Santa Barbara County law enforcement officials are aware of, and are responding to, threats made by the Islamic militant group ISIS against military personnel living in Solvang, Sheriff’s Department officials confirmed Wednesday.
“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, including personnel assigned to patrol the streets of Solvang, is aware of this threat,” said sheriff’s Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover.
Hoover would not elaborate on whether additional patrols were being assigned to the region, citing an ongoing investigation.
“We are unable to comment further,” she said.
The heightened state of awareness follows publication by the Islamic State Hacking Division, an ISIS affiliate, of a list of 100 military personnel in 55 cities and 23 states on a social media website last week. The report included names, photos and home addresses of U.S. military personnel, including at least one in Solvang.
The publication urges ISIS followers and sympathizers in the U.S. to kill the servicemen, 58 of which are employed by the U.S. Air Force, according to CBS News.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, which employs about 2,700 airmen, is located 25 miles west of Solvang.
A list claiming to identify the hometowns of targeted servicemen, which was released by CBS and affiliates and has been circulating on the Internet since last weekend, lists five California cities and towns in addition to Solvang. They are listed with misspellings as: Manford, San Ardo, Monterrey, Newberry Park and Carlsbad.
Manford is not a California city, and Monterey and Newbury Park are misspelled on the list. CBS would not confirm whether Manford was actually Hanford, a city near Naval Air Station Lemoore in the San Joaquin Valley.
U.S. Department of Defense officials would not comment on the seriousness of the threat but said military personnel listed have been notified.
“Services have conducted appropriate notifications in accordance with their service specific procedures,” U.S. Department of Defense Press Officer Tom Crosson said in an email.
Solvang city officials said Wednesday morning they were unaware that their city was included in the list.
“Are you kidding me? I’m shocked,” Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson said.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officials, however, said they are working with the FBI, the lead agency on the investigation.
“We are taking appropriate action and are communicating with the FBI which is the agency handling the investigation. We remind the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement right away,” Hoover said.
Crosson would not elaborate on the number of military personnel targeted who live in Solvang or provide details on “force protection measures” but said early news reports indicating that the Pentagon asked law enforcement officials to provide extra protection for targeted military personnel are inaccurate.
Despite claims made by the Islamic State Hacking Division, the list of names, addresses and photos made public was not obtained through hacking, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.
“The information that was posted by ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] was information taken from social websites and publicly available. It wasn’t stolen from any websites or any confidential databases,” Carter said.