LOS ANGELES — Security measures were upgraded over the weekend at a number of California airports as government officials investigate a possible terror plot against the United States.
Department of Homeland Security personnel told reporters that they could not comment on the specifics, but said that intercepted chatter and other intelligence information raised concerns about possible violence. The potential threat surrounds the Islamic terror group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“Over the last few months, we have made a number of security adjustments, including enhanced screening at select overseas airports and increasing random searches of passengers and carry-on luggage on flights inbound to the U.S., reflecting an evolving threat picture,” a spokesman with the department told CNN.
He said that increased security has been in place at federal facilities since February.
“The department has conducted significant outreach efforts … with state and local law enforcement partners regarding these trends and engaging in a series of meetings and events with local community leaders across the country to counter violent extremism,” the spokesman stated.
Although Transportation Security Administration (TSA) representatives alerted local law enforcement about the recent possible threat so that safety measures could be stepped up at airports in Southern California, officials state that airlines were not necessarily the target. Rather, the threat centered on uniformed personnel and locations that may be attacked by lone actors.
The TSA sent out a general classified alert on Friday about the matter.
As previously reported, FBI Director James Comey explained at a National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) meeting earlier this year that ISIS sympathizers are believed to be present nationwide.
“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” he stated. “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see…”
“Those people exist in every state” Comey reiterated. “I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state. Until a few weeks ago there was 49 states. Alaska had none, which I couldn’t quite figure out. But Alaska has now joined the group, so we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states.”
Federal investigators also launched an investigation last month after ISIS reportedly released a “kill” list targeting approximately 100 members of the U.S. military. The list, released by the terrorist organization’s “hacking division” provided the names, addresses, and photographs of servicemen, urging their Islamic “brothers in America” to “deal with them.”
The threat came days after ISIS released an audio recording threatening to blow up the White House and other global landmarks, and to take over much of the world for Islam.
“We—with Allah’s help—want Paris, before Rome and Islamic Iberia,” spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani declared. “And after we blow up the White House, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower before Paris, and Rome, the Muslims will return to power to be the vanguard and lead in every place.”