Tags: Barack Obama | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | Americans | Radicalized | FBI

White House: Radicalized Americans Probed After Return to US

Monday, 22 Sep 2014 02:56 PM

The FBI is conducting an active investigation into some of the 100 Americans who went to the Middle East to join terror groups like the Islamic State and have since returned to the U.S. after possibly being radicalized, The Hill reports, citing White House officials.

A senior administration official sparked potential terrorism fears at home during a briefing Monday on a United Nations resolution centered on preventing the tide of would-be foreign fighters into conflict zones.

He said that an estimated 15,000 foreigners had entered Iraq and Syria to join terror organizations like the Islamic Sate (ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front. The official also said that 2,000 of the foreign fighters were European while 100 of them were Americans, according to The Hill.

Another official said that number includes Americans "who may have tried to travel, or those who have come back."

The official added, "It includes those who have gone, those who have tried to go, those who have come back and are under active [investigation] — the FBI is looking at them." the official said.

The fear is that these Americans were radicalized while they were abroad and could attempt to carry out terrorist atrocities in the homeland, according to The Hill.

During repeated video messages, including those containing the chilling footage of the beheadings of two American journalists, ISIS has threatened to target the U.S., with one video even containing warning images of the White House.

President Barack Obama has been tapped as the chairman of a Security Council meeting in the U.N. later this week, which is aimed at pushing nation members to tighten their laws to cut off the flow of foreign citizens to the Middle East joining terrorist groups.

Earlier this month, Obama admitted that U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies were particularly concerned about planned terror attacks from these fighters.

"Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners — including Europeans and some Americans — have joined them in Syria and Iraq," Obama said. "Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks."

An administration official said U.S. agencies had been working on a series of measures to counteract the terrorism threat from radicalized Americans, according to The Hill.

The steps include advanced passenger name recognition systems for air travel as well as a pilot program in three American cities — Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston — where community leaders will try to prevent people being radicalized at home, The Hill said.

The White House is also expected to host a summit on jihadist extremism during the fall, the political website said.

A third senior administration official said the president's participation in promoting the U.N. resolution was a "rare and significant thing."

"It sends a very, very powerful signal this is an issue of the highest priority," the official told The Hill.

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The FBI is conducting an active investigation into some of the 100 Americans who went to the Middle East to join up with terror groups like the Islamic State and have since returned to the U.S. after possibly being radicalized, The Hill reports citing White House officials.
Americans, Radicalized, FBI, Investigation
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2014-56-22
Monday, 22 Sep 2014 02:56 PM
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