The Department of Homeland Security has released an updated terror bulletin that highlights the threat of weaponized drones, chemical attacks and the continued targeting of commercial planes.
“We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the internet to inspire, enable or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts,” according to the bulletin.
The National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, which replaced the old color-coded system, provides the public and law enforcement a summary about ongoing and potentially new terror threats.
“The current bulletin introduces unmanned aircraft systems as potential threats and highlights sustained concern regarding threats against commercial aviation and air cargo,” DHS acting press secretary Tyler Houlton said in a statement.
A senior DHS official told ABC News that there has been an “uptick in terrorist interest” in using drones as weapons in the US and other western countries.
The official said the department wants to “guard against those tactics being exported to the West.”
Since the previous bulletin, concerns about terrorist targeting the aviation industry have grown, the official said.
“[T]errorists continue to target commercial aviation and air cargo, including with concealed explosives,” according to the updated bulletin.
TSA screeners, their equipment or their procedures flunked more than half of the undercover tests conducted by Homeland Security, a source familiar with a classified report told ABC News.
When asked if the failure rate was 80 percent, the source replied: “You are in the ballpark.”
Terrorists view “aviation as the crown jewel target,” said former DHS secretary and current White House chief of staff John Kelly.
The bulletin also warns of the use of “poisons or toxins,” about which there has been increasing chatter in the terror realm, the senior official said.
The DHS response to the terror threat is adapting as ISIS is close to defeat in safe havens, but continues to have branches and affiliates around the world.