The July 4 weekend has spawned particularly strong warnings about a potential terror attack in the U.S. as federal authorities and national security experts say the nation is more susceptible because of tactics chosen for recent terrorist strikes by the Islamic State, the New York Times reports. Officials cite an increased effort by the Islamic State to galvanize its sympathizers in the U.S. and elsewhere since Memorial Day and during this Ramadan season to carry out acts of violence on their own, so-called lone-wolf attacks.
Potential plots by individuals are harder for the authorities to detect and have led the FBI to put more Americans under investigation for suspected ties to terrorist groups than at any point since Sept. 11, 2001. Officials acknowledge they know of no specific terror plot against U.S. targets. There has not been a successful terrorist strike on American soil on a July 4 or similarly high-profile day. “We've been through other periods of high threat, but this time is different because of the proven reach of ISIS into Europe and the U.S.,” said Matthew Olsen, ex-director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “Even in the absence of a specific plot, there's reason for alarm given the number of people who seem to have been motivated by ISIS' rhetoric and direction to carry out attacks against innocent people.”