Homegrown Terror on the Rise in America
ISIS Using Social Media as a Weapon and Brings the Fight to Us.
Former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill spent his Easter morning live on the air with FOX News Channel's Leland Vittert on FOX & Friends. O'Neill's cause for concern: how ISIS is becoming an increasing influential recruitment powerhouse, thanks to its adeptness at social media.
In the last three weeks alone, six Americans have been nabbed by the FBI for plotting to join or support the Islamic terrorist organization. This includes Keonna Thomas of Philadelphia, a 30-year-old mother of two who described in online correspondence with an Islamic State group fighter in Syria how it would be "amazing" to become a martyr for the cause.
While utterly shocking to many, to Rob O'Neill this kind of news doesn't exactly come as a surprise. Highlights of his exchange with Leland Vettert:
Vettert: "Does it surprise you how successful ISIS has been in continuing to recruit Americans from inside the United States and being able to self-radicalize people?"
O'Neill: "It's not surprising at all. They've pretty much mastered the art of online videos and social media. They're making these videos that look like Hollywood trailers, and they're pushing them out to a younger group that honestly doesn't understand the reality of what's going on over there. They're recruiting people that are young…who don't really have much to look forward to. They present this utopia political project."
“They're making these videos that look like Hollywood trailers, and they're pushing them out to a younger group that honestly doesn't understand the reality of what's going on over there.”
Vettert: "Are these lonely people living in their mom's and dad's basement that we really shouldn't worry about, or is it a real threat?"
O'Neill: "They definitely present a danger to the United States. Right now, what we're seeing is that they want to go over to ISIS in Syria, Iraq and parts of Africa to be a part of something bigger. A lot of them are actually burning their passports because they never want to come back. Once they realize how hard it is to potentially get to Syria through Turkey or wherever, they can do some damage fighting us here. All they're going to need are a few guns and a little bit of will…and that willingness to die in a gun-free zone, a movie theater, a shopping mall or an elementary school to wreak some havoc on us."
Vettert: "One of the things that's been helpful in a lot of these arrests: surveillance programs, be it social media surveillance, phone records, those kinds of things. How do you balance the evidentiary value/investigative value of being able to have these kinds of surveillance programs versus the personal freedoms here in the United States?"
O'Neill: "I have nothing but respect for the FBI and Homeland Security, because their job is very difficult. While they are trying to protect us, they're getting handcuffed by certain civil liberties, which we do need to have but…what's more important, to have someone listen to someone else's phone call or monitor their Twitter, or have a bunch of people get executed in a movie theater? We need to give up some of our rights, potentially, just so we can be protected from the terror within."