Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ISIS Supporters in the United States: GWU Study, Arrests, Data Give Insight

ISIS Suspect/Supporter in Federal Custody
(One of 71 arrested since March 2014)

Updated (Dec 1, 2015 – from the NY Times here) (edited to fit this blog format): 

HEADLINES: 56 Arrests in U.S. This Year Related to ISIS Study Says.”

American authorities this year have arrested nearly five dozen people in the United States for helping to support or plot with ISIS and that is according to a new study. That is also the largest terrorist related arrests in the country in a single year since 9/11.

ISIS recruits defy any single profile although they are younger than previous terrorism suspects, draw heavily on converts to Islam, and reflect increasingly prominent roles for women in the terrorist organization.

A demographic snapshot of the 71 individuals arrested on charges related to ISIS since March 2014, including 56 this year, emerged from a comprehensive review of social media accounts and legal documents of nearly 400 American sympathizers (George Washington University study). Those individuals ranged from hardened militants to teenage girls, to petty criminals, and college students – the diversity is staggering the report says.

Even before the recent attacks in Paris, at least three dozen people in the United States suspected of ties to ISIS were under heavy electronic or physical surveillance. Those under investigation typically had little terrorism expertise or support from a cell, making it even more difficult for the authorities to predict or detect who might carry out a strike.

For example, the people in the study range from a 15-year-old boy to Tairod Pugh, a former Air Force officer who was 47 years old at the time of his arrest. The average age of the American supporters of ISIS was 26. That reflects a pattern unfolding in other Western countries as social media attracts younger recruits. John P. Carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security, has said that of the terrorism-related arrests in the past 18 months, mostly involving ISIS that some 80 percent of those arrested were younger than 30 and 40 percent were under 21.

Also, according to the study:

1.  About 14 percent of those arrested were women.
2.  The vast majority were American citizens or permanent residents (emphasizing the homegrown threat the authorities are combating, compared with foreigners infiltrating the country).
3.  Some 40 percent of those arrested were converts to Islam, a larger representation among American supporters of ISIS than the 23 percent of American Muslims over all who are converts, according to the study.
4.  Slightly more than half of those arrested had tried to travel abroad, most likely to Iraq or Syria, or were arrested during their travels to conflict zones, the report said.
5. And to date, at least seven Americans have died fighting with ISIS in Iraq or Syria.

American authorities have recently detected a trend that they believe shows the impact of the group’s new message to stay at home and carry out attacks there adding there has been a significant drop in the number of Americans seeking to go to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.

Counter-terrorism officials say that since July an average of two Americans a month have tried to travel or successfully traveled to ISIS-held territory, compared with nine a month over the previous year.

Related: How ISIS Expanded Its Threat

I conclude that their punishment should be swift, just, and harsh to set the standard for the world to see how we handle such ISIS movements of any kind in the U.S.

As usual, thanks for stopping ... I will provide updates on this as the trials and verdicts progress.

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