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Tag: terrorism

Jim Gilmore: Balancing Challenges of Homeland Security And Civil Liberities

By Jim Gilmore
The Washington Times

Our country is currently in a struggle between the need to protect our citizens from terrorism and the need to protect the civil liberties of our citizens. How can we do both while not sacrificing either?

During my five years as chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security, we analyzed and debated issues of national security and presented our finding to the president and Congress, which became the framework for the Department of Homeland Security.

America must never make the mistake of sacrificing liberty for security. However, an equally severe mistake would be to give up the ability to track the enemy because of a fear of government. This duality of purpose demands oversight, not dismantling.

While our security focus has been primarily on non-state entities such as al Qaeda, the past several weeks in Ukraine have been a sobering reminder of the threat we face from state actors as well. The easiest way for such entities to circumvent our security is by revealing the tools we use in order to protect our country.

A perfect example of this are the crimes committed by Edward Snowden. Some would argue he is a patriot. I can tell you those people are dead wrong. Mr. Snowden swore an oath to protect his country and, in turn, was given the trust of America.

Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said it best: “Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower worthy of protection, but a fugitive deserving of prosecution. He violated his sworn pledge to protect classified information. He jeopardized our national security. And he betrayed the trust of the American people. This man is no hero.”

Mr. Snowden’s traitorous act is a perfect example of the dual threat we face from state and non-state actors. His actions helped al Qaeda by revealing a program used to track terrorists, while at the same time giving the world’s largest bully a propaganda tool used to legitimize its actions.

Click here to read more.

Mentally Ill Man Gets 15 Years in Prison for Plotting to Blow up Bank of America in California

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A homegrown terror plot in California was so fanciful and bizarre that few people believe the California suspect could have pulled it off.

Nevertheless, a judge sentenced Aaron Llaneza to 15 years in prison Thursday for trying to blow up a Bank of America in Oakland with a fake bomb, which investigators provided, the Associated Press reports.

Llaneza, who is mentally ill, doesn’t have the capacity to do actual damage, his attorney said.

“Matthew was not a radicalized jihadist but rather a delusional, severely mentally disturbed young man; he had no technical skills to speak of,”  Assistant Federal Public Defender Jerome Matthews wrote in a memo. “He had no training or background that would have helped him to accomplish an actual bombing; he was preternaturally suggestible and desirous of being accepted; and, not least, he had no desire to inflict mass casualties.”

Federal investigators disagreed.

“Defendants’ offense conduct here was very serious. He knowingly and willfully participated in a plan to blow up a bank building. He created the plan and selected the target. He helped build what he believed to be a large bomb to accomplish the plan. He drove the bomb to the bank building, placed it in a location designed to maximize its destructive force, then attempted to detonate it twice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Caputo wrote in the memo. “Had the bomb been real, it would have destroyed at least a portion of the building and easily could have killed or seriously injured innocent bystanders.”

FBI Special Agent Leaves Public Service to Launch Private Firm Aimed at Background Checks, Surveillance


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Special Agent Leon Martinez, who investigated 9/11 terrorists, government corruption and drug cartels in Florida, is headed to the private sector after 25 years with the bureau, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Martinez is opening a private investigative firm in Sarasota called the Executive Assessment Group, which will conduct background investigations and surveillance for criminal and civil attorneys.

“He’s a first-class guy and very professional,” said Todd Foster, a Tampa defense attorney.

Joining Martinez will be Mark Flint, a former Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agent; and Don Wenger, a retired Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office detective who supervised the Sheriff’s intelligence unit.

Wausau Daily Herald Editorial: Finally, TSA Realizes We’re Not All Terrorists

tsa.gov

Wausau Daily Herald
Editorial Board

For years, the Transportation Security Administration has “managed” the risk of in-flight terror attacks by throwing every one of us — from geriatrics to infants in strollers — into the same category.

Call it “one size fits no one.”

Finally, that policy is changing. The TSA is dramatically expanding a service that allows participating passengers to pass through the dreaded screening process at airports with minimal intrusions.

The key to these customer-friendly, fee-based services? A welcome bureaucratic acknowledgment that life in a modern, mobile society demands trade-offs.

There are risks, and there are “risks.”

TSA administrator John Pistole told The Arizona Republic’s editorial board that his agency plans to open an enrollment center soon at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for travelers to sign up for the program, known as PreCheck. Finding innovative ways to move passengers more quickly while still maintaining an acceptable level of security has been an agency goal since 2011, he said.

To read more click here.

FBI Director Comey Makes Terrorism, Sequestration His Top Priorities in 2014

 

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the agency’s priorities this year are combating terrorism and dealing with deep budget cuts, ABC 33/40 reports.

“One of the first challenges I’ve faced as FBI director was the impact of budget sequestration on the bureau,” Comey said during a visit to Birmingham.

Budget cuts have left the FBI with fewer resources and agents.

“The first promise that we have made to the American people is that we will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks. That’s our number one priority,” said Comey.

Comey said those efforts may be compromised by deeper cuts and said he and Congress must work on a compromise.

“I’m optimistic we are on the cusp of a budget agreement that will allow the FBI to start hiring again and avoid the devastating furloughs we were facing,” Comey said.

Dozens of FBI Personnel Headed to Russia to Help Secure Games from Terrorist Attacks

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of FBI agents and other experts will travel to Russia to help protect the Winter Olympics from any terrorist attacks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that about two dozen FBI personnel will be in Moscow, while about a dozen others will be in Sochi, where the Olympic games take place.

Comey noted improved cooperation between Russian and U.S. intelligence officials.

“I know that we have been in regular communication, including me personally, with their security organizations to make sure we are coordinating well, and I think that we are,” Comey said.

The Woman Known As ‘Jihad Jane’ Gets 10 Years

JihadJane/6abc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The woman known as Jihad Jane,” who was charged with providing material support to terrorists, and who plotted to kill a Swedish artist whose work offended Islam, was sentenced Monday in Philadelphia federal court to 10 years in prison.

Colleen Rose, 50, a former resident of Montgomery County, Pa., pleaded guilty to a host of terrorism relarted charges on Feb. 1, 2011.

“Today, Colleen LaRose is being held accountable for her efforts to provide support to terrorists and encourage violence against individuals overseas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin in a statement. “I want to thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s result.”

“This case clearly underscores the evolving nature of the terrorist threat we now face in this country,” said U.S Attorney Zane David Memeger in a statement. “The Internet has made it easier for those who want to attack the American way of life to identify like-minded individuals to carry out their terroristic plans.”

Authorities charged that LaRose and her co‑conspirators recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad, according to a Justice Department press release.

The release went on to say:

LaRose and her co‑conspirators used the Internet to establish relationships with one another and to communicate regarding their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad. LaRose also stole another individual’s U.S. passport and transferred it in an effort to facilitate an act of international terrorism. 

She also received a direct order to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who did some drawings depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog. Muslim extremists offered a $100,000 reward for his death.

She has already been in prison for four years, and has been cooperating with the feds.

With Terrorism And Other Crimes, Chicago’s FBI Struggles to Find Resources to Combat Violent Crime in Chicago

Robert Holley

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI’s Chicago office continues to make terrorism a top priority, the bureau is facing pressure to help quell violence in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports.

But Robert Holley, the special agent in charge in Chicago, said his office lacks the staff to adequately combat violent crime. In addition to terrorism, his 850 agents, analysts and support staff,  also are tied up investigating cyberattacks, financial fraud, political corruption and bank robberies. About half of the 850 are actually agents.

Holley pointed out that budget problems mean a hiring freeze.

“We will go after the worst of the worst, and we will go after the gang leadership. That has to be our focus,” said the 18-year FBI veteran, who has met with Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and plans to speak with Mayor Rahm Emanuel next month. “(But) if I put more resources on violent crime, I’d have to take away from other things… I’m not prepared to accept that risk right now.”