Tags: Emerging Threats | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | War on Terrorism | fbi | terrorism | isis

FBI Asks Police to Help Track Threats by Homegrown Terrorists

Image: FBI Asks Police to Help Track Threats by Homegrown Terrorists
(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 07:45 AM

The FBI has called upon the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies across the country to help track the growing population of Islamic State followers in the United States in an attempt to head off possible attacks on home soil.

According to CNN, the FBI is struggling to maintain surveillance on the growing number of homegrown terrorists, acknowledging that it does not have enough resources to monitor their interactions on social media.

FBI Director James Comey told a group of police officials that there are hundreds of suspects who need to be monitored. As a result, police agencies are adding surveillance teams to help the FBI monitor suspects.

"It's an extraordinarily difficult challenge task to find — that's the first challenge — and then assess those who may be on a journey from talking to doing, and to find and assess in an environment where increasingly, as the attorney general said, their communications are unavailable to us even with court orders," Comey said, according to CNN.

"They're on encrypted platforms, so it is an incredibly difficult task that we are enlisting all of our state, local, and federal partners in and we're working on it every single day, but I can't stand here with any high confidence when I confront the world that is increasingly dark to me and tell you that I've got it all covered," he said.

"We are working very, very hard on it, but it is an enormous task."

The move to shore up support from the police came several weeks after the terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, in which an Islamic State (ISIS) supporter attempted a gun attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest.

One of the attackers, Elton Simpson, was already being monitored by the FBI, but the agency lost track of him for a few days before the attack.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has said he plans to add 450 officers to the counterterrorism unit, in part to deal with the growing threat of homegrown terrorism, CNN reported.

Other police departments are also staffing up at the request of the FBI, including the Los Angeles Police Department.

Meanwhile, the Senate is due to vote in an unusual Sunday session on whether to renew the Patriot Act, whose provisions include the mass data collection program for surveillance. There is a slim chance that the program will survive, although the House voted to replace it with one that's less sweeping. 

In arguing for the renewal of the Patriot Act recently, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, highlighted the widespread nature of the terrorist threat, pointing out that 56 FBI field divisions are currently investigating cases of homegrown terrorism, while more than 150 people from the U.S. have joined ISIS in Syria.

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The FBI has called upon the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies across the country to help track the growing population of Islamic State followers in the United States in an attempt to head off possible attacks on home soil.
fbi, terrorism, isis, us, homegrown, police, social media
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2015-45-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 07:45 AM
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