US officials anticipate 'serious' July 4 terror attack threat

by Kimberly Pennington |

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – While ISIS has issued a "call to arms" against their enemies during Ramadan – US officials are saying they won't be surprised if warnings about potential attacks against law enforcement in the United States are a sure sign of impending danger on Independence Day.

Mike Morell, former Deputy Director of the CIA and current CBS News senior security contributor, told 'CBS This Morning' on Monday that he would not be surprised if the news team would be gathered next Monday discussing a terrorist attack in the United States over the July 4 holiday weekend.

FBI and Department of Homeland Security bulletins assessing terrorist threats are routine, but Morrell insisted the June 26 bulletin  warning of potential attacks against law enforcement was anything but routine to him.

"There's nothing routine about this particular one to me," he told 'CBS This Morning.'

Regarding the Fourth of July holiday Morrell said, "I don't want to tell Americans what to do or what not to do, but I wouldn't be surprised if we're sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States. That's how serious this is."

Morrell's concerns focus on the large number of people who associate themselves with ISIS. "There's been about 50 people in the last 12 months who have been arrested in the United States for being radicalized by ISIS, wanting to go fight there or wanting to conduct an attack here," he said on the program.

He also noted ISIS has issued a "call to arms" against their enemies during Ramadan – a month-long period in which Muslims observe strict fasting during daylight hours in the name of purifying the soul, focusing on Allah, and practicing self-sacrifice. Ramadan began June 17 and will continue until July 17.

CBS reports that since January 2015, there have been 24 ISIS-linked plots against Western targets compared to 19 such plots for all of 2014.

ISIS carried out three separate attacks on Friday in Kuwait, Tunisia, and France killing more than 60 people. Among the dead were 15 British citizens prompting British Prime Minister David Cameron to pledge military action in response.

Morell said it is time to do what other world leaders are doing and ramp up the pace against ISIS to take momentum away from the movement since success is an ISIS recruiting tool.

"I think a big part of their sales pitch is 'how successful we are.' They've got the momentum. It's time to take the momentum away from them and I think we'll reduce the radicalization," Morell said on air Monday.

However, he also cautioned that homegrown terrorists are difficult to catch because of being radicalized in their own homes.

"On the internet, ISIS is telling them, 'Don't tell anybody about our conversations.' It's very difficult to see them until they take action to do something," he commented.