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Officials, Experts Warn That Terrorists Will Attempt Drone Attacks in U.S. ‘Imminently’

The newest threat to face America is the use of drones by terrorists exploiting technology to cause destruction and panic, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday.

Wray was testifying during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

“I think we do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones,” Wray said. In the fight for the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS used drones as improvised weapons to attack the allied force that eventually captured the city.

“We’ve seen that overseas already with growing frequency. I think the expectation is that it’s coming here imminently. I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and quite difficult to disrupt and monitor,” Wray added.

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the use of drones has gone from potential threat to real in a short amount of time.

“Two years ago this was not a problem. A year ago it was an emerging problem. Now it’s a real problem. So we’re quickly trying to up our game,” Rasmussen said during the hearing.

Drones allow an adversary to send small payloads into a variety of situations, he explained.

“That could be dropping small explosives the size of a grenade. It could be dispersal of toxins, potentially,” Rasmussen said.

Experts have said the U.S. is vulnerable to drone attacks.

“I do think it’s just a matter of when,” Michael Waltz, a former U.S. Army Special Forces commander, told Fox News earlier this year discussing whether ISIS could replicate its Middle East tactics on U.S. soil.

“A nightmare scenario could be 20 to 25 of these drones that you could buy over the counter that have been weaponized with explosives that you can put on a timer with GPS coordinates to a military base or a nuclear facility or Capitol building that could attack in a swarm-like fashion,” he said.

Speaking in April, Waltz said America was open to being attacked.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re ready right now,” he said. “We don’t have the technology — both the detection technology and the counter-measure technology — in place yet.”

Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke warned senators Wednesday that the fight against drones may require the government to expand its powers.

She said that in order to assess whether a drone is a threat, U.S. security agencies may need to intercept the signals controlling the drone, “so we can try to determine whether this is a friendly or foe type of drone.”