Terrorists recruiting on your social media

A look at how the terrorist organization focuses on influenceable young people.

Three terror attacks in one day. 

RELATED STORY: ISIS is claiming responsibility for the stabbings at a Minnesota mall

RELATED STORY: Suspect in New York, N.J. bombings nabbed

Investigators are looking into terrorist ties to bombs in New York and New Jersey.

A terrorism expert tells 10News WTSP that the recruitment of terrorists could be happening right in your neighborhood or on your social media feeds. 

Dr. Anne Speckhard has talked with hundreds of ISIS defectors and knows the terrifying truth behind terrorism.  She’s interviewed defectors like a 15-year-old boy who has seen kids as young as 6, trained to torture and carry out suicide missions.

"They slaughter innocent people," the 15-year-old tells Speckhard.

Speckhard says while we're winning the war on terrorism overseas, in the United States we're losing the fight to online recruitment. Terrorists prey on those who are isolated, disgruntled, and vulnerable and prompt them to carry out violence like the Minnesota mall stabbing in the name of ISIS.

“Those people would not become terrorist, except through the internet. If you start liking things on Facebook and start retweeting ISIS material, you will be get contacted. They'll move you as quickly as they can off the mainstream social media where the FBI could be watching. They'll move you to encrypted, and they'll try to figure out how can I hook you,” says Speckhard.

While the FBI tracks online posts, Speckhard says it's something everyone can monitor along with talk in the community. She urges people to report anything that doesn't seem right, but says because of online recruitment, an attack can happen anywhere now.

“If you're living by CENTCOM and SOCOM, you can be thankful that they're doing a lot of vigilance for their own communities including people who live off-base. They’re watching for that. In some ways it makes you safer, on the other side military is always the target,” says Speckhard.

She believes the best way to defeat terrorists is to not live in fear.  “We want them to totally reject that they have any grievance against us as a country and against their neighbors,” Speckhard says.

Speckhard's non-profit group, International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, is releasing videos of the defector's stories online in the 21 languages ISIS recruits.

The FBI has a program called “Don’t Be a Puppet: Pull Back the Curtain on Violent Extremism.”   It’s designed to help teenagers, parents, community and religious leaders learn about violent extremism and who’s vulnerable.


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