The U.S. faces a tough hurdle in identifying Americans seeking to join Islamic extremists because there is “no typical profile” of those seeking to join the fight, says FBI Director James Comey, the Wall Street Journal reports. Law-enforcement officials have become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by Americans and other holders of Western passports who travel to join extremist groups in Syria, especially Islamic State. Comey said such people range from teenagers to 63-year-olds and come from all ethnic groups and walks of life.
“The challenge of the traveler phenomenon is there's no typical profile,” he said at Fordham Law School. “As best we can determine, the common feature is they are troubled souls who are seeking some kind of meaning in their life.” Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security said it would begin collecting more information from travelers coming to the U.S. from countries whose citizens don't need visas. That includes many European countries, from which thousands of citizens have traveled to Syria. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said the U.S. would ask for more passport data, contact information and other names or aliases. Such information could be used to conduct more thorough checks in government watch lists.