In what appears to be an expertly timed exercise in fearmongering less than two weeks after the horrifying Halloween terror attack in lower Manhattan – the deadliest attack in America’s financial center since 9/11 – the Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin warning the public about the risk of drones being used to facilitate acts of terrorism.
Drones, which are now easy to obtain and modify in potentially deadly ways (one Connecticut man was investigating after he published a video of a drone equipped to fire a nine-millimeter) DHS is warning about the threat of weaponized drones being used to carry out chemical attacks and the targeting of commercial aircraft, according to ABC.
“We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the internet to inspire, enable or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts,” reads the bulletin.
The National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, which replaced the old color-coded system, is used to give the public and local law enforcement a summary of ongoing and potentially new terror threats.
A senior DHS official told ABC that there’s been an “uptick in terrorist interest” in using unmanned aerial systems as weapons in the United States and other western countries.
These tactics have been used by terrorists on the battlefield, and the department wants to “guard against those tactics being exported to the west,” said the official.
The official said that DHS wants to be “forward leaning” about seeing what terrorists are doing overseas and tactics they might adopt in the future.
DHS has been implementing wide-ranging security measures for all airports and airlines that fly directly to the U.S. In June, the administration announced: “enhanced screening” of passengers and their electronic devices, as well as “seen and unseen” security around the aircraft and inside the airport.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said terrorists still see “aviation as the crown jewel target,” when the security measures were announced.
At the time, he was the head of DHS, a cabinet-level department that was created by George W Bush after 9/11.
The measures, which are being rolled out in phases, are aimed at detecting concealed explosives, insider threats and identifying suspicious passengers.
The US has been urging other countries to adopt similar measures, according to current acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke.
The new bulletin also warns of the use of “poisons or toxins,” which the DHS official says there has been increased chatter about in the terror realm.
The “big picture” is that the homeland security fight is shifting, the senior DHS official told ABC.
The department’s response to the terror threat is adapting as ISIS is close to defeat in safe havens, but continues to have branches and affiliates around the world, according to DHS.
For the record, here’s the video of the handgun-firing drone…
Commentary by Jon Masters,
Cool Vid of the Drone.