FBI Director: ISIS Online Influence Growing in US
FBI Director James Comey says Islamic State's influence is on the rise in the United States. His warning follows the dramatic Mohammed cartoon contest attack carried out earlier this week by two gunmen who drove all the way from Phoenix to Texas.
Federal agents estimate those two are among hundreds of ISIS followers in the United States who are now being bombarded on the Internet with calls to take deadly action.
Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi are the Phoenix roommates behind the Texas terror attack and the newest faces of homegrown terrorism.
Comey says young ISIS recruits like them are being drawn in by the group's slick, online messages of war.
The terrorists are using hip-hop music productions that mimic the popular Grand Theft Auto video game -- images of handsome fighters and promises of homes and security -- to sell a false version of life under ISIS rule.
"You're speaking to them in a language they understand: video, moving imagery, and music," American University professor Scott Talan told CBN News. "People DO want to belong to tribes. And this is saying, 'Join our tribe.'"
Durinng the past year, at least 53 Americans have been charged with trying to travel to Syria to join ranks with ISIS. But thousands of others living in the United States may be consuming the online "poison."
In February, ISIS investigations were taking place in all 50 states.
With Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, the FBI estimates the Islamic State is posting some 50,000 messages every day, telling followers "kill where you are" if you can't travel to Syria to join the fight.
"Before the advent of this new technology and the rise of social media, how would you reach into the basements and bedrooms of American homes?" asked Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, chief of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
And while the ISIS connection may begin on social media, the FBI warns if it does make contact with people here in the United States, their conversations go "dark" because the terrorists steer them into encrypted communications.
The government can no longer follow them, making them potentially even more dangerous.