FBI head warns of 'crowdsourced terrorism' and online predators - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FBI head warns of 'crowdsourced terrorism' and online predators

CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

FBI Director James Comey visited the Cincinnati agency’s field office Wednesday and warned of “crowdsourced terrorism” and sex predators operating on the internet

All 50 states currently have open investigations into suspected ISIS supporters, according to Comey.

Earlier this year, a 20-year-old Cincinnati man was arrested at a Colerain Township gun shop after allegedly plotting with a FBI informant to place pipe bombs at the Capitol. Christopher Cornell hooked up with ISIS members on social media, investigators said,

Through social media propaganda, ISIS implores individuals to travel overseas or “kill where they are” - a recruitment tactic that’s only picked up in the past two years, Comey says. The radical terrorist group has more than 25,000 English language followers on Twitter.

“The terrorist is buzzing in the pocket of a troubled soul 24 hours a day through Twitter and Twitter direct messaging,” Comey answered when asked about Cornell. “And if they find a real live one they’ll move them to an encrypted form of communication, which makes life even more difficult for us.”

He said agents are working 24 hours a day nationwide to identify and stop those consuming ISIS messages or planning to act. 

While there are still hundreds of investigations into domestic ISIS sympathizers, Comey said he’s optimistic people are wising up about the consequences of communicating with the group.

“Here in the United States, if you get caught messaging with them, you’re going to jail for a very long stretch. It’s not worth it,” he stated.

Wednesday was the FBI director’s second visit to Cincinnati. He met with the Hamilton County Sheriff and other law enforcement officials about the working relationships between local and federal agencies in the region.

Federal and local officials charged two local people in the past week with online sex crimes. In both cases, the suspects allegedly preyed on victims via social media.

Comey called on parents to add to the FBI’s efforts in combating online sex trafficking and crimes.

“You would not let your children wander around at night without knowing where they’re going, who is with them. When you let them log onto the internet, they’re wandering around the entire world without you,” said Comey.

The bureau recently conducted “Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide law enforcement action focusing on underage victims of prostitution. 149 victims, including one child from Cincinnati, were rescued in that bust.

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