Dept. of Homeland Security ‘concerned’ over threats from Iran

| February 15, 2012

As federal and local law enforcement plan to boost their communications with Jewish groups in the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday told a House panel she is "concerned" over potential threats to the U.S. homeland from Iran or its surrogates and it's "a situation that bears watching."

Napolitano said her department is "conducting a lot of outreach" to Jewish communities across the country to address any concerns after car bombs in two countries overseas targeted Israeli officials and Iranian nationals set off explosions in Thailand.

Jewish groups are also going to receive increased information from some law enforcement, though officials told Fox News they have seen no reason so far to boost security measures or expend additional resources.

In Washington next week, the FBI is set to brief representatives from Jewish institutions around the nation's capital on the latest threat assessment and how to identify and report suspicious activity.

The joint meeting with the FBI's Washington Field Office and the Baltimore Field Office had been planned for weeks, but in light of recent attacks overseas, FBI agents are now expecting the gathering's focus to shift to concern over threats from Hezbollah and Iran, according to one FBI official.

In particular, the official said, the FBI is planning to brief Jewish representatives on a bulletin they sent out last week, concluding that "recent events" and "recent heightened tensions with Iran" have not "significantly increased the threat" to Jewish personnel in the United States.

On Wednesday, Napolitano told a House panel the U.S. government has still come across "no specific or credible threat against any organization or target in the United States," but her department and the FBI are "constantly monitoring" the activities of Iran's proxy group in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

An official with DHS — effectively the federal government's counterterrorism liaison with local police departments and private industry — said there "has not been a change in (security) posture" as a result of events overseas.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, however, expressed serious concern over what he called a "pending or possible threat" from Iran's proxies, saying "the threat of Hezbollah seems to have emerged (now) more than" ever during the past decade.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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