- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2014

While the Department of Homeland Security downplays possible U.S. threats from the Islamic State, Army intelligence has issued its own warning to military personnel about the possibility of an attack against them on U.S. soil.

The Army Threat Integration Center (ARTIC) issued a special assessment warning on Islamic State threats against the homeland that was more foreboding than recent comments from Homeland Security officials, even while acknowledging the intelligence community has no specific intelligence of a plot on the American soil.

“Given the continued rhetoric being issued by ISIL’s media services and supporters through various social media platforms the ARTIC is concerned of the possibility of an attack. Soldiers, Government Civilians and Family Members are reminded to be vigilant of their surroundings and report suspicious activities to their respective military or local law enforcement,” the declassified assessment says, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Terrorist groups and their supporters have the ability to conduct attacks on the homeland with little to no warning, according to the assessment.

“This document is a reminder to stay vigilant,” Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told The Washington Times. “It provides renewed emphasis on force protection measures to ensure the safety and security of our DOD components, defense critical infrastructure, personnel and communities.”

Although ARTIC is calling for vigilance, the Army has not altered the force protection levels at its installations, Mr. Bourke said.

ARTIC issued the special assessment because the Islamic State has increased its threats against the U.S. and its overseas interests over the past year. Part of that backlash has been in response to ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

“Following the start of U.S. air strikes in Iraq in early August 2014, and then Syria in late September 2014, ISIL supporters launched a Twitter campaign threatening retaliatory violence against the United States,” the assessment states. “Additionally, a recent audio message from an ISIL spokesman called, for the first time, for lone offender attacks in the Homeland in retaliation for US military operations in Iraq and Syria.”

Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said in a Sept. 22 recording that supporters of the group should attack Americans and citizens of countries taking part in a U.S.-led coalition.

The ARTIC assessment points to another major concern that stems from a law enforcement bulletin citing a jihadist social media post on how to locate military members and kill them. The post called on lone offenders to use social media sites, “yellow pages” and other directories to find the addresses of service members, show up at their homes “and slaughter them.”

Military members should be wary of any jihadist rudimentary pre-operational activity that could indicate that an attack is imminent, according to the assessment.

Behavior indicative of an attack could include an unusual interest in sensitive information about security members, a discreet use of cameras or video recorders, asking questions about facility air conditioning, repeated visits by the same subjects or multiple false alarms at a single location.

“Each indicator may occur singularly, under the guise of lawful conduct or behavior, and may even be considered a constitutional exercise of rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the US Constitution,” the assessment states. “Suspicious indicators may also be explained or downgraded by would-be perpetrators with explanations that paint their activities as innocent and unplanned. For this reason, no single indicator should be used as the sole basis for law enforcement action; instead, the totality of observed indicators, behaviors, circumstances and details should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.”

ARTIC is urging everyone to be aware of their surroundings and report all suspicious activity to proper authorities.

Criminal threat information and suspicious activity should be reported to local law enforcement or authorities in a military service member’s chain of command, the assessment states. In addition, military members should call 1-800-CALL-SPY to report any counterintelligence information, according to the assessment.

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