The Pentagon’s internal security agency warned the 23,000 civilian and military personnel working in the building to be on guard against becoming potential targets for ISIS terrorists and their sympathizers.
In a memo issued last week and first reported by the Washington Times, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which is in charge of security in the building, cautioned Pentagon employees to be careful in displaying credentials in public and in their use of social media.
“We disseminated this advisory, not because of a specific threat, but as a reminder for Pentagon employees to be vigilant at home, at work, during travel and in their communities, by using individual protective measures,” Christopher Layman, a spokesman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, told the Military Times on Wednesday.
The memo to Pentagon employees came ahead of the announcement Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security that security was being increased at an undisclosed number of federal buildings in Washington and other major cities.
In a statement, Homeland Secretary Secretary Jeh Johnson said the beefed up security was going into place as a “precautionary step,” and not in response to a specific threat.
"The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently," Johnson said in a statement.
The memo used the acronym ISIL in referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the potential threat to those working in the Pentagon.
“Recent threats, revealed through various intelligence and law enforcement sources, indicate that terrorists, directed or inspired by the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), view U.S. military members and law enforcement officers as legitimate targets for attacks,” the memo said, according to the Washington Times.
“Targets in recent ISIL-linked terrorist plots included places of public gatherings, government entities, mass transit nodes, and religious facilities,” the memo said.
“Attacks would most likely involve edged weapons, small arms, or improvised explosive devices, and could be perpetrated with little-or-no advanced warning,” the memo said. “In light of these threats and recent attacks in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, remaining vigilant is paramount.”