WASHINGTON (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that U.S. authorities were able to thwart attacks tied to the July Fourth holiday, arresting multiple individuals who were plotting to do something on the national holiday.
Comey would not give details on the plots but said he believes American lives were saved.
“I do believe we disrupted efforts to kill people in connection to the Fourth,” Comey said.
Comey said in the last four weeks, the FBI arrested more than 10 people inspired by online recruiting by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and some of the individuals were targeting the Fourth of July holiday. Comey would not provide details of the arrests but said that not all of the individuals were charged with terror offenses.
He also said that the current crop of ISIS sympathizers is so “unpredictable” that it’s hard to be sure of the timing of their plans.
Last month, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning of potential attacks against law enforcement officers and the military during the July Fourth holiday.
Security officials were on high alert over the weekend but no terror attacks occurred.
ISIS recently called for attacks against members of the military, law enforcement, the U.S. government and the American public.
“This threat is different because of who ISIS is trying to inspire. They’re trying to inspire every U.S. citizen, anyone here, to take up arms and take the action you see fit,” former FBI assistant director Ron Hosko told CBS News.
In recent weeks, law enforcement agents have made dozens of arrests of alleged ISIS sympathizers across the country. This year, there have already been 24 ISIS-linked plots against Western targets — up from only 19 last year.
“The intelligence community can’t fight this fight by themselves. This is going to take bigger participation and awareness,” Hosko said.
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