Desperately seeking ISIS

Over the past few months I’ve been researching law enforcement issues related to Minnesota’s large community of Somali immigrants. The Paris massacres and Syrian refugee crisis have given the issues a renewed timeliness. I turned some of my research to use in the article just published by the Weekly Standard: “The threat from ‘Minnesota men.'” Please check it out! I am grateful to Standard managing editor Richard Starr and his crew for making room for it in the new issue.

The subject reentered the news in a big way this past April when six “Minnesota men” were charged with seeking to join ISIS. The original criminal complaint and underlying FBI affidavit have been posted online here by the Department of Justice. The Wall Street Journal article that I mention in the lead paragraph of my article is “U.S. charges six Minnesota men with trying to join ISIS.”

Reading the criminal complaint and underlying affidavit, I was struck by how “connected” the six men were to local schools and jobs. They were “connected” right up until the moment they weren’t. The Star Tribune noted this aspect of the case in the article “Minneapolis men facing ISIL-linked terrorism charges belie stereotypes.” I was also struck by the mysterious appearance of cash to pay for the travel each of the six planned to Syria.

In the case of Guled Omar, the travel expenses were to be defrayed in part by taxpayers. The affidavit reveals: “Bank records obtained show that OMAR withdrew $5,000 in cash from his federal educational financial aid debit card in the weeks leading up to his attempted departure.” It’s a striking fact I haven’t seen noted or have overlooked in news of the charges.

Omar, incidentally, was one of the 12 vetted refugees turned jihadists to make the dishonor roll promulgated this week by the indomitable Senator Jeff Sessions. Senator Sessions’s dishonor roll was reported here earlier this week by Breitbart’s Neil Munro.