No credible threat of Paris-type attack in US: FBI

There is no credible threat of a Paris-type attack in the US, the FBI has said after the emergence of a disturbing video by the dreaded Islamic State terrorist group that warns America could be its next target.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 20, 2015, 07:26 AM IST

Washington: There is no credible threat of a Paris-type attack in the US, the FBI has said after the emergence of a disturbing video by the dreaded Islamic State terrorist group that warns America could be its next target.

"We are not aware of any credible threat here of a Paris-type attack, and we have seen no connection at all between the Paris attackers and the US," said FBI Director James Comey yesterday.

"ISIS and its supporters put out all kinds of propaganda, like videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence. Of course, we investigate all of those propaganda threats," he said.

Instead, the threat in US focuses primarily on troubled souls in America who are being inspired or enabled online to do something violent for ISIS, Comey said.

"We have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to July 4th, and there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country using all of our lawful tools. So that's how we think about the threat," he said.

Appearing at the same press conference, US Attorney General Loretta E Lynch said the US took all the threat seriously.

"We're acting aggressively to diffuse threats as they emerge, and we are vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm the American people," Lynch said.

The US has charged more than 70 individuals for conduct related to foreign fighter interests and homegrown violent extremism since 2013, and continues to take robust actions to monitor and to thwart potential extremist activity, she noted.

Comey said after the Paris attack the US had taken several preventive measures.

"First, we began looking for connections between Paris and here. Second, we made sure that we were tightly connected with our state and local partners, that they knew everything we knew and that they were as energised as we are," he said.

"Third, we began covering every tip and every lead immediately, and we have continued that to this moment. And last, we have made sure that our over 100 joint terrorism task forces are focused intensely on our investigations and, in fact, that they have taken them up a notch," he added.

"Together, we are watching people of concern using all of our lawful tools. We will keep watching them, and if we see something, we'll work to disrupt it. That's what we're doing about it," he said.

Comey, urged Americans to not let fear become disabling.

"That is what the terrorists want. They want you to imagine them in the shadows, they want you to imagine them as something greater than they are," he said.

Lynch said the Department of Justice, the FBI and other agencies are in close contact with French authorities through their international legal assistance channels to provide support to the French in their ongoing investigation.

She said the agencies will coordinate strategies with France and to advance the shared efforts.

"Now, we are operating on an expedited basis as well to ensure that the victim assistance professionals at the Department of Justice and the FBI are available to assist the victims and their families," she said.

"We've also expanded the FBI's legal attache office in Paris to offer assistance on an as-needed basis, and we have personnel working day and night to respond to any additional requests for assistance," Lynch said.