KELLY FILE

Former Special Ops adviser on homegrown ISIS threats

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 4, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Joining me for more on this now Seth Jones who has worked in various capacities for U.S. Special Operations Command including in Iraq, a member of the International Security and Defense Policy Center with RAND Corporation and author of "Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qaeda after 9/11."

Seth, good to see you tonight. And so, this man now already on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list grew up in Boston, went to Northeastern University, was supposedly a relatively normal guy and then somehow becomes radicalized, and now he we're told is the point man for the social media campaign for ISIS?

SETH JONES, AUTHOR, "HUNTING IN THE SHADOWS": Well, Megyn, it looks like he is a-point man. I don't think we've confirmed yet that he is the point man, but he's playing a major role. This is important for two reasons. One, he's got computer savvy skills that he honed in the United States at Northeastern. Second, he speaks fluent English and Arabic. So he's able to communicate these on social media forums and get this message out from ISIS to Americans and other westerners, making him extremely dangerous.

KELLY: How -- we've been covering the three who came out of Minneapolis, two of whom died fighting for ISIS, one of who died in Somalia. Now, we have a guy from Boston, who maybe right now, he is born in 1981, he's a relatively young guy, maybe right now working with them to spread these videos of the beheadings, the other propaganda that they put out there to make themselves sound so terrible, which they are, but they use it to inflate themselves. How does an American kid who has got a dad who's some well-respected doctor at Mass General wind up like this doing this?

JONES: Well, the radicalization process of most recent individuals including Abousamra, part of it was actually online, while he was at Northeastern and even afterwards involved in these Internet jihadist chat rooms. He was involved and following and downloading YouTube videos of prominent jihadist clerics. The social media forum has become very critical to the radicalization process from American soil right now. Which makes the stuff that ISIS is doing so dangerous. They can make their way into American homes.

KELLY: Uh-mm. It's ironic because they use it to recruit him. And now, he uses it to recruit others.

JONES: Exactly.

KELLY: In the meantime, we heard from Core Al Qaeda if you will today, the old Al Qaeda, the one that parted ways with ISIS not too long ago in a video that was released by Zawahiri, their leader. Now, they're still very focused on attacking America. ISIS and its leader, Baghdadi claimed that they're focused on attacking America. Here he is, Zawahiri, he's back again in-front of his curtain. And I ask you tonight whether this is al Qaeda desperately trying to remain relevant. And which of these two groups are we most concerned about right now?

JONES: Well, right now I would say the most serious plots emanating and directed towards the U.S. homeland are coming from Zawahiri's organization. The Yemen branch that's lead by Nasser al-Wahishi. And then looks like Core al Qaeda has some stuff underway based out of Turkey right now that's targeting both Europe and the U.S. homeland.

So, I would say right now the Al Qaeda group does have -- does appear to have some ongoing plots that make them a little more dangerous. The fact that we have so many westerners and Americans in Syria and Iraq though is a much more long-term concern.

KELLY: My last question to you is this. At first glance you think, OK, al Qaeda and ISIS, they don't get along, they don't like each other, they're fighting, let them fight. But then you think they're in some sort of power struggle to prove who's bigger. I mean, how focused are they on attacking the United States in order to claim that prize?

JONES: Well, they are in competition to some degree with each other. And we've seen on the ground in Syria that Al Qaeda's affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra has engaged in active combat with ISIS in various parts, particularly of southeastern Syria. But I would say, you know, the bigger issue here though is they are increasingly in some competition for now striking targets in the region and overseas. That makes ISIS a growing concern.

KELLY: Seth, good to see you.

JONES: Thanks, Megyn.

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