Hundreds of U.S. citizens linked to ISIL: congressman

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From an article in The Tehran Times: Several hundred U.S. citizens had contact with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the chairman of the powerful U.S. House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers said on Sunday.

Republican lawmaker Rogers, a former FBI agent, told “Fox News Sunday” that he was concerned about efforts to keep track of Americans who had links to the ISIL group.  “It’s in the hundreds that have at least one time traveled, participated and trained with them, some have drifted back, some have gone to Europe.” Rogers said.

The U.S. State Department has previously estimated that more than 100 U.S. citizens had traveled to Syria to join radical groups such as ISIL.  “I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person who has an American passport that has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” Rogers said.

He also raised concerns about the estimated 500 British citizens and “several hundred” Canadians believed to have traveled to Syria, noting that passport holders from those countries could both enter the United States without a visa.  U.S. officials last week confirmed that an American national fighting for ISIL was killed earlier this month in Syria.

Separately on Sunday, another U.S. lawmaker said a strategy to fight militants in Syria could become clearer next week.  “We don’t have the information which hopefully we’ll have in the next week or so what the plans are going to be,” Dutch Ruppersberger — the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee — told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“A lot of it is classified. You don’t tell an enemy you’re coming in to attack them. That’s the number one issue. You don’t respond to the media. You respond to the endgame,” added Ruppersberger.”

(Source: AFP)

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