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FBI: Since Oct. 7, ‘almost every major terrorist org in world’ has threatened US

“We’ve also seen an uptick in threats against the Jewish community here in the United States and abroad,” said Robert Wells, assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division.

FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.
FBI logo. Credit: Dzelat/Shutterstock.

The United States has been in a “heightened terrorism threat environment” since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, and “almost every major terrorist organization in the world,” including Al-Qaeda and ISIS, have called for terror attacks against the United States, an FBI official testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“We’ve also seen an uptick in threats against the Jewish community here in the United States and abroad,” said Robert Wells, assistant director of the bureau’s counterterrorism division. “We remain concerned about threats from lone actors or small cells radicalized to violence online.”

“In addition, we are very focused on the threat posed by the more traditional foreign terrorist organizations and the state-sponsored terrorism threat from Iran,” added Wells, in his testimony on Wednesday.

Iran’s “persistent threat” came “into sharper focus following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel,” Wells testified. “Despite their praise for the attack and threat to join the conflict should Israel invade Gaza, Iran will likely still rely on their proxy networks to action retaliatory attacks
focused in the region, in the near term.”

“We assess that Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will continue to provide training, weapons and financial support to Hamas,” he said.

“The threat from Iran and its proxies remains persistent and the FBI continues to engage with our partners to ensure protection of the American people and U.S. interests, both at home and abroad,” he added.

The session was called “Examining the current status of Iran’s axis of resistance and the implications for homeland security and U.S. interests.”

James Dunlap, deputy under secretary for analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, testified that the “Israel-Hamas conflict shows how Iran uses cyber operations to respond to geopolitical events while attempting to maintain plausible deniability.”

He cited an instance in November when an Iran-affiliated group, which posed as “Cyber Av3ngers,” a criminal hacktivist group, “defaced Israeli-manufactured operational technology devices in the United States, specifically devices in water and wastewater systems and other critical infrastructure sector entities,” including “energy, food and beverage
manufacturing and healthcare.”

The group associated with the Iranian IRGC “left a defacement image on the devices stating, ‘You have been hacked, down with Israel. Every equipment “made in Israel” is CyberAv3ngers legal target,'” Dunlap said.

“While the attacks did not result in disruption of services or impact public health, they are demonstrative of the Iranian regime’s and its proxies’ desires to target our citizens here in the United States,” he added.

Another witness, Elizabeth Richard, ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State, testified that Hamas wouldn’t have been able to carry out its Oct. 7 attack “without Iran’s long-time assistance, funding and training.”

“Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel was a sobering reminder of the enduring threat of terrorism enabled by Iran and our imperative to protect American citizens, as well as our partners and allies, from this
threat,” she said. “Approximately 1,200 people were killed and over 3,400 wounded by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack, including approximately three dozen American citizens.”

“Among the hundreds taken hostage by Hamas, a handful are also American, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that they are returned,” she said.

Carrie Thompson, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s intelligence chief, also testified at the session.

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