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DHS chief: Be ‘careful’ at Mall of America after terror threat

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Sunday warned the public to be “particularly careful” if they go to the Mall of America in Minnesota, after a terrorist group released a video calling for attacks on it.

{mosads}“I would say that, if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Mall of America says it has stepped up security in response to the threat in the video from the terrorist group al-Shabaab. 

Appearing later on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Johnson made clear that the public should still feel free to go to the mall. “I’m not telling people to not to go to the mall,” he said. “I think there’s need to be awareness, there needs to be vigilance, and people need to be careful, obviously.”

Johnson said the video shows that the terror threat has evolved to rely on people already in the country in question, rather than foreign actors. 

“We’re in a new phase in that these groups are relying more and more on independent actors to become inspired, drawn to the cause and [and to carry out] small-scale attacks on their own,” Johnson said. 

Johnson also focused on the broader threat.

“I’m very concerned about the serious potential threat of independent actors here in the United States,” Johnson said, noting that he has traveled the country to speak to Muslim leaders and try to prevent members of their communities from being driven to extremism.

“Americans should still feel that they are free to associate,” Johnson said. “What we’re telling the public in general is, you’ve got to be vigilant.”

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