On Wednesday, while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray provided a rather disturbing — though not wholly surprising — warning: in the near future, terrorists are likely to employ drones in their attacks on “mass gathering” events in the U.S.:
“The FBI assesses that, given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, [unmanned aircraft systems] will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.”
In other words, terrorism is about to get a whole lot scarier.
According to Wray, both al Qaeda and ISIS — in addition to MS-13 and South American drug cartels — have enacted “repeated and dedicated efforts” to use drones as weaponry.
The director’s comments come just days after President Trump signed legislation which authorizes Homeland Security to assess and neutralize any drones that might threaten government properties.
Wray noted that the risk of drone attacks “only increased in light of the publicity associated with the apparent attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Maduro using explosives-laden” drones.
In fact, a drone attack on the Pentagon and Capitol building was thwarted in 2012. Its mastermind was charged with terrorism and imprisoned.
What kind of attacks could drones facilitate? As indicated by Wray, they include chemical, biological, and radiological assaults on federal facilities and “large open-air venues.”
As citizens, we never know what the government has in development, in terms of preventative or combative measures and technology to be used in warfare. Let’s hope there’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes to prevent, prepare for, and defeat any drone attacks in the future. Otherwise, we may find that past tragedies of domestic terrorism are strikingly mild in comparison to the threat we face in the modern era.
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