News and Commentary

UH-OH: ISIS Could Soon Launch Drone Strikes Against Americans

There was some alarming congressional testimony on Wednesday, suggesting that ISIS and other Islamic terror groups could soon acquire the capability to launch drone strikes against American citizens.

The warning came from FBI Director Christopher Wray, among others: (H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

“We do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones; we’ve seen that overseas already with some growing frequency and I think the expectation is it’s coming here imminently,” Wray testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. “I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and I think quite difficult to disrupt and monitor.”

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said terrorists could target American citizens using drones equipped with chemical weapons or small explosives the size of a grenade.

To prepare for the threat, he said, counterterrorism agencies have established teams of intelligence experts who are dedicated full-time to examining the possible tactics and techniques of terrorists in possession of drones.

“Two years ago this was not a problem. One year ago this was an emerging problem. Now it’s a real problem, and so we are quickly trying to up our game,” Rasmussen testified Wednesday.

It would be bad enough if ISIS and other Islamic terror organizations were able to launch explosive drones, but if they had drones that could carry chemical weapons, it’s a major problem for the rest of the world.

ISIS has already used drones against United States forces and United States-backed forces in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has countered with “electronic jammers and other specialized equipment,” although those haven’t worked particularly well, according to The Los Angeles Times. The U.S.-backed forces find that it’s more efficient to simply shoot down the drones.

The U.S. has made headway into crippling ISIS’ drone capability through airstrikes, however there is still a major concern that the “proliferation of the inexpensive technology may allow terrorist groups to launch other aerial attacks around the globe,” per The Los Angeles Times.

Additionally, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Hezbollah already use drones for surveillance purposes. If ISIS were to develop the same kind of drone capability, it could be a truly scary situation.

Pentagon leaders ensured legislators that they are prepared, but would prefer to have all the resources necessary at their disposal in order to ensure that they can effectively hinder Islamic terrorists’ efforts in developing warfare drones.

Follow Aaron Bandler on Twitter.

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