FBI director: Number of IS cases in US has not dropped off

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016

BROOKLYN CENTER — The director of the FBI said Tuesday that the Islamic State group is currently the main threat facing the United States, both in its efforts to recruit fighters to join its members overseas and to have others carry out violence in America.

Director James Comey said the IS group poses a third potential threat: a “terrorist diaspora” that he said will eventually flow out of Syria and Iraq and end up in Western Europe, where members will have easy access to the U.S.

“There’s three prongs to this ISIL threat,” Comey said. “The recruitment to travel, the recruitment to violence in place, and then what you saw a preview of in Brussels and in Paris — hardened fighters coming out, looking to kill people.”

Email newsletter signup

He said officials are “laser-focused on that.”

Comey took questions from reporters Tuesday in the FBI’s Minneapolis office as part of a two-day visit to the region that included meetings with community leaders and local law enforcement. Comey responded to questions about the heroin epidemic, shootings involving officers and surveillance issues, but the bulk of his comments were about the Islamic State group.

Last week, three Minnesota men who were accused of plotting to join the IS group were convicted of conspiring to commit murder overseas — which carries a potential life sentence — as well as conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and other charges.

The defendants — Guled Ali Omar, 21; Abdirahman Yasin Daud, 22; and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 22 — were among a group of friends who prosecutors say recruited and inspired each other to travel to Syria. A total of 10 men were charged in the conspiracy; six pleaded guilty and a seventh is at large, believed to be fighting in Syria.