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Tipsheet

FBI: We Stopped ISIS-linked Fourth of July Terror Plots

As Katie reported in June, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said, We face the highest threat level we have ever faced in this country, today…even after 9/11." Before the Fourth of July weekend, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued warnings to law enforcement about the possibility of terror attacks over the holiday.

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Well, we now know that the FBI foiled some of them, though they won’t disclose how many. But CNN is reporting that they’re ISIS-linked:

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that the bureau thwarted ISIS terrorist plots linked to the Fourth of July holiday that were intended "to kill people in the United States."

He would not discuss the number or nature of the plots, but earlier Thursday, U.S. officials told CNN that the thwarted plots included targets "coast to coast," and in fitting with calls by ISIS to attack in any way possible, they were unsophisticated, relying on guns, knives and other weapons.

Also fitting with recent patterns, investigators believe the plots, though not directed by overseas terror groups providing specific means of attack or specific targets, were "enabled" by actors abroad, including recruiting the suspects and encouraging them to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.

No further details were immediately available about how the plots were thwarted.

Speaking to reporters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, Comey said the FBI is seeing a "mix" of ISIS fighters directing and inspiring people in the U.S. to launch an attack.

In the last four weeks, the FBI has arrested more than 10 people who are tied to ISIS, and Comey said some of them were communicating with ISIS through encryption. Comey said ISIS's influence online is "living proof that social media works" and that what the U.S. is doing to degrade ISIS online is "clearly not enough."

In testimony before a Senate panel on Wednesday, Comey said ISIS has 21,000 English-language followers on Twitter now, turning that in to a fertile recruiting tool.

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I’m sure more details will follow with this development. For now, nice work, guys.

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