CRANE, Ind. – U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter praised the response of federal agents Wednesday after the arrest of an 18-year-old Brownsburg man who now faces federal terrorism charges.
Agents arrested 18-year-old Akram Musleh Tuesday before he boarded a bus to New York. Federal court document said Musleh was then planning to fly overseas to fight for ISIS.
“The FBI is doing an excellent job of getting on top of this problem of homegrown terrorism,” Carter said when asked about the arrest by FOX 59.
Carter toured the Naval Support Activity Crane alongside U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The 100-square-mile facility is home to research laboratories and testing facilities and the third largest U.S. Naval installment in the world.
“I think we have to be incredibly vigilant,” Donnelly said when asked about the arrest, who invited Carter to tour NSA Crane.
“Their mission, their dedication is to make sure it’s never a fair fight,” Donnelly said of NSA Crane’s mission.
Carter is the first U.S. Defense Secretary to tour NSA Crane.
“Our job is to destroy ISIL in Iraq in Syria which we must do and we will do,” Carter said. “That’s absolutely necessary because it’s essential we destroy the idea there could be a state based upon this ideology. We will do that.”
Federal officials for months had confirmed to FOX 59 numerous Hoosiers are being monitored as potential homegrown extremists.
“It was a matter of time that something like this would be announced,” John Pistole said, former deputy director and head of counter-terrorism for the FBI.
Pistole, also the former head of TSA, is now president at Anderson University.
“The question was, was he satisfied to do something overseas, or was he willing to take the advice of some of those people that he had been chatting with to do something here?” Pistole said.
While Carter noted terrorism arrests like Musleh’s are primarily a law-enforcement operation, he noted the Department of Defense is providing the resources it can in the overall fight against terror.
“We have to combat ISIL where it spreads everywhere around the world,” Carter said. “But then last we have to do it here at home.”