The FBI has targeted Bergen County, New Jersey to stop Islamic State militants from getting a stronghold there – and agents have been going to high school with a message.
CBS Christine Sloan was there when agents visited a Bergen County school on Tuesday. An FBI intelligence analyst who did not wish to be identified spoke at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack.
He warned students about a new threat – a sophisticated recruitment video trying to lure them into joining the terrorist group ISIS. “There’s a role for everybody. Every person can contribute to the Islamic State,” a young Canadian man tells viewers in the recruitment video. “You can even come here and rebuild.”
“”It definitely was eye-opening,” said high school senior Zoey Zibor. “You know, you learn that it’s in your own backyard. It’s Americans citizens wanting to join these terrorist groups.”
The young Canadian who appears in the recruitment video ended up dying while fighting as a member of ISIS in Syria. “It’s definitely a bad thing,” said senior Basik Gorkem.
The Bergen County school was one of many the FBI has come to with its alarming message – regular American kids could be vulnerable to this kind of propaganda.
“It was videos and all social media that no one is really that aware of what’s happening; how deep they go into Facebook and Twitter now,” said senior Aaron Brunert.
“I would say I am more interested than I am scared,” said senior Robert Harris. “I want to know how to find terrorists; how to stop them from doing things.”
The FBI said more than 150 Americans have traveled abroad to join ISIS – some of them teenagers.
“Our students; our young people have to understand that they have a part to play in counterterrorism operations here,” said Leo McGuire, security director at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School.
The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages. They hope to make sure they don’t fall prey to propaganda that ISIS is putting on the Internet.