The FBI has been reviewing old case files involving Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force, reaching out to its sources to see whether they know anything new, a law enforcement official said. The official offered few details about the outreach and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official did not want to publicize the bureau's investigative strategies.
In its intelligence bulletin, the FBI and Homeland Security Department reminded law enforcement of activity that could indicate a planning for an attack, such as surveillance and questions about security operations. They also provided tips to avoid Internet denial of service attacks, such as a warning Aug. 27 from a Tunisian hacker group. The group, called "Tunisian_Hackers II" threatened a 10-day denial of service attack against U.S. banks starting Sept. 1. By Sept. 5, law enforcement had seen no evidence that the hacker group carried through with the plan, the bulletin said.
Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic congressman from Indiana who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission report, said Americans should be reassured to know that there is no credible or specific information about a terror attack tied to the 9/11 anniversary next week. But today's threats are so difficult to detect because they're often unknown to law enforcement.
"The threat has become more spread out, more difficult, more means could be used," said Hamilton, who currently co-heads the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, which plans to release a report Monday on the terror threats to the U.S. "Identifying particular individuals who might turn violent is very, very hard to do. It's a big country — lots of people out there, and it's a huge challenge to law enforcement."
And it's difficult to get specific intelligence that an attack will happen at a certain date and time, Hamilton said.
"It's one thing to intercept intelligence which enables you to stop a big attack, which we've been successful at doing over the years," he said. "It's quite another to identify every lone wolf, every solitary actor."