During testimony in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress that terrorist groups may seek to use drones to attack the U.S.
“It is a topic that we’ve been discussing a lot lately,” he told the committee, in response to a question about drones from Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). Wray said that the FBI had been worried about the possibility.
“I think we do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones,” Wray testified in the hearing (video below). “We’ve seen that overseas already with growing frequency. I think the expectation is that it’s coming here imminently. I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and quite difficult to disrupt and monitor.”
Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, had the same concerns.
“Two years ago, this was not a problem. A year ago, it was an emerging problem. Now, it’s a real problem. So, we’re quickly trying to up our game,” Rasmussen testified during the hearing.
Rasmussen said counterterrorism agencies have increased efforts to understand the tactics and techniques that drone-using terrorist groups might employ.
“That could be dropping small explosives the size of a grenade. It could be dispersal of toxins, potentially,” Rasmussen said.
In April, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) released footage of what it claimed to be a weaponized drone dropping bombs on an Iraqi military training facility.
ISIS uses such armed drones, giving them a method of waging attacks across enemy lines. The devices are not as precise or lethal as modern weaponized drones used by the U.S., but they can be very dangerous.
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