Intelligence and homeland security officials have been quick to offer reassurances that they see no evidence that the Islamic State terrorists who drew blood in Paris will expand their slaughter to American soil. But security experts warn that the U.S. is in no way immune to these kind of massacres, Politico reports. The White House and the Department of Homeland Security have both said since Friday’s bombings and shooting sprees that they know of “no specific or credible threat to the United States.” Major U.S. cities have amped up their security measures in the wake of the attacks on France's capital city, though, and U.S. intelligence officials are scurrying to connect any dots that suggest otherwise. The U.S. has no reason to assume it won’t be hit, said Nile Gardiner, who served as a foreign policy aide for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “Every country in the West is a target, and the United States is the ultimate target for these groups,” Gardiner said. “It's far easier to wage an attack on European soil than in the United States. But there's no room for complacency.”
While a well-orchestrated, large-scale terrorist attack ordered from on high is less likely to play out in North America than in Europe, the U.S. has a history of bloodshed committed by self-radicalized “lone wolves” who are inspired by extremist ideology but have loose or nonexistent ties to core terrorist groups based in the Middle East. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has foiled or fallen victim to attacks like a 2009 shooting that killed 13 people at a Ft. Hood, Tx., military base; a 2010 plot to bomb a Christmas tree ceremony in Portland, Or.; the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three; the 2014 shooting that killed three at that same Fort Hood base; and the shooting this year that killed five at a U.S. military installation in Chattanooga, Tn.