New NJ terror threat report: Which groups pose the highest risk?
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is out with a new detailed analysis of the Garden State’s threat landscape for 2022.
According to NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran, the three biggest threats that are classified in the high-risk category are from homegrown violent extremists, racially motivated white extremists and cyberattacks.
She said homegrown violent extremists are the hardest to track because they typically don’t have an arrest record and are not part of a specific organization.
“They generally work alone, they’re self-radicalized, they’re looking at videos and propaganda and these are the people you normally think of sitting in their basement looking at stuff,” she said.
She said a lot of white racially motivated extremist activity is being conducted online and “they tend to operate more in small groups or in cells, which are not always necessarily the easiest to identify. Their tactics in New Jersey are to distribute propaganda and recruit new members.”
Doran said cyberattacks have been shifted to the high-risk category because they are becoming more and more frequent, and frequently involve ransomware.
Cyberattacks are everywhere
Last year there were more than 3,100 significant cybersecurity incidents, three times higher than the previous year.
She said in the moderate risk category threats are from:
— Anarchist extremists
— Anti-abortion extremists
— Anti-government extremists
— Black Racially motivated extremists
— Militia Extremists
— Sovereign Citizen Extremists
Doran said people associated with these extremist groups come from a variety of backgrounds and they "tend to be engaged in a lot of low-level criminal activity.”
She noted foreign terror groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, Hamas and Hizballah are now in the low threat category because “they personally as a foreign terrorist organization have not successfully carried out a mass terrorist attack since 9/11.”
Animal rights and environmental extremists are also in the low threat category.
So what does all of this mean?
"The see something say something message is right out there as always, law enforcement does everything it can but we’re all part of Team New Jersey," Doran said.
Reporting anything out of the ordinary is important.
“If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right and so we ask people to remain vigilant," she said.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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