Representative Mike Rogers (MI-R) said on an August 31 broadcast of "Fox News Sunday" that he is concerned that hundreds of U.S. citizens have been in contact with combatants of the Islamic State in Syria. A former FBI agent, Rogers currently chairs the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers said on the program, "It's in the hundreds that have at least one time traveled, participated and trained with them." Continuing, the acerbic Republicn said, "Some have drifted back, some have gone to Europe." Last week, the U.S. confirmed that at least one U.S. citizen has died fighting for the Islamic State.
Previous statements by the State Department put the number of U.S. citizens who had travelled to Syria to join groups such as IS at more than 100. "I'm very concerned because we don't know every single person who has an American passport that has gone and trained and learned how to fight," Rogers said.
(Douglas M. McCain, US citizen killed in Syria)
Rogers also expressed alarm about the more than 500 British citizens and "several hundred" Canadians who are believed to have traveled to Syria. He averred that these persons are able to enter the countries where they hold passports without a visa. , noting that passport holders from those countries could both enter the United States without a visa.
Rogers expressed the hope that a strategy may soon emerge to battle the militants in Syria. U.S. drones are not reportedly flying over Syria. "We don't have the information which hopefully we'll have in the next week or so what the plans are going to be," Representative Dutch Ruppersberger said on CNN’s "State of the Union." Currently leading the Democrats on the Intelligence committee, Ruppersberger said, "A lot of it is classified. You don't tell an enemy you're coming in to attack them. That's the number one issue. You don't respond to the media. You respond to the endgame."
On August 30, the U.S. conducted airstrikes outside of northern Iraq for the first time since beginning the current air campaign more than three weeks ago.
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