Wisconsin native, terrorism expert reacts to weekend attacks

Dozens of Americans injured
Posted at 7:18 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 20:19:50-04
Three terror attacks this weekend injured dozens of Americans. While authorities haven't yet confirmed a direct link to any terror groups, Anne Speckhard is already suspicious.
"My reaction when I saw a spade of them was this looks like ISIS or Al-Qaeda because they try to get a succession of attacks," said Speckhard. 
Speckhard is a Wisconsin native and is the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism. She has spent the last 20 years interviewing terrorists and estimates that she has talked to about 500 in her career. 
In the past year, she has focused on ISIS defectors, posting their interviews on her non-profit's website
"These videos are defectors saying 'this group is not Islamic, I've been on the inside, they're corrupt, they rape, they cover things, up they sell oil to Assad,'" she said. 
On Saturday, a bomb went off in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29 people.
Authorities say an unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found just blocks away. 
A pipe bomb also exploded in a New Jersey shore town before a charity race, but did not injure anyone.
Also on Saturday, authorities say a man referring to Allah injured nine people at a mall in Minnesota before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for that attack. 
"With ISIS, they've really been promoting attacking anybody in any way and they've been mentioning knives and we've seen a number of knife attacks," said Speckhard. "We saw a guy in London that killed an American with a knife and that was really downplayed whether it was connected to ISIS or not." 
According to Speckhard, ISIS is very internet savvy and recruits heavily online.
She wants to flood the internet with counter messages.
"If they [ISIS] see somebody re-tweeting and liking, they contact you and they actually ask you 'Oh you liked my video? Would you like to jump on Skype, could we talk?'" she said. "And they keep trying to pull you in, pull you in, they look for your vulnerabilities, what are you angry about, how can we direct that rage back towards the West?" 
She says an ISIS spokesman has been calling for attacks on Americans since the beginning of June. 
"It's terrifying and it's a reason that we really need to be cohesive in our communities and reach out to other Muslims because most Muslims don't believe these lies," she said. "It's not part of their religion. ISIS is an extreme, extreme hijacking of Islam. We need to reach out to them and say 'how can I make your kid feel included, how can I help you because I know your kid is a target of this.'"
Speckhard says the U.S. State Department denied her request for funding so she could continue editing and posting videos of ISIS defectors online.
She is currently seeking private donations. 
"As part of the continuous dialogue with our law enforcement partners, the FBI routinely shares information about potential threats to better enable law enforcement to protect the communities we serve. We urge the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement," FBI Milwaukee Division said in a statement.