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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Attorney general warns that Floridians must remain alert to terrorism threat

Following a confidential security briefing, Attorney General Ashley Moody and law enforcement leaders updated the media Thursday about growing terrorism concerns related to the ongoing war in Israel and increased security in Florida. 

Ahead of the briefing, Moody and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security demanding information about foreign nationals who entered Florida after being released by federal authorities at the southwest border. The state has attempted to obtain accurate data from DHS about foreign nationals’ whereabouts after uncovering an internal DHS memo warning of “foreign fighters” attempting to cross the border.

Attorney General Ashley Moody held a press conference on Thursday
Attorney General Ashley Moody held a press conference on Thursday.

“As this threat persists, we are asking Floridians to help be our eyes and ears,” Moody said.

Moody is urging Floridians to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. Following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and subsequent war, the FBI has warned about potential terrorist attacks. In an Oct. 31 congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that the terrorism threat is “on a whole other level.”

The threats are compounded with data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showing 282 individuals on the terrorist watchlist have been encountered at the Southwest border since Fiscal Year 2021—with 169 in FY 2023 alone. That does not include the high number of “known got-aways” who are unknown individuals with unknown intentions now missing in the interior of the country. Additionally, a recent report shows that tens of thousands of special interest aliens have been encountered since Biden took office. Special interest aliens are individuals who are from countries that have “conditions that promote or protect terrorism or potentially pose a national security threat to the U.S.”

Recently, an uncovered internal DHS memo warned about foreign fighters inspired by, or reacting to, the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel may attempt to travel into the U.S. through the Southwest border among the surge of millions of illegal immigrants crossing. In response to this, Attorney General Moody and FDLE are demanding information from DHS about foreign nationals released by the federal government now in Florida.

Moody is encouraging Floridians to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Some things to look out for include:

  • Unusual situations, such as a vehicle parked in an odd or prohibited location, or someone acquiring large quantities of items like cell phones, timers or toxic materials;
  • Items like packages, backpacks or luggage left unattended;
  • Damage to security devices, for example cameras, perimeter fencing or lighting; and
  • Prolonged observation and unusual photography of a building, bridge or structure by a suspicious person.

To report unusual activity in Florida, call 855-FLA-SAFE. In case of an emergency, call 911.

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