ISIS in America concerns have prompted active investigations by the FBI. James Comey, the director of the federal law enforcement agency, revealed that investigations into suspected Islamic State supporters or operatives are ongoing around the United States.
During a speech to intelligence officials, FBI Director Comey said that the number of concerns about ISIS operatives and Islamic State supporters are “slowly climbing,” MSN reports. Comey added that ISIS has attempted to expand its reach into the U.S. and is using social media to attract “disaffected” young people.
— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) October 22, 2015
Although the FBI director has talked about ISIS sympathizers in America in the past, this is reportedly the first time there has been an official, public reference to open investigations involving Islamic State operatives and supporters. The pace of the investigation has reportedly varied over the course of the past several months. James Comey said that it remains unclear whether or not the FBI has the necessary resources to handle the mounting demand of investigation requests.
Over the course of the summer months, the FBI experienced an uptick in investigation requests as federal authorities voiced concern about a possible Fourth of July attack during public gatherings.
“If that becomes the new normal… that would be hard to keep up,” the FBI Director added, noting that the pace of investigation requests has eased somewhat in recent months.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 23, 2015
Since July, FBI investigators have seen a decline in the number of Americans attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS, USA Today reports. Even though such a decrease sounds like good news, Comey said that it is still not known how the lack of Middle East travel attempts will impact domestic terror threats by ISIS supporters and operatives.
“Something has happened that is flattening the curve [of travel attempts]),” Comey said.
During the Congressional Oversight Committee briefing, Director Comey updated the lawmakers on the current terrorism fighting efforts by the federal agency, the FBI News Blog reports.
Comey promised that his agency would be the “best possible stewards” of the power and taxpayer funds that Congress has entrusted to them. During U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee meeting, the director also stated that counterterrorism remains the top priority of the FBI. He said that the agency is working to address evolving threats from Al-Qaeda offshoots, such as ISIS, and to keep a watchful eye on the “terrorist propaganda and training” which occurs on the Internet.
Highlights from Director Comey’s testimony before the Congressional committee, as published by the FBI website are as follows.
“In the counterintelligence realm, the Bureau continues to investigate traditional espionage—spies posing as diplomats or ordinary citizens—but we also remain focused on the growing insider threat: trusted employees and contractors who use their legitimate access to steal secrets to benefit another company or country.
“In the cyber arena, an element of virtually every national security threat and crime problem the FBI faces is cyber-based or facilitated—cyber threats exist from those who want our state secrets, trade secrets, technology, and our ideas; those who maliciously steal or delete corporate data; and criminals on the so-called ‘dark web’ who exchange information and tools that enable cyber crimes.
“And on the criminal side, the FBI continues to place a premium on investigations involving public corruption, violations of civil rights, health care fraud, violent crime, transnational organized crime, crimes against children, and crimes in Indian Country, among others.”
After discussing the ISIS investigations and terrorism prevention tactics employed by the FBI, Comey said the agency is equally committed to thwarting the smuggling of nuclear weapons and other potential weapons of mass destruction into the United States.
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