TODAY   |  December 20, 2013

Terrorist group Al-Shabaab recruiting Americans

MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow reports that a group regarded as one of the biggest threats to American security is recruiting Americans from towns in Minnesota and other locations.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now to a growing concern over terrorists being recruited here in the u.s. ronan farrow is just back from kenya. he has the story. good morning. good to see you.

>> thank you, savannah. the al shabaab terror group is linked to security and where are they looking for new recruits? look no further than the heart land.

>> this is the best place to be honestly.

>> anywhere that you can.

>> reporter: this al shabaab recruiting video targeted a community in minnesota where these young men are from. the al qaeda link terror group already successfully lured dozens of americans to join it.

>> he was a regular american kid. he was a very good student. he had never had any record of any problems.

>> reporter: his uncle says he grew more isolated before disappearing in 2008 when his family reported him missing. in 2009 , his life ended like those of many who are radicalized, killed in somalia.

>> tell me about the moment of finding out that news.

>> it was very intensive moment. my sister handled that very well. i mean, you could see the pain in her face. but what she told me is finally she got some sort of closure.

>> reporter: he and dozens of other young men like him were recruited from one neighborhood in minneapolis. in this quite minneapolis neighborhood and others like it across minnesota, tens of thousands of somali americans go about ordinary midwestern lives but this is also ground zero for terrorist recruitment in the united states . after a recent al shabaab attack killed more than 60 people in kenya, congress seemed interested in the terrorist groups effects to recruit americans .

>> we need to get ahead of their efforts to radicalize vulnerable youth.

>> reporter: but local groups mentoring young men to prevent terrorist recruitment say the federal government offered no follow up and no resources. that worries him.

>> what is the threat? what could happen?

>> al qaeda recruitments will never go away. they are watching what we do. so we have the momentum now and what i am afraid every night is that we lose the momentum and we go away. they will come back and the recruitment will start.

>> savannah, i saw this community really fighting back against this recruitment threat but that's going to take resources that they just don't have. they told me al shabaab has millions. they're running on empty . maybe we need to fix that.

>> you hate to think about people in this country feeling they don't have any options. great to have you here and welcome to nbc.