FBI head James Comey said Thursday that the Bureau now considers the heightened state of terror alert and increased police presence in major cities enacted for the July 4th holiday as the “new normal”.
Speaking with reporters at FBI Headquarters, Comey said that bulletins issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warning of possible terror activity timed to the holiday were prompted by the “overall threat” posed by ISIS and other extremists, commenting “This is sort of the new normal.”
Comey warned that “dozens” of suspected ISIS recruits inside the U.S. have “gone dark”, and are eluding FBI surveillance by using encrypted communications.
Comey used the same term as he and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates used in testimony before members of Congress one day previously, concerning alleged security risks posed by the government’s limited investigative capabilities.
The FBI Director also claimed, without presenting any evidence, that federal authorities prevented numerous terror plots that were to be timed around July 4th which were designed by extremists to “kill people in the United States.”
“I do believe our work disrupted efforts to kill people likely in connection with July 4th,” Comey told reporters without detailing who or what the intended targets were.
Comey declared that more than 10 people have been arrested in the U.S. in the past month on charges related to their association with ISIS, with some specifically planning to strike on July 4th.
The suspects were arrested in New Jersey, Ohio and North Carolina.
“We face people who are highly unpredictable. We cannot count on the fact that they’ll be looking to do something on July fourth, so July third, we really got to lock these guys up.” Comey said.
Comey described the call by ISIS leaders for supporters to carry out violence on behalf of the militant group as “crowd sourcing terrorism”.
He noted that while Al Qaeda carefully planned and trained for operations, officials are concerned that the Islamic State is encouraging extremists to commit violence “on a very short string.”
Before Congress on Wednesday, Comey suggested that more than 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to fight for Islamic militants.
“We continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters … and also homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack the United States from within,” Comey told lawmakers on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
He has previously claimed that there are “hundreds, maybe thousands” of people in the U.S. being actively recruited by ISIS, and that the government’s search for potential threats constitutes looking for a “needle in a haystack”.
As InfoWars noted last week, the FBI has moved to establish “command centers” around the United States citing the terror threat but not presenting any evidence that extremists have planned attacks.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.