Who is ISIS recruiting in New Jersey?
A new report out of George Washington University reveals 56 people have been arrested in the U.S. this year for allegedly trying to help ISIS.
That’s the highest yearly terror arrest total since the 9/11 attacks 14 years ago.
The "ISIS in America" study finds that while other terror groups have relied heavily in the past on drawing recruits from Middle Eastern populations in America, ISIS is using the Internet to try and recruit people from many different backgrounds.
According to Celeste Danzi, special agent for the FBI in New Jersey, it is clear that those being recruited by and supporting ISIS in this country are not predominantly Middle Eastern, Muslim men with beards and turbans.
"They run the gamut," she said. "They're young men, some women, but there's really no specific category except that young adults are especially vulnerable to the rhetoric on these social media websites."
Danzi said these individuals "may be surfing the Web or just reading up on this because they're interested, and then they follow links or they get involved in conversations."
ISIS not only posts videos and articles, Danzi said, but also operates chat rooms where recruits can ask questions and get involved in one-on-one interactions.
She said those who are attracted to the ISIS rhetoric are not happy or emotionally healthy individuals.
"They're disgruntled, they may have a grievance, actual or perceived," she said. "Some borderline mental illness, a chip on their shoulders. There's a variety of reasons why people are drawn to an organization like ISIS."
Over the past couple of years in New Jersey, three people have been charged by the FBI with federal violations, specifically, material support of terrorism. Danzi also said because the terror group is reaching out to homegrown Americans from middle-class families, predicting who will actually become a full-fledged terrorist is difficult.
She adds if people are concerned about an individual in their neighborhood or someone they know, they can contact the FBI Newark field office at 973-792-3000.