DETROIT (WWJ) – Along with bombs and guns, the head of the FBI warns that social media has become a favorite tool of terrorists.
In Detroit on Tuesday to update the local field office on the nation’s war against terrorism, FBI Director James Comey said that quite a bit of terrorist recruitment happens online.
“They come at us through social media trying to recruit Americans to travel to their so-called Caliphate, to live a life of glory and participate in the final battle of good and evil on God’s side,” Comey said. “And, of course, all of that is nonsense…but it resonates with troubled souls in the United States and has over the last couple of years.”
“They come at us, primarily through social media,” he said, “trying to encourage those who can’t travel to stay and kill where they are; kill anyone, kill somebody in law enforcement or the military best of all, serve the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) by killing in your community.”
Comey — surrounded by representatives of local, federal and state law enforcement — said that while Twitter seems to be the most popular among terrorists, recruitment like this happens though many forms of social media.
What’s being done about it?
“We have investigations all over the county trying to understand where people are on the path from consuming to acting,” Comey said. “And that is a very difficult thing for us to try to decipher, made even more complicated by the availability of strong encryptions on devices and on communications.”
Comey also touched on the issue of the terrorist watch list, addressing media questions about those who say they’re being targeted, most so recently, due to their race, religion or national origin.
“I don’t know enough yet to tell you that we’ve seen an appreciable rise in the last year or two when the issue, especially ISIL, has brought the issue of radical Islam to the fore in such a way,” Comey said. “I don’t think we know enough yet.”
“But it’s work we do all across the country, because it’s all across the country that there are people who are idiots and who think that someone who worships a particular way must be associated with a bad group, so they pick on them or bully them or call them names.”