Congress: US fails to stop most people trying to join ISIS

Mohammed Hamzah Khan
FILE - This undated passport photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago shows Mohammed Hamzah Khan. Khan, 19, a suburban Chicago youth accused of trying to join Islamic State militants is holding talks about a possible plea deal. Agents arrested Khan last year as he tried to board a flight with his younger brother and sister to the Middle East. Khan has denied attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Federal Judge John Tharp told attorneys Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, he'll set a trial date if a deal isn't sealed by the next status hearing on Oct. 1. (U.S. Attorney’s Office via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has largely failed to stop more than 250 Americans who have traveled overseas to join or tried to join terrorist groups, including the Islamic State group, a new congressional study concluded on Tuesday. It did not cite significant numbers who have sneaked back into the United States without being arrested or monitored.

The report by five Republicans and three Democrats from the House Homeland Security Committee said the Obama administration lacked a strategy to prevent such travel abroad, identify all who try to return to commit terror attacks, or cope with new recruitment practices and technology that allow extremists to communicate securely.

“Of the hundreds of Americans who have sought to travel to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, authorities have only interdicted a fraction of them,” the report said. “Several dozen have also managed to make it back into America.” It noted that several people were identified and arrested this year trying to return to the United States.

The report said a particular concern was western Europeans who travel to Iraq or Syria and would be permitted to fly to the U.S. without applying for a visa.

“American returnees are not the only threat to the United States,” it said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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