FBI officials said social media was used to knowingly and unknowingly radicalize individuals.
BEAUMONT, Texas — Federal agencies are teaming up to host an event at Lamar University that aims to help them eliminate threats before they claim mass casualties.
The FBI Houston teamed up with agents from Beaumont to host a domestic terrorism training session. The three-day event started on Monday and will run through Wednesday.
The event is intended to shed light on the fight against extremism and hate crimes and to make efforts to keep up to date with the latest technologies.
FBI officials find it difficult to keep up with changing technology when it comes to countering domestic terrorism.
“The stock that we have here in the Beaumont area being the port, the strategic port, the reserves and things of that nature, we want to make sure that the Beaumont area knows that we are here to work with them”, Agent FBI special says Deron Ogletree.
This is the third training on domestic terrorism organized by the agency, and the first in Beaumont.
Ogletree said the FBI wants Southeast Texans to know they have a presence in the area and rely on the community to be their eyes and ears.
“The best thing we can do to be more proactive is to get out before a trend develops because we want to disrupt the event before it can actually happen,” Ogletree said. “And if anything else, we want to shorten our reaction time, and the best way to do that is with events like these.”
Nicole Sinegar works with the FBI Beaumont. She believes it is important to bring all of these law enforcement partners together to discuss how to combat domestic terrorism.
“We see bands feeling more emboldened to show their true selves,” Sinegar said. “And so, as law enforcement, we want to make sure that if they go beyond those First Amendment protective rights, we’re there to step in and protect the people.”
Sinegar and Ogletree agree that changing technology makes it difficult for the FBI to track threats on social media. They are asking Southeast Texans to alert authorities if they see or hear anything suspicious on social media.
“It is used to radicalize individuals, knowingly and unknowingly,” Sinegar said.
Officials stressed the importance of speaking up if someone sees or hears something they perceive as a threat.