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FBI director: Islamic State more dangerous than al-Qaida

By
Andrew V. Pestano
FBI director James Comey spoke at Colorado's annual Aspen Security Forum where he warned that the Islamic State poses a greater risk than al-Qaida. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
FBI director James Comey spoke at Colorado's annual Aspen Security Forum where he warned that the Islamic State poses a greater risk than al-Qaida. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

ASPEN, Colo., July 23 (UPI) -- FBI director James Comey said the Islamic State militant group's social media outreach for recruits, possibly from the United States, poses a greater threat than al-Qaida.

Comey spoke late Wednesday at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

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"ISIL is not your parent's al-Qaida," Comey said, referring to the Islamic State by using an alternate name. "ISIL is buzzing on your hip. They're right there on Twitter."

Comey was asked if the threat posed by the Islamic State was greater than that of al-Qaida, the organization responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks -- "Yes," he replied.

The Islamic State is willing to recruit people al-Qaida would not, according to Comey.

"The people the Islamic State is trying to reach are people that al-Qaida would never use as an operative, because they are often unstable, troubled drug users," Comey said.

The Islamic State's recruitment campaign as been especially "blossoming in the last six to eight weeks," according to Comey. The militant group urges followers to "kill where you are" if they cannot travel to the Middle East to join the group formally.

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IS communicates with recruits initially through direct messages on Twitter before moving to more secure, encrypted communications to avoid U.S. eavesdropping, according to Comey, who added "I worry very much about what I can't see."

There are about 21,000 English-speakers who follow Islamic State-linked Twitter accounts, with possibly hundreds or thousands living in the United States.

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