The Islamic State (ISIS) is conducting an unprecedented terrorist recruitment campaign right under the noses of law enforcement officials in this free society. They are taking full advantage of that fact. By all accounts they are successfully penetrating the United States, say U.S. law enforcement officials and terror analysts, according to USA Today on Tuesday.
How are they doing it so successfully? They are implementing a sophisticated set of social media tools to gain personal “peer-to-peer” communication. It is proving effective especially in urban metropolitan areas such as Minneapolis and Detroit. As one law official told USA Today, “This is not so much a recruitment effort as it is a global marketing campaign, beyond anything that al-Qaida has ever done.”
One example of this subversive intervention occurred earlier this month. Six men were charged with conspiracy to provide material support and attempting to aid a foreign terrorist organization with plans to join the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS or ISIL). Again, this was accomplished right under the noses of local authorities.
More than 150 U.S. residents/citizens have been uncovered by federal authorities that have sought to join the terrorist organization or related groups in Syria. The number yearning to be a part of the militant movement is believed to be much higher.
The Islamic State had been involved in coordinating outreach according to USA Today. An official who asked to be unidentified said, “I don’t think there has been one case in which we haven’t found some connection to the videos or other media the group has produced.”
“Young men and women are “responding to the call to join violent jihad abroad at an alarming rate,” according to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Carlin is not alone in his assessment. FBI Director James Comey has also raised the alarm about an escalating number of cases being dealt with by the agency. And according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, the “peer-to-peer” or “brother-to-brother” campaign involves a close group of suspects engaged in the radicalization of each other at every phase of recruitment leading up to plans to travel to the battlefield.
Michael Leiter, former director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Center, told USA Today, “Al-Qaida in Pakistan represented Version 1.0, with its static video of Osama bin-Laden’s face. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula became Version 2.0, with (American cleric) Anwar al-Awlaki using graphics and the online magazine ‘Inspire’ to reach potential English-speaking converts. Think of ISIL as Version 3.0.”
Bruce Hoffman, a longtime terrorism analyst and director of Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies program adds, “It’s like the Dutch boy sticking his fingers in the dike,” he told USA Today.
* If you have enjoyed this column, may I suggest you press the SUBSCRIBE box? It’s FREE. Thank you for your patronage.
** Send your comments to: email@example.com