Why drones are troubling New Jersey Homeland Security
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security has issued a warning of a possible new terror attack threat.
According to director of intelligence Rosemary Martorana, the Islamic State — ISIS — claims to have conducted approximately 80 drone attacks in Iraq and Syria over the past few months, killing 40 people and injuring more than 100. And it's using readily available commercial drones to carry out these attacks.
She said this is concerning because “oftentimes as ISIS develops new tactics and techniques, they share this information by providing these how-to guides, which are intended to kind of inspire those homegrown violent extremists here in the United States.”
She stressed right now it’s unclear how serious one of these types of attacks could be.
“Overseas they are using them to drop payloads and target U.S. forces in theater. We don’t know how they will transpire here, but that’s what we want our public to be aware of,” she said.
Martorana stressed members of the public can play a vitally important role in preventing drone attacks by homegrown violent extremists.
“We want them to be aware that this technology is out there, it’s available, and we are seeing groups overseas use this technology to execute attacks,” she said.
“If any members of the public see individuals trying to acquire these devices, asking very specific questions about how to manipulate these devices for other purposes, that’s the kind of reporting we’re looking for," she said.
Anything suspicious or out of the ordinary can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-4-SAFE-NJ .
Martorana stressed to this point there has been no credible threat about a possible drone attack received, but officials are concerned, and are asking for the public’s help in staying vigilant.
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security brief that’s been made public notes ISIS unmanned aerial vehicles being used overseas are primarily quadcopters, which can be easily purchased online and can be customized to drop small explosive munitions.
The brief also describes how ISIS has conducted surveillance with commercial drones since 2014. The group has advanced its UAV program by experimenting with weaponization in 2015-16 and industrializing the production of drones this year.
On February 1, ISIS released an image called the “Islamic State Nightmare,” featuring fighters preparing to launch a UAV over an image of the Statue of Liberty.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
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