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Tag: terrorism

FBI Arrests U.S. Woman Accused of Attempting to Provide Material Support to al-Qaeda

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. woman has been arrested on allegations of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the Justice Department announced.

The FBI on Wednesday arrested Jill Marie Jones at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where federal authorities say she planned to board a flight to Turkey to join the terrorist group in Afghanistan.

Two undercover FBI agents, including one who posed as a member of al-Qaeda, were communicating with Jones, who said she planned to send money to help al Qaeda buy scopes for rifles that would be used to kill American soldiers. She sent the undercover FBI agent a $500 gift card in May 2020, the DOJ says.

During the communications, Jones said she planned to travel overseas to assist al Qaeda, according to the DOJ.

FBI: Shooting at U.S. Navy Air Base in Texas Was ‘Terrorism-Related’

Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, via U.S. Navy.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI in Houston is leading an investigation into a “terrorism-related” shooting at a U.S. Navy air base in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thursday morning.

One sailor was injured in the 6:15 a.m. shooting at the Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, and authorities said the gunman was dead by 7:30 a.m. The victim had minor injuries and was released from the hospital.

Authorities said a second suspect may still be at large, but did not elaborate.

“We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi is terrorism-related,” FBI Senior Supervisory Special Agent Leah Greeves told reporters during a news conference, according to the Associated Press. “We are working diligently with our state, local and federal partners on this investigation, which is fluid and evolving.”

Details, including the motive and why the FBI believes the shooting was related to terrorism, were not shared with the media. Authorities also didn’t elaborate on the potential second suspect.

FBI: Pensacola Gunman Who Killed 3 Sailors Planned Attack with Al Qaeda

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Saudi Air Force officer who killed three sailors at a military base in Florida in December 2019 worked with Al Qaeda to plan the attack, federal authorities said.

The connection was made after FBI technicians finally gained access to a cell phone that Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani tried to destroy, Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference, according to a New York Times report.

The FBI and Justice Department criticized Apple for refusing to unlock the gunman’s phone.

Authorities said the gunman, a Saudi Air Force cadet training with the American military in Pensacola, communicated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to plan the attack, which injured eight others.

Apple said it helped the FBI and gave investigators access to the gunman’s online storage accounts.

“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement.

Homeland Security Warns of Extremists Attacking U.S. During Coronavirus Pandemic

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials nationwide that violent extremists may carry out attacks against the U.S. in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency sent law enforcement officials the intelligence bulletin, compiled by the Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. The memo was obtained by ABC.

“Violent extremists probably are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets and promote their ideologies, and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months,” the intelligence bulletin states.

So far, the department said it has “no information indicating any active plotting is underway.”

But the agency said foreign and domestic extremist groups are trying to spread misinformation about the pandemic.

FBI Director Chris Wray, in a video message, said the bureau is increasing its monitoring of potential threats against the U.S.

“With all the worry and uncertainty out there, we want the public to know that there are still things they can count on: We’re here, and we’re going to stay here, to protect them, no matter what,” Wray said. “Because our criminal and national security adversaries sure aren’t going to take a day off – whether that’s for the coronavirus or, for that matter, anything else.”

Earlier this month, the FBI alerted local police that some white supremacist groups are encouraging members to weaponize the coronavirus by spreading it to cops and Jews. These extremists are directing their followers who get infected with coronavirus to spread it by employing methods that include using spray bottles with their bodily fluids, according to the alert.

DOJ Watchdog Criticizes FBI’s Handling of U.S.-Based Violent Extremists

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s inspector general criticized the FBI’s handling of U.S.-based extremists who successfully carried out attacks against Americans after the bureau investigated them.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report identified homegrown violent extremists (HVE) who continued to act violently after the FBI prematurely closed their cases.

“Since September 11, 2001, HVEs have carried out over 20 attacks in the United States, some of which occurred after the FBI closed a counterterrorism investigation or assessment on the individual,” the report said.

The report identified “at least six attacks committed in the United States by individuals who the FBI had previously assessed or investigated” between 2009 and 2017. They include the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2016 Orland Pulse Nightclub attack.

The report encourages the FBI to improve its handling of tips about potentially violent people and develop a more comprehensive plan to determine the risks of individuals with mental health problems.

Updated: Ex-FBI Translator Gets Probation for Making False Statements in Terrorism Case

Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Updated: 9:40 a.m. Monday — A former FBI translator was sentenced to probation Friday after he admitted doctoring transcripts when his own voice came up on intercepts of phone calls placed by a terrorism suspect, the Associated Press reports. He was also fined $1,000.

________________

A former FBI translator is expected to be sentenced in federal court today after he pleaded guilty to making false statements in a case involving a terrorism suspect.

Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, 68, of Burke, Virginia, was arrested in May on charges of lying to investigators about having contact with a man accused of joining a militant Somali group tied to terrorism.

In November, Wehelie pleaded guilty to making false statements, saying he doctored transcripts to hide the fact that he received a phone call from the man, who had been under surveillance.

The Justice Department said Wehelie had a personal relationship with the suspect, who had left a voicemail on Wehelie’s phone. When Wehelie translated the call, he changed his name to “unidentified male.”

The terrorism suspect’s phone was under court-ordered surveillance.

According to federal prosecutors, Wehelie later disclosed that he had been friends with the suspect for years.

Wehelie faces up to 25 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines call for zero to six months in jail.

FBI Study on ‘Lone Offender Terrorism’ Reveals Common Traits Among Attackers

Terrorism exercise in Portland. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A new FBI study examining “lone offender terrorism” found common traits that could help identify future attackers.

Of the 52 examined cases between 1972 and 2015, 83% were carried out by people who had previously exhibited hostility or aggression, according to the 81-page report. In all of the cases, people around the attackers expressed concern over their behavior.

In 96% of the cases, the offender produced a video, blog or letter that was intended to be viewed by others.

“Absent this report and others like it, someone could see something and they’re solely relying on their gut feeling or spider sense to say, ‘That doesn’t look right,’ or ‘That’s concerning,’” Special Agent John Wyman, chief of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU)’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, which conducted the research, said. “I think by putting this information out there, it helps people get over that barrier. It gives you something to fall back on to validate whatever your gut feeling was.”

The study found that half of the cases were motivated by anti-government extremism. Other significant motivators were racial extremism and Islamist violence.

All of the attackers were men, mostly white and a vast majority born in the U.S. Most were single and had free time to focus on the attacks and their grievances.

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s Obsession with Immigration Is Undermining Homeland Security’s Focus

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Few people understand the threats facing the U.S. better than Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017.

After his departure, President Trump has been unable to hold onto a Homeland Security secretary. His fourth secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month.

In op-ed in the Washington Post, Johnson says there are two threats that “would keep him up at night:” The resurgence of ISIS is Syria, and Russia’s ongoing campaign to meddle in U.S. elections.

“Particularly in the current threat environment, our nation cannot afford a continued string of temporary, acting secretaries promoted from within the ranks of DHS to, as some would have it, simply receive and transmit orders from the White House,” Johnson wrote. “The job is one of the most complex and critical in the U.S. government.”

In Johnson’s view, Trump’s Homeland Security secretaries have been an “instrument for hammering the administration’s hard-line views on immigration,” while losing focus on “counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, maritime security, port security, the physical protection of our national leaders and U.S. government buildings, the detection of chemical, biological and nuclear threats to the homeland and the response to natural disasters.”

On Tuesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complained that Trump wanted things his way – and he could not take no for an answer.

Immigration hardliners were hoping Trump would appoint Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Turns out, they are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession.

“The president should resist the temptation to nominate a pronounced hard-liner on immigration who will be a lightning rod to lead a Cabinet department already in the thick of political storms,” Johnson wrote.

His advice: “Fill the job with someone well qualified, and fill it soon, Mr. President. A president who leaves the job vacant for too long is neglecting his own duty to defend the homeland and keep the American people safe.”