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Tag: terrorism

Buffalo News: FBI, Congress Must Improve Anti-Terrorism Performance

The Buffalo News
Editorial Board

The good news – and it is good news – is that the FBI has made great strides in transforming itself since the 2001 terror attacks. In a new report by the FBI 9/11 Review Commission, the agency is credited with significantly improving the number of analysts qualified for their jobs and better foreign language ability.

Yet some of the finding are also puzzling, so many years after the attacks. While the bureau was credited with having improved its foreign language ability, it also notes the continuing need for more linguists.

That imperative was made public within weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks. How hard can it be, especially when the need is so obviously critical? Schools have churned out 14 years of graduates over that time; surely enough to have produced sufficient numbers of trained linguists – assuming the pay is commensurate with demand. Specifically, the report notes that while the bureau has enough linguists in its large offices, they are in “short supply” in other parts of the country.

And therein lies a problem. Congress has also played a destructive role in – bluntly – keeping the country less safe than it should be. Budget cuts, such as those included in the mindless sequestration policy that took hold two years ago, have “severely hindered the FBI’s intelligence and national security programs,” the report concluded. Among the report’s three principal authors is Edwin Meese III, who was attorney general in the Reagan administration and can hardly be dismissed as a reckless government spender.

The report also notes that the FBI needs to improve its abilities at analysis and to develop a deep roster of informants.

These are areas where the FBI needs to improve, and Congress must play a role, along with the bureau’s leaders. Still, on balance, the report was positive and as one observer noted, periodic evaluations such as this will help keep it on track.

To read more click here. 

DEA, Justice Department Secretly Tracked Phone Calls of Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and Justice Department have been secretly amassing logs of nearly all international phone calls that originated from the U.S., the USA Today reports.

The collection of billions of calls came nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The government has tracked calls to as many as 116 countries, including Canada, Mexico and most of South America.

The records helped investigators track the distribution networks of drug cartels.

According to the USA Today,

The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA’s intelligence arm, was the government’s first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

That dragnet drew sharp criticism that the government had intruded too deeply into Americans’ privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked it to the news media two years ago.

Other Stories of Interest

 

 

FBI Investigates Shooting of Men Dressed As Women at NSA Building

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI does not believe an attack at the guarded gates of the NSA on Monday was terrorism.

The bureau is investigating after two men who were allegedly dressed as women disobeyed commands at the gates of the NSA in Fort Meade, Md., crashing a stolen car into a police vehicle, Gosangelo.com reports. 

One of the men died, and the other was injured from gunshots.

The police offer, who also was shot, was taken to the hospital.

It’s still unclear whet motivated the attack.

The NSA said the suspects ordered “routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus.”

The FBI is investigating.

Army National Guard Specialist Accused of Plotting Attack for ISIS Terrorists

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Army National guard specialist is accused of trying to join ISIS overseas while his cousin planned to attack a U.S. military insulation.

Huffington Post reports that 22-year-old was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday while authorities say he was en route to join the extremists overseas.

His cousin Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his home in Chicago and planned to target the U.S. military facility where his cousin trained.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the facility was.

The cousins are U.S. citizens and are charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

Report Says FBI Successful in Thwarting Terrorism But Needs Improvements

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The 9/11 Review Commission credited the FBI for thwarting terrorist attacks but said the bureau needs to improve intelligence and hire more linguists, according to a report released Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

While the commission applauded the FBI’s ability to prevent terrorism, the report said the bureau lags “behind marked advances in law enforcement capabilities” because of its struggle to effectively collect and analyze information.

“This imbalance needs urgently to be addressed to meet growing and increasingly complex national security threats, from adaptive and increasingly tech-savvy terrorists, more brazen computer hackers and more technically capable, global cyber syndicates,” the report said.

Wednesday’s report was far more optimistic than a 2004 report that called for major changes in the FBI. The report said the bureau has made a lot of significant improvements.

FBI Agent to Testify about Evidence Collected at Boston Marathon Bombing Site

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The lead FBI agent in the recovery of evidence from the bomb site at the Boston Marathon is expected testify today in the jury trial of Dzhokha Tsarnaev.

FBI Special Agent Sarah DeLair began collecting evidence just hours after the blasts at the crowded finishing line on April 15, 2013, she testified Tuesday, Reuters writes.

It was a gruesome scene, she said, describing seeing “everything from human remains to bomb components to parts of backpacks.”

Today is the fifth day of the trial.

Tsarnaev is charged with killing three people and injuring 264 with a pair of homed bombs. He also is accused of fatally shooting a police officer three days later.

Tsarnaev is admitting he committed the crimes, but he wants to be spared the death penalty by showing that he was following the lead of his older brother.

 

 

 

Firebombing of KFC in Reno May Be Linked to Extreme Environmental Group

subversive chicken?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating the apparent firebombing of a KFC in Reno after authorities found the initials of an animal rights group scrawled on a drive-thru sign, The Associated Press reports. 

Investigators believe a window was broken at the restaurant, and flammable liquid was found inside, in what may be a domestic act of terrorism.

The initials – ALF – stand for Animal Liberation Front, a group of environmental advocates who have firebombed laboratories and other places linked to animal cruelty. Another KFC was firebombed in February 2014 in New Zealand, and ALF took credit.

The FBI confirmed the investigation but declined to say why the bureau is involved.

“We don’t have any additional details at this time,” Pappas told AP. “And because it is an ongoing investigation, we won’t be commenting.”

Top FBI Counterterrorism Official: ‘We’re losing the battle’ with ISIS

Michael Steinbach

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI’s top counterterrorism official left no room for ambiguity about the frustrating battle to stop ISIS’ aggressive social media campaign: “We are losing the battle,” ABC News reports.

The terror group “has proven dangerously competent like no other group before it at employing [online] tools for its nefarious strategy,” the head of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, told lawmakers.

Steinbach said the FBI’s “counter narrative” is drowned out by “the sheer volume” of ISIS messaging online.

ISIS is finding success in recruiting radicalized Americans who feel “frustrated” that they can’t leave the U.S.

“So what they’re doing is … saying, ‘Hey, if you can’t come to Syria, do something in the U.S. or Western countries,’” Steinbach said.