During a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed that the US is currently facing an unprecedented threat level for terrorism.
"So what I would say that is unique about the environment that we're in right now in my career is that while there may have been times over the years where individual threats could have been higher here or there than where they might be right now, I've never seen a time where all the threats, or so many of the threats, are all elevated, all at exactly the same time," Wray told the committee.
"That's what makes this environment that we're in now so fraught and why funding our men and women who are working shoulder to shoulder with local law enforcement and other partners every day, makes it even more important, not less."
Senator Lindsey Graham asked Wray, "So, blinking red lights analogy about 9/11 — all the lights were blinking red before 9/11, apparently, obviously, all of us missed it. Would you say there's multiple blinking red lights out there?"
"I see blinking red lights everywhere," Wray replied.
Responding to Wray’s comments on Wednesday morning, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his agency was "working closely hand in glove with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with our federal partners throughout the administration, including the intelligence community, and very critically with state, local law enforcement as well."
"We are definitely in a heightened threat environment, and we are proceeding with vigilance."
This comes nearly two months after the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched an attack against Israel, killing over 1,200 people and taking over 200 people hostage.
The San Diego Field Office Intelligence Division of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) warned in October that "individuals inspired by, or reacting to the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border."
"Foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune may attempt to obfuscate travel to or from the US to or from countries in the Middle East through Mexico," it added.
In the 2023 fiscal year, US Customs and Border Protection encountered 172 people on the terror watchlist attempting to cross the north and south borders illegally. At ports of entry at both borders, 564 encounters with those on the terror watchlist were recorded.
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