DHS Chief: Tracking Bad of Americans Returning from ISIS Using ‘Broken Travel’

Thursday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” Department of Homeland Security’s Jeh Johnson admitted to a “broken travel” flaw in the tracking of radicalized Americans potentially returning to attack the homeland after fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

When host Wolf Blitzer asked about Americans joining ISIS and then coming back to the United States and “getting ready to launch terror attacks,” Johnson said, “There are a number that we’re tracking very carefully who by their attempt to go to Syria and have been arrested. Those who have gone for different reasons. Some who have come back. Law enforcement does an excellent job of tracking the individuals. There’s obviously an unknown there. But we have systems in place to track these individuals as they come and go. It’s difficult to pick up so-called broken travel.”

When Blitzer interrupted to ask what “broken travel” is, Johnson explained, “Where you fly into country A,  and then you go to country B on the ground, and say we don’t know that fact. So working with our allies we need to do a better job of tracking when somebody goes from country A to country B.”

Wolf clarified the point by giving an example, saying, “If somebody flies from the United States to Munich or Vienna and then winds up by train in Turkey, then easily could cross that border into Syria.”

Johnson concluded, “Like I said, there’s always an unknown factor. But I think we have between Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Justice and our intelligence community, systems in place to track these individuals, either through travel information or through our intelligence collection efforts. And so I have reasonable confidence that we’re tracking these people. Do I have complete confidence? I can’t say that to the America people. But I have reasonable confidence that we’re tracking these people.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN