(WASHINGTON) — Just days before the fifteenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, federal authorities have arrested a Kentucky woman who allegedly advocated online for terrorist attacks in the U.S. and promoted ISIS propaganda through her social media accounts, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The FBI arrested the woman, who is in her 50s, overnight, and she is expected to appear in federal court later Friday, sources said.
An arrest usually indicates charges have been filed in some form, but it’s unclear when or how charges would have been filed in this case. Defendants in similar cases often face charges of providing material support to a terrorist group.
Earlier this week, the heads of FBI offices across the country took part in a classified briefing with the Department of Homeland Security, state-level intelligence fusion centers, and other local law enforcement to discuss “vigilance during the upcoming anniversary of 9/11,” as the DHS chief of intelligence and analysis, Gen. Frank Taylor, put it.
However, the anniversary on Sunday is “not implicated in any way” as a reason for moving forward in the Kentucky woman’s case, one source said.
Nevertheless, her case highlights the types of threats facing Americans in the post-9/11 era, and her case is a unique one.
By a margin of roughly 5 to 1, ISIS-related arrests tend to involve male suspects, according an ABC News review of cases.
In addition, the vast majority of ISIS-related suspects are under age 30, with a third of them under 21, according to Justice Department officials.
In all, over the past three years, more than 100 Americans have been charged with trying to join ISIS or are suspected of supporting the group in some other way.
“It was very important to do these disruptions and I have no doubt that lives were saved because we did these cases,” the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, John Carlin, told the Intelligence & National Security Summit in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Speaking with Carlin on Wednesday, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s second-in-command, warned that “crowd-sourced terrorism” is reaching “those folks who are maybe mentally unstable to begin with” or who are otherwise “marginalized.”
“We’ve seen those folks discover [ISIS], become radicalized and then move to mobilization in incredibly short timelines,” McCabe said. “That puts a lot of pressure on us.”
Two weeks ago, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to law enforcement across the country, warning them that self-radicalized terrorists inside the United States are “focusing more on civilian targets.”
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