It’s the first official, high-level government confirmation that some Americans who have been fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East have returned to the United States. The report on time.com comes from a “senior administration official” who was briefing reporters Monday morning.
“It includes those who’ve gone, those who’ve tried to go, some who’ve come back and are under active—the FBI is looking at them,” the official said. “These are FBI matters, I refer you to them on specifics.”
As late as Monday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said on MSNBC that “we have over 100 fighters there from America,” leaving out any mention of Americans who have returned.
On Friday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice hinted that U.S. intelligence may have been tracking U.S. citizens who have returned home after taking up arms in Syria and Iraq in the name of the Islamic jihad.
“Well, with respect to the Americans who may be engaged in combat in Iraq and Syria, this is something that our national security agencies and counterterrorism team are taking very seriously. It’s something we track closely. And we are doing obviously all that we can to both gather the necessary information and take the appropriate precautions to the greatest extent that we possibly can.”
Also on Friday, Fox News reported what one congressman claimed about dozens of American ISIS fighters already back in the homeland.
Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat. According to his remarks, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube last week, those 40 are currently being surveilled by the FBI.
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