New clues in the war on terror show what length ISIS recruiters are going to in order to get Americans to join their fight.
They are developing videos similar to what young Americans see every day in video games and even using social media to promote their cause.
“Part of the lure and the attraction is making these videos look like an Xbox game, with bad guys, guns, people getting blown up. The difference being these are real people, it’s not a game,” Leonard Marcus from Harvard University’s Kennedy School said.
It’s all designed to convince young people to rebel against America.
“It’s very enticing, it’s very attractive for someone who’s looking for that kind of action,” Marcus said. “We have a large, very smart, young community here in Boston and it is possible that some small fraction of these people could become motivated to get involved.”
The FBI says Ahmad Abousamra, a Stoughton High School graduate on the most wanted terrorist list, is now heading up the social media campaign for the Islamic State group.
Experts say posting the recent beheadings of Americans on extremist websites shows the group is ramping up its strategy, using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to spread their hate-filled messages. The Islamic State group is even selling its own merchandise and clothing.
“Part of the motivation is to normalize this activity as ‘we’re good people, we’re a community,’ and that lures in somebody who’s vulnerable. If you’ve taken them far enough they’re willing to cross the line. It could be crossing a line going to Iraq and Syria and being part of the fighting force or crossing the line here in the United States with an attack domestically,” Marcus said.
More than 100 Americans are believed to be fighting with rebels in Syria and there are estimates that about a dozen are with ISIS. There is growing concern among security experts that with this ramped up social media campaign those numbers could grow.