Three young men in Brooklyn have been charged and arrested by the FBI for allegedly planning to provide material support to ISIS. One of the men was arrested before attempting to board a flight to Turkey. More from NBC 4 New York:
The men, aged 19, 24 and 30, allegedly planned to return to New York to commit a domestic act of terror if they failed to join the group overseas, law enforcement officials said. The officials say any potential homegrown threat was aspirational, not operational, but authorities moved in because they believed the suspects' plans to travel abroad were imminent and their alleged intent to join ISIS real.New York City is always a target for Islamic terror, but over the past year has become a higher profile target as ISIS has strengthened. Last summer it was reported ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was once in U.S. custody and let go, issued a threat upon his release in 2009, "See you in New York."
It has been a concern of Americans and government officials for months that people sympathetic to ISIS can re-enter the United States using their passports after receiving training overseas. In September, Minneapolis Fox 9 reported ISIS fighter Abdirahmaan Muhumed worked at the Minneapolis airport with a security clearance before becoming radicalized and joining the terror army overseas. In September, FBI Director James Comey admitted that there isn't much that can done to prevent foreign fighters from re-entering the U.S. on U.S. passports. It is suspected that at least a dozen Americans have gone to Syria and returned.
Today Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul announced the creation of a new bipartisan task force to prevent violent extremists from re-entering the United States.
"Thousands of Westerners, including Americans, have traveled overseas to fight with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. Armed with military training, combat experience, extremist connections and Western passports these individuals pose an exceptionally grave threat to America’s security and are only a plane-flight away from our shores. In recent months, terrorists have struck multiple Western cities, including Copenhagen, Paris, Sydney, Ottawa and beyond," McCaul said in a statement. "We need to make sure we are doing everything possible to prevent these fighters and other terrorists from traveling to the United States to carry out more attacks. I am eager for the Task Force to start its work and to provide recommendations on confronting this urgent threat.”
“The danger of foreign fighters inspired by terrorist ideology is clear and alarming. We have been told time and again that the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–ISIL–is actively recruiting Westerners and promoting lone wolf-style attacks throughout the globe," Ranking Member Bennie Thompson said. "The threat of a terrorist-trained extremist returning to the United States from the battlefields in Iraq and Syria is serious, and we must do what we can to prevent it. This Task Force will allow our committee to take a more precise look into this vexing problem, and I look forward to receiving the final recommendations.”
The three men arrested today will appear in federal court this afternoon.
This post has been updated with additional information.