As the Obama administration continues its sluggish bombing campaign against the Islamic State, ISIS fighters are waging a war directly on the families of U.S. military soldiers.
Last week Angela Ricketts, the wife of an active duty military officer, received a message through her author page on Facebook. At first she assumed it was an average online troll, but after further investigation discovered the message came from an ISIS account. On the same day she received the threat, four other military wives received something similar.
"I read the message and it was terrifying. It threatened my family, it threatened me, it threatened my husband, it said they knew everything about us and where we were and threatened us with Shariah law," Ricketts said On The Record Thursday night. "This isn't the mountains of eastern Afghanistan and Paktika province. This isn't the desert of Iraq. This is here and this is now. This is a brand new world and how are we going to deal with it now that it's here and these threats are directed towards us?"
"Having it director towards us, it's completely new ground," Ricketts added.
Last year the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning military families not to advertise their connection to the armed forces online.
In a joint intelligence bulletin issued overnight by the FBI with the Department of Homeland Security, officials strongly urged those who serve in uniform to scrub their social media accounts of anything that might bring unwanted attention from "violent extremists" or would help the extremists learn individual service members' identities.
"The FBI and DHS recommend that current and former members of the military review their online social media accounts for any information that might serve to attract the attention of ISIL [ISIS] and its supporters," the federal bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies said, advising that troops "routinely exercise operational security in their interactions online."
The military is taking threats from ISIS seriously and has told family members to remain cautious and vigilant.