Thursday, April 30, 2015

ISIL's Sophisticated Recruiting Campaign Poses Persistent Threat In U.S.

A recent string of terror-related cases in the U.S., including the the arrests of six Minnesota men accused earlier this month of attempting to join the Islamic State, highlights an unprecedented marketing effort being waged by ISIL, U.S. law enforcement officials and terror analysts said.
It's a campaign that is finding resonance from urban metros to the American heartland,
U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger speaks at a news conference 
about the arrest of six Minnesota men for conspiracy and attempt 
to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, 
namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 
Minneapolis.(Photo: Craig Lassig, European Pressphoto agency)
"This is not so much a recruitment effort as it is a global marketing campaign, beyond anything that al-Qaeda has ever done,'' a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the Islamic State's slick multimedia productions, its use of social media and personal "peer-to-peer'' communication are proving to be effective parts of a sophisticated program aimed at the West.
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, left, speaks with his defense 
attorney, Sam Shamansky, during a hearing on Feb. 25, 2015, 
to set bond on charges of money laundering and providing 
support for terrorism in Columbus, Ohio. 
(Photo: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, AP)
"I don't think there has been one case in which we haven't found some connection to the videos or other media the group has produced,'' the official said.
Federal authorities have identified more than 150 U.S. residents who have sought to join the ranks of the terror organization or rival groups in Syria. There is evidence that about 40 of those have traveled to the region and returned to the U.S. Most have been charged; an undisclosed number are free and subjects of intense surveillance, the senior official said. The smallest subset of the group, an estimated dozen, represents those who have actually joined the fighting ranks.
But the official said that the breadth of the ongoing inquiries suggests that the actual numbers of ISIL sympathizers, or those contemplating travel to join the group and other rival organizations, are likely much higher.
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