Homeland Security Network Blog

The information source for first responders.

Lone Wolf Attacks and Leaderless Resistance

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By Dr. William Hanson AMU’s School of Security and Global Studies Today, a lone gunman walked into a shopping mall and immediately opened fire on the crowd while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”, until he was killed by police.   Authorities believe he was inspired by the Islamic State, or ISIL. A later tweet by ISIL took credit for inspiring the attack, promising “a wave of blood and martyrdom against the U.S.” While this didn’t happen (today), this type of event is unfortunately all too plausible. Government figures, along with other commentators, have warned of the potential for “lone wolf” attacks. Indeed, we have seen examples of individuals who have been radicalized via online social media or through other avenues who then either conducted or attempted attacks on U.S. soil. Terrorists attacking the U.S. or U.S. interests are nothing new, but what is new is the stress on leaderless, lone wolf attacks by...

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Protests Break Out in St. Louis After Police Shooting of Black Suspect

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Associated Press ST. LOUIS—Officers arrested at least nine people and deployed tear gas amid protests in St. Louis over the death of a black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by police after he pointed a gun at them, the city’s police chief said. Chief Sam Dotson said at a news conference late Wednesday night that a group of protesters who had blocked an intersection threw glass bottles and bricks at officers and refused orders to clear the roadway. Inert gas was used and when that didn’t have any effect on the crowd, police turned to tear gas to clear the intersection, Mr. Dotson said. Those arrested face charges of impeding the flow of traffic and resisting arrest, he said. The demonstration was one of several Wednesday after the killing of 18-year-old Mansur Ball-Bey of St. Louis. It comes with tensions already high in the area after violence erupted during several events...

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Barnes jets scrambled; Report of threat to NYC bound flight

By Anthony Fay and Ryan Walsh WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two fighter jets from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield were scrambled Monday morning, according to Col. Alexander Haldopoulos of the 104th Fighter Wing. While the colonel did not specify the purpose of the scramble, WPIX-TV in New York reports that two F-15 jets escorted an Air France flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday. The 104th Fighter Wing is responsible for protecting the skies of the Northeastern United States for any potential airborne threats. New York NBC affiliate WNBC reports that a phone threat claimed there were chemical weapons on-board Air France Flight 22 from Paris to JFK. The station reports that the threat was not considered credible, but the plane was checked out after landing, out of an abundance of caution. The FBI says that a Saudi Arabia Airlines plane at JFK was also checked-out Monday due...

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AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site


By George Jahn VIENNA (AP) — Iran, in an unusual arrangement, will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect a site it allegedly used to develop nuclear arms under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press. The revelation is sure to roil American and Israeli critics of the main Iran deal signed by the U.S., Iran and five world powers in July. Those critics have complained that the deal is built on trust of the Iranians, a claim the U.S. has denied. The investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the International Atomic Energy Agency is linked to a broader probe of allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear deal. The Parchin deal is a separate, side agreement worked out between the IAEA and Iran....

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Police deal with active bomb after deadly explosion near Bangkok shrine

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By Eliott C. McLaughlin and Kocha Olarn, CNN Bangkok, Thailand (CNN)An explosion that appeared to target a Hindu shrine in central Bangkok on Monday killed several people and injured dozens more, according to Thai media reports citing local police. Police were sealing off the scene near the popular Erawan Shrine because a bomb in the area remains active and needs to be defused, police at the scene told CNN. Bomb squad members in blast suits responded to the area, and an officer announced over a loudspeaker, "The situation is still not safe. Please all stay back. There might be another bomb in the area." Officials provided no immediate information on casualties, but there were five ambulances in the area. Some local media reported at least five people killed, while the Bangkok Post reported at least 15 deaths. Steve Herman, a correspondent and bureau chief for Voice of America, said he thought...

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Homeland Security moves to prevent attack on power grid


By Katie Bo Williams The Department of Homeland Security is creating a new committee dedicated to boosting digital defenses for utilities. In a notice published in Friday’s Federal Register, the department announced that the Homeland Security Advisory Council will form a cybersecurity subcommittee as part of efforts to prevent a deadly attack on power plants or the electric grid that some have deemed a “cyber Pearl Harbor.” Experts say such critical infrastructure sites are increasingly at risk as electric grids get “smarter.” National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers told lawmakers last fall that China and “one or two” other countries would be able to shut down portions of critical U.S. infrastructure with a cyberattack. Researchers suspect Iran to be on that list. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is calling for the new panel to identify how well the department’s “lifeline sectors” are prepared to meet threats and recover from a “significant...

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John Kerry reopens embassy in Cuba, but tensions remain

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ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape

ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape

New York Times Written by Rukmini Callimachi; Photograph by Mauricio Lima QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted. He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her. When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion. “I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape...

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‘Soon, Very Soon You Will See’: Pro-Islamic State Hacking Group Issues Chilling Warning to America

‘Soon, Very Soon You Will See’: Pro-Islamic State Hacking Group Issues Chilling Warning to America

by Oliver Darcy - The Blaze A representative for a pro-Islamic State hacking group issued a chilling warning to members of the U.S. military and government Wednesday, promising that “very soon” followers of the organization would retaliate for overseas bombing targeting the terror organization. Speaking to TheBlaze using smartphone messenger application Kik, a representative for the Islamic State Hacking Division said the group is constantly spying on U.S. servicemen. The organization on Tuesday published personal information purporting to belong to U.S. military and government online. “Just like they spy on muslims, we are spying on them, watching their employees, watching their soldiers, recording their movements and taking their location information and passing it on to the soldiers of the islamic state,” the anonymous male member told TheBlaze. “they have no security just like their employees and military personnel have no OpSec,” he continued, “they are people who like to brag and boast and...

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Former US military intelligence chief: We knew something like ISIS was coming — and screwed it up

Former US military intelligence chief: We knew something like ISIS was coming — and screwed it up

by Barbara Tasch - Business Insider The former head of one of the US government's leading intelligence divisions says that the US believed that religious extremists could carve out a sizable safe-haven in Syria as early as 2012 — but that the US did little to stop this from happening. In an interview with Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who lead the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, called out the administration on its alleged inaction during the first year of the Syrian civil war.  Hasan quotes what he describes as a "secret" DIA analysis from August 2012 warning that the chaos in Syria could allow for the creation of a Salafist enclave in the country's desert east. Hasan asked Flynn whether this meant the US actually predicted the rise of the ISIS caliphate and did nothing to stop it. Flynn agrees, arguing that it shows the US should have had a smarter policy of cooperation with Syria's secular rebels. "I think...

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U.S. Intelligence Suspects ISIS Planning Mass-Casualty Attack

U.S. Intelligence Suspects ISIS Planning Mass-Casualty Attack

Via The Clarion Project Analysts in the intelligence community warned the Islamic State may be preparing to carry out a mass-casualty terrorist attack, rather than encouraging its international supporters to carry out ‘lone-wolf’ attacks. Increased competition for recruits and prestige with different jihadist factions are being floated as causes for this possible shift in emphasis. Groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) typically are more focused on larger attacks, such as the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, or plots against airliners. The Islamic State may be attempting to portray itself as capable and powerful in that regard. Lt-Gen. Mark Hertling told CNN “I think they're taking a lot of the new recruits that don't have time to train, who have not been brought up in their systems, and they're using them to create the type of mass casualty which produces the media attention, which is exactly what they want, that...

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US Consulate In Istanbul Fired Upon By 2 Attackers

US Consulate In Istanbul Fired Upon By 2 Attackers

By Aditya Tejas - International Business Times Update as of  7 a.m. EDT: Turkish authorities said that an attack involving shots fired outside the American consulate in Istanbul was carried out by two women, one of whom was captured after being wounded, Reuters reported. The death toll for a separate attack on a police station in the city also rose to three attackers and one police officer. Update as of  6:18 a.m. EDT: Authorities said that nobody was killed or injured in an incident where two assailants opened fire outside the American consulate in Istanbul early on Monday, BBC reported. Update as of 3:06 a.m. EDT: Officials in Istanbul said they had detained a female suspect after an attack on the U.S. consulate in the city early Monday. The unidentified woman is thought to be one of two attackers who opened fire on the consulate earlier in the day before fleeing, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, according to local reports...

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White House 'Nearly Certain' Iran Will Still Fund Terrorism


by Teresa Welsh - U.S. News & World Report Senior Obama administration officials told a Senate panel Wednesday that it is “nearly certain” Iran will continue funding terrorism with the tens of billions of dollars it stands to gain if Congress approves a nuclear deal that would lift economic sanctions on the country. Testifying on the economic aspects of the agreement negotiated between the Islamic republic and six world powers, administration officials acknowledged Tehran’s longstanding role supporting terror but said reaching a deal to limit the country’s nuclear ambitions was of paramount importance. "I expect we’ll continue to see that," Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence told the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. "We’ve decided that we need to address the nuclear threat and then turn to the terrorism.” The remarks echoed what prominent administration officials have been saying in recent weeks, with...

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Confronting the narcoterrorism nexus

Confronting the narcoterrorism nexus

By James Kitfield Yahoo News MIAMI – On a recent morning, Gen. John Kelly sat in his spacious office at U.S. Southern Command headquarters, a sprawling complex on the outskirts of Miami with a staff of more than 1,200 people. A tall and lanky Marine with a pronounced accent from his native Boston, Kelly is one of the few officers ever to rise from the enlisted ranks all the way to four-star general. Looking out the windows, he interrupted a discussion with a journalist to point to a civilian airliner banking toward the headquarters. “Look, he’s not supposed to be on that flight path,” Kelly said, watching the aircraft until it disappeared from view. He then cracked a joke. But as a veteran of multiple combat tours and the commander of an organization tasked with helping to counter some of the most powerful and violent criminal cartels and terrorist groups in...

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Terrorist Attacks in the West, June 2014 - June 2015