INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 24, 2015) – In wake of the terror attacks in Paris earlier this month, the FBI acknowledged Tuesday it’s monitoring a number of individuals living in Indiana, adding the surveillance has increased since the attacks.
“There are those that have risen to that threshold that we have cases on,” Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott said in an interview with CBS4.
Abbott said the increased monitoring happening nationwide underscores the surveillance of potential homegrown violent extremists in Indiana and across the country.
“We don’t just investigate people willy-nilly because they’ve exercised their right to free speech or to assemble,” he said. “There has to have been something that’s occurred that’s articulable that indicates they might want to act on those thoughts and commit violence against somebody else.”
Abbott wouldn’t specifically say how many individuals the Indianapolis office is actively monitoring.
“Well like every state, we have them,” he said. “And that’s something I would not want to reveal just not to indicate to those we’re trying to watch, any hint of what we’re trying to do.”
Beyond that, the FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies in Indiana and nationwide that extremists could try and replicate a Paris-like attack, but Abbott added federal agents have no credible intelligence of a looming threat.
“Those that we already have enough evidence to investigate on, those are ones that don’t really worry me,” Abbott said. “The ones that really keep me up at night are the ones we still don’t know about.”
The threat from home-grown extremists, Abbott said, is much quicker and more unpredictable than before, giving agents less time to infiltrate and prevent attacks.
“Now it’s much, much harder because that planning period is so much shorter and it goes from flash to bang so quickly,” he said.
Abbott added during the busy holiday season, he wants Hoosiers to go about their routine as normal, but as the FBI and Homeland Security has reinforced, if they see something, say something.
“My other advice to Hoosiers would be go about your lives as normal,” Abbott said. “Otherwise the terrorists win.”