A teen playing basketball after school, an FBI agent, a couple on their honeymoon and a young mother raising her 7-year-old son were not all white, the news outlet reported.
The “diverse” group of people were all arrested on charges of helping the Islamic State. ISIS and supporters of the terrorist group have embedded themselves in America with the help of vigorous anti-racial policies.
Data compiled by USA TODAY using federal court documents along with two studies on terrorism by New America, a non-profit think tank, show however that arrests have decreased sharply since the group’s rise to prominence in late 2014 and early 2015.
USA TODAY’s analysis also shows there were double the number of cases in 2015 when compared with 2017, but the FBI says the group is far from being eliminated.
“The good news is, you know, the caliphate is crumbling and that’s positive for all of us,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Judiciary Committee last month. “The bad news is, ISIS is encouraging some of its recruits and potential recruits to stay where they are and commit attacks right in the homeland.”
The FBI is currently investigating some 1000 ISIS-related threats in the US. In addition, agents are investigating a larger number of “lone-wolf types, who are motivated and inspired by ISIS to commit attacks,” Wray said.
Suspects in attacks USA TODAY examined had all been in the US legally, and in fact, most were born and raised in America: Ten of the 17 suspects were Americans, but most were not white.
From 2014 to 2017, the 17 attacked targets in the US on behalf of ISIS with varying degrees of success. The seven other suspects who were not US citizens, had entered the country legally; two held green cards, three had been naturalized, and two others had a visa.
Of the 152 cases reviewed by USA TODAY, 55 involved an alleged plot on US soil, 40 of which were prevented. Sixty percent of the suspects were characterized as “lone wolves” and the people arrested in ISIS-inspired were “diverse”.
“They seem to be people who don’t have a strong connection or an anchor of some kind to their lives,” he said. “It’s like they are looking to connect to something or with something bigger to give them a greater purpose.”
A study done by New America on terrorism in the US since 9/11 found the number of women involved in Muslim extremism increased as the Islamic State’s gained territory.
Most cases, 29, were registered in New York, followed by 18 in Virginia. Minnesota noted 13 cases while California noted 11. Texas had nine suspects. Florida, Ohio and Missouri each counted eight.
The legal, non-citizens came from Muslim countries or countries with Muslim populations, including Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. All had lived in the US for at least two years before carrying out an attack.
Albert Ford, one of the authors of a study at New America that examined terrorism in America since 9/11, said: “It’s not 100 percent a US problem, but to say it’s 100 percent an outside problem is just not accurate. This radicalization is happening in large part within our borders.”