DHS and FBI Testify on Homeland Security Threats

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned this week that the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas could inspire threats against the United States in the same way the ISIS caliphate inspired attacks in previous years, CBS News reported.

While appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee along with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Director Wray said since the October 7 massacre in Israel, multiple terror groups have been calling for attacks on the US and the West.

According to Director Wray, the intelligence community is particularly concerned about so-called “lone-wolf” actors who may exploit the conflict in Gaza to target Western nations. In the US, the FBI’s primary concern is that violent extremists will draw “inspiration” from the conflict and attempt to attack “Americans going about their daily lives.”

Wray said that the threats aren’t just from those inspired by Hamas. He warned that Hezbollah and Iran could also seek to target the US with cyber and kinetic attacks. There have also been calls to action issued by al Qaeda and ISIS, Wray warned.

While law enforcement officials in the US have yet to see any specific credible threat on US soil, they are remaining vigilant, Wray said. He added that the FBI is “keeping a close eye” on how the events in Gaza could impact the intentions of terror groups.

In his testimony, Secretary Majorkas said Homeland Security has responded to an increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks in the US since October 7, the Associated Press reported.

Mayorkas cited the recent hate crimes against Jewish communities and institutions, as well as attacks on Jewish students on college campuses, and said that the attacks have added to the “preexisting increase” in antisemitism both in the United States and worldwide.

According to Director Wray, even before the October 7 attack, hate crimes against Jews accounted for 60 percent of religious-based hate crimes in the US, despite Jews making up only 2.4 percent of the population.

Director Wray assured the senators that law enforcement throughout the country is treating every potential threat with “urgency,” and said the FBI’s “number one priority” is protecting Americans from terrorism.