“We [New America Foundation] have identified 62 individuals from news reports or public records who have tried to join ISIL [Islamic State], have joined ISIS or… supported others doing so,” Bergen said. “We found cases in 19 states.”
Bergen added that the supporters tend to be young and are 25 years old on average, however, they do not fit any particular ethnic profile. The expert underscored an “unprecedented number of females” who support the ISIL terrorists, some of whom are as young as 15.
“The returning problem is much less of an issue than home-grown ISIL-inspired that we saw on Sunday,” he added referring to the Texas Muhammed Cartoon event shooting on May 3.
US law enforcement agencies have been very effective tracking Syrian foreign fighters coming back to the United States, Bergen added.
Bergen described the existing threat from ISIL supporters as worrisome, but “nothing on scale of 9/11.”
At present, the United States has world fourth largest number of Islamic State supporters on the social media, according to the US think tank the Brookings Institution. The greater number of people support the terrorist group only in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq.
There are active investigations into ISIL supporters in 50 US states, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The IS militant group controls large parts of Iraq and Syria, and is notorious for publishing numerous videos of ISIL committed atrocities, including beheadings of foreign hostages. The group's positions have been targeted by US-led coalition airstrikes since August 2014.