FBI warns of ‘potential increased threats to medical facilities’

The FBI said it cannot expand on the nature of the complaint or confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, which is the bureau's stand operating procedure.

The FBI is distributing a flyer to healthcare clinics and hospitals advising them to be aware of “potential increased threats to medical facilities.”

In an email copied to the media FBI Special Agent John Kowatch advised that the flyer is being distributed to a “wide dissemination beyond the healthcare industry” so that it can be shared with business contacts, family and friends “to ensure we mitigate attempts by bad actors to capitalize on this time of difficulty.”

READ the FBI flyer in FULL below:

The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate in coordination with the Office of Private Sector is providing this LIR to inform state and local government first responders and public healthcare professionals of potential increased threats to medical facilities.

The FBI is issuing this report due to recent incidents in which a racially motivated violent extremist (RMVE) targeted a medical facility and the Islamic State of Iraq in ash-Sham (ISIS) endorsement of attacks in countries impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

These incidents, as well as other RMVEs and other social media users advocating for violence against critical infrastructure, religious centers, and minority communities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak may entice violent extremists to target medical facilities.

On 24 March 2020, FBI Kansas City disrupted a plan by a lone actor to attack a medical center using a vehicle-born improvised explosive device in furtherance of the subject’s domestic racially motivated violent extremist ideology. The perpetrator was a racially motivated violent extremist who wanted to attack the medical center because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the increased media attention the attack would gain due to the target being a healthcare facility. ISIS’ declaration for supporters to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and conduct attacks.

On 19 March 2020, ISIS issued its weekly al-Naba newsletter urged supporters to attack healthcare systems in Western countries that are strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From February to April 2020, online posts by RMVEs and other social media users have advocated for violence against critical infrastructure and faith-based and minority communities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Potential Threat Indicators:

The following list of indicators is advisory in nature and can be utilized by law enforcement and first responders to identify and mitigate potential threats. The totality of behavioral indicators and other relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.

• Individuals surveilling medical facilities,
• Frequent, multiple perimeter surveillance ‘false’ alarms,
• Testing security; sabotage or holes in fences or security barriers,
• Vandalism of perimeter security equipment,
• Persons seeking employment who do not have proper identification documents, and
• Negligent professional behavior or abnormal individual personal behavior.