So are we sure they are not “credible”?
The FBI has not detected any “credible” threat to American national security, Director James Comey said on Thursday, days after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) issued threats against Washington and as the country grapples with the terror group’s reach.
“We are not aware of any credible threat here of a Paris-type attack and we have seen no connection at all between the Paris attackers and the United States,” Comey told reporters on Thursday.
“ISIL and its supporters put out all types of propaganda, like videos and magazines,” he added, using an alternate acronym for ISIS. “But that is not credible intelligence.”
On Monday, men in a video purportedly released by ISIS claimed that Washington was next on the extremist group’s list, after the devastating violence that shook Paris and left 129 people dead last Friday.
“As we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington,” a man wearing fatigues said in the clip.
A subsequent propaganda video on Wednesday indicated that New York was also in the group’s crosshairs.
“Of course we investigate all of those propaganda threats,” Comey said. “But instead, the threat here is focused primarily on troubled souls in America that are being inspired or enabled online to do something for ISIL.”
Anxieties have ridden high across the country in recent days over concerns that Friday’s attack in Paris was just the first of many days of violence for the West. Officials have raised concerns that “soft targets” such as a shopping mall, tourist attraction or sports stadium could be especially attractive to the extremists.
On Monday, CIA Director John Brennan said that the extremist group likely has other attacks in the works, though he indicated that the targets would be in Europe, not the U.S.
“I certainly would not consider it a one-off event,” he said. “I would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline.”
The U.S.’s geographic distance from ISIS’s home base in the Middle East makes it a less obvious target for a coordinated strike from the extremist group, officials say.
However, intelligence and law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that ISIS’s fluency with social media has helped it reach out to people across the United States and encourage them to launch “lone wolf” attacks at home.
“We have stopped a lot of those people this year,” Comey said. Among those were people reportedly engaging in a plot around the July 4 holiday.