• Rethinking Biosecurity Governance

    Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from the current coronavirus pandemic is how to learn future lessons without having to experience a pandemic, whether natural in origin or made by humans. We must rethink and test assumptions about relationships between biological research, security, and society to plan for biosecurity threats.

  • U.S. Designates Russia-Based White Supremacist Group, Leaders as Terrorists

    The United States has designated the ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) along with three of its leaders as terrorists, marking the first time the classification has been applied to a white supremacist group. The decision comes after Trump signed an executive order in September 2019 that expanded sanctions for combating terrorism by allowing the terrorist designation to be applied to groups that provide training to terrorists.

  • New Report Outlines Tactics of Modern White-Supremacist Terrorism

    On Monday, as the U.S. Department of State, for the first time ever, designate a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization, a new report on white supremacist terrorism was released, analyzing the evolution of the threat presented by violent white supremacists. The report notes that, until Monday’s announcement of the Department of State’s decision, none of the 69 organizations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations is a white supremacist organization, despite the dramatic uptick in that threat.

  • Right-Wing Extremism: The Russian Connection

    Over the past eight years, one of Russia’s more effective strategies to weaken the West, subvert liberal democratic societies, sabotage the U.S.-created post-WWII world order, and facilitate the expansion of Russian influence has been to provide active support – at times overt, often covert — to various far-right, ethnonationalist, and populist political parties and movements. Russia has been providing support not only to political parties and movements. As part of its effort to undermine the West and weaken democracies, the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence, has been supporting an assortment of violent, white supremacist groups in many European countries: fight clubs, neo-Nazi soccer hooligans, motorcycle gangs, skin heads, and neo-fascist rock groups. These groups are serving as conduits for the Kremlin’s influence operations in Western countries.

  • DOJ: Deliberately Spreading COVID-19 to Be Prosecuted as Domestic Terrorism

    As panic and fear spread with the COVID-19 pandemic, stupid, or malicious, acts may soon be considered criminal offenses and subject to terrorism laws. DOJ has circulated a memo to law enforcement and federal prosecutors saying that deliberate acts to spread the coronavirus could be prosecuted under federal terrorism laws given that the virus is a biological agent.

  • UN Report Highlights Threat of Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism

    The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) has just issued a new report on the dangers posed by the rise of right-wing terrorism. The report cites experts who have identified extreme right-wing terrorism as a unique form of political violence with often fluid boundaries between hate crime and organized terrorism. It is a not a coherent or easily defined movement, but rather a shifting, complex and overlapping milieu of individuals, groups and movements (online and offline) espousing different but related ideologies, often linked by hatred and racism toward minorities, xenophobia, islamophobia or anti-Semitism.

  • How to Keep the New Coronavirus from Being Used as a Terrorist Weapon

    The possibility that extremist groups may attempt to deliberately spread SARS-CoV-2—the virus causing the current pandemic—should not be ignored. In fact, one of the primary limiting factors to such an attack—recruiting humans willing to infect themselves—does not apply in this case; potential perpetrators would come from the ranks of those already infected with the virus. We are faced, therefore, with a genuinely challenging task: preemption.

  • FBI Foils Neo‑Nazi Plot to Blow Up Missouri Hospital

    FBI agents on Tuesday shot and killed a white supremacist in Belton, Missouri while trying to arrest him for plotting to use a car bomb to blow up a local hospital overflowing with patients. Timothy Wilson, 36, was initially considering blowing up a mosque or a synagogue, but with the onset of the epidemic, he reasoned that blowing up a hospital would allow him to kill more people.

  • Germany Bans Far-Right “Reichsbürger” Movement

    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer last week banned a faction of the far-right “Reichsbürger” movement, also known as the Imperial Citizens’ Movement, a group which combines far-right nationalism and yearning to 1930s Germany. The movement rejects the legitimacy and authority of the modern-day German government, because all post-Second World German governments were not interested in reclaiming the territories Germany gained under Adolf Hitler – what the movement calls the German Empire — but was forced to relinquish when the Allies defeated Nazi Germany.

  • Cyber Attacks against Hospitals and the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Strong are International Law Protections?

    In a situation where most, if not all of us are potential patients, few government-provided services are more important than the efficient delivery of health care. The strain on hospitals around the world is rapidly growing, to which states have responded by mobilizing military medical units, nationalizing private medical facilities, and building emergency hospitals. All of this underlines the urgent need to understand what protections the law offers against attacks – including cyberattacks – on medical facilities.

  • Strengthening Cybersecurity in Sports Stadiums

    Someone pulled a fire alarm during the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers. The alarm caused more students to move into the hallways and into harm’s way. “Hackers no longer use cyberattacks to cause cyber damage,” says an expert. Instead, “they are using these attacks to cause physical damage or put people in locations to maximize physical damage.” Sports venues, with tens of thousands of spectators, are especially vulnerable. To combat the cyber threat in sports, scientists built an assessment tool for team and stadium owners to fix vulnerabilities.

  • Protecting U.S. Energy Grid and Nuclear Weapons Systems

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • Making Bioweapons Obsolete

    As the threats posed by bioterrorism and naturally occurring infectious disease grow and evolve in the modern era, there is a rising potential for broad negative impacts on human health, economic stability and global security. To protect the United States from these dangers, researchers are taking on the ambitious goal of making bioweapons obsolete.

  • Bioterrorists, Using Genetic Editing, Could Kill More than 30 Million People: Bill Gates

    A bioterrorist attack could kill thirty million people — and such an attack is becoming more likely because it has become much easier to create – or “design” — deadly pathogens and spread them. Two years ago Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, spoke in London, saying that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus like smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack. Anyone can now purchase chemistry kits which allow genetic editing, and do so online for under $150.

  • Right-Wing Extremists’ New Weapon

    The 9 October 2019 attack on a synagogue in Halle, in eastern Germany, highlights terrorists’ growing affinity for homemade firearms as a means for leaderless resistance, a decentralized strategy of guerrilla warfare popularized by Ku Klux Klan member Louis Beam. Eric Woods write that “This presents particular legal challenges to the United States, more so than other countries. The United States has an idiosyncratic approach to homemade production of firearms, rooted in its history as a frontier country where informal networks of artisan producers existed for decades before federal armories.”