The Brief // By Ben FrankelMysterious Iran Explosion and Growing Domestic Terrorism Threat

Published 6 July 2020

The two major developments this past week:

Iran: Nearly ten years ago, Israel and the United States planted a piece of malware called Stuxnet in Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges’ control system, halting Iran’s relentless march to the bomb. The 2015 nuclear deal further restricted Iran – lengthening its nuclear weapons “breakout” time from 2-3 months to about 15-18 months — but in 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal without offering an alternative, and Iran has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. Its breakout time has now been reduced to 4-6 months, and it is getting shorter by the day. This is why a massive explosion in a missile base near Parchin should tell us that Israel – which officially denies any involvement — may have decided to take matters into its own hands.

Extremism: U.S. law enforcement agencies now regard followers of the far-right, anti-government Boogaloo movement as the major domestic terrorism threat in the U.S., with followers of the movement arrested in Nevada, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado for plotting attacks against law enforcement personnel and government offices (in California, two Boogaloo followers have been charged with murdering two police officers). Terrorism experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) have written a report finding that the United States faces a growing domestic terrorism problem,  with the most significant threat likely to come from white supremacists, though anarchists and religious extremists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda could present a potential threat as well. Brookings Institution terrorism experts, in a separate report, agree. DHS has circulated intelligence memos to public safety officials, warning that Boogaloo Bois may be targeting Washington, D.C. The U.S. government’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has issued a report saying that the U.S. government, statutes, and terminology are not prepared for the growing domestic terrorism threat.

Other developments of notes last week: The U.K. government is set to announce a reversal of its January decision to allow Huawei access to the U.K. nascent 5G infrastructure. And speaking of the U.K.: A U.K.-led European police operation has inflicted a massive blow to U.K. organized crime after police infiltrate encrypted communication platform.

And now we know: Asteroid impact, not volcanoes, made the earth uninhabitable for dinosaurs sixty-six million years ago.