FBI Director James Comey provided a troubling assessment Thursday of the agency’s efforts to combat the domestic threat posed by potential ISIS operatives. Saying there are “hundreds, maybe thousands” of people in the U.S. being actively recruited by ISIS, Comey painted a grim picture of the government’s “needle in a haystack” search for potential threats.
“The haystack is the entire country,” Comey said Thursday. “We are looking for the needles, but increasingly the needles are unavailable to us.”
Officials say ISIS’ recruitment efforts involve an unprecedented level of sophistication in its social media outreach. Using Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms, the Syria-based terrorist group is effectively targeting what Comey described as “disturbed” people particularly vulnerable to their overtures. The terrorist group then directs them to encrypted venues where Comey said their communications become “lost to us.”