Dina Temple-Raston

CIA Director John Brennan told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York today that the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, is facing dissension in its ranks and is finding it hard to govern the territory it controls. These are the same problems terrorist groups that try to govern have faced in the past.

The director was cautiously optimistic that the group, which stormed across Syria and Iraq last summer and has held much of the territory it captured since then, is stumbling.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Among the sweeping changes France is proposing in the aftermath of this month's terrorist attacks in Paris are new measures to fight Islamic radicalization in its prisons. It is an enormous problem brought into starker relief because two of the suspects in the attacks earlier this month were products of the French penal system.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Shannon Maureen Conley was just 19, barely out of high school and a convert to Islam, when she fell in love with a Tunisian man who said he was an Islamic State fighter in Syria. And, according to a criminal complaint, she wanted to leave her Denver suburb and join him.

Over the course of five months, the FBI talked to Conley nine times, trying to persuade her not to go to Syria.

But it didn't work. According to a local news report, her father tipped off the FBI after he found her one-way ticket from Denver to Turkey.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

What has come to be known as the "Torture Report" by Senate investigators broke more new ground than expected. Lawmakers examined interrogations of terror suspects after 9/11.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One of the first targets of U.S. airstrikes in Syria was an al-Qaida unit that American officials call the Khorasan Group. Because few outside the intelligence community had ever heard of it, some critics have said Khorasan was created out of whole cloth to give the U.S. an excuse to bomb Syria.

Editor's note on Nov. 17, 2015: This story was originally published in September 2014. But in the wake of the Paris attacks and the discussions surrounding it, we're republishing it now.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

While the al-Qaida offshoot known as the Khorasan Group only burst into the public consciousness in the past week, the group has been on the radar of counterterrorism officials for a while, and intelligence officials say they have tracked the individual members of the group for years.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently talked about the militants associated with the Islamic State, the group also known as ISIL or ISIS. He made them sound 10 feet tall.

"ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen," he said. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology [and] a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess; they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."

Mocha Hookah is a little Middle Eastern restaurant and cafe on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where you can pick up a shawarma gyro sandwich and a falafel platter and still get change back from your $20 bill. Walk inside and there's Arabic music, soccer games on flat screen televisions, and a hookah, or water pipe, set up at every table.

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Editor's note on Aug. 17 at 11:25 a.m. ET: A clarification and links to the ombudsman's critique of this post have been added.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In the fight against terrorist organizations, one weapon has been effective in the past: cutting off their funding.

Terrorist groups tend to get their money from outside donors or charities. But the Islamic State, the group that now controls huge areas of Syria and Iraq, doesn't get its money that way. So the methods the U.S. Treasury has used to fight terrorist groups in the past won't work as well.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week a young man in Texas became the first American to plead guilty to terrorism charges related to the recent fighting in Iraq.

Michael Wolfe, 23, was arrested just before he boarded a plane. He was on his way to join ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that has been storming its way across Iraq for the past two weeks.

ISIS and hundreds of other rebel groups in Syria have inspired thousands of young men around the world to leave their homes and join the fight.

Pages