Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

U.S. Rep. McSally, Colleagues Announce Recommendations to Combat Foreign Fighter Travel

September 29, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today joined her colleagues on the bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force to release their final report on combating foreign fighter travel. The task force, which Rep. McSally was assigned to in February, was established to conduct a six-month review of the threat posed by individuals who leave home to join jihadist groups overseas and identify potential security gaps. 

“The terrorists are acting at the speed of broadband while we’re acting at the speed of bureaucracy,” said Rep. McSally. “The threat from foreign fighters is a very serious, sophisticated one, and we’ve got to be much more nimble and responsive to counter it. The work of this task force is exactly what I came here to do and that’s propose constructive, serious solutions to our country’s problems. I look forward to continuing to work with my bipartisan colleagues to move these recommendations forward and keep Americans safe.”

“I commend Congresswoman McSally for her work on this serious homeland security issue, a grave and growing threat from foreign fighters,” said Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-TX). “Sadly, global efforts have failed to stop the flow of these aspiring jihadists into Syria, and we have already seen ‘returnees’ from the conflict zone come home to America and Europe and plot acts of terror. Even more, those still on the battlefield are radicalizing their peers online and inciting them to launch homegrown attacks. In light of the Task Force’s findings, I urge American leaders to develop a strategy to combat terrorist and foreign fighter travel and eliminate the ISIS threat."

Nearly 30,000 people from over 100 countries have travelled to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq since 2011, including over 4,500 Westerners and over 250 Americans who have joined or attempted to join jihadist groups.

During the six month review, Rep. McSally and other task force members met with current and former federal officials within the national security community; held briefings, meetings, and domestic and foreign site visits; and consulted with state and local law enforcement, outside experts, and foreign officials from around the world.

Based on its review, the Task Force presented 32 key findings and recommendations today in the final report. Key findings included:

  • The U.S. government is failing to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists, despite concerted efforts to stem the flow;
  • The U.S. government lacks a national strategy for combating terrorist travel and has not produced one in nearly a decade;
  • There is no comprehensive global database of foreign fighters and U.S. federal authorities can do more to make sure state and local law enforcement have the information they need.

To view the full report, click HERE.

To view a summary of the report, click HERE