Tags: Homeland Security | War on Terrorism | James Comey | FBI | americans | joined | ISIS

Director Comey: Homegrown Extremists the 'Highest Priorities for the FBI'

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 07:39 PM

More than 200 Americans have tried to join the ranks of Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, according to FBI Director James Comey.

"We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters … and also homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack the United States from within," Comey said in written testimony provided during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

"These threats remain among the highest priorities for the FBI and the intelligence community as a whole."

The radicalization of Americans by Islamic State (ISIS) is a top concern for the bureau, and Comey on Wednesday also urged technology companies to allow law enforcement authorities access to encrypted communications to help combat the threat.

In February, the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified that as many as 20,000 foreign fighters had joined the ranks of ISIS militants, about 3,400 of them from Western nations.

Comey acknowledged the number of Americans identified is "lower in comparison to many of our international partners."

But he added, "We closely analyze and assess the influence groups like ISIL have on individuals located in the United States who are inspired to commit acts of violence." ISIL is another name used for the Islamic State militants.

"Whether or not the individuals are affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization and are willing to travel abroad to fight or are inspired by the call to arms to act in their communities, they potentially pose a significant threat to the safety of the United States and U.S. persons.

There have been multiple arrests of suspects allegedly inspired by ISIS in recent weeks, including those involved in a thwarted plot to behead the organizer of a "Draw Muhammad" event in Texas.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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More than 200 Americans have tried to join the ranks of Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, according to FBI Director James Comey. We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters … and also homegrown violent extremists who may...
James Comey, FBI, americans, joined, ISIS, fighters, homegrown, extremists
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2015-39-08
Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 07:39 PM
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