MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden says the U.S. government should take drastic measures to stop ISIS terrorists who are Americans from returning to the United States.
This comes after federal officials arrested a man over the weekend trying to board a plane in Chicago to join ISIS fighters in Syria.
The FBI says at least a dozen Americans are fighting for the terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East, including at least one Minnesotan who recently died in battle.
McFadden says the government should be required to revoke their passports so they can’t return.
“If you leave this country to join a terrorist organization, we will take away your passport – period,” McFadden said.
Minnesota’s large East African population has been ground zero for terrorist recruitment.
McFadden also proposed a series of federal spending programs for job training, employment resources and community policing grants.
At least 20 young Minnesotans joined al-Shabaab in Somalia, with one even posting a recruiting video from Somalia before he was killed.
The FBI says it knows the names of Americans who join ISIS. Director James Comey told Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” the agency is tracking them in case they try to return.
“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back,” Comey said in his first television interview as the new FBI director. “So someone who’s fought with ISIL with an American passport and wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.”
McFadden says Minnesota is vulnerable to terrorists returning to the Twin Cities, and that the U.S. should move quickly to stop them at the borders.
“When we have intelligence that shows that they have gone to these camps where they’re trained to become ISIS fighters, at that point in time their passport would be revoked,” McFadden said.
He also criticized Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken for what he said was “not doing enough” to stop terrorist recruitment of young people in the Twin Cities.
A spokeswoman for Franken, Alexandra Fetissoff, said in a statement that Franken has been meeting with the FBI about the issue since he took office in 2009.
Here is the Franken campaign statement in full:
“Investment banker Mike McFadden is playing election-year politics with a very serious issue. Sen. Franken has been focused on addressing terrorist recruitment since his first weeks in office in 2009.
Most recently, he successfully pressed the Department of Justice to dedicate more resources to stifle recruitment efforts, and the Justice Department responded by starting a new program in Minneapolis.
Mike McFadden has a record of ducking national security issues. Not only did McFadden hide from reporters one year ago and refuse to respond to multiple requests for a comment on military action against Syria, but he also literally fled from a voter when asked a question about the Patriot Act.”
Franken says he supports revoking passports as part of a wide range of actions the government uses to fight terrorism.
The State Department has the power to revoke passports of American ISIS fighters, but it’s not required by law to do so.