ABC News reported over the weekend that U.S. officials had become increasingly concerned that extremists in war-ravaged Syria, particularly the al Qaeda affiliate the al-Nusra Front, had teamed up with elements of the Yemen-based al Qaeda group AQAP to potentially attack the homeland with “creative” new designs for bombs, as one source put it. Al-Nusra and al Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan had a very public falling out with al-Baghdadi and his terror group earlier this year, prompting al-Baghdadi to split and later declare himself the leader of all Muslims.
Top U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have been sounding the alarm about Americans heading to Syria and potentially returning home to cause mayhem for months. ABC News reported in January that the FBI was already monitoring dozens of people who had fought in Syria and returned to the U.S.
FBI Director James Comey told ABC News in May that his organization aimed to make sure the “coming Syria diaspora” does not turn into a “future 9/11.”