The Justice Department has charged at least 60 individuals in the United States this year with terrorism-related crimes, an unprecedented number that officials attribute to a heightened threat from the Islamic State (IS) and the influence of social media on potential recruits, the Washington Post website reports today (December 28, 2015).
"The common connection we're seeing is -- in almost every case -- a tie to social media," said John P. Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, at a conference last month hosted by the news site Defense One. He also pointed out that many of the cases involve young people, who are at ease building relationships online.
More than 55 percent of those charged are under 25 years old. Most troubling, Carlin said, about one-third are 21 or younger.
Islamic State supporters inside the United States -- inspired by its leaders' calls to attack where they reside -- are increasingly plotting or attempting to carry out attacks domestically, officials said. In 2015 alone, prosecutors brought more than 15 cases against such individuals.