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FBI sets up command center in Buffalo, across U.S. to monitor Fourth of July ISIS threats

WASHINGTON – The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has set up command centers in Buffalo and at other locations around the country to deal with possible terror attacks over the Fourth of July weekend, but a spokeswoman for the agency stressed there is no known specific threat to the Buffalo region.

The agency has located command centers nationwide to respond to a heightened threat of attacks over the weekend holiday, said Maureen Dempsey, the FBI’s local spokesperson.

“We’re not aware of a threat here that’s greater than anywhere else,” Dempsey said.

Nevertheless, she said that ISIS has repeatedly called for attacks against U.S. targets in recent weeks, prompting the FBI to pour resources into locations across the country where it can gather intelligence and respond if a terror attack should occur.

“The FBI will work as closely as necessary with its partners in the federal, state and local governments to gather, share and act upon threats as they come to our attention,” Dempsey said.

While the FBI insists there are no specific threats, federal officials and other terrorism experts have been warning for weeks of an increased danger over the Independence Day weekend.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States,” said Mike Morrell, former deputy director of the CIA, on CBS earlier this week. “That’s how serious this is.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who leads the House Homeland Security Committee, agreed that the danger level is unusually high. On Fox News earlier this week, he said that recent Internet chatter from ISIS, along with the arrest of ISIS followers in the U.S., combine to show that the current threat is real.

“It’s one of the highest threat environments we’ve seen in quite some time,” McCaul said.

That being the case, Dempsey urged citizens to call local law enforcement or the FBI if they see or hear anything suspicious that could be a clue to a terror threat.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com