The FBI is keeping a close watch on Americans who have traveled to and returned from the war in Syria. The US believes that al-Qaeda affiliates in the war-torn country are actively attempting to recruit Americans there and train them to carry out attacks back home, senior intelligence and counterterror officials tell the New York Times. At least 70 Americans have traveled to Syria or attempted to since the war began three years ago, the officials revealed. Most haven't returned, but the FBI is monitoring those who have.
"We are focused on trying to figure out what our people are up to," FBI Director James Comey told reporters yesterday. A handful of those who've returned are under direct around-the-clock surveillance. One man, former US Army soldier Eric Harroun of Phoenix, was charged last year with fighting alongside the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front; he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was released. But despite all the worry about Islamist groups, the Obama administration is considering resuming shipments of non-lethal aid to the rebels, notes another Times report—even if some of it ends up in militants' hands. (Read more Syria stories.)