The FBI is now referring some potential terror suspects to counseling in a new strategy to defeat homegrown Islamic State supporters.
Rather than lock up everyone in the U.S. suspected of potential terrorist activity, the FBI will refer up to 10 percent of the thousands of people under investigation to counseling, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Proponents of the plan told TheWSJ it will ease the FBI’s investigative burden, and provide a possible “off ramp” from radicalization for some of the thousands of people in the U.S. interested in ISIS, especially minors. (RELATED: FBI Busts Alleged Homegrown Jihadi Ring In Minnesota)
“Nobody wants to see a 15-year-old kid go to jail if they don’t have to,” an official working on the new plan told TheWSJ, adding that the FBI will continue monitoring potential suspects referred to counseling and stand ready to arrest them.
Some inside federal law enforcement are pushing back against the plan, because of the potentially deadly consequences of misjudging potential suspects.
“I get the principle,” former FBI counterterrorism agent Peter Ahearn told TheWSJ. “But there are a lot of potential problems with this, and I think it’s a wrong move.”
A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told TheWSJ it works closely with the FBI and believes “successful interventions will be ones conducted with the appropriate participation of community leaders, educators, mental health professionals, religious leaders, parents, peers and law enforcement, depending on the specific circumstances.”
DHS is marketing citizenship to immigrants as part of its strategy to fight homegrown terror, betting potential access to shared citizenship rights will dissuade people from linking up with ISIS. (RELATED: Boston Partners With The Feds To Market Citizenship To Illegals)
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