According to a report from two senior members of the “Program on Extremism” at George Washington University’s, 19 US-based people have been directed or inspired by virtual entrepreneurs in Islam since 2014.
Society’s use of encrypted and social media communications platforms is on the rise. Apps like Telegram, Signal and Whatsapp make it easy for ISIS recruiters around the world to communicated directly with would-be terrorists right here in the US, explains the report.
Within ISS is a group of Western jihadis based out of both Syria and Iraq. This group is dedicated to encouraging attacks on the homeland of the United States. The FBI refers to the group as “the legion.” It preys on residents with the US who use social media to express sympathy and empathy for ISIS.
The legion goes out of its way to reach out to the potential followers, and nurture their jihadi beliefs. The role of the legion is to encourage:
“…their contacts to take on more extreme positions and helping them make connections in real-world foreign fighter networks.”
The group encourages U.S. citizens to plot heinous attacks, including beheading an American soldier in the U.S., bombing a police station, and buying assault weapons to kill as many as many innocent civilians as possible. Each plot involves an ISIS recruiter communicating, guiding, nurturing, and in some cases, sending money to would-be terrorists in the U.S.
In some cases, “legion”-affected zealots would express a desire to travel to the core caliphate in Syria, or affiliates in Libya, and the virtual entrepreneurs would redirect them towards plotting attacks at home. Where it concerned an ISIS-sympathizer based in New York City, an ISIS recruiter told the individual he would vouch for his entry into the caliphate only after he successfully carried out an attack.
“As the response to this threat develops, it is unlikely the world has seen the end of virtual entrepreneurs with the deaths of Legion members and others associated with them,” the researchers conclude.