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Tag: counterterrorism

Matthew R. Alcoke Named Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Division of Washington Field Office

The FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Matthew R. Alcoke has been named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the Washington Field Office.

Alcoke had been serving as a deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Alcoke became a special agent for the FBI in 1997 and spent 15 years as a case agent on the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force in the Chicago Field Office. In addition, he served as Behavioral Analysis Unit coordinator in Chicago from 1999 to 2012 and as a SWAT operator from 2006 to 2012.

In 2012, Alcoke was promoted to supervisor of a Chicago Safe Streets and Gang Task Force in 2012 and served as the violent criminal threat program coordinator.

In 2015, Alcoke became assistant section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, leading the operational analysis branch of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force. In 2016, Alcoke transferred to the International Terrorism Operations Section 2 as an assistant section chief, providing program management oversight for counterterrorism investigations in Europe, the Middle East, and the Levant, as well as the Counterterrorism Fly Team.

In 2017, Alcoke became assistant special agent in charge of the Criminal Branch of the Atlanta Field Office before returning to headquarters as a section chief in the Office of Partner Engagement in 2018. He was promoted to deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division in 2019.

Before joining the FBI, Alcoke served as a patrolman for the Cleveland Police Department. He graduated from the Miami University in Ohio.

Jill Sanborn Named Assistant Director of FBI’s Counterterrorism Division

FBI Special Agent Jill Sanborn.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Jill Sanborn, who most recently served as the special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Field Office, has been named assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Sanborn brings plenty of experience as a counterterrorism agent.

Sanborn began her career as a special agent with the FBI in 1998, when she was assigned to the Phoenix office to investigate bank fraud and computer intrusions. For most of her 20-plus-year career, Sanborn has been involved in counterterrorism operations, holding leadership positions in the Washington and Los Angeles field offices.

In 2001, she joined the Phoenix Joint Terrorism Task Force before becoming a member of the Counterterrorism Division’s Fly Team in 2006. On the fly team, Sanborn served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Kenya, and Pakistan.

In 2010, Sanborn began serving as the acting deputy director for law enforcement at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. The following year, she was promoted to unit chief in the Counterterrorism Division, taking charge of more than 400 extraterritorial investigations covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia.

In 2012, Sanborn returned to the field as a supervisory special agent at the Washington Field Office, managing overseas kidnapping cases and the extradition of four high-value terrorism subjects.

In 2015, Sanborn’s next promotion took her to the Los Angeles Field Office, where she served as assistant special agent in charge – a position that put her in charge of overseeing counterterrorism issues in Orange County and the cities of West Covina and Riverside in California. That’s where Sanborn served as the assistant special agent in charge of investigating the 2015 San Bernardino terrorism attack that left 14 dead and 22 injured.

In 2016, Sanborn was promoted to section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, overseeing all counterterrorism investigations overseas. Then in 2018, she was named head of the Minneapolis Field Office.

Sanborn earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Portland.

Before joining the FBI, she served as an investigator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

ATF’s Scott Sweetow Retires as Acting Director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center

Scott Sweetow

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sweetow, the acting director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), retired Saturday after more than 29 years as a special agent with ATF.

Sweetow says he plans to run a private consulting firm based in Alabama specializing in explosives related counterterrorism and helping multinational companies identify terrorism indicators and pre-attack indicators.

“I will also be making myself available as an on air or print for media to comment on events in my wheelhouse, ” he tells ticklethewire.com.

Additionally, he’ll be doing international training for the State Department’s Global Anti-Terrorism Assistance  program overseas.

Sweetow, a long-serving senior executive with ATF and a former deputy assistant director for intelligence and special agent in charge, became the deputy director of TEDAC in January 2016, and became its acting director in May 2019.

It was the first time that the FBI, who leads the TEDAC, ever had an ATF senior executive assume such a long-term key leadership role.

Sweetow started with ATF in 1990 in Los Angeles and spent several years working in the Arson and Explosives group. He served as a Certified Explosives Specialist. And he was part of ATF’s National Response Team, which investigated high-profile crimes including the Oklahoma City bombing and the Centennial Olympic Park bombings.

TEDAC’s mission is to exploit IED information and material to produce actionable intelligence to protect the United States and its international partners from terrorist attacks, according to the FBI. TEDAC is part of the FBI Laboratory system, and operates primarily from its headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., as part of the FBI’s continuing expansion in the area.

The replacement director of TEDAC, an FBI senior executive, will be report in the coming days.  Sweetow’s ATF replacement is expected to report in early 2020.

 

Homeland Security Official Who Scaled Back Counterterrorism Efforts Is Resigning

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Department of Homeland Security official and presidential appointee will leave his post after scaling back on some counterterrorism efforts involving weapons of mass destruction.

James F. McDonnell, who led the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, will step down at noon Thursday, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan requested McDonnell’s departure.

In his seven-sentence resignation memo, McDonnell did not give a reason for resigning.

McDonnell has faced criticism earlier this year for promoting a scientifically-disputed system for detection of airborne infectious agents such as anthrax.

McDonnell also directed “the scaling back or elimination of multiple anti-terrorism programs at Homeland Security, which has primary domestic responsibility for helping authorities detect and block WMD-related threats,” The Los Angeles Times wrote.

Michael Driscoll, Counterterrorism Expert, Named Special Agent in Charge of New York’s Criminal Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael J. Driscoll, a 23-year veteran of the FBI and a counterterrorism expert, has ben named special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the bureau’s New York Field Office.

Most recently, Driscoll served as a section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters.

Driscoll began his FBI career in 1996 at the New York Field Office, where he worked on counterterrorism. During his time in New York, he help investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

For his work investigating al Qaeda, Driscoll earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Services in 2002.

In 2004, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the bureau’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

Driscoll returned to the New York Office when he was promoted to supervisor in 2005, taking charge of the squad responsible for extraterritorial investigations in Africa. His counterterrorism work continued in the New York Hudson Valley region before being promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll became assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and worked closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services.

in 2016, Driscoll became assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office’s Cyber and Counterintelligence Programs.

Two years later, Driscoll returned to FBI headquarters as chief of the Violent Crime Section.

A graduate of State University of New York in Albany, Driscoll earned his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hampstead, N.Y. He briefly worked as an attorney in commercial litigation.

Jill Sanborn, a Veteran Counterterrorism Expert, to Head FBI’s Minneapolis Division

FBI Special Agent Jill Sanborn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Jill Sanborn, a veteran counterterrorism agent who led the FBI’s investigation of the San Bernardino mass shooting in 2015, has been named special agent in charge of the bureau’s Minneapolis division.

Sanborn will replace Richard Thornton, who is retiring today after leading the Minneapolis office since 2014, when she reports to the office in April.

The Minneapolis office covers Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Minnesota and the Dakotas have such rich and diverse cultural and economic reputations and I look forward to getting to work with law enforcement, business, and community leaders to partner in keeping those sectors safe and secure,” Sanborn told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Sanborn began her career as a special agent with the FBI in 1998, when she was assigned to the Phoenix office to investigate fraud and computer intrusions. For most of her nearly 20-year career, Sanborn has been involved in counterterrorism operations, holding leadership positions in the Washington Field Office and the Los Angels Field Office.

Ex-Bush Aide Is Trump’s Top Contender for Homeland Security And Counterterrorism Adviser

Tim Bossert

Tim Bossert

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s top contender for homeland security and counterterrorism adviser is Tom Bossert, a former top George W. Bush aide, two senior transition officials told Politico

Trump met with Bossert at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Thursday. He was joined by national security advisor Michael Flynn, incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

If appointed, he would replace Lisa Monaco, who holds the position under President Obama.

Bossert currently is a fellow at the Atlantic Council. 

Under Bush, Bossert served as deputy homeland security adviser.

Homeland Security Director to Deliver Speech at Duke University for 9/11 Anniversary

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson will discuss counterterrorism and new threats to the U.S. at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy on Sept. 8, just three days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Duke Today reports the event is free and open to the public.

Johnson, who took the helm at Homeland Security in 2013, will bring a lot of experience on the issues to the speech.

“Jeh Johnson has had a seat at the table in the key decisions about U.S. security policy over the past seven and a half years,” said David Schanzer, a Sanford School professor and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“Secretary Johnson is a thoughtful leader and a man of integrity and is uniquely positioned to share his insights on national security,” added Gen. Martin Dempsey, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Rubenstein Fellow at Duke.

The speech is the fifth annual event to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.