Federal officials reveal few details about Va. teen accused of helping ISIS

There are big questions about a Prince William County teenager who was arrested last week under suspicion of trying to help ISIS.

Federal officials have slammed the door on any requests for information about the charges, the identity and the location of the teenager.

It is a situation that has left many parents and students wondering what is going on.

Almost to a person, the word we heard repeatedly about this case was "confusion." An investigation into alleged ISIS activity is enough to get the attention of people anywhere, but here in Manassas where news of this arrest spread through the town quickly, what is not spread is any wider understanding of the scope of this investigation, and for now, that is how law enforcement officials want it.

Monday was the first day back at school for students at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas after a 17-year-old student stands accused of trying to help an 18-year-old man travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.

Five days after the arrest, little is known about the identity, the charges and even the jail location of the student as the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have thrown up a strict "no comment" because they say the student is a minor.

As for parents, some say they are just as confused about the case as everyone else. What they are sure of though is that they hope the attention and allegations do not cast Osbourn Park High School in a bad light.

"It's a good school," said one parent. "I don't feel like it's a problem. It was isolated. The kid could have gone to any school in the area."

The arrest came as the FBI has issued a new warning that ISIS may be trying to recruit American teenagers over the internet.

"Obviously, the terrorist groups and organizations are using 21st century communication techniques for what are really medieval tactics," said Rep. Mike Turner on "Fox News Sunday."

Should people be surprised that something like this investigation could be underway in Prince William County?

"No, I really don't think that people should be surprised," said professor Yonah Alexander, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and director of its International Center for Terrorism Studies.

He literally wrote the book terrorism recruitment at the think tank and says ISIS has exploited social networks to its own ends with a global reach previously unseen in terrorism.

"Nothing is new there under the sun," he said. "But what is new is the technology and the internet, and this is a tool for recruitment of young people."

Justice department officials say they are waiting on a ruling from attorney general to see if they can charge the teen as an adult. Until then, officials seem intent on slamming the door shut on letting the public know exactly what is going on.

A spokesman for Prince William County Public Schools told us classes went off without incident on Monday. That was confirmed by several of the students we spoke with who say it was business as usual even if this case itself is highly unusual.

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