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Tag: terrorism

Newsday Editorial: Now Is No Time to Play Political Games with Homeland Security

By Newsday
Editorial Board

The massacre in Paris last week by homegrown French terrorists and the ensuing dragnet to find those responsible have dramatically underscored the need for unstinting vigilance to keep the United States safe. But the Department of Homeland Security will run out of money by the end of next month if additional funding is not approved. Congress must not let that happen.

Republicans insisted on that short leash for the department in December when the lame-duck Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the rest of the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The GOP wanted to hold the Department of Homeland Security hostage as leverage to block President Barack Obama’s executive orders allowing temporary legal status for 5 million immigrants in the country illegally. The short-term funding ensured Congress would revisit the volatile immigration issue after November’s election, when many expected the Republicans to win control of the Senate.

But the violent carnage that claimed at least 17 victims in France last week has the American public on edge about the threat of homegrown terrorism in this country. People who feel vulnerable won’t look kindly on a party threatening to cripple the department whose job is to keep them safe.

So congressional Republicans are looking for a way to thread the needle. They want to withhold funding for Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is in the Department of Homeland Security, without defunding the entire department. It won’t be easy.

To read more click here.

Catch-22 for FBI Linguists Who Come Under Suspicion for Preparing for Job

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

How’s this for a Catch-22?

To be a linguist for the FBI, you typically need to spend a few years in a foreign country, creating ties with the residents and learning the language.

But living and developing ties in some foreign countries can raise red flags within the FBI, sometimes delaying career advancements, the Atlantic reports.

FBI employees with ties to some countries are placed in a program, Post-Adjudication Risk Management, or PARM, which requires employees to undergo additional polygraph tests, security screenings and other scrutiny.

“Thirteen years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, it’s worth asking whether such security safeguards do more harm than good,” the Atlantic ponders.

The New Nazi Hunt: War Crime Sleuths Turn to Islamist Terrorists

By Del Quentin Wilber
Bloomberg Business Week

WASHINGTON — Federal agent Frank Hunter grabbed a cup of coffee, sat down at his kitchen table and fired up his laptop computer to begin his daily hunt for modern-day war criminals.

It didn’t take him long to come across a propaganda video posted by Islamic State. Hunter watched the slick 36-minute production on YouTube, grimacing at each execution and suicide bombing. Then he methodically captured photographs of the fighters, to be uploaded into facial-recognition databases that he hopes will stop the terrorists from ever coming to the U.S.

Hunter, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is a key player in a little-known government effort to keep war criminals and human rights violators — including those fighting in Syria or Iraq — out of this country.

To read the full story click here.  

 

Former FBI Agent Defends Torture Following Scathing Senate Report

James Davis

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James Davis, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who headed the Denver office and served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the brutal interrogation techniques outlined by the Senate’s torture report were appropriate to keep the U.S. safe.

“In the FBI, we build relationships on a rapport with the detainees that’s built over a long period of time,” Davis told KDVR.com in Denver. “After 9/11, we didn’t feel like we had much time. I think that the guys that were using those techniques believed them to be legal and believed them to be necessary to keep the country safe.”

Davis dismissed the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report as partisan and disagreed with the findings.

“I’ll never say never, but to say that this never produced actionable intelligence is probably not true,” Davis said. “Starting those interviews, the people they were talking to were not providing information so something had to happen to get them to start providing that information.”

FBI Director Comey: Hatchet Attack on NYPD Officer Was ‘Act of Terror’

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A man who attacked an NYPD officer last month with a hatchet was inspired by terrorists and black separatism, NBC4 New York reports.

“There is no doubt it was terrorism,” Comey said during a news conference at the Newark FBI offices.

Comey said the suspect, Zale Thompson, was politically motivated and he appears to have drawn inspiration from foreign terrorist sources like ISIL (ISIS), but there is also evidence he was focused on black separatist ideology.”

Comey said Thompson reviewed jihadist propaganda and ISIL beheading videos online.

“There is no doubt that played a role,” Comey said.

Thompson is accused of attacking NYPD rookie Officer Kenneth Healy while he was posing for a picture. Healy spent time in the hospital and rehabilitation before being sent home to recover.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Worried about Lone Wolf Attacks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson worries about the threat posed by lone wolf terrorists.

“We have to be vigilant against an independent actor here in the homeland who might choose to strike at any moment,” Johnson told CNN’s Barbara Starr in an interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum Sunday.

Homeland Security officials are finding less predictable recruitment patterns.

“Core al-Qaeda was a relatively traditional command and control structure where someone would be recruited, they train at an overseas camp and then they’d be sent to commit a terrorist attack,” Johnson said.

“The new phenomenon that I see that I’m very concerned about,” Johnson continued, “is somebody who has never met another member of that terrorist organization, never trained at one of the camps, who is simply inspired by the social media — the literature, the propaganda, the message — to commit an act of violence in this country.”

To effectively crack down on the lone wolfs, Johnson said local and star law enforcement have to be involved.

“I’ve made this a personal part of my agenda” he said, “by traveling to a lot of community-based organizations around the country, many of them Islamic based, and the dialogue is interesting.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Director James Comey Warns of The Prospect of a Terrorist Diaspora out Of Syria or Iraq Haunting U.S.

Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — FBI Director James B. Comey delivered the key note address Monday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Orlando, warning of  the potential dangers of the  “travelers” from around the world who are joining ISIS in battle. He also raised concerns domestically about the challenges of getting information from devices like smartphones for investigations, despite court-authorization.

“We as a country, with our allies around the world, have done a great job over the last 13 years of taking the fight to core al Qaeda in the Afghanistan, Pakistan region,” Comey told thousands of local, state, federal and foreign law enforcement agents and officers and chiefs gathered in a cavernous auditorium at the Orange County Convention Center.

“In the course of that we have shrunk that tumor. I think of terrorism as a cancer. We have shrunk that tumor significantly. At the same time, the lightly governed or ungoverned spaces that have popped in a lot of different parts of the world, especially in wake of the Arab Spring,  in Northern Africa, around the Gulf and around the Mediterranean, have allowed a metastasis of that tumor. So we’ve seen popping virulent strains that are the progeny of al Qaeda…And most recently the Islamic state, or ISIL.”

“What’s happened is that those lightly governed spaces have allowed these secondary tumors to root and to offer safe havens and to attract to those…people from around the world, seeking meaning in their lives in some incredibly misguided way, looking to wage jihad.”

He said the travelers who come from the U.S. and around the world to fight in Syria and Iraq pose a great danger.

“Them going there is very worrisome. Because they get the worst kind of relationships, they get the worst kind of training. It’s actually their coming out at some point that worries me even more. There will come a terrorist diaspora out of places like like Syria and Iraq. Those of us who are old enough to remember can remember the terrorist diaspora out of Afghanistan after the war with the Soviets. And we can draw a line from that diaspora to 9/11.”

“All of us in this business are determined, I know to ensure that a future diaspora does not lead to a future tragedy. So we’re focused together on the traveler phenomena.”

Comey also touched on the issue of “going dark,” the inability of investigators to tap into communication devices like tablets and smartphones, even with a judge’s order.

He said it has been a problem ever since the 1990s, but it has only gotten worse as the number of devices has increased.

He’s been hammering away at the issue of late. In a speech in D.C. earlier this month, he brought up the issue, saying that some companies have not developed products so that communications can be intercepted, or in other instances, companies have resisted court orders to turn over information. He said it’s hindered investigation at times.

On Monday, he said:

“Before we get to the place where good folks, victims of crimes come to us and say, ‘What do you mean, you can’t, I thought a judge said you, with a search warrant, could warrant could get this information.  What do you mean you can’t find the information that may help you locate a missing child, find the information that will help you break up a terrorist cell, find the information that will identify and root our pedophiles.’ Before we get to a place where our answer is, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t,’ we need to have a conversation.”

 

New York Times: The Horror Before the Beheadings

James Foley

 By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
New York Times

The hostages were taken out of their cell one by one.

In a private room, their captors asked each of them three intimate questions, a standard technique used to obtain proof that a prisoner is still alive in a kidnapping negotiation.

James Foley returned to the cell he shared with nearly two dozen other Western hostages and collapsed in tears of joy. The questions his kidnappers had asked were so personal (“Who cried at your brother’s wedding?” “Who was the captain of your high school soccer team?”) that he knew they were finally in touch with his family.

It was December 2013, and more than a year had passed since Mr. Foley vanished on a road in northern Syria. Finally, his worried parents would know he was alive, he told his fellow captives. His government, he believed, would soon negotiate his release.

To read the full story click here.