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Tag: terrorism

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.

Significant Cuts to TSA Would Reduce Security at Time of Heightened Concerns about Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration says it wants to make Americans safer from terrorism, but the TSA is cutting about $300 million from its budget in 2020, according to internal documents obtained by CNN.

To save the money, the TSA would eliminate screenings at more than 150 small- to medium-sized airports, reduce the number of full-time air marshals, cut the workforce at TSA headquarters and eliminate 50% in reimbursements to state and local law enforcement agencies for use of their K-9 units.

The TSA did not comment for the story.

Congress would still need to approve the cuts, and some congressional members have already spoken out about the reductions.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, of New Jersey and the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the proposed reductions “could put at risk the safety of passengers and the security of our transportation systems.” 

“The intelligence is very clear that the threat to our transportation systems remains real, so I am baffled by this administration’s endless efforts to cut funding in this area,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.

Orlando Shooter’s Father Was FBI Informant, But Judge Won’t Dismiss Case Against Widow

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The discovery that the father of the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 was an FBI informant was an insufficient reason to reject the case against the widow of the mass shooter, a judge said Monday.

Lawyers for Noor Salman urged a judge to throw out the case because prosecutors withheld information that Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, worked as a confidential FBI informant at various times between January 2005 and June 2016.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Byron rejected a motion to dismiss or declare a mistrial, saying Seddique Mateen’s role as a former informant “does not change the dynamic of whether Noor Salman aided and abetted,” NBC News reports

Salman is on trial on charges of aiding and abetting her husband’s June 2016 attack on Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, and obstructing law enforcement’s investigation by falsely denying her role in the attack, which was one of the deadliest mass shootings on U.S. soil.

Omar Mateen told police before he was killed that he shooting was done in the name of ISIS. 

FBI Agent Dies at 48 After Exposure to 9/11 Toxins at Pentagon Crash Site

Former FBI Agent Mellisa Morrow, via GoFundMe.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was exposed to contaminants while working at the Pentagon crash site in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks died last week of brain cancer.

Special Agent Melissa Morrow, 48, who served in the Washington Field Office’s Evidence Response Team on 9/11, was one of the first responders after a passenger jet crashed into the building, KMBZ reports

The FBI said she came in contact with numerous toxins while spending 10 weeks combing over evidence at the site.

Because she was certified by the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, her death was classified as a Line of Duty Death.

Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Country Club Christian Church at 6101 Ward Parkway in Kansa City. The funeral will follow after visitation.   

FBI: Terrorism Suspect Who Stopped Train Has Ties to White Supremacists

Terror suspect Taylor Michael Wilson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An armed Missouri man who stopped a cross-country Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska has ties to white supremacists and advocated “killing black people,” new court documents show.

Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, has been charged with terrorism and other violent-related crimes in U.S. district Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports

FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said there’s sufficient evidence to show that Wilson’s electronic devices and firearms “have been used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the United States.”

Newly unsealed court records indicate agents found videos and PDF files on Wilson’s phone that suggest ties to white supremacy. Also found on the phone was a book about how to kill people.

An acquaintance of suspect told the FBI that Wilson had joined a neo-Nazi group. Another informant told the FBI that Wilson supported “killing black people.”

Arrested Dec. 23, Wilson is now in federal custody.