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DHS Secretary: ‘New phase’ in the global terrorist threat

Homeland Security Jeh Johnson during a news conference June 30 in Edinburg, Texas. (Nathan Lambrecht/Monitor via AP )
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The United States has now entered "a new phase in the global terrorist threat, where the so-called lone wolf could strike at any moment," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Sunday.

"We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIL’s [the organization that bills itself as the Islamic State] effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others," Johnson said on ABC's "This Week." "And so our government and our state and local law enforcement are having to do a number of things to address that."

At the same time, Johnson urged Americans to strike a balance between vigilance and alarm, arguing that the new environment should not prevent them from going about their daily lives.

"We encourage people to go to public events, sporting events," he said.

Johnson's comments came as the military has boosted security at its stateside bases and facilities, acting on what it believes is an increased security threat by adding precautions such as more ID checks and searches.

The homeland security chief also said that he and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey "spend a lot of time these days talking to police chiefs, sheriffs around the country. We did that in a video teleconference just on Friday."

The government has been criticized for not countering terrorist recruitment efforts with an effective propaganda war of its own.

Johnson, however, argued that  "a lot of the counter narrative needs to come from within the community. And so when I meet with community leaders, I am asking them, what are we doing to counter this narrative? It is slick. It is effective."

The argument against it "has to come from Islamic leaders, who frankly can talk the language better than the federal government can," Johnson said. "And so when I meet with community leaders, Islamic leaders, that’s one of the things that we urge them to do. Some have began it. We’ve seen some good progress, but there is a lot more that can be done."