The Minnesota connection

mohamed-abdullahi-hassan I researched and wrote the article “The threat from ‘Minnesota men'” before the San Bernardino massacre, but the things I learned along the way may have some bearing on it. “Minnesota men” have been in contact with ISIS and sought to enlist in the cause. In April the FBI arrested six of them who were on their way to join the jihad. We’re a little ambivalent about the FBI’s success in apprehending them. Now they’re going to remain here and they really, really don’t like us very much.

One can learn a lot from reading the criminal complaint charging the six and the underlying FBI affidavit summarizing the investigation. They are posted online here. ISIS is recruiting here and may even have a presence in the United States. The FBI has stated that social media and encrypted communications have expanded beyond their capacity to keep up. If apprehending the six represented a stroke of good fortune, we won’t always be so lucky, as events in San Bernardino have proved many times over.

Since I wrote my article, Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes have published “ISIS in America: From retweets to Raqqa.” Steve Hayes and Tom Joscelyn step back to take in the big picture in “The long war continues.” Bill Bennett followed up with Tom Joscelyn in an interview that Bill has posted here. These are all worth your time.

Another of those “Minnesota men” appears in the Daily News headline “Minnesota man who recruited terrorists online as member of al-Shabab in Somalia surrenders to authorities: officials.” The name of this “Minnesota man” is Mohamad Abdullahi Hassan, a/k/a Mujahid Miski. He may be connected to the San Bernardino massacre:

Authorities are investigating whether he helped inspire or instruct San Bernardino terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, according to KSTP. Hassan is believed to have spoken with them through social media, the TV station reported.

FBI officials have said Hassan, who was known by his nickname Miski in Minneapolis, left the country in August 2008 when he was 17 years old. The nonpartisan Counter Extremism Project once called Hassan “one of the most influential jihadis using Twitter and other social media platforms to spread violent propaganda, incite and recruit.”

The original KSTP story is posted here (video below). It’s a story that provides a timely postscript to my “Minnesota men” article.