Federal and state law enforcement entities are enhancing security measures and taking action to prevent terrorist attacks on Fourth of July.
As of the time this report was submitted for publication, there was no specific, credible intelligence to indicate any possible attacks on celebrations and events over the July 4th weekend, Breitbart News learned from a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official.
“There is no specific, credible intelligence to indicate any threats against celebrations over the 4th of July weekend,” said the official. “However, we have seen repeatedly calls for violence over the past year by leadership and supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against members of the military and military installations, law enforcement, the U.S. government, and the American public. These threats are always taken seriously and we continue to work with state and local law enforcement to ensure their safety.”
The holy Muslim month of Ramadan coincides with the July 4th celebrations. ISIS has already conducted major attacks to mark the month of Ramadan and will likely continue terrorizing.
Law enforcement authorities have arrested 30 suspects accused of plotting terrorist attacks in America in 2015, most inspired by ISIS. As the Daily Mail notes, these arrests include “schoolgirls, a young nurse, a pizza shop boss and even a National Guard soldier who hatched a plan to gun down 120 of his own colleagues.” This figure does not include the two men killed while attempting a massacre at an art event in Garland, Texas this year hosted by free speech advocate Pamela Geller.
Breitbart News learned that ahead of the Fourth of July, DHS made various security adjustments, including enhancing screening at select airports overseas and increasing random searches of passengers and their carry-on luggage on flights coming into the United States.
DHS officials also added additional layers of security through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. which refers to an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors who participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to travel into the U.S.
Security measures at federal facilities have also been enhanced, according to DHS. Moreover, the department has reached out to state and local law enforcement and is sharing threat information with them. DHS is also engaging community leaders across the nation to counter violent extremism.
Last Friday, DHS, along with the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center, issued a joint intelligence bulletin to law enforcement across the U.S. that highlighted the upcoming holiday weekend as a possible target for a terrorist attack.
“We take the warnings very serious as all should and we have utilized our communications network to make sure that members are aware of the warnings,” Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), told Breitbart News. FOP is a union that self-identifies as “the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.”
“Holidays are always a concern as there are a number of soft targets that occur due to celebrations,” added the FOP chief. “Specific warnings that we provided to our members include the obvious warnings that they should be in a state of heightened awareness but other specifics as well that are not for public discussion.”
In response to terrorist threat concerns, police presence at prominent locations across the U.S. is being increased.
“We are aware of the threat advisory, and we have taken steps to prepare. Advisories such as this have been issued before, and we have procedures in place to protect the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” spokesperson for the Virginia State Police told Breitbart News. “As the Fourth of July weekend is already a heavily traveled weekend, we will already have increased police presence on the highway, and these offices will be able to respond to any potential incidents.”
CNN reports that the New York Police Department said it will boost its “enhanced counterterrorism and security measures” more this Fourth of July than in previous years. The Los Angeles Police Department is expected to follow suit.
Michael Downing, the LAPD’s counterterrorism chief, said the concern is that many of the jihadists under surveillance by law enforcement are “looking for an excuse to go operational,” notes CNN.
Earlier this week, Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell declared that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if there was a terrorist attack over the Fourth of July.
Breitbart News’ Michael Lucchese contributed to this report.