• Travel ban

    To the surprise of many experts, the Trump administration’s revised travel ban removed Sudan – but added Chad, a Muslim majority country in the Sahel region of Africa. Chad’s inclusion has befuddled observers as well as the Chadian government and the African Union. Based on my experience working at the State Department, including a period of time when I was focused on the Sahel, I went looking for reasons that would lead the U.S. to ban Chadians. I found more questions than I was able to answer. Sanctioning a country that has been an ally to the United States on its top national security priority – terrorism – does serve as a red flag to other countries. Some countries will seek to stay on the United States’ good side. Others, especially in Africa, may eye China as an alternative, more reliable partner.

  • Dirty bombs

    Radiological material falling into the wrong hands is a constant security concern for governments around the world. Border agencies must scan incoming vehicles and freight for radioactive material, which is a challenging task, as huge volumes of both move across borders each day. Imperial College London’s physicists have developed two devices for detecting nuclear materials.

  • Terrorism & guns

    According to the authoritative Global Terrorism Database (GTD), firearms accounted for about 55 percent of fatalities in terrorist attacks even though guns were used in less than 10 percent of terrorist events. Attacks involving more common weapons such as explosives, incendiary weapons and vehicles, or melee weapons had fewer fatalities than attacks involving firearms.Among industrialized countries, the United States has the highest proportion of terrorist attacks in which the perpetrators used firearms.

  • Mass shooting

    Reducing news coverage of rampage shooters’ personal information, like their names and photos, could be a deterrent to future mass shooters, according to researchers. The researchers identify three consequences of current news coverage, which typically includes publishing names and faces of mass shooters in initial and follow-up coverage: mass shooters’ fulfillment and incentive to achieve notoriety; competition among offenders to maximize victim fatalities; and copycat and contagion effects.

  • Lone-wolf killers

    On 20 September, only days before the Las Vegas mass shooting, DHS issued an 11-page report warning that “unaffiliated lone offenders” were one of the biggest threats to large public gatherings. The report did not refer to Las Vegas, but rather noted security concerns about public events – including sports events — in the South-Central areas of the United States. The 20 September report is similar to an unclassified, for-official-use-only “Joint Special Event Threat Assessment,” issued by DHS and the FBI in December 2016, which warned of the threats to public events in Las Vegas, especially New Year celebrations. “Unaffiliated lone offenders and [homegrown violent extremists] are of particular concern,” the document said.

  • Terrorism

    Hamas has rejected the Palestinian Authority’s demand for disarmament and has vowed to hold onto its weapons to fight Israel. The terrorist group’s Politburo Chief, Ismail Haniyeh, said in an interview with Egyptian television that “there are two groups of weapons: There are the weapons of the government, the police and security services.”

  • Biothreats

    Looming budget cuts within DHS are doing little to qualm concern that state and local infrastructure is unprepared to handle a biological or chemical attack. “We are much better prepared than we were” post-9/11,” said one expert “But we are not where we need to be, and the progress is, in some cases, somewhat fragile.”

  • Considered opinion

    The United States needs answers for questions not just about the nature of Islamist movements, but also about the more politically difficult question of what the United States should do about them. How the United States and Europe should respond—or even whether they should treat Islamist parties as distinctive in the first place—has been a contentious question since at least the early 1990s. The Arab Spring, two decades later, brought this “Islamist dilemma” back to the fore, and Washington found itself, again, conflicted.

  • Lone-wolf killers

    Radical jihadists directed or inspired by ISIS, al-Qaeda, or materials posted on the internet, pose a threat in the United States – and in Europe. In the United States, however, the bigger threat has come from a different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion – be it Islam or another religion: White American men. Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

  • Lone-wolf killers

    Lone offender attacks – sometimes called “lone wolf” attacks – make headlines fairly regularly. It’s not just the single shooter killing dozens and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, but also shootings in Washington and Texas shopping centers. In Nice, France; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere, atrocities committed by individuals apparently acting alone have surprised and concerned the public and authorities alike. Because just one person is at the center of the event, these sorts of attacks can seem more puzzling and be harder to explain than, say, bombings or shootings by organized terrorist groups. That also makes them more difficult to detect and prevent. It is not always easy to “make sense” of lone-offender attacks. But by understanding their origins, elements and context, we can avoid misconceptions and more accurately describe the problem. That will be a key to helping detect and prevent these kinds of attacks.

  • Las Vegas shooting

    Stephen Paddock’s shooting spree lasted about 12-14 minutes – but he was able to kill 59 people and wound more than 500. The reason: He used a technique called “bump stock” to turn two of his semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones, capable of firing between 500 and 800 rounds a minute. Automatic rifles are heavily regulated and difficult to buy in the United States, but the perfectly legal bump stock method allows would-be mass shooters to circumvent the automatic weapons ban.

  • Hate groups

    Members of the leadership of several evangelical Christians late last week urged President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists more forcefully and unequivocally — specifically those in the alt-right. A letter circulating among pastors who belong to the group notes Trump’s efforts to denounce the white supremacists, but urges the President to go further in condemning the alt-right “by name.” “This movement has escaped your disapproval,” the letter said.

  • Considered opinion

    Terrorists find biological weapons attractive because these weapons are difficult to detect, are cost effective, and can be easy to use. Aerosols of biological agents are invisible, silent, odorless, tasteless, relatively easily dispersed — and they are 600 to 2000 times cheaper than other weapons of mass destruction. It has been estimated that the cost of a biological weapon is about 0.05 percent the cost of a conventional weapon to produce similar numbers of mass casualties per square kilometer.

  • Las Vegas shooting

    A 64-year old gunman barricaded himself in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, then fired thousands of rounds from several automatic weapons on an outdoor country music festival taking place outside the hotel. At least 50 people have been killed and more than 400 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas. This is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The Las Vegas police reported that two police officers have been killed.

  • Mass shooting

    America has experienced yet another mass shooting, this time at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is reportedly the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs.

  • Terrorism

    Israel’s intelligence agencies have stepped up cooperation with their foreign counterparts leading to the prevention of dozens of terror attacks around the world. Following the coordinated terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015, the intelligence branch of Israel’s General Staff made a decision to concentrate more on collecting information from foreign terrorists who had ties to Middle Eastern terror organizations.

  • Domestic terrorism

    In a testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday, FBI director Chris Wray said his agency was currently conducting “about 1,000” open domestic terrorism investigations. He said that, by comparison, the FBI also has about 1,000 open cases related to the ISIS. In its May joint intelligence bulletin, the FBI warned white supremacist groups were likely to commit more violent attacks. The white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” the FBI bulletin said.

  • Domestic terrorism

    In a testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday, FBI director Chris Wray said his agency was currently conducting “about 1,000” open domestic terrorism investigations. He said that, by comparison, the FBI also has about 1,000 open cases related to the ISIS. In its May joint intelligence bulletin, the FBI warned white supremacist groups were likely to commit more violent attacks. The white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” the FBI bulletin said.

  • Considered opinion

    The mass shooting that killed at least fifty people in Las Vegas last night was the deadliest in modern American history. The shooting marked the latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, transforming a seemingly routine night into one of terror and carnage. The killing in Las Vegas surpassed the death toll of forty-nine people killed in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

  • Terrorism

    Soccer has long been tarnished by outbreaks of fan violence. Although media headlines often link the behavior to “hooliganism,” the activity could stem from potentially more positive motivations, such as passionate commitment to the group and the desire to belong. Understanding the root cause of the behavior may therefore help in tackling the violence and channeling it into something more positive, researchers suggest. This is especially important since both violent soccer fans and radicals appear to be are motivated by shared experience. The researchers found clear links between the psychology underlying soccer violence and other extremist activity, such as gang culture and terrorism, which is often rooted in a similar feeling of “brotherhood.”