• Russia declined to share with the FBI all it knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev

    A report by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community – which comprises seventeen different intelligence agencies — and the inspectors general from DHS and the CIA, says the Russian government did not provide the FBI with information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The FBI says that a more detailed information from Russia would likely have resulted in a more thorough examination of him two years before the attack.

  • European, American jihadists training in Syria are the next major threat to the West

    Islamic militants who travel back and forth between their home countries and Syria may be the next major threat to the West. Some al-Qaeda leaders have been leaving their posts in Pakistan and Afghanistan to go to Syria, with plans to help train the next generation of jihadis. During the 1990s, al-Qaeda used unstable regions in Afghanistan as a training ground for Islamist militants. Getting into Afghanistan was difficult, however, while gaining entry into Syria and then joining a rebel camp is easy due to Syria’s porous borders with Turkey and Lebanon and the decentralized nature of Syrian opposition groups.

  • Chemical plant security measure moves forward in the House

    The House Homeland Security Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee are making progress on legislation meant to extend DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standardsprogram, which helps secure commercial chemical plants from terrorist attacks. Several attempts by the House Homeland Security Committee to extend the program have failed due to disagreements with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which also oversees the matter.

  • Federal judge: terrorism victims may seize Iranian-owned $500 million mid-Manhattan tower

    Federal Judge Katherine Forrest on Friday ruled that the Iranian companies which own the 650 Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan must forfeit the property – evaluated between $500 and $700 million — to victims of terrorism who hold billions of dollars in judgments against Iran. The claimants include families who lost relatives in the 9/11 attacks and the 1983 Beirut bombing, in both of which Iran was implicated. The Iranian owners have vowed to appeal, but legal experts say the building assets could possibly be distributed while the challenge is pending.

  • Hundreds of Britons are terror-training in Syria, making attack on U.K. “inevitable”

    Thousands of foreign fighters, including hundreds of Britons, are now in Syria, fighting with rebel forces against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Security experts say that the danger faced by Britain and other countries from jihadist fighters returning from Syria is “unprecedented,” and that a terror attack on British soil by one or more British Muslims returning from Syria is “inevitable.” “All the reports I have seen suggest that it is becoming increasingly acute,” said Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counterterrorism coordinator. “National budgets devoted to counter-terrorism are declining across the EU. Yet the threat that we face is becoming more diverse, more diffuse, and more unpredictable.”

  • Food-related disease outbreaks can teach us about the consequence of food terrorism

    Since unintentional food-related outbreaks have become so common, policy makers could use data from unintended foodborne disease outbreaks to estimate the effects of intended foodborne disease outbreaks. The impact on trade and economies is the primary motive for food terrorism, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but beyond the financial loss, such intended foodborne disease outbreaks may even impact political stability.

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  • U.K. launches investigation of Muslim Brotherhood in London

    The U.K. government has launched an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood to determine whether the organization is using London as a base for planning extremist attacks after the Egyptian military has cracked down on the Islamist movement, and Egyptian courts have outlawed it. While the British government has cracked down on what it regards as terrorist and extremist organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood had not been regarded as such, especially after it had won the parliamentary elections in Egypt in December 2011 and the presidential elections in June 2012, which made Muhammad Morsi the president of Egypt.

  • France's new approach to preventing French Muslims from going to fight in Syria

    French authorities reported in January 2014 that roughly 700 French residents had traveled to Syria to join in the fight against Syrian forces. The travel of French pro-jihadists to Syria exceeds the number of Europeans who left to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. France will soon adopt preventative measures, currently practiced in Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands, to stop minority youths from pursuing jihad in Syria. The new approach will encourage local law enforcement, schools, and community leaders to help identify at-risk youths before radicalization begins and advances, then introduce the youths to local prevention centers.

  • U.K. prisons serve as recruitment centers for jihadi causes

    A recent report details the growing population of Muslims in British jails, many of whom are declared Islamic extremists. Top-security prison Whitemoor, home to many extremists serving life sentences for plotting acts of terror in the United Kingdom, is considered a recruitment center for al-Qaeda, according to prison inspectors. Roughly 42 percent of prisoners at Whitemoor are Muslims, a stark contrast to the overall U.K. population in which only 5 percent practice Islam.In all, there are 11,729 Muslims in British jails, about one in seven of all inmates.

  • Possibility of “dirty bombs” a major terrorism threat

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned that there were 140 cases of missing or unauthorized nuclear and radioactive material in 2013 — a pressing reminder that the possibility of possession of nuclear materials by terrorist organizations is both real and current.

  • Report critical of intelligence, law enforcement Boston Marathon information sharing

    A 37-page report released by the House Committee on Homeland Security, asserts that the FBI and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) all failed properly to coordinate and investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the years before his involvement in the deadly bombing attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013. “There were opportunities in which greater sharing of information might have altered the course of events, the report goes on to say, “Such failures must not be allowed to persist.”

  • House mulls Syria-related sanctions on Iran

    U.S. House legislators are considering new terrorism-related sanctions on Iran, targeting the country’s support for Hezbollah, after ceding to the Obama administration’s request to back off on sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. The House Foreign Affairs Committee hopes the move will reflect their independence from the White House and also bring more focus to the Syrian crisis.Lawmakers say the bill would reflect the most effective ways to disrupt Iran’s financial support of Hezbollah.

  • Michigan terrorism case hinges on informant’s testimony

    Mohammad Hassan Hamdan of Dearborn Heights, Michigan was arrested on Sunday, 16 March 2014, at Detroit Metro Airport by FBI agents who claim that Hamdan told an undercover informant of his plans to travel to Lebanon to join Hezbollah as a fighter supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Hamdan’s family and defense attorney note that the informantis a friend of Hamdan’s ex-girlfriend, and that he is receiving an immigration benefit for his services, two facts that should make the information he provides suspect.

  • Scientists learn how Marburg virus grows in cells

    Infections with Marburg virus lead to death in as many as 90 percent of those infected. Once restricted to Africa, cases of the virus have been identified in travelers from Europe and the United States, making effective prevention and treatment a top biodefense priority. Study suggests targeting molecular interaction of virus and host protein may arrest this lethal virus.

  • Growing questions about TSA’s behavioral detection program

    TSA has spent roughly $1 billion training thousands of “behavior detection officers” as part of theScreening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program. The purpose of SPOT is to identify facial and body expressions that signals terrorist activity. Psychologists – and the GAO – question the effectiveness of the program.“The common-sense notion that liars betray themselves through body language appears to be little more than a cultural fiction,” says one psychologist.