Friday, October 24, 2014

Global Impact: FBI Releases Warning to Journalists: "You Are High-Impact Targets"

According to The Boston Herald, the FBI is warning journalists to be on high alert after receiving “credible information” showing IS terrorists are planning to target and potentially kill members of US media organizations both in the US and abroad describing them as “high-impact targets.”
“We shouldn’t be surprised that IS and al-Qaeda look to perhaps other public figures, such as people in the media, that could create the kind of sensationalized impact that unfortunately we’re seeing all over the place right now,” said Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. 
“While we have no specific intelligence to indicate that there is a threat hereit should come as no surprise to anybody as to their intentions.”
Yesterday’s bulletin warned that “members of an (IS)-affiliated group are tasked with kidnapping journalists in the region and returning them to Syria” and referenced a September 16 IS Internet posting that identified “journalists, TV anchors, talk-show hosts, news broadcasters, correspondents on the ground and other media operatives” as “desirable targets.”
The bulletin also cautioned that “members of this group might try to mask their affiliation with (IS) to gain access to journalists,” a warning GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni said he “isn’t taking lightly.”
“I’m not surprised, they obviously don’t like journalists, as evidenced by the terrible things they’ve already done to Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff,” Balboni told The Boston Herald the said yesterday of the beheadings.
“If they can strike here in America, I’m sure it would make them very happy. So I think we need to be careful, I think we all need to be careful,” Balboni was quoted as saying.
COMMENT: Balboni, who tried to negotiate the release of Foley, a GLOBALPOST freelancer, before he was executed by an IS militant, said “steps” have been taken to “enhance security” around his journalists working in Lebanon and Iraq.
The Fox News Channel said in a statement they are always careful on overseas assignments.
“We’ve been taking extra precautions for several years now, including added security when we went in and out of Damascus to speak with (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” the network said.
CNN would not discuss the threat out of a sense of “caution.”
Edith Flynn, terrorism expert and professor emeritus at Northeastern University, said high-profile journalists have always been considered prime targets for terror groups. 
“Just the idea of killing a well-known news anchor would be very shocking,” Flynn said. “Singling out a person [known to the public] would be considered a tremendous coup for them and I hope and pray it doesn’t happen.”

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