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Tag: terrorism

FBI: Number of Domestic and Islamic Terrorism Cases Roughly the Same

police-lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating about the same number of domestic terrorism cases as the bureau is investigating Islamic terrorism cases, according to FBI Director Chris Wray said.

The Hills reports that the number of open cases for domestic and Islamic terrorism are each about 1,000, Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  

In the past year, Wray said the bureau made 176 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects.

While government data is incomplete to compare white supremacist violence and Islamic attacks, independent research suggests white supremacists commit twice the number of attacks as Islamic terrorists.

“Our focus is on violence and threats of violence against the people of this country,” Wray said. “That’s our concern — it’s not ideology.”

DOJ Program That Combats Terrorism Is Ending After Funds Run Out

virtual_library-terrorism-teamBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has run out of funding to train officers on combating terrorism and is quietly shutting down the program, even after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. earlier this month.

The last day for the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program is Sept. 30, the Kansas City Star reports

“It makes absolutely no sense,” said Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, which runs a network of centers nationwide to help law enforcement combat terrorism.

“Eliminating programs that are critical to preparing our people in the field to identify threats before they manifest and cause harm to our public is an egregious error.”

The task force was revived in 2014.

The Justice Department declined to respond to questions about the program.

Other Stories of Interest

Star-Tribune: Combating Extremism Must Stay Priority After Homeland Security Resignation

homeland-security-sportsBy Editorial Board
Star-Tribune

The resignation of a top U.S. Department of Homeland Security official has left the agency without a strong, outspoken advocate for locally led efforts to combat homegrown terrorism, a threat that the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va., put a disturbing spotlight on.

With federal support for these programs now uncertain, private nonprofits and the business community must step up to fill this leadership void.

George Selim, who resigned in late July, led Homeland Security’s Office of Community Partnerships and directed the agency’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) task force. His energetic leadership made him a familiar figure to Minnesota law enforcement authorities and others working here to thwart terror recruiters. Some of these have targeted young people in the state’s large Somali-American community.

Selim, who began his federal career during the George W. Bush administration, merits praise for embracing a more comprehensive approach to fighting extremism. In addition to intercepting recruits and prosecuting them, he argued that preventive measures are needed.

This pragmatic approach is built on the premise that those who put down roots and prosper are less likely to fall prey to recruiters’ deceptive promises. Social services programs that build strong families, as well efforts to “de-radicalize” those who get involved with extremists, are now a critical component of CVE strategy.

Under Selim’s leadership, the Office of Community Partnerships advocated for federal grants to local organizations and finally convinced Congress to appropriate the dollars. The agency awarded the first round of grants in 2016. Two Minnesota organizations received $770,000 in funding: the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Heartland Democracy, a mentoring program for young people.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear if there will be a second round of grants. Selim’s departure raises troubling questions about CVE’s future. The CVE approach has been controversial in some circles because it’s sometimes deemed too soft an approach to terrorism. Other critics dislike that these dollars help immigrants, while others have wrongly contended that CVE shouldn’t encompass white supremacist groups inside U.S. borders.

To read more click here. 

Homeland Security Enlists American College Students in Fight Against Terrorism

university of marylandBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s battle to stop the radicalization and recruitment of young people has tapped American college students for help.

The program, called Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism, gives students at 50 to 75 universities up to $2,000 each to counter online recruiting efforts by developing social media campaigns, the New York Times reports

Homeland Security and other national security officials judge a competition by students to develop online tools to counter recruiting efforts of terrorist groups like ISIS.

The University of Maryland placed first in the competition with a project, which was built around a video game and social media campaign, that teaches friends and neighbors to identify signs of radicalization.

“Who better to push back against the prejudice, bigotry and hate online than students?” said Tony Sgro, the president of EdVenture Partners, the company that created the program.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI: U.S. Soldier Who Pledged Allegiance to ISIS Planned to Kill ‘a Bunch of People’

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Hawaii-based active duty soldier told undercover FBI agents that he wanted to “kill a bunch of people” after he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Ikaika Kang, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, was arrested Saturday and appeared in court Monday on terrorism charges, the Associated Press reports. 

Kang allegedly helped buy a drone with the intent of using it against American forces. He also is accused of saying he would to shoot “a bunch of people” with a rifle.

Kang thought he was meeting with Islamic State loyalists, but he was actually communicating with undercover agents.

Paul Delacourt, the FBI special agent in charge of the Hawaii bureau, said Kang was a lone wolf.

Storied FBI Agent Carlos Fernandez Retires After Combating Terrorism

FBI Agent Carlos Fernandez, via LinkedIn

FBI Agent Carlos Fernandez, via LinkedIn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Carlos T. Fernandez, the legendary FBI agent who spent most of his career fighting terrorism, is retiring after 21 years.

The 50-year-old agent in charge of New York’s counterterrorism division has accepted a job with media giant Viacom, where he’ll lead their global security at their Times Square headquarters, PageSix.com reports. 

During his illustrious FBI career that began in 1996, Fernandez investigated terrorism in Yemen after the USS Cole bombing, in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks and in Libya after Benghazi.

New York City police will miss Fernandez.

“There’s been no better collaborator (with the NYPD) than Carlos, and he spent his entire career protecting New York City from acts of terrorism,” NYPD Assistant Commissioner J. Peter Donald told Page Six. “We’ll miss him — he’s the best.”

He’ll also be missed by colleagues.

“Carlos is a great American, a great agent and a great friend,” Jeffrey Ringel, who worked with Fernandez at the FBI for 19 years, said. “His retirement is a big loss for New York, but his legacy will live on at the FBI.”

Page Six wrote:

He became a supervisor within the Counterterrorism Division of the New York Field Office in 2010, and in 2015 he became the Special Agent-in-Charge overseeing the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Keeping New Yorkers safe, his division has thwarted attacks such as a Times Square massacre plotted by ISIS sympathizer Mohamed Rafik Naji, who intended to drive a garbage truck into a crowd before his 2016 arrest. They also foiled a Hezbollah strike with the 2017 arrest of Ali Kourani, who cased JFK for an attack. Last week, Bronx man Saddam Mohamed Raishani was arrested for trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

FBI Informant Committed Fraud While Working Undercover on Terrorism Sting

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI placed an awful lot of trust in a Florida man who had just been released from prison for committing fraud.

Soon after Mohammed Agbareia got out of prison and moved to Palm Beach County, the FBI hired him to work as an undercover informant on a high-profile terrorism sting, the Sun Sentinel reports. 

Despite his past legal troubles, the FBI considered him a “national security asset” and extolled his “usefulness as a provider of intelligence of the FBI.”

Yet, Agbareia continued to commit fraud almost immediately after leaving prison, even as he was providing undercover information to the FBI, according to prosecutors.

The new charges allege Agbareia resumed operating a similar fraud scheme that landed him in prison in 2007 and didn’t stop until his arrest on June 21.

The FBI declined to comment.

Flint Airport Attacker Tried to Buy Gun in Suburban Detroit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Amor M. Ftouhi, 49, the Montreal man charged with stabbing an airport police officer in the neck at the Flint airport on Wednesday, was unsuccessful in an attempt to purchase a gun in the U.S., but did buy a knife here, the FBI says.


FBI’s David P. Gelios

David P. Gelios, head of the Detroit FBI, spoke Thursday about the weapons, but declined to give specifics at a downtown Detroit press conference. Fox 2’s M.L. Elrick reports the attacker tried to buy a gun at the Gilbraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens. WXYZ reports that he was turned away because of his citizenship.

Gelios said Ftouhi entered the U.S. legally by car at Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and was in Michigan last Sunday — two days later.

“I can’t say definitely he wasn’t here sooner, but we show activity in Michigan on June 18,” said Gelios, who conducted the press conference with acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch to talk about the attack on airport officer Lt. Jeff Neville, who is in stable condition.

He said that Ftouhi had not been flagged or monitored at any time by the FBI or Canadian authorities.

“We continue to have no information that suggests Ftouhi’s attack on Lt. Neville was part of a wider plot, nor do we have any indication he was aided in this incident or had any associates associated to this  incident.

Why Flint’s airport?

Gelios said the FBI is investigating that,and said he was looking for an international airport and he apparently picked the Bishop International Airport.


Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch

Ftouhi had no ticket to travel and had left his car parked at the Flint airport, where the FBI examined its contents.

Additional charges are likely, says Acting U.S. Attorney Lemisch. He gave no details, but suggested terrorism charges could come if the evidence points that way.

Ftouhi had yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) as he carried out the attack, federal authorities say.