CLEVELAND - Protecting the United States from terrorist attacks is the number one priority of the FBI.
"I think Cleveland's threat is average. It's existent, present, we do have a case load," said Supervisory Special Agent Michael Paul. "Based on some of the cases in the last year or so, we have had a spike in activity."
Paul is in charge of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cleveland, which is aimed at fighting domestic terrorism.
"The diversity of those terrorist groups is broad," he explained. And so are the type of cases that the JTT investigates.
The members of the JTT task force are investigating the shooting involving two Middlefield police officers in March. The officers were making a routine traffic stop when police dash cam video shows the suspect got out of the car firing his gun, injuring the officers. In return, police shot the suspect dead. The investigation is open as the FBI looks into whether or not the case was domestic terrorism.
"There is a potential for it to be...so we're looking closely at it," said Paul.
The recent Boston Marathon bombings are another reminder that the threat can be homegrown or international.
I am part of this year's class of the FBI Citizens' Academy. It's a way for the FBI said to get the word out about what they do daily to protect cities across the country. The FBI has many partnerships but perhaps the most important relationship is with the community. No tip is ever too small not to be investigated.
"We have a system here at the FBI to track those types of tips that specifically deal with terrorism," said Paul.
There are more than 4,000 Joint Terrorism Task Force members across the country fighting terrorism on the front lines. If you have a tip for the FBI, call the Cleveland FBI office at 216-522-1400.