Threats

US intel bulletin warns of persistent threat from 'Western female violent extremists'

Two women with family ties to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, seen here, were charged in an immigration fraud case in April.

Two women with family ties to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, seen here, were charged in an immigration fraud case in April.  (US Customs and Border Protection/Handout)

The U.S. intelligence community is warning law enforcement agencies around the country of persistent terror threats posed by radicalized Western women.

In a Joint Intelligence Bulletin – or JIB – distributed Tuesday and obtained by Fox News, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center note a “continued trend of Western female violent extremists… engaging or attempting to engage in plotting against targets in the West, including their home countries.”

The information was circulated after a review of recent arrests, as well as observations made following successful and disrupted plots.

The agencies find that extremist-sympathizing Western women “are likely to continue” to follow persistent calls by terror groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda to plot and/or carry out lone wolf-style terror attacks in their home countries or other Western nations.

Additionally, FBI, DHS and NCTC warn of the women’s potential role in carrying digital surveillance of potential targets over the Internet through a practice known as “doxing.” Doxing leverages publicly available information on the web to plot attacks against specific individuals or locations.

“Western female violent extremists have also demonstrated an ongoing interest in conducting supportive activities such as fundraising or traveling to marry foreign fighters, according to a body of court documents, press reporting, and public social media postings,” the Joint Intelligence Bulletin went on to warn.

Since January 2015, fourteen women have been implicated in terrorism cases or charged with crimes related to terror attacks in the United States, according to data from the Justice Department.

The most recent charges came in April in an immigration fraud case against two women with family ties to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook and his wife and co-attacker Tashfeen Malik.

In its latest assessment, FBI, DHS and NCTC also note the global trend of Western female violent extremists going down the path to terrorism at a younger age. The Joint Intelligence Bulletin specifically cites several cases in which European female teens either attempted or conducted attacks on behalf of a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) or tried to travel to ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria.

“We remain concerned Western female violent extremists who are unable or unwilling to travel abroad could instead choose to engage in violence at home,” the intelligence bulletin added.

Neither the FBI nor DHS would comment directly on the Joint Intelligence Bulletin.

In an emailed statement, an FBI spokesperson told Fox News, “As part of the continuous dialogue with our law enforcement partners, the FBI routinely shares information about potential threats to better enable law enforcement to protect the communities they serve. We urge the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

Matthew Dean is Fox News Channel's Department of Justice & Federal Law Enforcement producer. Follow him on Twitter @MattFirewall.