PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Monday sent out the strongest warning to date about threats the Islamic State poses to the United States.

They warned law enforcement and intelligence personnel to be ready for a possible domestic attack. The threats stem from two separate incidents in Canada this past October.

The former governor of Pennsylvania and the first director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, joined The KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about this latest threat, cyber threats, and what he feels has made it all possible.

Asked if most people now just ignore these types of warnings, Ridge says, “I certainly hope not.” He adds though, that the threat shouldn’t be news, “to the military, journalists, and those who have been paying the least bit of attention to what’s going on in the world.”

He also talked about the balance that needs to be made between taking a threat seriously while not putting people in a panic over it.

The threat of cyber terrorism is something that Ridge thinks has the potential for, “even longer term implications for our national security and our economic security as well.” He calls the threats that the public and private sectors face, “a day to day battle.”

Ridge sees the threat of terrorism and cyber-attacks as two things that aren’t going away any time soon.

“There are two permanent conditions in the 21st century that I think we are going to have to deal with and manage. (One) is the global scourge of terrorism, and the other is the challenge associated with keeping digital infrastructure safe,” Ridge said.

Ridge also talked about the difference between the threats when he was Homeland Security director and today. He says al-Qaida was once the central focus, but today, the threat comes from not only al-Qaida other groups that have splintered off, as well as the possibility of cyber-attack.

Ridge believes that while the Islamic State is dangerous, it is Iran that is, “the enabler of most of the terrorism around the world.”

He adds, “Iran has aggressively supported Assad in Syria, supported Hezbollah in Lebanon, (and) it fuels the flame of sectarian conflict in Iraq.”

Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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