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Tag: terrorism

FBI Task Force Nabs Suspect Accused of Plotting Times Square Attack

Times Square, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and local police nabbed a man they believe was plotting to detonate explosives in Times Square.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force took the suspect into custody Thursday after setting up a sting to catch him buying weapons CBS 2 reports.

Authorities believe the suspect was acting alone and not planning another attack.

The suspect, who has not yet been identified, is set to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.

Authorities have not yet indicated a motive.

Charles Spencer Named Assistant Director of FBI’s International Operations Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Charles Spencer, a 21-year FBI veteran who most recently served as special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office in Florida, has been named as the new assistant director of the bureau’s International Operations Division.

Spencer will manage the FBI’s legal attaché program at the division, where he’s tasked with building relationships with foreign law enforcement and intelligence partners. The division also trains international law enforcement partners.

Spencer’s long career with the FBI began in 1998, when he was assigned to the Washington Field Office, working on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2005, he was promoted to supervisory special agent, overseeing the FBI’s gun vault.

In 2007, the FBI deployed Spencer to Iraq.

A year later, Spencer served as the supervisor of the Oklahoma City Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2011, he was awarded the FBI’s Shield of Bravery for an encounter with a heavily armed domestic terrorist.

In 2013, the FBI promoted him to assistant special agent in charge of the national security branch in the New Orleans Field Office, where he headed up programs covering weapons of mass destruction, counterintelligence, counter=terrorism, cyber-crimes, surveillance, and crisis management.

In 2015, Spencer became the deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.
A year later, Spencer was placed in charge of the Jacksonville office.

Before joining the FBI, Spencer earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. He later became an engineer in the commercial nuclear power industry.

FBI Handled More Domestic Terrorism Cases Than International Terrorism This Fiscal Year

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of domestic terrorism arrests have exceeded international terrorism arrests in the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

Domestic cases were 66, compared to 63 international cases.

The trend has prompted the FBI to focus more of its attention on home-grown extremists, a senior FBI counterterrorism official told Reuters.

One recent attack in the U.S. involved a mass shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Many of the attacks involve racially motivated and anti-government extremism, as well as attacks on abortion clinics.

The Internet has been a key source of radicalization in the U.S.

“Terrorism moves at the speed of the Internet,” the official said.

Trump’s Crackdown on the Border Could Make Airports Less Safe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration, which protects America’s airports by screening passengers, could lose substantial funding to finance President Trump’s crackdown at the southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security is asking for $232 million from the TSA to fund increased security measures at the border, a controversial move that underscores the dramatic shifts in priorities after the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland Security is requesting the money in case Congress doesn’t support a $1.1 billion funding request, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

A DHS spokesman said the agency is “considering all options” to combat the influx of migrants at the southwest border.

“We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress,” said DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton.

Domestic Terrorism Remains ‘Persistent And Evolving,” FBI Official Says

FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The threats posed by domestic terrorists remain “persistent and evolving,” with the FBI investigating about 850 active cases, FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.

“The FBI assesses domestic terrorists collectively pose a persistent and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States. In fact, there have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years,” McGarrity said, according to CNN.

Of those cases, about 40% are racially motivated, often involving white supremacists, he said.

Despite this, President Trump has insisted white nationalism isn’t a serious threat, saying “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” That comes after Trump’s lukewarm response to the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, that left one person dead and others injured.

During Wednesday’s hearings, Democrats seized on Trump’s insistence on downplaying the threat posed by white supremacists.

“Unfortunately, President Trump has tried to play both sides with domestic terrorism,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who leads the committee. “His unwillingness to denounce and distance himself from these extremists has been taken by many as tacit support.”

In 2018, 17 people were killed in six attacks by domestic terrorists, McGarrity said.

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

FBI Details How Shutdown Is Impeding Investigations of Terrorism, Violent Crime, Child Trafficking

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The government shutdown is hindering the FBI’s investigations of terrorism, child trafficking and violent crimes, according to a report issued Tuesday by a group representing the bureau’s 13,000 special agents.

The 72-page report, Voices from the Field, describes how agents are being hampered by a shutdown that has no end in sight.

The spending freeze has left the bureau with no money for confidential informants, witnesses at criminal trials, translators, paralegals and other support staff. Agents also are working without pay.

“The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” an unnamed agent who works on counterintelligence investigations said in the report. “The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.”

Another unnamed agent said the bureau has been unable to help crack down on violent gangs.

“I currently investigate a particularly violent street gang,” an agent from the FBI’s central region said in the report. “I have had to tell our local law enforcement partners that I cannot assist in funding these operations because my field office does not have money. This means that the one chance we may have to take down several violent individuals may pass us by and we may not get the chance again.”

Without money for confidential informants, agents are at risk of “losing them and the information they provide forever,” an agent said in the report.

“It’s not a switch that we can turn on and off.”

How the Secret Service Foiled an ISIS Plot to Assassinate Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents foiled an ISIS plot by ISIS to assassinate President Trump while he was in the Philippines last year.

The botched assassination attempt was in November 2017, when Trump was in Manila for a summit and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The National Geographic disclosed the assassination attempt for the first time during its television special Sunday about the Secret Service, United States Secret Service: On the Front Line.

According to the report, threats had been made on Twitter, and a series of ISIS videos threatened the president with an ambush.

While in Manila, Secret Service agents discovered and apprehended a jihadi hiding out and waiting for an “associate” just blocks from the hotel where the president was staying.