NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The FBI is increasingly concerned about the "kid in the basement" as the agency seeks to counter people who are swayed by radical Islamic ideology, the FBI's chief in Connecticut said in a talk in New Canaan.
"The kids in the basement who are on the Internet who are listening to ISIL, who are listening to Al-Qaeda, who are becoming radicalized here in the United States, American born," Patricia Ferrick said. "How do you get in front of that?"
Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Connecticut, made the comments during a talk with the New Canaan Police Department's "Lunch With The Chief" held at the department last week. Eighteen people attended the event.
One way of getting in front of the threat is by establishing connections with local law enforcement agencies, school resource officers and mental health professionals to identify younger people, she said. They need to look particularly at those in the 18 to 22 age group who may be out of high school and not enrolled in college who are susceptible to the lure of radical Islam.
"That is our biggest challenge," Ferrick said. "There is no magic formula."
The emphasis on homegrown terrorism has evolved in the post-9/11 era, when the FBI and other agencies were focused on threats against the United States that originated overseas.
"9/11 was a brilliant, brilliant plan that was hatched by people overseas," Ferrick said. "The entire plan was overseas."
The country has had success in attacking those enemies, noting the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as one of them, she said.
The FBI is also heavily involved in deterring economic espionage: She said a number of countries are heavily targeting the United States and American companies.
China has been the single biggest threat, Ferrick said.
"China wants to steal our technology. They don't want to invest the time and research in development," she said. "They want to make a better mousetrap and sell it back to us at half the price."
Russia is also active in trying to steal technology, but she said that country is more low key than China.
The FBI is also involved in traditional crime activity such as bank robberies and gang-related crimes, Ferrick said.
New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said identity theft is an increasing problem for the department.
"We've had cases of hundreds of thousands of dollars thefts from people's bank accounts," he said.
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