The director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that there is no "credible threat" of a terrorist attack in the United States similar to those carried out by Islamic State (IS) militants in Paris last week.
FBI Director James Comey told reporters in Washington on November 19 that U.S. investigators have found no link between the perpetrators of the devastating November 13 Paris terrorist attacks and the United States.
"We are not aware of any credible threat here of a Paris-type attack, and we have seen no connection at all between the Paris attackers and the United States," said Comey, who spoke alongside U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Major Western cities are on high alert after IS militants claimed responsibility for the wave of gun and bomb attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.
Comey spoke on the same day that IS militants reportedly released a video threatening to attack the White House with suicide and car bombings. A day earlier, the extremist group’s adherents released a video suggesting New York could be targeted in a terrorist attack.
The FBI director said that IS militants and their supporters "put out all kinds of propagandalike videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence."
"The threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in America who are being inspired or enabled online to do something violent for ISIL," Comey said, using an alternate acronym for IS. "We have stopped a lot of those people this year."
He said that U.S. authorities are conducting "tight surveillance" of dozens of suspected extremists in the United States due to fears that they could attempt to carry out a copycat attack.
"We are making sure we apply additional scrutiny to anybody who might be tempted to be a copycat, and so we’ve gone through all of our caseload to try and assess which are the ones that might pose a risk of trying to copy what happened in Paris and make sure that we’re staying on them like a blanket," Comey said.
Lynch told reporters that the U.S. Justice Department is working "around the clock" to keep the United States safe.
"Since 2013, we have charged more than 70 individuals for conduct related to foreign fighter interest and home grown violent extremism," she said.
Comey called on Americans not to allow fear to “become disabling.”
“That is what the terrorists want. They want you to imagine them in the shadows. They want you to imagine them as something greater than they are,” he said.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and ABC News