The Obama administration’s Islamic State strategy continues to face criticism though it boasts progress in the reduction of Americans traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for their cause. Unfortunately, this means that more converts are plotting attacks on the American homeland instead, according to the FBI.
Only a half-dozen Americans have been detected by the FBI trying to join ISIS in the Middle East since July compared to several dozen during the months prior. Estimates are that over 250 Americans have fled the states in favor of fighting with ISIS in either Iraq or Syria. In comparison, FBI Director James Comey has reported more than 900 homegrown ISIS suspects within all 50 states. Hotspots include Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, New Jersey and New York.
Additionally in the last two years, 66 male and female Muslims have been charged with alleged ISIS actions.
The FBI is being overwhelmed with the sheer number of caseloads, putting a strain on its ability to stop terror plots through surveillance. Complicating things further, ISIS converts have begun using encrypted gaming acts, circumventing the FBI’s efforts to track communications.
Comey says that ISIL is now putting an emphasis on jihadists killing on American soil rather than traveling to Iraq or Syria.
Federal authorities believe that by successfully reducing the number of Americans traveling to fight with ISIL, it is at the same time creating a swelling threat in the United States.
For instance, Terrence J. McNeil of Akron, Ohio decided to help carry out local attacks instead of traveling to the Middle East. He feared being arrested at the airport so instead he allegedly giving the names and addresses of more than 100 members of the United States military to ISIS with a message to kill them.
“It’s logical we’d see an increase in homegrown jihadis after slowing the flow of foreign fighting to local jihad,” said John Guandolo, a former FBI agent.