Screenshot from video of ISIS terrorists purportedly killing Ethiopian Christians in Libya.
(photo credit: screenshot)
WASHINGTON - More than 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to fight for Islamic militants, Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey said on Wednesday.
"We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters ... and also homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack the United States from within," Comey told lawmakers on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The radicalization of Americans by Islamic State is a top concern for the agency, and earlier on Wednesday Comey urged technology companies to allow law enforcement authorities access to encrypted communications to help combat the threat.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confessed In testimony before the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday that the Pentagon is training only around 60 Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS
, a number "much smaller than was hoped for at this point," The Guardian
This number is significantly lower than the number of soldiers the Pentagon had announced in 2014 that it intended on training. They had initially proposed a training program consisting of 5,000 soldiers per year over a period of three years.
In response, the Obama administration explained that the low number was due to the rigorous selection process, which narrows the pool of new recruits. Selection first involves a screening program which ensures that the potential fighters have no history of atrocities and are willing to campaign in a way which complies with the laws of armed conflict.