• A woman’s involvement makes San Bernardino shooting rare among mass shootings

    The shooting in San Bernardino, California marked the 355th mass shooting in the United States in fewer than as many days in 2015. As details emerge regarding the events, it is clear that these types of crimes are morphing and not abating. “Shootings involving mission-oriented females may be a new threshold which should be concerning to all of us, and the incident in San Bernardino might just be a hybrid, and a harbinger, of shootings to come,” says an expert.

  • Governments should turn to academics for advice on radicalization, religion and security

    Western governments are deploying a range of strategies and tactics to deal with the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State. David Cameron is recruiting more spies, and parliament is discussing profound changes to the way in which digital intelligence is collected. But we must not ignore the invaluable supply of knowledge and insight available from our men and women in academia. Research can provide evidence-based context to contemporary challenges, including an enlightened understanding of the place of religion and faith in a security context. We can stop mistakes being made in terms of misguided policies and knee-jerk reactions. And researchers can help the design and deployment of interventions that make a real difference, focusing limited resources effectively.

  • view counter
  • Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS

    Tashfeen Malik, one of the two attackers who killed fourteen people in a San Bernardino social service center, used her smartphone to post a pledged allegiance on her Facebook page to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS leader – and officials say that timeline of the attack shows that she posted her message while driving with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, in the black SUV in the moments after the attack. The two were killed in a shootout with the police about two hours later.

  • Syed Rizwan Farook was in touch by phone, social media with “international terrorism subjects”: FBI

    Syed Rizwan Farook, the 28-year man who, with his wife, killed fourteen and injured twenty-one people in a San Bernardino social service center Wednesday, had reportedly been in contact with at least two international terrorism subjects who were already being monitored by the FBI. Farook had been in touch with these international terrorism figures on social media, and that he had also contacted them by phone on several occasions. Law enforcement agencies say the motive for the deadly attack is still to be ascertained.

  • DHS, NYPD train on response to active shooters

    After months of coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) Counter Terrorism Division, the NYPD conducted an active shooter training exercise on 22 November. S&T says that the exercise not only tested their training and proficiency, but also allowed them to incorporate several commercial technologies that could benefit future emergency situations.

  • EU Internet Forum launched to fight radicalization, terrorist content online

    The EU earlier this week launched the EU Internet Forum. The aim of the forum is to bring together EU interior ministers, high-level representatives of major Internet companies, Europol, the EU counterterrorism coordinator, and the European Parliament. The EU says that the goal is to reach a joint, voluntary approach based on a public-private partnership to detect and address harmful material online.

  • Husband and wife, identified as San Bernardino attackers, killed in shootout with police

    Police shot and killed a husband and wife, both in their late 20s, after the two killed fourteen people and injured seventeen at the Inland Regional Center, a social service center in Sam Bernardino, a working-class community of 200,000 residents about sixty miles east of Los Angeles. The two were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his Tashfeen Malik, 27 (some reports noted that it was not clear whether or not the two had actually married). The couple had a 6-month old daughter.

  • U.K. attacks ISIS oil targets in first British military action in Syria

    In the first British military strikes in Syria, four British Tornados have dropped precision munitions on seven ISIS targets in eastern Syrian. All of the targets were part of the Islamist organization’s oil production and distribution system. The planes left on their mission from the RAF Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus less than an hour after the House of Commons authorized a U.K. military campaign to destroy ISIS targets in Syria. The United Kingdom has already been part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, but British military strikes were limited to attacking ISIS targets in Iraq.

  • Large-scale face-search technology helps in fighting crime, terrorism

    The rapid growth in surveillance cameras is resulting in millions of face images and videos captured every day. The ability quickly and accurately to search all these images to assist in identifying criminal and terrorism suspects is an important and complex task that can contribute to making communities safer. To help in this effort, MSU has licensed its large-scale, automatic face-search system to NEC Corp.

  • ISIS sympathizers in U.S. differ widely in background, motivation: Study

    A new study offers what its authors describe is the first comprehensive review of Americans who have been recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The report examined more than 7,000 pages of legal documents related to the seventy-one individuals charged with ISIS-related activities in the United States. It found that the profiles of individuals involved in ISIS-related activities in the United States differ widely in race, age, social class, education, and family background. Their motivations are equally diverse.

  • PLO terrorists tortured captured Israeli athletes in 1972

    Forty-three years ago, on 5 September 1972, Palestinian terrorists affiliated with the PLO broke into a dormitory building in the athletic village in Munich, where the 1972 Olympic Games were being held, and captured eleven Israeli athletes. They killed two of them, and negotiated with the German government for the release of the other nine. The terrorists killed the nine athletes at the Munich airport during a botched German rescue attempt. A new documentary movie, to be released early next year, reveals that the Israeli Olympic team members were not only severely beaten, suffering broken bones, but that one of the athletes was castrated.

  • U.S. modifies Visa-Waiver program to make it more secure

    The United States announced Monday that it would make changes to the Visa Waiver program in an effort to prevent terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries from easily entering the United States. The New York Times reports that the White House has admitted that the changes — which would impose higher fines for airlines which fail to verify passengers’ identities and increased information-sharing among countries — are limited, and that more sweeping changes would require Congressional action. Law enforcement and security experts say that the Visa Waiver program — which allows more than twenty million foreigners form the thirty-eight Visa Waiver countries to travel to the United States each year without being interviewed at American consulates and embassies — dwarfs the administration’s Syrian refugee plan, and poses a far greater threat to national security.

  • France probes 86,000 security permit holders for signs of radicalization

    Since the January 2015 terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket in Paris, nearly sixty individuals suspected of Islamist radicalism have had their authorization to work at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport pulled. There are currently 86,000 French men and women who have passed security screening, and who have security permits which allow them to work in secure sites such as critical infrastructure and airports. France announced that each of these individuals will be re-examined to see whether they are still eligible for the security permits – and that new criteria will be added to eligibility requirements, including “the appreciation of radicalization” as “a factor which poses a problem in terms of security and safety.”

  • EU sets detailed, Europe-wide anti-radicalization agenda

    The European Parliament has recently concrete proposals for a comprehensive strategy to fight extremism in Europe. Among the proposals: prisons in which radicalization takes place will have added educational and vocational training offered to inmates, and inmates will be more tightly supervised; EU country would adopt a uniform, legally binding definition of terrorism, and those joining terrorist organizations would be placed under judicial and administrative control upon return to their home countries; the Parliament also announced the creation, by the end of the year, of the EU Passenger Name Records (PNR).

  • NSA’s bulk metadata collection program ends

    The NSA on Sunday ended its controversial surveillance program, initiated by the George W. Bush administration in 2006, which collected the metadata of all communications in the United States. The creation of the bulk collection program was the result of criticism by the 9/11 Commission, and many security experts, who argued that the information about the nineteen 9/11 terrorists was available, but that law enforcement and intelligence agencies lacked structure and procedure which would have allowed them to “connect the dots.”