Less than a week after a federal jury in Minneapolis found three Somali-American men guilty of trying to join ISIS, the head of the FBI said Minnesota is not the focus of anti-terror recruitment efforts, but counterterrorism remains the bureau's top priority.
Director James Comey met Tuesday with business and community leaders in the Twin Cities. During a brief news conference at the FBI's field office in Brooklyn Center, Comey said terror recruitment is a problem across the country.
"The bureau has close to 1,000 open cases in all 50 states focused on people who are at some stage between consuming the poison from the group we call ISIL to acting on that poison, either by traveling or moving toward violence here in the United States."
Comey said the number of people attempting to travel began dropping last August, from six to 10 a month to one or two, but the number of recruitment cases agents are pursuing has held steady.
Comey said recent high-profile prosecutions may be detering some travelers, and the families of others may be warning them away. But Comey said some recruits may be planning attacks on American soil.
"People are staying home, because they know we might catch them if they travel and looking to do things on behalf of the Islamic State at home."
On Friday jurors found Guled Omar, 21, Abdirahman Daud, 22, and Mohamed Farah, 22 guilty of plotting to join ISIS and commit murder overseas. They were among nine young Minnesota men arrested since 2014. Six others pled guilty.
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!