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FBI Director: ISIS Using Online Tactics To Recruit Americans

DENVER (CBS4)- The director of the FBI visited Colorado this week and detailed how the terror organization ISIS is recruiting Americans to take up their cause.

It's not just the recruitment of Americans that's concerning to the FBI, it's the method of recruitment -- the Internet.

FBI Director James Comey said how they are recruiting new members is getting the attention of the U.S. government.

James Comey
FBI Director James Comey (credit: CBS)

"We have seen an emergence since I was last in government of the people we call home grown violent extremists," said Comey on Wednesday.

RELATED STORY: University Of Denver Expert: ISIS Not Interested In 'Worldwide Terrorism' … Yet

The most recent case in Colorado is Shannon Conley from Arvada, also known as Halima Conley, who became radicalized via the Internet.

Conley has been charged with aiding the foreign terrorist organization Isis, or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

shannon conley
Shannon Conley (credit: CBS)

Court documents claim Conley joined the Army Explorers to be trained in U.S. military tactics and firearms, and that she told the FBI she wanted to wage Jihad and to go overseas and fight.

The FBI tried on numerous occasions to talk her out of going through with her plans to provide support to ISIS to no avail.

"These are the people who are directed by Al Qaeda, may not even personally know somebody in Al Qaeda but the Internet makes that irrelevant," said Comey.

Prior to Conley, it was Jamie Paulin Ramirez, better known as Jihad Jamie who once lived in Leadville. She pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists in 2011. It's believed she was recruited by Coleen LaRose from Pennsylvania who went by the name of Jihad Jane.

jamie paulin-ramirez
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez (credit: CBS)

Comey said the first thing citizens need to do is the equivalent of "see something, say something" because once a person has become radicalized there are behavior changes and there are usually clues that something isn't right.

"More often it will be a family member or a friend who will see something in person or online. We need those folks just to tell us," said Comey.

In the case of Conley, her Facebook page revealed changes that she was becoming radicalized. She posted a video from Channel 4 London about Western women who marry Islamic fighters.

"Sometimes people worry, 'If I tell law enforcement maybe I'll get somebody in trouble.' If they're not doing something wrong, no, you won't," said Comey.

Comey is 11 months into a 10-year term as the FBI director. He has a goal of visiting all the field offices in his first year. Denver marked his 40th field office visit of 64 field offices in the U.S. and around the world.

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