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Feds Warn of ISIS-Inspired Threat Against Police, Reporters in US

Authorities say two separate messages in jihadi forums advocate attacks inside the U.S. on law enforcement and government officials.

Federal officials have warned that ISIS-inspired terrorists may be weighing “lone wolf” attacks against police, government officials and “media figures” inside the U.S.

According to a Joint Intelligence bulletin from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security sent to U.S. law enforcement officials, an ISIS spokesman recorded an audio message that urged lone offenders in Western countries to attack “soldiers, patrons, and troops … their police, security and intelligence members.” Attackers did not need to “ask for anyone’s advice” prior to striking, said the message, because such actions are legitimate.

An English language translation of the message, which was attributed to ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, was posted on a jihadi forum in late September.

Also in September, according to the bulletin, an ISIS supporter posted a document in an ISIS-dominated web forum advocating “open source jihad” and “lone wolf operations” by U.S. Muslims against “a list of potential targets, including military, law enforcement, FBI personnel, government officials and media figures.”

The bulletin said officials were not aware of any specific, credible threat against U.S. targets by home-grown extremists inside the U.S. or overseas, but warned law enforcement and FBI personnel to consider “additional precautions” when conducting interviews.

The bulletin also said that ISIS supporters could conduct attacks against U.S. targets overseas with little warning. “[B]ecause of the individualized nature of the radicalization to violence process,” said the bulletin, “it is difficult to assess triggers that will contribute to HVEs (homegrown violent extremists) attempting acts of violence.

A former U.S. official called the warning "quite standard."

Said the official, "Once a terror organization urges such action -- regardless of whether any adherents might take action -- terrorism officials need to get the word out to increase state and local officials', as well as reporters', awareness. In the case of ISIS, given their skilled use of social media, these threats to inspire 'lone wolves' produce a bit more urgency for intelligence and law enforcement officials."

In Depth