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Tag: weapons of mass destruction

Homeland Security Official Who Scaled Back Counterterrorism Efforts Is Resigning

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Department of Homeland Security official and presidential appointee will leave his post after scaling back on some counterterrorism efforts involving weapons of mass destruction.

James F. McDonnell, who led the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, will step down at noon Thursday, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan requested McDonnell’s departure.

In his seven-sentence resignation memo, McDonnell did not give a reason for resigning.

McDonnell has faced criticism earlier this year for promoting a scientifically-disputed system for detection of airborne infectious agents such as anthrax.

McDonnell also directed “the scaling back or elimination of multiple anti-terrorism programs at Homeland Security, which has primary domestic responsibility for helping authorities detect and block WMD-related threats,” The Los Angeles Times wrote.

DOJ: FBI Foils Syrian Refugee’s Plot to Bomb a Church in Pittsburgh

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled a Syrian refugee’s plot to attack a Christian church in Pittsburgh next month, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, a Pittsburgh resident, was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.

Alowemer is accused of planning to bomb a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS using a “weapon of mass destruction”

The Justice Department said Alowemer was motivated to attack the church to “take revenge for our (ISIS) brothers in Nigeria.

“Our top priority is protecting the citizens of western Pennsylvania,” U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. “Every day investigators and prosecutors work tirelessly behind the scenes to disrupt terrorist activity and keep our community safe. While the public does not always see the results of the hard work of these dedicated men and women, this case is a visible demonstration of our commitment to rooting out terrorists and bringing them to justice.”

Born in Syria, Alowemer was permitted into the U.S. as a refugee in August 2016.

Homeland Security to Create Office to Prevent Large-Scale Terrorist Attacks in U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced the creation of an office to combat large-scale terrorist attacks.

The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) is tasked with protecting the U.S. from terrorists who intend to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reports

Newly confirmed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the idea is to “elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.”

The leader of the new office is James F. McDonnell, whom President Trump appointed last year to head Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.

“The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states,” Nielsen said. 

“That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach,” she added. “As terrorism evolves, we must stay ahead of the enemy and the establishment of this office is an important part of our efforts to do so.”

FBI: Air Controller Jailed on Charges of Possessing a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Paul George Dandan, via police

Paul George Dandan, via police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport is in jail after the FBI alleged he was in possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

Paul George Dandan, 30, was arrested Friday in Charlotte and charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, WCNC-Charlotte reports. He’s in jail under a $45,000 bond.

The FBI, which is helping Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigate the case, said they don’t expect federal charges to be filed at this time.

The FAA terminated Dandan’s access to the airport following his arrest.

Authorities have not described the type of weapon Dandan possessed.

Former FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce to Fight Crime in Private Sector

Sean Joyce

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Less than a month after Sean Joyce retired as the FBI’s deputy director, he is bringing his skills as an investigator to PwC, a private firm that helps groups manage operational and cyber threats, according to PR Newswire.

“We are proud to welcome Sean Joyce to PwC and look forward to working closely with him to help our clients strategically and proactively manage external and internal threats to their organizations,” said Erik Skramstad, U.S. Advisory Forensics Leader. “Sean’s background, skills, experience and leadership make him an exceptional addition to our practice and an incredible asset to our clients.”

Joyce’s career with the FBI began in 1987. His various positions gave him experience with counterterrorism, counterintelligence and weapons of mass destruction.

FBI’s John Perren Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2012

John Perren

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John G. Perren, assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate, who has been at the forefront of the FBI war on terrorism, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2012.

Perren, whose tenure has been extended beyond the FBI’s mandatory retirement age, has been with the bureau since 1987.

Perren earns the award for a variety of reason. First off, someone would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated FBI agent. Additionally, he’s well respected by his colleagues, and has been known as a fair and good boss over the years, important criteria in determining this award.

Perren has worked in a variety of positions. He was the acting assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office and was special agent in charge of counterterrorism at WFO, a position that included overseeing the Rapid Deployment Team of agents to the Middle East in probes involving attacks on U.S. citizens and American interests.

Perren was one of three On-Scene Commanders at the Pentagon following 9/11. From January to June of 2005, he was the On-Scene Commander for FBI Field Operations in Baghdad, with responsibility for over 125 FBI personnel in Iraq.

In his current position, he heads up a program the FBI describes as detecting, deterring, and defeating ” acts of domestic terrorism, as well as the actual or threatened use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Perren is the fifth recipient of the ticklethewire.com award and the second FBI agent to receive it.

Last year, Thomas Brandon, the acting number two person at ATF was the recipient.

Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008), Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

FBI’s John Perren Named AD for Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate

John Perren/ttw photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Perren, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Division at headquarters, is moving up. He’s been named to the post, Assistant Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

Perren, a former D.C. cop who joined the FBI in 1987, will replace Dr. Vahid Majidi, who plans to retire in May. Majidi had come to FBI from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he served as the Chemistry Division Leader.

Earlier in his career, Perren was supervisor of the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and then assistant special agent in charge.

In 2005, he spent a half year in Iraq as the FBI’s on-scene commander before returning home to headquarters to become section chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction/Domestic Terrorism Operations Section.

In 2007, he was named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch at the Washington Field Office. He has twice filled in as acting head of the field office.

The FBI established the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate post about 5 1/2 years ago “to centralize and coordinate all WMD-related investigative activities, intelligence analysis capabilities, and technical expertise from across the Bureau.”

 

Washington Post Editorial: “Appalling” That Fed Agencies Unprepared for WMD Attack

terrorismBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — “EVERYBODY WOULD be winging it.” That is how one law enforcement official described the likely Justice Department response to an attack involving weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The remark was included in a critical report by the department’s inspector general, which concluded that the department “is not prepared to fulfill its role . . . to ensure public safety and security in the event of a WMD incident,” including those involving biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

The only Justice component to receive high marks was the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which the report noted had specific policies in place to deal with a WMD attack and routinely carried out WMD-specific training for agents and other personnel.

Not so the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency or the U.S. Marshals Service.

The ATF, for example, had been tapped to coordinate federal law enforcement’s response and its efforts to dovetail with local and state efforts in such matters as sealing off buildings and areas subject to WMD exposure. But the agency has no policies or training focused specifically on reacting to a WMD attack, and many officials within the Justice Department were not aware of the agency’s critical role nor had they worked with any other component, including the FBI, to coordinate efforts in the event of an attack.

To Read More click here.

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