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Thursday, November 20, 2014

FBI tracking 150 people who may have travelled to Syria 'to fight'

Number of Americans suspected of fighting for Islamic State in Syria much higher than previously thought

The US is tracking as many as 150 people who traveled from the United States toSyria in recent months, “a significant number of them to fight”, FBI director James Comey told reporters at a briefing in Boston on Tuesday.
The number was much higher than previously acknowledged figures for Americans thought to have joined Islamic State (Isis) fighters in Syria. Last month Comey told CBS News that the FBI knew of “a dozen or so” Americans fighting in Syria “on the side of the terrorists”.
Comey repeated that appraisal on Tuesday. “There we see somewhere in excess of a dozen [Americans who have joined Isis] that we have a pretty good handle on,” Comey said. “I don’t have high confidence that I see the entire universe,” he added.
That total number of travelers under surveillance is 10 times that, Comey said. “We have tracked coming up on close to 150 people who traveled from the United States to Syria, for all manner of motivations,” Comey said Tuesday. “A significant number of them to fight.”
“We are determined not to allow future lines to be drawn from a terrorist diaspora out of Syria to a future 9/11,” Comey said.
Comey declined to answer a question about whether fighters had returned to the United States from Syria. “That is something that we track very closely,” he said. “I don’t want them to know too much about what we know.”