The head of Seattle’s FBI office on Friday put out a plea for people across the region to notify officials if they suspect possible terrorism activity.
During a news conference, Frank Montoya Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle office, said his agents have “more than 70, but less than 100” active terrorism investigations going. He said those covered a mix of domestic and international terrorism.
“I don’t want to spook the community, but the threat is real. Some cases cause me great concern,” he said.
Montoya declined to talk in detail about the cases, other than to say they could vary from officials investigating an allegation made over social media, to agents investigating someone with links to a terrorist organization overseas.
“People don’t want to hear this, but the reality is threats occur all over the world. There is a group of terrorists out there who’d like to destroy our way of life.”
Montoya added that “what keeps me up at night is not what I know, but what I don’t know.”
During the hourlong news conference, Montoya said the FBI is working hard to develop relationships in Muslim and immigrant communities locally, but he said agents still need help from people who have seen anything suspicious.
Special agent Kera O’Reilly, during the news conference, added that in the case of the San Bernardino attacks, people saw suspicious behavior from the two suspects beforehand but didn’t notify authorities.
“We need your help,” O’Reilly said. “There is planning and preparation that goes into these attacks. Having that information is critical.”