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DHS Call with Private Sector Highlights Ongoing ISIL Threat

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a teleconference with private sector representatives from the 16 critical infrastructure sectors and subsectors on May 9, 2015. Officials with the Department’s Infrastructure Protection and Intelligence & Analysis offices discussed the current threat environment.

Since the beginning of 2015, there has been an increase in violent attacks by possible Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) supporters in the West. This increased violent activity highlights the emboldened nature of Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) who may be responding to direct and/or indirect guidance from ISIL operatives overseas or operating independently. The disruption of an attack on military remembrance ceremonies in Australia in late April 2015 and the recent attempted attack on a public gathering in Garland, Texas demonstrate violent extremist interest in targeting the military, law enforcement, and high profile or controversial events. It is assessed there could be other attacks given ISIL’s substantial social media footprint, but there is no specificity about the timing and targeting.

Of concern are the urgings by members and supporters of ISIL via social media for execution of attacks in United States with a focus on military, government officials and law enforcement personnel.

While there is no specific information on the type or location of attacks, previous sympathizers have used blunt or sharpened knives/hatchets, firearms, or whatever means are available to them, including vehicles.

DHS advised the call participants to:

  • Maintain vigilance at work and in home communities.
  • Report behaviors, activities, objects, and presence of people that seem suspicious or raise
    concern in a timely manner to the appropriate authorities for the area.
  • Report the concern even if the behavior seems minor.

No alert issued, or change in status effected, through DHS’s National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)

The Department of Defense has issued a Force Protection Advisory and increased their security posture in response to the continued threat. The level was raised from “Alpha” — with some elements of “Bravo” — to “Bravo,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren. “Alpha” is a “steady state,” he said.

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