The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois is warning that ISIS terrorists are trying to use social media to recruit disaffected Americans who are engaged in protesting in Ferguson, Missouri and those upset over the death of New Yorker Eric Garner.
Using the hashtags #IslamicState, #Ferguson and #Coming, messages from Twitter users claiming to be part of ISIS are assuring African Americans that ISIS is the answer. “Hey blacks, ISIS will save you,” one message reportedly read.
U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton told KSDK Channel 5 in St. Louis that ISIS is looking to recruit rioters who burned down businesses and shot at police and firefighters the night a grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of strong-arm robbery suspect, Michael Brown.
“We received intelligence reports for law enforcement showing actual tweets ISIS was putting out encouraging Americans to join the people who were burning down buildings in Ferguson to engage that kind of conduct across America,” US Attny Wigginton said.
“They are trying to reach the people who are anti-government to begin with. We have a number of those individuals in the U.S., whether they are sovereign citizens, whether they are anarchists, they all showed up at one point or another in the St. Louis area in the last few months,” Wigginton added.
The FBI’s special agent in charge of the Springfield Illinois area, Sean Cox, agreed saying that these sort of homegrown terror recruits are hard to detect because there is often little warning that such people are about to turn violent or attempt to leave for Syria to join ISIS forces. Cox also said that with social media it is very easy to connect with terror groups outside the US.
ISIS forces in Syria and Iraq have been successful in gaining recruits from the west, including the USA.
On Tuesday a journalist from Germany reported that after a period of being embedded with ISIS forces in Syria he met many foreign fighters, including some from New Jersey.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.