The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a bulletin updating warnings of heightened terrorism threats inside the U.S.
“The terrorism threat in the Homeland has remained heightened throughout 2023, but recent events have increased the possibility of potential attacks against individuals and institutions in response to developments in the Middle East,” the bulletin read.
While the U.S. government has been warning of a heightened potential for violence since soon after Israel declared war on Hamas following that terrorist organization’s October 7 surprise attack on Israel, the FBI and DHS said that Wednesday’s bulletin reflects “a fluid and evolving situation.”
The agencies had made previous announcements on October 10 and October 18.
In the October 18 announcement, intelligence analysts said they had assessed that “lone offenders inspired by, or reacting to, the ongoing Israel–Hamas conflict pose the most likely threat to Americans, especially Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities in the United States.”
In the days following the October 10 bulletin, the agencies noted not only an increase in threats to Jewish and Muslim communities, but also “hoax bomb threats [that] have targeted several synagogues across the United States—likely intended to disrupt services and intimidate congregants.”
The latest bulletin notes that the agencies have “no specific information that foreign adversaries are plotting attacks against the homeland, [but] some are seeking to take advantage of the conflict, calling for violence in furtherance of their respective goals.”
The bulletin also warned of mis- and disinformation being posted online, specifically by Iranian media outlets that “risk deepening resentment and evoking strong emotional responses among English-speaking audiences.”
According to the bulletin, “These outlets are utilizing verifiably doctored or mislabeled images and video footage, inaccurate translations, and misleading content about the conflict with the apparent intent to stoke passions, accelerate the process of radicalization, and lead individuals to engage in targeted violence.”
“The threat is very much ongoing and, in fact, the threat picture continues to evolve,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said on October 15. “Here in the U.S., we cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks on our own soil.”