WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder called on other countries Tuesday to develop a broad counterterrorism strategy to earlier identify radicalized individuals who are traveling to Syria and returning home as trained terrorists.
In a speech in Oslo before Norwegian diplomats, academics and national security officials, Holder recommended several steps for the United States and its allies to take to tackle the growing threat of foreign fighters in Syria.
U.S. authorities confirmed in June that a 22-year-old American from Florida, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, carried out a suicide bombing in Syria in late May.
"This is a global crisis in need of a global solution," Holder said. "The Syrian conflict has turned that region into a cradle of violent extremism."
Holder urged other countries to pass legislation that criminalizes "preparatory acts," laws such as the material-support statute in the United States that allows law enforcement to arrest and prosecute individuals in the initial planning stages of terrorist plots. France and Norway enacted similar statutes in the past two years, and Norway charged the first person under its law in February.
U.S. officials have expressed concern that thousands of fighters are traveling to Syria from European countries and that many of them could then easily get into the United States under visa-waiver provisions.
The attorney general also urged other countries to make greater use of undercover techniques. He pointed to the FBI's strategy of conducting sting operations that identify U.S. citizens with extremist leanings and disrupt plots in their earliest stages.