Darren Doyle, story
When evil terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are mentioned, you don't expect to hear "Edmonson County residents" in the same sentence, however, one local family recently experienced something that hits close to home.
Terry and Sherry Blanton, residents in the Otter Gap community, recently received a phone call from a Louisville Metro Police Department detective, who was also a member of the State Terrorism Task Force.
Mr. Blanton said the detective, whose name is being withheld, advised them that one of the family's personal email addresses had shown up on what was called "an Al-Qaeda hit list." This apparently meant that the task force had reason to believe that something connected to the terrorist group had attempted to hack, use, or contact the email address.
"The detective told us to just go about our normal lives but to be more aware of our surroundings," said Blanton. He also said the detective advised them to discontinue the use of the email address, which he said has been deleted.
Blanton said at first, he wasn't sure if it was a prank or some sort of scam attempt, but he felt like the call was legitimate as the caller didn't ask for any personal information, nor seemed to benefit in any way from the phone call other than to help.
We contacted Louisville Metro PD and requested to speak to the detective that Blanton said had called and we were forwarded to his voicemail. We received a call the next day from the detective who confirmed that he made the call, but said an official statement had to come from the Media Relations Office and asked us not to publish his name, due to the sensitive nature of his position.
A Louisville Media Relations Officer, Sgt. Phil Russell called our office today and advised us that the KY Joint Terrorism Task Force, a division of the FBI, would give us a statement on the matter. We received an email from the Louisville FBI Office earlier today.
"The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is handling the matter. Along with our local partners, the JTTF takes seriously any terrorism or criminal matter," said Special Agent David Habich, a spokesman for the FBI Office in Louisville. "At this time there is no information indicating an imminent threat from this ISIL-related issue to the persons contacted. The JTTF will continue to warn citizens accordingly out of an abundance of caution."
Mr. Blanton said an FBI Agent visited their home in person today, Friday, June 24th, to confirm everything that had been discussed so far.
So what does this mean, exactly? For the Blantons and the rest of Edmonson County, hopefully, nothing. However; the fact that an email address from someone in Edmonson County in fact crossed paths with a known association of Al-Qaeda is a bit unnerving to say the least.
"I know it sounds crazy, but with the way things are in the world today..." Blanton added. "It's a creepy feeling."