FORT MYERS, Fla. - WINK News is getting a better understanding of what the situation in Iraq means for us thanks to a local expert with extensive knowledge on the matter.
Former CIA director and Southwest Florida resident Porter Goss spoke with WINK News to explain whether or not there's cause for concern here at home.
With the United States upping its rhetoric on the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) threat this week (Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calling the group an "imminent threat to every interest we have"), the warnings are being echoed here in Southwest Florida.
“These are very, very dangerous people… and the fact that they are getting stronger and spreading their influence... means that we have to stand up and take notice," Goss told WINK News Saturday.
Goss says the recently videotaped beheading of American journalist James Foley goes to show how brutal of an organization ISIS is -- an organization with a serious hatred for the U.S.
“These people have declared war on us, we didn't declare war on them. They're trying to hurt us, and I think that the recognition of that fact is very important," said Goss.
Goss points to our own history with terrorism to illustrate the fact that ISIS activity right here in Southwest Florida is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
“In 2001 some of the very people who were involved in flying those airplanes into the trade towers were actually taking aircraft training in Venice, Florida, which is as you know just a few miles up the road," he said.
However, Goss says Americans should not be scared, which is just what ISIS wants.
He says it's more important that we stay informed, alert, and cautious of any suspicious activity we may see abroad or at home.
“I would suggest to people to go about their day, enjoy their lives and the blessings of America, but be aware if something strange is going on, and consider the fact that it might be one of these radical fundamentalists behind it."
Goss adds that ISIS does not have the capability to carry out any kind of large scale attack on the United States.