• After the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden boasted that he sued an operation which cost al Qaeda $500,000 to finance to inflict a $500 billion damage on the U.S. economy; it was not a mere boast: it was an indication the econo-jihad was an integral part of al Qaeda’s strategy to weaken and defeat the West; “the economic turn actually influences the terrorists’ targets, which have included oil-drilling infrastructures, tourism, international economic institutions and more. Indeed, Islamic terrorism’s future devices will focus on targets that will yield the most economic damage,” one expert says

  • Domestic terrorism

    DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said Joseph Stack’s suicide attack on the IRS building in Austin was not an act of terrorism because he acted as a lone wolf; an intelligence think tank’s experts disagree: the definition of a violent act as an act of terrorism has nothing to do with the number of casualties, foreign ties, or absence of a conspiracy; what matters is whether or not the perpetrator’s motivation was to coerce a population or a government to change policy because of political, religious, or ideological beliefs

  • Theater of the absurd

    Discount supermarket chain commercial draws inspiration from surveillance footage of Dubai assassination; shows actors carrying tennis rackets, wearing wigs, hats; an actress wearing a wide-brimmed floppy hat mimics Israel’s policy of maintaining deniability, saying she “couldn’t admit to anything”

  • Domestic terrorism

    Law enforcement and intelligence in the United States and the United Kingdom are concerned with increased intensity on the extremist fringe: the number extremist groups is rising, their ranks are swelling, their rhetoric is becoming more vituperative, and there has been an increase in violent activities

  • Domestic terrorism

    The recent shooting at the Pentagon, which followed a February plane crash at Internal Revenue Service offices in Austin and a January shooting at the federal courthouse in Las Vegas, has prompted renewed attention from lawmakers regarding the security of U.S. government buildings

  • There are about 200,000 small and medium-size aircraft in the United States, using 19,000 airports, most of them small; last Thursday’s suicide attack on an office building in Austin, Texas revives debate over the security threat small planes pose, and how strict the security measures applied to general aviation should be

  • Some experts compare the economic impact of a major cyberincident to the 2003 Northeast blackout, which cut service to fifty million people in the United States and Canada for up to four days; economists place the cost of that event between $4.5 [billion] and $10 billion — which they regard as a blip in the $14.2 trillion U.S. economy

  • South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says all aspects of agriculture can be targets of terrorists, but Johnson said meat production is the most vulnerable; “Livestock are the number one target for terrorists attacking the agriculture system…. If you want to get a bunch of cattle sick at once, it’s not rocket science on how to do it”

  • A defense expert says that the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran will lead to growth in exports of American weapons systems, training, and advice to U.S. Middle Eastern allies; this would give the American defense industry a needed shot in the arm; Boeing has been making noise about shifting out of the defense industry, which would mean lost American jobs and would also put the United States in a difficult position should it be threatened by a rising military power like China; “a nuclear Iran could forestall such a catastrophe”

  • In the wake of 9/11, the EU gave the U.S. government free access to European bank and financial data under the SWIFT agreement; the Civil Liberties Committee of European MPs has just recommended that the EU reject renewal of the treaty; for the United States such access is essential to the fight against terrorists and their finances

  • Cathy Lanier, the chief of the Washington, D.C. police, says the one thought that keeps her awake at night is the threat that has not occurred to anyone — the failure of imagination as to what may come next; “What is it that we haven’t thought of that could happen?…That still scares me because I know it is there”

  • Denis Blair, director of national intelligence, told legislators that the U.S. intelligence community is conducting “scientific research” to find better, more effective research techniques to use on terrorists

  • Terrorists hack gambling Web sites to finance terrorist operations; one group of al Qaeda sympathizers made more than $3.5 million in fraudulent charges using credit card accounts stolen via online phishing scams and the distribution of Trojans; the group conducted 350 transactions at 43 different online gambling sites, using more than 130 compromised credit cards

  • The United States and Canada have established a pilot project to enhance security in the waters of Puget Sound and off the Pacific Coast, in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Coast Guard will cross-train, share resources and utilize each others’ vessels

  • Analysis

    In July 2002, nearly a year before DHS was created under former president George W. Bush, a handful of advisers hastily drafted in private a 90-page national homeland security strategy; that document was later criticized for being partially responsible — by overemphasizing terrorism at the expense of natural disasters — for the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina; in October 2007 the Bush administration updated its homeland security strategy; the Obama administration has now revised and expanded Bush’s 2007 changes; the new strategy states that preventing terrorism remains the cornerstone of homeland security, but it expands the definition of homeland security to include other hazards, among them mass cyberattacks, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal trafficking, and transnational crime

  • The organizers of three big sporting events – the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and the soccer World Cup – are taking extra security measures to ensure the safety of participants and spectators; The Winter Olympics’ security budget initially projected at $175 million now tops $900 million, and the force for the games will include more than 15,000 people, a surveillance blimp hovering over Vancouver, and more than 900 surveillance cameras monitoring competition venues and crowd-attracting public areas; at the Super Bowl, nearly everyone entering the stadium will be subjected to a pat-down search; exceptions would be a police officer in uniform, a player in uniform, and the president of the United States

  • Suicide bombing

    The suicide bombing campaign by al Qaeda and its Sunni Arab allies in Iraq is second only to the Japanese Kamikaze campaign during the closing stages of the Second World in the number of suicide bombers it employed; the Islamic suicide bombers, though, managed to kill more people; the Kamikaze sank 34 U.A. and Allied ships and damage 368 others; about 4,900 Allied sailors died; the Islamic suicide bombers in Iraq killed 216 U.S. military personnel, 2,500 Iraqi troops and police, and more than 10,000 Iraqi civilian

  • The report criticizes the U.S. counterterrorism (CT)community for not connecting the dots related to the Christmas Day plot; “Unfortunately, despite several opportunities that might have allowed the CT community to put these pieces together in this case, and despite the tireless effort and best intentions of individuals at every level of the CT community, that was not done”

  • Yemen is disintegrating, and jihadists are moving in; the mayor of Boston says it is unsafe to allow tankers delivering liquefied natural gas from Yemen into Boston Harbor; “They cannot be coming into a harbor like Boston, where there is less than 50 feet between the tankers and residential areas,’ the mayor says of Yemeni tankers’