ISIS

White House Confirms Some American ISIS Fighters Have Returned to U.S.

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-Jérôme-, Foter

Shortly before the White House began dropping bombs on Syria yesterday, the White House confirmed that some of the estimated 100 Americans who have gone to the Middle East to join terrorist groups like the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS) have returned to the United States.

Discussing National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) activity, an unnamed senior administration official said the FBI is looking at "those who've gone, those who've tried to go, some who've come back."

How many are there? The administration official couldn't say. But, two weeks ago, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) claimed the FBI is watching 40 jihadists in the U.S.

Time points out the significance of the official's statement:

It marked the first official government confirmation that at least some of the Americans fighting alongside the Islamist extremist group have returned to the U.S. As late as Monday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said on MSNBC that "we have over 100 fighters there from America," leaving out any mention of Americans who have returned.

The Hill notes that President Barack Obama will be "chairman of a Security Council meeting later this week, when the U.N. will seek a new resolution demanding countries strengthen laws and programs to prevent the flow of foreign citizens to the Middle East to join terrorist groups." Also, the revelation about ISIS fighters returning to America "could prompt new security concerns about the prospect that Americans who were radicalized abroad could do damage to the homeland."

However, the president has stated that there are no known ISIS plots against the U.S. Likewise, although ISIS's threats to the U.S. are getting louder, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and House Foreign Affairs Committee leadership have all stated that the terrorist group does not pose a credible threat to the American homeland.

An estimated 15,000 people total, including 2,000 European citizens, have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the fight to establish a Sunni Islam caliphate. A week ago, a New York man was charged in federal court for trying to recruit fighters for the Islamic State.

Part of the Obama administration's plan to prevent more Americans from radicalizing is by reaching out to the Muslim community. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the NCC, DHS, and FBI would all participate in an "engagement meeting" pilot program.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who has been touching base with Syrian and Somali communities in the Midwest, says he has "enhanced the visibility" of "programs to engage in outreach to communities which themselves are able to reach young men who may turn to violence." Unfortunately, the DHS's strategy also includes pushing retailers to rat out people who buy broadly defined "explosive precursors" (think pressure cookers, fertilizer). 

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  1. Am I the only one who is creeped the fuck out when people refer to America as “the homeland”?

    1. Seconded.

      I cursed BOOOOOOOOOSH the day he called the new Waste of Resources as the Dept of “Homeland” Security.

      What are we – pre-WWII (and I suppose “during”) Germany or something?

      That term creeps me the fuck out. Do. Not. Use.

    2. Yeah, it rubs me the wrong way, but it distinguishes between the non-threat to Americans in America, compared to the real threat to Americans in Syria or Iraq.

      1. Adopting their terminology lets them control the debate, Ze.

      2. Then we should use the terms as you just did – “in America” and “in Syria or Iraq”.

        You seemed to convey the difference in a fine, non-Orwellian way.

    3. “Motherland” and “Fatherland” were already taken.

      1. “New Sudetenland”?

      2. As a reflection on the current level of political discourse and governance, I propose “Childrenland”.

      3. (Big) Brotherland

    4. Well, ‘the homeland’ is non-gender specific, so nobody is othered. Or something.

    5. It ain’t the “awayland”.

    6. I’m slightly more creeped out that Zenon managed to find a photo of me at the office.

      Although in all seriousness I am thinking of going as an ISIS guy for Halloween. I figured it’s just a ninja costume and a black flag with some jackson Pollack white out thrown at it. Easy peasy.

    7. No Hugh, you are not. I was aghast the first time I heard it, and it still creeps me out.

    8. Came to the comments just to say specifically that. It’s been in use now for years and yet it still stands out to me. Sad to think that kids growing up in the oughts will think it’s perfectly normal.

    9. I agree it is strange. But most people come here for freedoms from the oppression they were facing.

  2. OK, I’ll say something: “That alt-text is funny!”

    1. I’ll see you and raise you two bits…

  3. Jeh Johnson … says he has “enhanced the visibility” of “programs to engage in outreach to communities which themselves are able to reach young men who may turn to violence.”

    With all due respect, what does that even mean?

    1. Intentions!

  4. Now that truly is a punchable fucking face (mask).

  5. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, and House Foreign Affairs Committee leadership have all stated that the terrorist group does not pose a credible threat to the American homeland.”

    I think what they mean to say is that they haven’t checked their email, yet, this morning.

    1. Seriously, why would they say something like that if they haven’t checked with the White House, first?

      Ah, Obama’s campaign people are all out working on other campaigns, now. Two years ago, there’s no way the Obama campaign people would have let DHS or the FBI get away with saying something silly like that!

    2. Given that any random yahoo can walk into the White House, you can see why the President is worried.

  6. I think we should all cower in our homes while local PD’s and Federal authorities run around playing war and shooting at each other. Sort of a BOSTON STRONG scenario.

    1. I think I’ll update my range charts and fields-of-fire instead.

  7. This has the stench of anarcho-tyranny. The alphabet soup needs all of our data to harass political opponents and fap to teen sexts, but is utterly clueless about something that actually could be a threat.

    One of the things that pisses me off the most about the reaction to 9/11 was that people just forgot that some very basic police work by the FBI or INS could’ve prevented it, but instead of bureaucrat heads on the chopping block we got 13 years of workday cop and counting.

    1. It’s anarcho tyranny all right, refuse to punish criminals and use the crime as a justification to punish law-abiding citizens.

  8. We read, An estimated 15,000 people total, including 2,000 European citizens, have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the fight to establish a Sunni Islam caliphate.

    Maybe a stupid question, but how exactly do all these people from non-broken-ass, non-cesspool countries get into Syria and Iraq? Do they fly into Damascus airport? Do they fly to Turkey and trek in over hill and dale? Do they fly into Amman? Do they fly into Baghdad and take a cab north? Is the preferred route via Iran, and how exactly would that work? What are the logistics of someone from London winding up in the Islamic State, without some official cooperation? Something does not seem coherent here.

    1. Virtually always by way of Turkey, at least the Western ones.

    2. “Something does not seem coherent here.”

      Yeah….there has been a lot of that going around for the last 15 years.

  9. So, we’re supposed to be afraid of this group of swarthy fellas this week?

    I was all, fearin for my life and prosperity over the Guatemalan teenagers.

  10. I am positive that the guy in the picture is dressing up as Dr. McNinja, a webcomic character:

    http://drmcninja.com/

    In spite of the almost unbearably stupid name, it’s actually a decent webcomic at times. If you enjoy absurdist hyperbolic humor styles.

  11. Homeland Security does a great job of giving out tickets to drivers going more than 15 mph in the parking lot we share with them.

    Murica!

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