The idea of a nation conformed of many nationalities, ethnic groups and religious faiths was inconceivable to most of the world, but it has been realized in the territory now known as the United States of America over the 239 years since independence was boldly declared in the city of Philadelphia.
But now, in the year 2015, according to several U.S. intelligence and security experts, a threat of terrorism remains very real in the continental United States during July 4 weekend
In fact, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Counterterrorism Center have issued a bulletin that warns of potential terrorist threats against law enforcement officers and the military during this weekend. The bulletin serves as a general warning and does not mention any specific plots.
The U.S. is currently experiencing the most active period of domestic terrorist activity since 9/11. Law enforcement has foiled a total of nine terrorist plots already this year, including plots in Boston, New York City, and Morganton, N.C., last month.
In response, the FBI has increased its monitoring and surveillance efforts. While there are no known targets at this time, the agency has opened hundreds of investigations spread across all 50 states, with several arrests occurring just recently and more possible before July 4.
As consequence, U.S. leaders at home and abroad are taking steps to increase security and surveillance during the “Independence Day” holiday celebrations, following the warnings from security officials that such gatherings could be targets of a terror threat.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is following fellow state and city executives Friday in announcing increased security efforts in his state. Cuomo said he directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Emergency Management to enhance monitoring of celebrations and events on July 4.
“We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists,” the governor said. “As we celebrate with family and friends this Independence Day, I urge all New Yorkers to not only remember the freedoms that we hold dear, but also remain cautious of their surroundings and learn to recognize and report suspicious activity.”
In addition, July Fourth falls this year during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan; and ISIS as well as other terrorist groups firmly believe “that during the holy month of Ramadan, greater jihad or jihad against the infidels would be highly rewarded by Alá,” said Laith Alkhouri, an NBC News security analyst.
While U.S. officials cautioned that no specific terror threat existed, many expressed concern over “lone wolf” attacks by radicalized supporters and an emphasis on so-called “soft targets” — large public gatherings or shopping malls or other such places with fairly light security.
“Obviously, a lone wolf is our worst nightmare, but we have nothing to indicate we have any of that going on,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters on Friday, according to NBC.
Finally, U.S. intelligence and security agencies also cited several upcoming Prophet Mohammed drawing events, which could invite terrorist attacks.
Across the country, U.S. police departments are heightening their security to combat threats, including some proposed by suspected supporters of ISIS who live in the states. The city of New York and Los Angeles had already announced taking increased steps in security.