Skip to main content

U.S. beefs up security measures before possible military strike on Syria

From Evan Perez, CNN
September 1, 2013 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FBI warns of a higher risk of cyber attacks
  • Hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army have been blamed for recent disruptions
  • Iranian officials have warned that a U.S. attack on Syria could be met with retaliation

(CNN) -- U.S. authorities are tightening up domestic security measures ahead of a possible U.S. military attack on Syria.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are warning of a higher risk of cyber attacks after months of similar disruptions by hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army.

One such attack brought down the website of The New York Times in recent days, and authorities say more attacks are likely.

CNN reports from inside Syria
U.N. begins analysis of Obama decision
Analyst: Obama's authority now damaged
Dems, GOP react to Syria decision

Warnings from Iranian officials that any U.S. attack on Syria could be met with retaliation has also prompted warnings of possible terror threats in the United States or its interests abroad, U.S. law enforcement officials said.

FBI officials have asked agents around United States to focus on ongoing investigations related to Syria and the surrounding region, checking in with contacts and informants, and "redoubling their efforts," as one official said.

Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah have intervened in the 2-year-old Syrian civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The United States has blamed al-Assad's regime for alleged chemical weapons attacks that have killed scores of civilians.

Hezbollah is known to have extensive fundraising operations inside the United States, and authorities often worry those assets could be used for terrorism.

Unlike previous U.S. military operations against Libya and Iraq, which prompted the FBI to conduct thousands of interviews with exiles living in the United States, FBI officials say the Syrian crisis isn't prompting such a move this time.

Instead, law enforcement officials say they are trying to focus on cases already under way and working to develop any new information that signals possible retaliation against the United States.

The Syrian diaspora in the United States amounts to fewer than 150,000 people with Syrian ancestry, according to 2010 U.S. Census estimates. Syrian immigrant communities in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and elsewhere tend to be longstanding.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT