ISIS Inspires Children, Young Adults Virtually
The ISIS is continuing to inspire children and young adults to join their cause through virtual communication platforms, specifically social media networks, according to James Comey, FBI director. The bureau sees that online recruitment by the ISIS is one trend that continues to rise in the country.Advertisement
In a speech made before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that counterterrorism remains FBI’s top priority. As part of this, the bureau is confronting the proliferation of terrorist propaganda and grooming on the internet.
With the power of the social media, a terrorist recruiter does not necessarily recruit directly in the U.S., Comey stressed. Terrorists are recruiting young members across the world through different virtual platforms. Extremists are taking advantage of traditional media platforms such as glossy photos, in-depth articles and social media campaigns that can go viral in a matter of seconds.
This trend is a significant change and posing a big challenge to FBI as compared to a decade ago. FBI estimated there are 250 Americans who have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to fight alongside the ISIS.
“No matter the format, the message of radicalization spreads faster than we imagined just a few years ago,” Comey said.
“We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters traveling in support of ISIL [ISIS], and also homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack the United States from within. These threats remain among the highest priorities for the FBI and the Intelligence Community as a whole,” Comey said.
In a press conference held after his speech, Comey outlined that American ISIS members are particularly and increasingly recruiting younger girls today. “It seems to be drifting younger, with more girls. By girls I mean women under the age of 18, with whom this message on social media is resonating,” Comey told press as quoted by MSNBC. He added that the FBI had been investigating dozens and dozens of Americans who are secretly communicating with the ISIS.