November 12, 2017 The United States Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin on Thursday warning that terrorists may be plotting attacks on commercial airliners using weaponized drones. The updated bulletin also warns of possible chemical attacks.
In a statement, DHS acting press secretary Tyler Houlton said:
“The current bulletin introduces unmanned aircraft systems as potential threats and highlights sustained concern regarding threats against commercial aviation and air cargo.”
Bulletins are the lowest level on the revised National Terrorism Advisory System, which replaced the original five level color coded terrorism alert system. The infamous color coded advisory system designed by then DHS Secretary Tom Ridge in 2002 was criticized for its ineffectiveness.
Since 2015, the Department of Homeland Security introduced the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) to highlight the evolving threat to the homeland. The improved alert system aims to educate and engage the American public. A culture of preparedness is an important asset in the war on terror.
The Drone Papers, leaked by Edward Snowden in October, 2015,
evidenced that the Obama administration operated two drone programs, one publicly acknowledged by the military and a covert drone program employed by the CIA which has operated in Pakistan and increasingly in Yemen. It was a CIA operated drone that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born Muslim cleric, who rose to the top of Al Qaeda’s ranks in 2011.
Earlier this year, President Trump signed a law expanding the scope of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s drone powers. As drone strikes increase, the number of accidental civilian casualties has turned a once receptive public against the high tech combat tool. Many innocent lives lost unintentionally in unmanned drone strikes are never reported.
International terrorism experts have long warned that it is only a matter of time before terrorists usedrone technology to carry out attacks in Europe or the United States.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."