Valley residents on ISIS 'hit lists'

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The FBI is warning ordinary citizens across the country that they have popped up on ISIS "hit lists" that are circulating on the Internet. Some of the people on those lists are Valley residents, according to law enforcement officers who spoke to CBS 5 Investigates.

It is unclear who created the lists, but investigators believe they may be hackers with ISIS sympathies. ISIS has issued statements urging its supporters to target the people on the lists.

"Part of the ISIS strategy is to be proactive in creating fear," said John Iannarelli, who is a retired FBI assistant special agent in charge. Iannarelli wrote a book about terrorism called "How to Spot a Terrorist Before it's Too Late."

"ISIS and other terrorist groups put out a lot of information. Some of it is what they plan to act on. Other is just noise," said Iannarelli.

The FBI's Phoenix office would not confirm it has warned any Valley residents, but issued the following statement:

"The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information. We perform these notifications so potential victims are aware of possible threats and take appropriate steps. Those measures may include paying close attention to your surroundings at all times, protecting personally identifiable information, and immediately calling the local authorities if you observe something suspicious. The FBI will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to keep the public informed of potential threats.”

Many of the names on the lists appear to be gathered from databases that are freely available online, and there are no examples of anyone on any of the lists actually being attacked.

Copyright 2016 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. In October 2016, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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