that the Islamic State knows a lot about us and our capabilities, and we would be foolish not to take them seriously — because they have the ability to collect and analyze intelligence and hit their targets, Revell said.