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Tag: terrorism

FBI Director: Terrorism Attacks in Paris Have No Links to U.S.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

The Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others had “no connection at all” to the U.S., FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

Speaking at a briefing with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey dismissed any notion that that U.S. is the target of any specific or credible attacks, the USA Today reports.

Still, he emphasized, the FBI stepped up surveillance of dozens of potential suspects who could launch an attack.

Lynch added that the U.S. won’t be intimidated by terrorists.

“We will not let our actions be overtaken by fear,” Lynch said, referring to ISIS operatives as “merchants of violence.”

“They want us to live in fear, and we refuse,” the attorney general said.

Homeland Security Investigating Roughly 900 Homegrown Terrorism Suspects in U.S.

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security estimates there are roughly 900 investigations into homegrown terrorists in the U.S., and a vast majority have ties to ISIS, the New York Daily News reports. 

A recent report by Homeland Security said investigations have netted 71 arrests related to ISIS.

The suspects range from Americans to immigrants.

But most suspects were American citizens in their early 20s.

FBI Investigates ISIS Video That Warns of Potential Terrorism Attack in NYC

new york city3 cabsBy Steve Neavling

Responding to threats of a terrorist attack by ISIS in New York City, the FBI and New York police said there are no specific threats, Reuters reports. 

ISIS suggested in a video that New York City is a potential target for attacks similar to the ones in Paris.

“While some of the video footage is not new, the video reaffirms the message that New York City remains a top terrorist target,” Stephen Davis, a deputy NYPD commissioner, said in a statement. “While there is no current or specific threat to the city at this time, we will remain at a heightened state of vigilance.”

The FBI said it is investigating the threats.

ISIS took credit for the Paris attacks in the video, which shows New York City and a suicide bomber holding a trigger.

“Footage of New York shown in the ISIS video was taken from a video released by the group in April of this year. So while NYC is and has been a target for ISIS, today’s video does not warrant any kind of panic,” SITE director Rita Katz said in an email to Reuters.

Other Stories of Interest

Suspected Terrorists Are Permitted to Buy Guns in America

gunsBy Steve Neavling

Suspected terrorists may be banned from flying, but they are permitted to buy guns in the U.S., the Washington Post reports. 

Bills have been introduced to ban terrorists from purchasing firearms, but the legislation has stalled in committees because of pressure from the NRA.

“Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in 2010.

The GAO reported found that suspected terrorists tried to buy guns from American dealers at least 2,233 times between 2004 and 2014. Of those, the suspected terrorists successfully made a purchase 91% of the time.

The NRA wouldn’t comment for the story.

Head of House Homeland Security Committee Warns of ‘Gaping Holes’ for Terrorism

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. is vulnerable to attack on the scale of the one in Paris because of “gaping holes” in security, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Sunday, The Hill reports. 

“There are a lot of holes — gaping holes,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have hundreds of Americans that have traveled” to Iraq and Syria, he added. “Many of them have come back as well. I think that’s a direct threat.”

McCaul said he is concerned with how easily Europeans and Americans can travel to Iraq and Syria.

He also expressed concerns about terrorists slipping into the U.S. by posing as Syrian refugees.  t

“This causes a great concern on the part of policymakers, because we don’t want to be complicit with a program that could bring potential terrorists into the United States,” McCaul said.

Other Stories of Interest

D.C. Museum Displays Collection of Terrorism Artifacts Following Sept. 11 Attacks

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

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

By Steve Neavling

A new exhibit at a Washington D.C. museum is haunting collection of artifacts from the FBI’s biggest terrorism cases since Sept. 11, 2001.

The exhibit, “Inside Today’s FBI: Fighting Crime in the Age of Terror,” showcases 160 artifacts from the terrorism cases, The USA Today reports. 

Included are running shoes worn by a reporter who was running in the Boston Marathon when the bomb attack occurred in 2013. Another artifact is the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that was rigged with explosives in an attempted bombing of Times Square on May 1, 2010.

Another display called a “wall of terror” displays 18 IEDs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is important to us to have these objects create a visceral effect,” exhibit writer Ellie Stanton says.

Ex-FBI Agent: No One More Capable of Solving Egyptian Plane Crash Than FBI

Google-map-SinaiBy Steve Neavling

When it comes to forensic investigations of acts of terrorism, no one is better than the FBI, former FBI agent Ron Hosko said to Newsmax TV. 

That’s why it’s no surprise that Russian leaders have called on the FBI to help investigate the deadly plane crash in Egypt.

“The truth is the FBI has vast experience in this area and tremendous expertise,” Hosko told host Ed Berliner on “The Hard Line.” “They have a capability that is probably unmatched around the world.

“In the wake of our efforts and Operation Enduring Freedom, the FBI created the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center called TEDAC in about 2003, that brings together not just FBI personnel and experts but those from the military and other government agencies as well. So there’s a great capability here.”

If anyone is capable of finding evidence of a bomb, Hosko said, it would be the FBI.

“The advantage is from a forensics point of view, it was an area essentially over the desert so that many of the pieces ought to be collectable. Even if some have buried themselves slightly into the earth, you could with metal detectors identify, locate, and bring back a lot of pieces over essentially a flat piece of land.

“This is not a remote mountain side nor is it over the ocean. So there’s a great opportunity for forensics experts with the right mindset to collect and then to analyze.

“Yes, some of the device, if it was a device, would be vaporized. However, the FBI has shown repeatedly in investigations here… that you can find those small items. Just look no further than Pan Am 103 where they tracked it back to barometric triggers and sensors and pieced that puzzle back together and went back to Libya.

“So this can be done, it’s over a piece of the world where it ought to be advantageous to do that sort of work.”

Computer System That Checks Passengers Against Terrorism Watch Lists Goes Down

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling

A Homeland Security computer system designed to raise red flags about airline passengers on the terrorism watch lists stopped working at five airports on Wednesday night, The Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The system went down for about 90 minutes but did not appear to be malicious, according to CBP.

CBP officers used alternative methods to check for suspicious passengers.

It wasn’t immediately clear which airports were impacted, by NBC News reported security screening problems at John F. Kennedy Airport and airports in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Baltimore.

Other Stories of Interest