MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been one week since the news broke that six young Minnesota men were charged with trying to join ISIS. In a tumultuous series of events that followed, there has been a backlash against federal authorities from supporters of the young men who argue they were entrapped by a federal informant.

The reaction to the arrests has many wondering what more can be done to prevent terror recruiting.

In recent months, federal, state and local authorities have stepped up extensive outreach efforts to the Somali-American community. But this case and the reaction to it has shown that those outreach efforts have fallen short.

Supporters of the young men have protested that the six men are innocent and should be freed.

Yet, prosecutors have devastating tape recordings of the plot made by the informant.

But the role of the informant and the fact that he has been paid $12,000 by the government has only angered supporters even more.

The question now being asked from the Twin Cities to the highest levels of the federal government is: What more can be done?

“No easy answers here,” said Sen. Al Franken, who was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning. “This is something federal authorities have been working on with the community, with the imams, with mosques.”

He added that many of the young men accused of trying to join ISIS don’t fit the troublemaker stereotype. Some of those recently charged were even in college.

“If these charges are true, the U.S. attorney may have saved these kids’ lives,” Franken said. “Because, very often the outcome when they go over to Syria is they end up dead.”

The two Minnesota suspects who were arrested in California are expected to eventually be brought back to Minnesota to stand trial with the four who were arrested here.

To see the full interview with Sen. Al Franken, watch the video above.

Esme Murphy

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