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Tag: terrorism

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.

Wray: FBI Arrested Hundreds of Terrorism Suspects in Past Year

FBI Director Christopher Wray (file photo)

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating thousands of terrorism cases and arrested hundreds of terrorism suspects in the past year, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

“Right now as I sit here, we’re currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world and about 1,000 of those cases are homegrown violent extremists, and they’re in all 50 states,” Wray said at a hearing about security threats before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“In the last year or so we’ve made hundreds of arrests of terrorism subjects,” Wray added.

Wray is expected to be questioned about the FBI’s controversial investigation of sexual assault claims against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Owner of Limo Company Tied to Deadly Crash Was an FBI Informant

fbi photo

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The owner of the limousine company linked to a crash that killed 20 people in New York is a former FBI informant who posed as a recruiter of terrorists and an arms dealer.

Shahed Hussain, who owns Prestige Limousine in Wilton, New York, began working for the FBI to avoid deportation after he faced federal charges for using fake documents to help a would-be taxi driver obtain a driver’s license, the New York Times reports. 

One of his limos plowed through a stop sign Saturday, killing 18 people on board and two pedestrians.

State and federal investigators are scrutinizing the company to help determine the cause of the accident. The limo should not have been on the road because it had failed a state Department of Transportation inspection and the drive did not have a proper license to operate the vehicle.

After Hussain was arrested on fraud charges in December 2001, three months after 9/11, he agreed to become an FBI informant. He worked undercover, helping the FBI ensnare arrests during counter-terrorism stings.

Hussain also testified in high-profile terrorism cases.

Homeland Security Warns of Weaponized Drones in Hands of Terrorists

Drone via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The potential for weaponized drones has never been greater.

Fearing that terrorists could use drones to attack Americans, Homeland Security is urging Congress for more authority to stop  malicious drones.

Intelligence officials are warning that terrorist organizations like ISIS have mastered the use of weaponized drones.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro was almost struck by explosives dropped from drones earlier this year. 

“Any time drones are used for an attack, what appears to have been an assassination attempt, it’s gravely concerning,” DHS’ top intelligence official, David Glawe, told CBS News.

Glawe fears that a weaponized drone could threaten the Super Bowl or White House, for example.

But no law enforcement agency has the authority to jam or shoot down drones, Glawe said.

“I think we want the opportunity to have all tools in the toolbox for our law enforcement officers. To identify good from bad is a key component,” Glawe said.

DHS has asked Congress to give the agency power to “redirect, disable, disrupt control of, seize, or confiscate, without prior consent” a drone that “poses a threat.” But after a Senate committee approved the legislation last summer, the bill stalled over concerns from civil liberties groups.

“It’s a problem because it means that DHS can shoot a drone out of the air or seize it and they can do so without ever having a judge look at their actions and determine if they were right,” said Neema Singh Giuliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Glawe said there is no time to debate the issue.

“This threat is upon us today. I wake up in the morning and night just hoping we don’t have an attack,” Glawe said. 

Terrorism Threats Are More Ubiquitous 17 Years After Sept. 11 Attacks, FBI Director Says

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Seventeen years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the threat of terrorism “is everywhere, coast to coast, north, south, east, west,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told “CBS This Morning” in a multi-part interview that airs today. 

In the past year, Wray revealed the FBI made about 120 terrorism-related arrests.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, America is “safer,” Wray told “CBS This Morning,” but he emphasized that the threats have “evolved” and create new challenges to federal law enforcement.

For example, he said, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force receives about 15,000 tips a year, or “basically 40 tips a day, two tips an hour.”

The good news is that the bureau has stymied numerous terrorism attacks in the past year, from plots to wage violence at the San Francisco pier to a shopping mall in Miami.

“People think of the 9/11 threat, they think New York, they think D.C. Today’s terrorism threat is everywhere, coast to coast, north, south, east, west,” Wray said. “It’s not just big cities.”

One of those cases was in Harrisburg, Pa., where a 21-year-od woman “was circulating kill lists of U.S. service members, with names, addresses and photographs.”

FBI Agents Still Dying from Exposure to Fumes, Dust at Sept. 11 Crash Sites

World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

At least 15 FBI agents who searched for victims and clues in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have died from cancers likely linked to toxic exposure to carcinogenic fumes and dust, the Los Angeles Times reports

Three agents have died since March.

“It’s like Bin Laden is still reaching out from the grave,” said FBI Agent Thomas O’Connor, who is president of the FBI Agents Assn., a service and advocacy group for active and former agents. “It affects us all in serious ways. People are dying, others are sick. Those that are not yet sick wonder — is that headache, is it really cancer? Is that sore hip really cancer?”

The FBI deaths are only a small part of the lingering tragedy. According to the Word Trade Center Health Program, which is administered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,500 emergency responders, cleanup and recovery workers and volunteers who were exposed to debris at the three Sept. 11 crash sites have been diagnosed with cancer.

Among those are more than 300 firefighters and police officers who have died of cancer and other diseases linked to the attacks.

“We are now seeing a new wave of cancers coming in,” said Dr. Michael Crane, who runs a treatment and monitoring center financed by the federal health program at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. “Most [first responders] just rushed down there and were not protected from the toxins in the air or the dust cloud. They were literally eating and breathing this material. There were known carcinogens in the air.”

Venezuelan President Who Accuses U.S. of Overthrow Attempts Seeks Help from FBI

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Venezuelan president who routinely suspects the U.S. is trying to overthrow him is now turning to America – more specifically, the FBI – for help investigating an assassination attempt.

President Nicolás Maduro said he believes the suspects led to Floria, Peru and Columbia, BBC reports

The U.S. said it would cooperate but has yet to indicate whether the FBI would pay a visit with a country that has a tense relationship.

The U.S. increased sanctions on Venezuela after accusing the country of rigging the  presidential election so Maduro would win a second term.

On Saturday, the president shocked many by saying he would work with the U.S. if it agreed to help track down the would-be assassins.

“If the US government offered, or confirmed its offer, of FBI cooperation to investigate, I would accept it,” he said.

Maduro alleges the mastermind behind the attack came from “terrorist” cells in Florida.

Two drones laden with explosives detonated near where the president was delivering a speech on Aug. 4.

The president was unscathed, but seven soldiers were injured.