• Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) database released

    The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has released its latest data tool, the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) dataset. PIRUS is a cross-sectional, quantitative dataset of individuals in the United States who radicalized to the point of violent or non-violent ideologically motivated criminal activity, or ideologically motivated association with a foreign or domestic extremist organization from 1948 until 2013.

  • Venezuela’s new VP is a suspected drug smuggler with ties to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah

    The newly appointed vice president of Venezuela is suspected by American intelligence of drug smuggling as well as close ties to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. The appointment of Tareck El Aissami, formerly the governor of Aragua state, means that he could become the country’s president if the increasingly embattled Nicholas Maduro is recalled or steps down.

  • In Argentina, the tide slowly turns against Iranian terror

    A glimmer of hope in the fight against Iranian-backed terrorism shone forth from Argentina during the final days of 2016. A federal appeals court ruled that former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will face a new investigation over allegations that she and her close colleagues made a secret pact with the Iranian regime over the probe into the July 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

  • Want to challenge Trump on immigration? Try a strategy from the antebellum South By Anna O. Law

    Immigrant communities and their advocates are gearing up to challenge President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals for immigration policy. The U.S. federal system structure of government may be their best defense. Trump has said he will deport two to three million immigrants with criminal records. To find, apprehend, legally process, incarcerate, and return that many people to their home countries would require the cooperation of local law enforcement. Only 5,700 immigration enforcement agents work the entire geographical U.S. Although states and localities cannot evade enforcement of federal laws, they can refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in carrying out mass deportation.

  • Hamas terrorist gives Israel intel on tunnels, use of Gaza hospitals as military bases

    The brother of a senior Hamas official gave Israeli officials information about Hamas’ extensive use of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, for military purposes. On Sunday, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal warned that the Gaza-based terrorist group is continuing to build up its arsenal and develop its tunnel infrastructure in preparation for another war against Israel.

  • U.S. imposes sanctions on Russia for interfering in 2016 U.S. election

    The United States on Thursday has unveiled a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for its interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign. The goal of the Russian hacking campaign was to help Donald Trump win the election and, more generally, compromise and corrupt the American political process. The retaliatory measures include the expulsion of thirty-five Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds based the United States. In a statement, President Barack Obama said Americans should “be alarmed by Russia’s actions” and pledged further action.

  • Algeria says 54,457 Algerians involved in terrorism since 1992

    The Algerian justice ministry said that nearly 55,000 people accused of committing “terrorist offences” have faced legal proceedings in Algeria since the country’s bloody civil war in the 1990s. This was the first time the Algerian authorities openly discussed such numbers. The government uses the term “terrorists” for members of armed Islamist militias. These militias launched a vicious war against the country’s military and police – and against moderate s Algerians – in 1992, after the government cancelled the second round of the parliamentary elections for fear that the Islamist would win a majority.

  • Nuclear expert: Newly revealed side deals let Iran violate nuke deal limits without penalty

    Newly disclosed side agreements to the nuclear deal with Iran reveal that the Islamic Republic is allowed to exceed limits on its nuclear-related stockpiles without penalty, a leading nuclear expert said. The documents recently released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, show that Iran can declare certain amounts of low-enriched uranium (LEU) “unrecoverable.” This designation ensures that the material, which Iran has promised not to build a facility to recover, will not count against its 300 kilogram limit on LEU.

  • Trump Towers or Trump Targets?

    Donald Trump’s election ushers in a new challenge for homeland security and counterterrorism both at home and abroad. Trump owns, has a stake in, or has lent his name to scores of properties all over the United States and the world. A terrorist could decide to target a Trump Tower in Stuttgart, a Trump hotel in South Korea, or a Trump golf resort in Dubai. A terrorist might even decide to target the famous carousel in Central Park, which Trump also owns. These are “soft targets” without any of the serious security measures surrounding American embassies or other government buildings. Even better (for the terrorists), most of these targets have the president’s name on them in huge letters. Clearly the symbolic damage of such an attack would be immense.

  • Denmark to stop paying state benefits to Danes in ISIS ranks

    The Danish government has launched a campaign to recover thousands of dollars worth of benefit money from a few dozens of Danish citizens who have left Denmark to join ISIS in Syria. At least thirty-four Danes who traveled to Syria to fight in ISIS ranks have continued to receive unemployment benefits. Last year, thirty-two Danes were identified as having continued to receive government assistance while being active members of the terrorist organization.

  • European border security agency warns ISIS is manipulating refugees

    Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, warned that ISIS may be trying to manipulate refugees into carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe. The border agency said that its officials were also worried about ISIS sneaking in trained fighters among the mass movements of people fleeing war, hunger, and extreme poverty. Europol, the EU law enforcement agency,  noted that as of April 2016, there have been approximately 300 cases in which ISIS tried to recruit refugees entering Europe.

  • All terror attacks are not connected – but terrorists want us to think they are

    In just one weekend in December, a series of terrorist attacks killed nearly 200 people in five different countries – Germany, Turkey, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, and Somalia. This is a horrific spate of attacks, but while the resultant headlines are certainly alarming, all the attacks occurred in countries facing very specific challenges. Rolling them all together into one “wave” of violence is misguided, and misunderstands the real nature of global terrorist threats. Terrorism’s preeminent effects are psychological rather than a physical; it has a way of skewing our perceptions, meaning we perceive a bigger menace than actually exists. To fight it, we need to fight back against these psychological tricks. So long as we go on assuming that terrorist attacks are connected and trying to link them to a global extremist threat looming on our doorstep, we misunderstand the unique problems facing each country – and what’s needed to defang them.

  • Russian hacking of 2016 U.S. elections threatens to “destroy democracy”: Sen. McCain

    Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said that Russia’s involvement in hacking U.S. political institutions and processes during the 2016 presidential election campaigns threatens to “destroy democracy” in its current form. The senator for Arizona warned there may soon be an “unraveling of the world order” and criticized the “absolute failure of the American leadership” to improve relations with Moscow. “There’s no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was a cyber-attack. The question now is how much and what damage and what should the United States of America do? And so far, we’ve been totally paralyzed,” he said. “The truth is, they are hacking every single day.”

  • Calls in Germany for bolstering surveillance in wake of Berlin attack

    Klaus Bouillon, the interior minister in the German state of Saarland, said that “It is time to eliminate the barriers to monitoring suspects’ telephone conversations.” He also urged the revamping of a law for monitoring popular online encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp, and said that next month he would make a formal proposal to that effect. Bouillon, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said, “It cannot be the case that a company can make billions with WhatsApp, while at the same allowing criminals to organize, direct young people and obstruct our authorities by not providing the necessary encryption codes.”

  • Berlin attack: security intelligence has limits in preventing truck-borne terror

    The Christmas market truck assault in Berlin, which has left twelve dead and dozens injured, is a disturbing echo of the truck-borne attack on Bastille Day celebrants on the Nice promenade in July. How could such events be allowed to happen? Why weren’t intelligence agencies in Germany and France able to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators? The role of the security and intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and seek to monitor extremist elements will undoubtedly endure. The secret of their success will continue to be keeping their successes secret. However, this does not absolve the rest of society from remaining engaged in community, by being inclusive, welcoming, and helpful, while also maintaining a level of vigilance many had come to associate with a bygone era.