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Tag: terrorism

FBI Arrests Man Accused of Planning to Bomb a South Florida Synagogue

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI says it foiled a terrorist attack at a South Florida synagogue.

Agents arrested on Friday a man who is accused of planning to throw an explosive device into the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, WSVN.com reports. 

Agents were posing as terrorists and said no one was in danger because the suspect was being monitored.

“I think about, before we had a baby, that we used to go there for services, and God forbid, it could have been us,” said Stephanie Levine. “Thank God they stopped him, but had they not, it would have been such a horrible thing to happen to this neighborhood.”

CIA Tweets U.S. Capture of Osama bin Laden – Five Years Later

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA commemorated the five-year anniversary of killing Osama bin Laden with a series of live tweets.

On Sunday, the CIA tweeted that bin Laden was found “on third floor and killed.”

“The takedown of bin Laden stands as one of the great intelligence successes of all time. History has been a key element of CIA’s social media efforts,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said, according to ABC. “On the fifth anniversary, it is appropriate to remember the day and honor all those who had a hand in this achievement.”

CIA Director: Missing 9/11 Report Pages Contain ‘Inaccurate’ Information

CIA Director John Brennan

CIA Director John Brennan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday it would be a mistake to release 28 classified pages from the 9/11 Commission report because they contain unveiled, inaccurate information.

“This chapter was kept out because of concerns about sensitive methods, investigative actions, and the investigation of 9/11 was still underway in 2002,” Brennan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Releasing the information also would help unfairly characterize Saudi Arabia as being involved in the terror attacks, Brennan said.

“I think there’s a combination of things that are accurate and inaccurate [in the report],” Brennan said. “I think the 9/11 Commission took that joint inquiry and those 28 pages or so and followed through on the investigation and then came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that … Saudi government as an institution or Saudi officials or individuals had provided financial support to al Qaeda.”

The 28 pages were removed from the report in 2003 because of national security concerns raised by the George W. Bush administration.

Other Stories of Interest

Experts to Homeland Security: Don’t Use Color-Coded Terror Threat Index

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After Homeland Security stopped issuing its color-coded terror threat index five years ago, the agency has struggled to find a better way to alert the public.

In 2014, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson proposed a new system of reds, yellows and greens.

But the Institute of Defense Analysis, which was hired to review the new system, said the colors were a “disaster” for communicating terror threats, the Associated Press reports. 

“DHS should learn from its own history and avoid repeating this error,” the consultants said in its 53-page report.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also scoffed at the color codes.

“DHS spent $90,000 on a question we already know the answer to,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who has introduced a bill for border metrics. “Measuring the security across our borders is complex and requires sophisticated and consistent metrics — not a series of colors.”

Other Stories of Interest

Attorney: Terrorism Suspect Entrapped by Flirtatious Undercover Agents

Khalil Abu-Rayyan.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 21-year-old Muslim man accused of planning an attack on a Detroit church was lured into a relationship by a woman who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, his attorney said.

“Every time I close my eyes, I see you right by me,” he texted her on Dec. 13, according to the Detroit Free Press.  “Words can’t explain my love for you.”

Soon after, the woman cut off the relationship with Khalil Abu-Rayyan. A month later, another woman began communicating with Abu-Rayyan, saying she loved him. She, too, was an undercover FBI employee, the man’s attorney, Todd Shanker, wrote in a court brief.

“The government resorted to a mind-boggling double-team against Rayyan with not one, but two young, fictitious Islamic women, who mercilessly manipulated him and pretended to be potential wives to Rayyan, a young U.S. citizen with no prior criminal history before the government’s aggressive involvement in his personal life,” Shanker wrote.

A judge denied Abu-Rayyan’s request for bond.

Diane Upchurch Has Been Named Head of FBI’s Little Rock Office

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Diane Upchurch, who was most recently section chief of International Terrorism Operations Section 1 in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Little Rock Division.

Upchurch joined the FBI in 1995 and was first assigned to  the Dallas Division, where she focused primarily on gang, organized crime and drugs,  according to an FBI press release.

She was then assigned to the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, where she worked on international and domestic terrorism investigations. 

Later, she was off to the Los Angeles Field Office and was assigned to a drug squad as part of the Southwest Border Initiative.

In the course of her career, she has held leadership positions in the Investigative Technologies Division, Counterintelligence Division, Los Angeles Field Office and the Counterterrorism Division.

Terrorism Threat in Europe and U.S. Is ‘Increasingly Lethal,’ House Committee Reports

Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday released an alarming report about terror plots targeting Europe and the disturbing links to ISIS.

The “European Terror Threat Snapshot” also revealed that about 5,000 European citizens have traveled to Iraq or Syria, and more than 1,000 have returned to their countries, the Washington Times reports. 

“ISIS terror operatives have exploited the largest flow of refugees and migrants since World War II to infiltrate Europe undetected. EU member states reported nearly 2 million instances of illegal border crossings involving around 1 million people last year,” the new report noted. “European jihadists are also attempting to radicalize and recruit refugees settling in the European continent.”

In the committee’s monthly terrorism assessment of the U.S., officials warned of increasing danger to the U.S.

“The United States and our allies face an increasingly lethal Islamist terror threat. A global jihadist network operating from safe havens is exploiting Western security gaps to orchestrate a widespread terror campaign, particularly in Europe,” warned Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and committee chairman.

“Battle-hardened European fighters groomed by ISIS are returning home from Syria to commit acts of terror with the support of local extremist networks, as we have tragically seen in Paris and Brussels. These operatives are also potentially a plane-flight away from our shores. Given the magnitude of the threat across the continent, we are likely seeing only the tip of the jihadist iceberg in Europe.”

FBI Seeks Access to Terrorism Suspect’s Skype Account in Search for Another Suspect

Alexander Ciccolo

Alexander Ciccolo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI believes a third person may have been involved early on with a terrorism plot to attack an unidentified university outside of Massachusetts.

A cooperating witness told authorities that Alexander Ciccolo had discussed the terrorism plans with another person, the Boston Globe reports.

“There was a brother who wanted to be involved a while ago and he has not been responding to my messages,” Ciccolo, of Western Massachusetts, told the witness, who gave copies of the July 1 online conversation to authorities.

FBI Special Agent Jeffrey J. Lawrence said in affidavit, “It appears as though Ciccolo was telling [the cooperating witness] that at least one other individual had previously indicated that he wanted to be involved in his terrorism plot.”

Authorities are trying to get access to Ciccolo’ online Skype account in hopes of identifying the third person.

The cooperating witness initially alerted authorities to the alleged plot in June 2015 and agree to provide weapons to Ciccolo as part of a sting operation.

Ciccolo also is accused of building several Molotov cocktails and a pressure cooker to build a bomb.