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Tag: Syria

Authorities Believe They’ve Identified ISIS’s New ‘Jihadi John’ in Video

Siddartha Dhar

Siddartha Dhar

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal officials believe ISIS has a new “Jihadi John.”

The suspect’s name is Siddartha Dhar, a London man who converted to Islam as a young man and later joined the banned radical Islamic group, Al Muhajiroun, CBS News reports. 

Authorities had him in custody in 2014 for suspected terrorism but were forced to release him because of a lack of evidence.

Soon after, he joined ISIS in Syria and quipped about the security in Britain.

“What a shoddy security system Britain must have to allow me to breeze through Europe to the Islamic State,” he tweeted.

In the latest ISIS video showing the execution of five men, a masked man is shown, and it’s believed he is Dhar.

British intelligence services are trying to conclusively identify the masked man by comparing his voice and face with samples the government already has of Dhar.

Homeland Security Chief: Syrian Refugees Face Strong Scrutiny to Cross Border

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told NPR that the fears over Syrian refugees are overstated, suggesting the focus should be on people traveling as tourists from Europe.

Johnson is restricting the visa waiver program because most of the suspects in the Paris attacks were legal residents of European countries and were not Syrian refugees.

For example, anyone who previously visited “terrorist safe havens” would be denied visa-free travel.

“What we want to do is work with Congress in ways that are effective to improve homeland security,” Johnson said. “The refugee program as it is currently exists is probably the most thorough, multilayered, time-consuming way for anyone to cross our borders, to come into this country.”

Other Stories of Interest

Lawmakers Demand Guarantees to Prevent Terrorists from Slipping into U.S. As Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. officials sought to assure skeptics that refugees settling in the U.S. are properly vetted to ensure terrorists don’t slip through.

MassLive reports that federal officials said the process involves in-person interviews and a myriad of other security checks by Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about how refugees from Syria and Iraq are vetted and want guarantees that “would in essence stop the relocations of refugees,” MassLive wrote.

Concerns have been heightened following the Paris attacks.

Head of House Homeland Security Committee Warns of ‘Gaping Holes’ for Terrorism

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. is vulnerable to attack on the scale of the one in Paris because of “gaping holes” in security, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Sunday, The Hill reports. 

“There are a lot of holes — gaping holes,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have hundreds of Americans that have traveled” to Iraq and Syria, he added. “Many of them have come back as well. I think that’s a direct threat.”

McCaul said he is concerned with how easily Europeans and Americans can travel to Iraq and Syria.

He also expressed concerns about terrorists slipping into the U.S. by posing as Syrian refugees.  t

“This causes a great concern on the part of policymakers, because we don’t want to be complicit with a program that could bring potential terrorists into the United States,” McCaul said.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Chair Warns about Dangers of Hosting Syrian Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Should the U.S. host refugees who are fleeing Syria?

U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul is cautioning against it, saying the refugees present a threat to national security, TownHall.com reports.

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States.”

“Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans,” McCaul added.

McCaul said he hasn’t heard how President Obama plans to address the issue.

Some European countries are offering to take refugees, but nations in the Middle East are not.

FBI: Grisly, Debated Photos of Syrian Bodies Are Authentic

syria bodies photo

One of thousands of photos depicting bodies of political prisoners of the Syrian regime.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The photos were so grisly and outrageous that many people doubted they were real.

But after analyzing hundreds of the photos for more than a year at the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., investigators at the bureau concluded that images of emaciated, bruised bodies of political prisoners were authentic and had not been manipulated, Yahoo News reports.

The findings provide more evidence that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad committed human rights violations.

A former government photographer, who was a defector, smuggled the photos out of the country on a thumb drive two years ago, prompting Assad’s government to adamantly claim they were fake.

Suspected Terrorist Accused of Threatening to Kill FBI Agents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One of the 7 Minnesota men charged with trying to join ISIS in Syria is accused of threatening to kill FBI agents,WCCO in Minneapolis reports.

The station reports that the suspect, Mohamed Farah, said to a government informant who was recording the conversation:

“If our backs are against the wall, I’m gonna go kill the one who punks me. You know the one.”

Federal prosecutors say the then named three FBI agents.

Texas Man Accused of Lying to FBI about Joining ISIS

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Texas man has been arrested after lying to the FBI about his allegiance to ISIS, according to a criminal complaint.

NBC DFW reports that Bilal Abood, 37, of Mesquite, faces up to eight years in prison for making a false statement to the FBI. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/FBI-Mesquite-Man-Pledged-Allegiance-to-ISIS-Leader-303803121.html

A licensed security guard, Abood was born in Iraq and moved to the U.S. in 2009, becoming a naturalized American citizen.

Abood was captured while trying to travel from D/FW International Airport, where he told officials he was going to visit family. The FBI said he was actually going to fight for ISIS.

The complaint alleges that Abood admitted planning to go to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army.