U.S. Turns To Local Officials To Stop Americans Joining ISIS

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a plan to stop Americans from joining terrorist groups but was vague about the details.
Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 15, 2014

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a plan aimed at stopping American extremists from joining terrorist groups like ISIS, but during that presentation Monday, he was a bit fuzzy on the details. 

What's most notable about this plan is that it involves what he calls "pilot programs" on the local level. 

HOLDER VIA U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: "Ultimately the pilot programs will enable us to develop more effective and inclusive ways to build a more just, secure and free society that all Americans deserve."

He said his plan will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders and U.S. attorneys in hopes of building a broad network to keep the nation safe. 

But the attorney general didn't actually outline how he plans to do that or in what cities these test programs will take place. That announcement isn't expected until next month. 

CNN cites a U.S. official who says one city that will likely be a part of the program is Minneapolis. The Twin Cities area has seen several young people recruited to Islamist rebel groups in Syria and Somalia in the past few years.

But The Wall Street Journal writes this plan will focus not just on Americans who wish to travel overseas and join a terror group but also on citizens who've been influenced by extremist teachings and might plot an attack from within the U.S.

Utilizing local law enforcement to identify people who sympathize with extremist terrorist groups is kind of new territory. Politico notes it's been avoided in the past due to concerns about violating civil liberties. 

But other nations have already taken the step of involving local officials. British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked his government to pass legislation that allows law enforcement to seize the passport of anyone suspected of traveling to support ISIS.

And Germany has banned its citizens from any activities supporting the group.

Granted, this is a more prevalent problem for Europe than it is for the U.S. The International Centre for Radicalisation estimates more than 11,000 Western Europeans have traveled to fight with Syrian rebels.

The U.S. government suspects more than 100 Americans have traveled to support the Syrian civil war and more than a dozen, are believed to have joined ISIS. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.