NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than fireworks were planned for the Fourth of July, according to the FBI.
FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that the FBI was able to thwart attacks tied to July Fourth, CBS News confirmed.
Comey would not give details on attacks or arrests but did say in the last four weeks the FBI arrested more than 10 people who are products of the Islamic State’s online recruiting.
Some were focused on the Fourth of July. Not all are charged with terror offenses, the FBI director said.
“I do believe we disrupted efforts to kill people in connection to the Fourth,” Comey said.
He said he believes their work saved American lives.
“They’re averaging 50 people a day internationally that ISIL, through their mass media campaign, is successfully recruiting people,” former FBI agent Manny Gomez told CBS2’s Dick Brennan. “And it sounds like they have successfully once again recruited individuals that were planning to launch attacks during the Fourth of July in random places in the U.S.”
On Wednesday, Comey told Congress that ISIS is now using encrypted messaging to keep conversations with recruits untraceable.
“This is a group of people who use social media to reach thousands and thousands of followers, find the ones who might be interested in committing acts of violence and then moving them to an encrypted, end to end encrypted messaging app,” Comey said.
Comey said technology companies must be able to break advanced encryption codes if presented with a search warrant.
Meanwhile, the British government told all its tourists Thursday to leave Tunisia.
Terrorists struck beachgoers there last month, killing 38 people, including 30 British tourists. Now authorities say another terrorist attack is “highly likely” and that the north African country’s government has not done enough to enhance security.
“Tunisia’s real,” Gomez said. “They are actively recruiting, actively fighting in Tunisia. God willing, that never comes to the states, because if it does, it would be a tremendous burden on our law enforcement resources as well as our way of life.”
Comey said the ISIS’ online message and social media is so unpredictable that it can be hard for federal authorities to ever be sure of their plans and it’s difficult to track the lone wolf.
“We have limited resources to identify, investigate and stop all of them,” Gomez said.