Government says homegrown terrorist threat getting bigger
The bulletin states that a combination of factors ranging from “perceived lower levels of security” as well as “violent extremist messaging glorifying recent attacks on civilians” have motivated this shift in tactics. The bulletin also highlights a newer trend which has led HVEs to select “familiar targets of personal significance to simplify plotting,” often capitalizing on preexisting grievances or a desire for revenge. This is particularly relevant to cases such as the December 2015 attack on the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, during which Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed fourteen people at a training event and Christmas Party hosted by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. Farook, who worked for the county as a health inspector, had been attending the event earlier in the day prior to conducting the attack. In another example cited in the bulletin, an eighteen-year-old freshman at the University of California at Merced named Faisal Mohammad stabbed a classmate and three other individuals at the college before being shot by a campus police officer. The FBI later stated that Mohammad had been viewing extremist material online and they believe the attack was inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).