The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating several cases in which people sought to fly drones equipped with homemade bombs within the US, the agency chief said Thursday.
Referring to homemade improvised explosive devices (IEDs), FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a Senate hearing that some inside the country were looking to equip drones with IEDs.
"We are investigating, even as we speak, several instances within the US of attempts to weaponize drones with homemade IEDs," Wray said.
He emphasized that the threat posed by widely available drones has increased "in terms of their visibility, the speed with which they can move, the distance with which they can move, and also the loads that they can carry."
"These are extraordinarily sophisticated tools that can carry drugs that can launch weaponry, and we must be able to counter it," Wray said.
He, however, did not provide any detail on the armed drone cases.
Wray urged US lawmakers to increase the powers of the FBI, the premier domestic intelligence and security service of the country, and other law enforcement officials to deal with security threats from private drones.
Since the controversial 2020 elections, the threat from homegrown extremist groups has increased in the US, becoming more pronounced after the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol attack.
The US security agencies have repeatedly warned about the activities of groups such as Proud Boys and Oath Keepers inside the country.
Before the parliamentary mid-term elections, some security officials in the United States had warned that extremist groups seek to change the election results in their favor.
Last month, the US Conference of Mayors held an event warning of decentralized election interference efforts targeting local voters, candidates, and election workers.
"We've seen them dismantle some of their nationwide organizations," Mary McCord, executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a former Justice Department prosecutor, said at the time.
"So the Proud Boys dismantle nationally in favor of state chapters — the Three Percenters did the same," she told the mayors.
American officials have warned that next year's 2024 US presidential election may face unprecedented security threats.
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