• Domestic Violent Extremists’ Threat Has Increased Since 2015: Intelligence Chiefs

    Last week, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines released to Congress an unclassified annual report – the IC’s 2021 Annual Threat Assessment. DNI Avril Haines, CIA director Bill Burns, and FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. “DVE [domestic violent extremists] is an increasingly complex threat that is growing in the United States …. These extremists often see themselves as part of a global movement and, in fact, a number of other countries are experiencing a rise in DVE,” Haines said.

  • Belfast Tinderbox: Why Loyalists Are in the Streets This Spring

    The violence that broke out in Northern Ireland earlier this month raised fears that sectarian conflict would return after decades of uneasy peace. Carolyn Gallaher and Kimberly Cowell-Meyers write that the latest unrest draws on many of the players during the so-called “Troubles” but that today’s politics, particularly disputes over Brexit, are driving much of the violence.

  • “I Felt Hate More Than Anything”: How an Active Duty Airman Tried to Start a Civil War

    Steven Carrillo, a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant, wanted to incite a second Civil War in the United States by killing police officers he viewed as enforcers of a corrupt and tyrannical political order — officers he described as “domestic enemies” of the Constitution he professed to revere. Carrillo’s path to the Boogaloo Bois shows the extremist anti-government group is far more organized and dangerous than previously known.

  • “Deprogramming” QAnon Followers Ignores Free Will and Why They Adopted the Beliefs in the First Place

    Recent calls to deprogram QAnon conspiracy followers are steeped in discredited notions about brainwashing. As popularly imagined, brainwashing is a coercive procedure that programs new long-term personality changes. Deprogramming, also coercive, is thought to undo brainwashing. Such deprogramming conversations do little to help us understand why people adopt QAnon beliefs. A deprogramming discourse fails to understand religious recruitment and conversion and excuses those spreading QAnon beliefs from accountability.

  • Afghanistan Withdrawal Could Pose ‘Significant Risk’ to U.S.: Intelligence Officials

    The plan to pull troops from Afghanistan could give terrorist groups like al-Qaida and Islamic State a chance to regenerate the capabilities they would need to carry out an attack against the United States, according to top U.S. intelligence officials.

  • After the Islamic State: Social Media and Armed Groups

    The Islamic State is often credited with pioneering the use of social media in conflict, having created a global brand that drew between 20,000 and 40,000 volunteers from at least 85 countries. Social media served as a key recruiting tool, source of fundraising, and platform for disseminating graphic propaganda to a global audience. Laura Courchesne and Brian McQuinn write that the Islamic State perfected tactics and strategies already widely used by hundreds of other armed groups.

  • Former National Security Officials Call for a 9/11 Commission-Like investigation of the Attack on the Capitol

    More than a hundred former senior national security, military, and elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, have called on lawmakers to form an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. “We write to encourage this Congress to establish an independent and bipartisan national commission to investigate the January 6th assault of the U.S. Capitol Complex and its direct causes, and to make recommendations to prevent future assaults and strengthen the resilience of our democratic institutions,” the letter, which was signed by 140 officials, read.

  • The EU Online Terrorism Regulation: A Bad Deal

    On 12 September 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online—dubbed the Terrorism Regulation, or TERREG for short—that contained some alarming ideas.

  • Violent Extremism in America

    People who radicalize to extremist ideologies often are triggered by negative life events or exposure to propaganda, and those who escape from extreme groups frequently are aided by an individual or group that intervenes to help them reject the philosophy, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

  • The International Far-Right Terrorist Threat Requires a Multilateral Response

    Right-wing violence is a global phenomenon. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) illuminated this global challenge in 2020 when it issued an alert that cited “a 320 percent increase in terrorist attacks by groups or individuals affiliated” with right-wing extremism. Jason M. Blazakis and Naureen Chowdhury Fink write that a U.S.-only focus to countering far-right terrorism will not curb this growing threat to international peace and stability. “The frameworks established to address the terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and their affiliates can be adapted to manage far-right violence.”

  • Pathogens Have the World’s Attention

    The novel coronavirus has demonstrated just how devastating a transmissible pathogen can be—and just how difficult to contain. Nathan Levine and Chris Li write that “the sobering truth is that, as deadly diseases go, the world got lucky. The global case fatality rate of COVID-19 is around 2 percent. One need only compare this to SARS (10 percent), smallpox (30 percent), pulmonary anthrax (80 percent), or Ebola (90 percent) to consider that the coronavirus could easily have been much, much worse.”

  • Combatting Terrorism with Environmental DNA

    Forensic science experts are refining an innovative counter-terrorism technique that checks for environmental DNA in the dust on clothing, baggage, shoes or even a passport. The technique traces the source of dust on suspect articles to match a soil profile of a specific area or overseas country.

  • Colombia: First Extraditions of ELN Rebels to U.S.

    Colombia announced on Tuesday that José Gabriel Alvarez, one of the leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla, will be extradited to the United States for drug trafficking. He will be tried in a Texas court. Ten more ELN members will be extradited to the United states within the next few months.

  • Capitol Riot Exposed QAnon’s Violent Potential

    Many followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory see themselves as digital warriors battling an imaginary cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who rule the world from the convenience of their keyboards. But the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump exposed the potential for violence in a movement that reared its head on the fringes of the internet in 2018 and now boasts millions of adherents around the world.

  • “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” Gains Steam

    Congress should avoid a repetition of the PATRIOT Act debacle and not legislate in this area until existing investigations into the Capitol Insurrection have run their course and we have the full facts about how it happened, who was involved, and why the response to the insurrection was so slow and fragmented. A quick, fear‐driven legislative response will only make things worse.