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Franken urges Department of Justice to focus on ISIL recruiting in U.S.

  • Blog Post by: Abby Simons
  • September 2, 2014 - 7:55 PM

Sen. Al Franken on Tuesday urged Attorney General Eric Holder to focus U.S. Department of Justice resources on recruitment at home by terror organizations--particularly in Minnesota, and expressed concern over the Obama administration's lack of action, according to a letter released Tuesday to the Star Tribune.

“I was troubled by the President’s recent suggestion that the Administration has not yet developed a comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of ISIL’s activities in Syria,” Franken wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “As you know, one aspect of that threat is ISIL’s efforts to recruit American and other Western citizens to join its forces."

The letter was drafted in the wake of news that a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was purportedly beheaded by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and one week after former Robbinsdale Armstrong and Cooper student Douglas McArthur McCain was confirmed killed in Syria while fighting with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A second man, also from Minnesota, is believed to have been killed in Syria.

"One American who went to high school in Minnesota has been confirmed to have been killed in Syria while fighting with ISIL, and others have traveled there to fight with ISIL as well." Franken's letter continued. "We must act diligently and responsibly to prevent Americans from taking up arms with ISIL, or from reentering our country if they do.”

Franken also urged Holder to focus DOJ efforts where terrorism recruitment may be happening, such as Minnesota, and to prevent travel abroad by those suspected of joining ISIL.

“I understand the challenges posed by Americans who do not declare Syria as their destination and transit through other countries; nevertheless, the Justice Department, in coordination with other relevant agencies, should use its existing legal authorities to prevent Americans who intend to do serious damage to U.S. national security interests from reaching Syria or returning to the U.S. once they have done so.”

Read the letter here:

Franken Letter

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