FBI Expert Discusses Homeland Security Threats
- By Christina Miralla
- Sep 21, 2011
On Tuesday afternoon at ASIS, Stu McArthur, assistant director of the counter terrorism unit for the FBI, discussed threats to homeland security.
McArthur highlighted that after 9/11 the counter terrorism unit's focus was redirected to target Al-Qa'ida terrorists. Since 9/11 the U.S. faces its most diverse threat to the environment. Prior to 9/11 the counter terrorism unit was responsible for protecting the nation from threats. After the tragic attacks on the counter terrorism unit altered its focus on targeting any and all threats to national security by not only preventing attacks, but detecting and disrupting terrorist cells before any terrorist plots continue.
In the post-9/11 age, the counter terrorism unit is doing its part to stop any potential threats more so than ever before. The JTTF is the operational arm of the U.S. government responsible for combating terrorism in the U.S. There are currently 104 task forces operating in the U.S. and from the time of 9/11, there were only 1,000 members, now membership sits at 4,131.
McArthur acted as the only key speaker for the session outlining all the threats and terrorist cells the counter terrorism unit targets in and outside of the U.S. The FBI's unit has evolved from the time when its primary focus was on domestic terrorists, now there are myriad of terrorist groups and organizations plotting attacks the counter terrorism unit needs to be aware of and spot before they can actually cause any harm.
McArthur spoke about the top threats the FBI targets and introduced a new outreach initiative. The Tripwire Outreach Initiative involves a representative from the FBI going out to local businesses and educating their business about how to spot potential threats; along with what to do if someone may be planning a potential threat. Anyone can take part in the FBI's educational initiative by contacting the city's local FBI unit and asking for a representative from the JTTF for Tripwire information.
The counter terrorism unit of the FBI wants the public to be as educated in spotting potential threats as their team because thanks to concerned citizen calls, the FBI has been able stop threats before anyone was harmed. The FBI hopes this initiative will spread knowledge of terrorism threats in the U.S. and the counter terrorism unit's motto, "The price of freedom is vigilance."
Christina Miralla is the associate content editor at 1105 Media, Inc.