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Tag: Iraq

FBI Reports Positive Leads in Search for Americans Who Joined ISIS Fighters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s appeal for more information on Americans joining ISIS has led to strong leads, ABC News reports.

“The FBI tips website that was announced yesterday has received a substantial number of web visits, some of which have generated leads,” another FBI official said Thursday. “We continue to call on the public to report suspicious activity of travelers in support of a terrorist organization or information about the subject speaking with a North American accent in the video issued by ISIL on September 19.”

The news comes after the FBI announced a new tip line devoted to capturing Americans involved with ISIS. Among those under investigation is a man who is featured in an ISIS video called “Flames of War.”

“In the video, a man whose face is obscured by a mask alternates seamlessly between English and Arabic in pro-ISIL [ISIS] pronouncements intended to appeal to a Western audience,” the web post Tuesday said. “Dressed in desert camouflage and wearing a shoulder holster, the masked man can be seen standing in front of purported prisoners as they dig their own graves and then later presiding over their executions.

“The FBI needs your help identifying the individuals in this video as well as anyone traveling abroad to join terrorist groups,” said the FBI post.

U.S. authorities estimate roughly 100 Americans have joined militant groups in Iraq and Syria.

 

 

Are ISIS Militants Plotting to Strike NYC Subway? Security Increases After Threats Disclosed

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Claims by Iraq’s prime minister that ISIS militants have been planning to attack U.S. subways prompted officials in New York to increase surveillance and bag inspections at subways, the Associated Press reports.

But Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo emphasized that the threats are not verified. To show they are not afraid, they both rode trains Thursday.

“We have received information which, in the eyes of the United States government and the NYPD, is not verified. So what we’re doing is taking precautions until we have more information,” de Blasio said at a news conference after riding a subway under Manhattan.

Added Cuomo: “New York is more prepared than it has ever been.”

Iraq Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told journalists Thursday that militants planned to attack subways in New York and Paris.

Detroit Federal Judge Cracks Down on Convicted Cleric’s Travel and Social Media Use

Ahmad Jebril

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– The magical reach of the Internet, and the challenges it presents authorities,  is illustrated in this case involving popular Dearborn cleric Ahmad Jebril, who is on probation after serving time for a fraud.

Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press reports that U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen is cracking down on the cleric, who has gained worldwide popularity with the extremist militant group that announced last week the formation of an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

Rosen has ordered that Jebril, 43, must stay in the eastern half of Michigan and tell his probation officer about his activity on social media accounts when requested, the Freep writes. He was released from prison in 2012.

Warikoo writes:

Jebril, who is on probation until March after serving 6½ years in prison on fraud convictions, has become the most popular religious figure for Western fighters flocking to Syria to battle its government — and continues to gain fans online who sympathize with the group that now calls itself the Islamic State.

The Freep reports that Rosen’s order doesn’t restrict what Jebril says online. But he has to get  approval to use any computer equipment, and he has to provide passwords for all accounts. He will also be monitored with GPS technology, and he can be subjected to searches of his car and home.

The restrictive order came after a probation report stated that he violated probation by lying about the location of  a post office box in Dearborn Heights, and failed to notify authorities about speaking engagements in November at two universities and a mosque in North Carolina, the Freep reported.

Needless to say, he’s not happy, and has said so much on his Twitter account.

He was convicted of several counts of fraud involving nearly $400,000, and included allegations that he trashed his rental properties in Metro Detroit to collect insurance, and trying to bribe a juror.

FBI’s Bomb Lab Helps Track Down Terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan

Steve Neavling
ticklethrewire.com

Step inside the FBI’s bomb warehouse outside of Washington, where experts analyze bombs used to injure and kill thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Businessweek reports that 700 people work at the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.

It’s not easy work. Most of the bombs are assembled with objects like radios, cell phones, sandals, circuit boards, burlap sacks, egg timers, wristwatches, and kitchen utensils, according to Businessweek.

They are industrious—they make bombs out of everything,” bomb analyst Ruel Espinosa told CNN.

The analysts have helped identify more than 1,700 people with terrorist ties, lifting a total of at least 6,000 fingerprints.

“Exploiting the intelligence from explosive devices has proven critical to saving American lives in war zones,” says Robert Mueller III, director of the FBI when the lab was created in 2003.

FBI’s Little-Known Alliance with U.S. Military in Afghanistan, Iraq Put Agents at Risk

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI was transformed into a counterterrorism organization, sending its agents to Iraq and Afghanistan for hundreds of raids.

The Washington Post reports on a controversial, effective and little-known alliance between the FBI and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Some in the bureau questioned why domestic law enforcement agents were sent to battlefields a world away from the U.S.

“The concern was somebody was going to get killed,” said James Davis, the FBI’s legal attache in Baghdad in 2007 and 2008.

Davis said FBI agents often were involved in shootings and were forced to fight attacks alongside the military, though no deaths were ever reported.

U.S. officials said the relationship was helpful because of the bureau’s expertise in investigations.

Justice Delayed? Four U.S. Security Contractors Charged in 2007 Baghdad Shooting

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Four years after a judge dismissed the case, four former Blackwater security contractors were charged Thursday in the 2007 attack on Iraqi civilians in which 17 people were killed, Time reports.

The men, who were hired to guard U.S. diplomats, are accused of using machine guns and grenades at a Baghdad Square in 2007.

Among the victim were women and children, Time reported.

Defense attorneys said the contractors were firing on an ambush by insurgents.

Homeland Security Returns Saddam Hussein’s Gold-Laden Sword to Iraq

Saddam Hussein

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s personal office was looted.

One of those items was a gold-laden, 43-inch sword with an embellished blade and Arabic writing to the Iraqi ambassador, the Associated Press reports.

The AP wrote that an American combat historian brought back the sword, which DHS said was a gift to Hussein, not a battlefield weapon that could bee deemed a war trophy, according to the AP.

The sword sold at an auction for $15,000, but it was later seized by DHS.

The AP reported that the sword has been returned to Iraqi authorities.

 

Wounded Army Ranger Claims FBI Denied Him Job Because of Prosthesis

Justin Slaby

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Army Ranger who served twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan was on his way to his fourth overseas tour when his left hand was blown off in a training accident, NPR reports.

Justin Slaby, who was fitted with a state-of-the-art prosthesis, opted to join the FBI but said he couldn’t believe what happened next.

But six weeks into his 21-week program, the FBI said Slaby wasn’t cut out for the job and couldn’t safely handle a weapon, NPR reported.

Slaby objected.

“Let me go to the firing range, and I’ll show you what I can do,” he said, according to NPR.

When that didn’t work, Slaby hired an attorney.