Mayorkas Detects Uptick in Foreign Terrorist Threats to US

The Biden administration sees increased foreign terrorist threats to the US compared to a year ago, thanks to renewed efforts by the Islamic State militant group and Middle East unrest tied to the Israel-Hamas war.

Bloomberg
First Published18 Jun 2024, 02:08 AM IST
Mayorkas Detects Uptick in Foreign Terrorist Threats to US
Mayorkas Detects Uptick in Foreign Terrorist Threats to US

(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration sees increased foreign terrorist threats to the US compared to a year ago, thanks to renewed efforts by the Islamic State militant group and Middle East unrest tied to the Israel-Hamas war. 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his department has noticed “a resurgence in recruiting of ISIS, ISIS’s public communications and efforts to galvanize individuals to divide us,” using a common acronym for the Sunni Muslim insurgent group.

The warning about global threats marks a recent shift for Mayorkas and the department, which had focused on domestic violent extremism as the most pressing — and lethal — threat facing Americans over the past few years. Mayorkas said that while his concern that domestic violent extremists are the greatest threat to the nation “certainly persists,” worry about foreign terrorism is rising - hearkening back to the early days of DHS, which was formed after the Sept. 11 attacks. 

“The threat of foreign terrorism is uppermost in our minds as well now, more so than it was last year. The war in the Middle East following the Oct. 7 attacks has heightened the threat landscape,” Mayorkas told a group of Bloomberg News reporters and editors. 

The Homeland Security chief also warned of growing dangers from disinformation spread by foreign actors heading into the November presidential election, which the rise of artificial intelligence has made easier to disseminate. 

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea remain “four predominant actors” responsible for disinformation in the US, according to Mayorkas. 

The goals of those pushing deliberately false information online and on social media appear to be to “exacerbate the social discord and to exploit the divisiveness” in the US and to exert “electoral influence” by “the dissemination of information about particular positions and particular people,” he said.

--With assistance from Josh Wingrove.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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First Published:18 Jun 2024, 02:08 AM IST
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