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Saturday, February 4, 2023

McAleenan ‘Not Aware of Active Threat Domestically’ After Sri Lanka Attacks

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said he is “not aware of any current, credible or active threat domestically” in the vein of the Sri Lanka attacks on U.S. soil.

At least 290 people were killed and another 500 injured on Easter Sunday in a series of coordinated bombings that struck churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, and three luxury hotels — the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury — in the capital city of Colombo.

Additional blasts occurred outside of the Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and in front of a private residence in Dematagoda.

The Sri Lankan government attributed blame to National Thowheed Jamath, a previously unknown local jihadist group that may have splintered from Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath. A government spokesman told reporters there had been “several warnings from foreign intelligence agencies about the impending attacks.”

“We don’t see that only a small organization in this country can do all that,” Rajitha Senaratne said. “We are now investigating the international support for them, and their other links, how they produced the suicide bombers here, and how they produced bombs like this.”

McAleenan said in a Sunday statement that DHS “stands resolutely with persons of every faith who look to worship in safety and peace.”

“We will continue our work with partners around the world to ensure that all are able to worship without fear,” he said. “As the department has made clear regarding attacks on members of multiple faiths: religious liberty for all is a hallmark of this country and attacks on peaceful people in their places of worship are abhorrent and must not be allowed.”

Regardless of having no specific current threat information, he said, “the department is doing all it can to protect the homeland from potential violent extremists.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation as the response to this tragedy unfolds and investigations continue,” McAleenan added.

DHS Warns Houses of Worship to Prep for ‘Uncertain Threat Environment’ After Massacre

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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