FBI says it thwarted Islamic State-inspired attacks on July 4

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FBI, Homeland Security: July Fourth Terror Attacks Possible

U.S. authorities foiled attacks planned around the Fourth of July, arresting more than 10 people in the month before the holiday who were inspired by Islamic State online recruitment, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday.

"I do believe our work disrupted efforts to kill people likely in connection with July 4th," Comey told reporters at the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He did not detail the number of plots uncovered or their targets.

Separately, a national security source said multiple overseas plots by Islamic State sympathizers had also been halted in recent days.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had warned local law enforcement to be on alert for attacks around the July 4 holiday celebrating the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence. No such attacks occurred.

Authorities' concern heightened around the holiday as Islamic State leaders called for followers to do what they could wherever they could to carry out violence on behalf of the militant group.

Comey described the tactic as "crowd sourcing terrorism" and said the FBI had accepted the heightened state as the "new normal."


FBI Says Arrested 10 in July 4 Plots Inspired by Islamic State

Some of those arrested were communicating with Islamic State via encrypted data, a second U.S. security source said.

The FBI has pressured tech companies to remove encryption that gives users privacy protections that cannot be broken by law enforcement.

Comey estimated that dozens of people influenced by Islamic State have "gone dark" and disappeared from the FBI's watch because of encrypted data.

The United States is engaged in a military campaign with allies in the Middle East to fight Islamic State militants who have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria and created cells in other countries racked by conflict in the region.


See photos from the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait:

19 PHOTOS
Friday 6/26 ISIS-related attacks (Kuwait, France, Tunisia)
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FBI says it thwarted Islamic State-inspired attacks on July 4
French security and emergency services gather at the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and firefighters gather at the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and firefighters secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
French police secure the entrance of the Air Products company in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, central eastern France, on June 26, 2015. An attacker carrying an Islamist flag killed one person and injured several others at a gas factory in eastern France, according to a legal source. The suspected attacker entered the factory and set off several small explosive devices, the source said. A decapitated body was found nearby the factory, another source said. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZE (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti security personnel and medical staff carry a man on a stretcher at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. The Islamic State group-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti men react over a body at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. The Islamic State group-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti emergency personnel pull a man on stretchers past security forces outside the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. The Islamic State group-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A Kuwaiti man with blood-stained clothes and a bandaged head uses a phone at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. The Islamic State group-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti men and a security member inspect the scene outside the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. The Islamic State group-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims. (Photo credit Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP/Getty Images)
A Kuwaiti man with blood-stained clothes reacts as he sits at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. (Photo credit Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti emergency personnel pull stretchers past security forces outside the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque after it was targeted by a suicide bombing during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. (Photo credit Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP/Getty Images)
Kuwaiti men react at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. (Photo credit Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP/Getty Images)
A Kuwaiti man reacts at the site of a suicide bombing that targeted the Shiite Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque during Friday prayers on June 26, 2015, in Kuwait City. (Photo credit Yasser Al-Zayyat, AFP/Getty Images)
Security measures are taken after an armed attack on a tourist hotel in Sousse, east Tunisia, left at least 27 people dead, including foreigners, and injured six others , on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The bodies of people are seen after an armed attack on a tourist hotel in Sousse, east Tunisia, left at least 27 people dead, including foreigners, and injured six others , on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Wounded people are carried after an armed attack on a tourist hotel in Sousse, east Tunisia, left at least 27 people dead, including foreigners, and injured six others , on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GRAPHIC CONTENT Covered bodies of victims of a mass-shooting are seen in the resort town of Sousse, a popular tourist destination 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of the Tunisian capital, following the attack on June 26, 2015. At least 27 people, including foreigners, were killed in a mass shooting at a Tunisian beach resort packed with holidaymakers, in the North African country's worst attack in recent history. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists console each other following a shooting attack in the resort town of Sousse, a popular tourist destination 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of the Tunisian capital, on June 26, 2015. At least 27 people, including foreigners, were killed in a mass shooting at a Tunisian beach resort packed with holidaymakers, in the North African country's worst attack in recent history. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
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