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McFadden calls out Franken on terrorist recruiting in Minnesota

FARGO - Republican challenger Mike McFadden accused U.S. Sen. Al Franken on Tuesday of being "asleep at the switch" on the issue of Minnesota youths being recruited into international terrorist groups.

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Mike McFadden

FARGO – Republican challenger Mike McFadden accused U.S. Sen. Al Franken on Tuesday of being “asleep at the switch” on the issue of Minnesota youths being recruited into international terrorist groups.

“We’ve been calling for the Congress to focus on this,” McFadden said. “It’s a big deal, and we need to get our arms around it.”

McFadden, who made his remarks during a Forum editorial board meeting, said such recruiting has been taking place in the Twin Cities’ East African communities since 2009 and that Franken has not done enough to address the problem, which recently came into the spotlight after at least one Minnesota man was killed in Syria while fighting alongside the Islamic State militant group.

McFadden, a businessman seeking to unseat Franken after his first term, acknowledged that the Democrat sent a letter this month to the U.S Department of Justice asking officials to work to prevent Americans from joining the Islamic State and to focus efforts on places like Minnesota where terrorism recruitment may be happening more often.

Last week, the Justice Department announced a pilot program to combat recruiting in the Twin Cities and two other areas. The new program will bring together Minnesota law enforcement, religious and local leaders to broaden outreach efforts in at-risk communities.

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Alexandra Fetissoff, Franken's campaign spokeswoman, said McFadden's comments are "completely unfounded." She said Franken started working on the issue of terrorist recruitment a few weeks after he took office in 2009 and has continued doing so. 

"It's simply Mr. McFadden trying to play politics here and turn a tragic situation into a political one," she said.

McFadden said he’s urged Congress to pass legislation that would require the U.S. State Department to revoke the passports of Americans when they leave the country to fight for terrorist organizations.

 

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken

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