CRIME

FBI Confidential: Social media creates homegrown terrorists

Jul 26, 2018, 9:24 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Homegrown violent extremists, including those who self-radicalize, remain a top focus for the FBI agents who try to prevent terrorism before it happens. 

Supervisory Special Agent David Fitzgibbons with the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force sat down for an interview with FBI Confidential host Debbie Dujanovic to talk all things terrorism.

When Americans think about terrorism, the attack of September 11, 2001 is usually the first thing that comes to mind, but as Fitzgibbons explains things have changed a lot since then.

“The threat landscape has changed significantly since the 9/11 attacks,” Fitzgibbons says, referring to the change in technology in the years since 2001.

The internet and social media are a big reason. The agent tells about what he calls HVEs, or homegrown violent extremists. These are United States citizens who have been radicalized by propaganda from terrorist organizations.

When asked about the minds of HVEs, Fitzgibbon gives insight:

“They don’t quite assimilate into society, they don’t quite understand the Western society if they come in from another country and gain citizenship. And then they start, sometimes, to alienate themselves and start to really become sympathetic to the foreign terrorist organization’s propaganda online.”

A shocking video produced by the Wall Street Journal showed during the interview shows an American citizen who later became the first United States citizen to carry out a suicide bombing in Syria.

“It is like finding a needle in a haystack with these homegrown violent extremists,” Fitzgibbon said.

That’s why Fitzgibbon reiterates the importance of the adage, “If you see something, say something,” especially when it comes to what you see online. This helps the FBI identify possible recruiting by terrorist groups.

Fitzgibbon promises that the FBI’s main job in protecting America from international terrorism, but it takes a lot of people and a lot of departments to accomplish this.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller once said, “No single police nor intelligence agency can unilaterally accomplish this mission.”

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

nichole olsen was shot and killed outside a nightclub in dowtown salt lake city over the weekend....
Elizabeth Weiler

Man arrested for murder in weekend shooting outside nightclub in Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — A Southern Utah man has been arrested and booked into jail in connection with the shooting death of a Salt Lake City woman over the weekend. Nichole Olsen, 29, was shot and killed outside a nightclub near 300 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police have […]
2 months ago
Twitter's new owner Elon Musk will not reinstate the Twitter account of Infowars' Alex Jones....
Brian Fung, CNN

Twitter won’t restore Alex Jones’ account, Elon Musk says

Musk elaborated on his position Sunday, citing scripture and his experience with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
2 months ago
A car crashed into an Apple store in Hingham on Monday. Photo credit: WBZ....
Amir Vera, Michelle Watson and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

1 dead, at least 19 injured after car drives through Massachusetts Apple store

Authorities in Massachusetts say one person was killed nearly 20 others were injured Monday after a vehicle drove through an Apple store.
2 months ago
Logan Tabernacle...
AIMEE COBABE, KSL NEWSRADIO & ELIZA PACE, KSL TV

Historic Logan Tabernacle vandalized

Police in Logan are investigating vandalism at a historic tabernacle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2 months ago
LGBTQ club shooting...
Elizabeth Wolfe, Holly Yan and Amanda Watts, CNN

Police have identified the 5 people killed in Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting

    (CNN) — [Breaking news update, published at 5:55 p.m. ET] Police have identified the deceased victims of the Colorado Springs shooting as Raymond Green Vance, Ashley Paugh, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston and Derrick Rump. A news conference about the shooting is ongoing. Related: The Beehive State reacts to Colorado LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting [Previous story, published […]
2 months ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 20: People hold a vigil at a makeshift memorial near the Club...
CNN

Mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club leaves 5 dead and destroys a coveted sense of safety

The shooting an at LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs destroyed a building sense of safety in communities around the world.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
FBI Confidential: Social media creates homegrown terrorists