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Thread: Terrorism in the USA:threat & response

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Terrorism in the USA:threat & response

    Moderators Note

    In March 2011 this thread was renamed after being merged with a thread in Threat & Adversary, to reflect the primary focus on terrorism and counter terrorism in the USA. There are other, long running threads that refer to these issue. On 2/5/2011 another thread The FBI and CT Intelligence was merged to here. On 26/10/14 the Boston Marathon bomb thread was merged to here. A 2017 thread now continues this theme:President Trump & Terrorism in the USA:threat & response (ends).


    9 May NY Times - 6 Men Arrested in a Plot Against Ft. Dix by David Kocieniewski.

    Six Muslim men from New Jersey and Philadelphia were charged Tuesday with plotting to attack Fort Dix with automatic weapons and possibly even rocket-propelled grenades, vowing in taped conversations “to kill as many soldiers as possible,” federal authorities said.

    The arrests came after a 15-month investigation during which the F.B.I. and two informers who had infiltrated the group taped them training with automatic weapons in rural Pennsylvania, conducting surveillance of military bases in the Northeast, watching videos of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers and trying to buy AK-47 assault rifles.

    The authorities described the suspects as Islamic extremists and said they represented the newest breed of threat: loosely organized domestic militants unconnected to — but inspired by — Al Qaeda or other international terror groups...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-26-2017 at 02:14 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note

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    Default Plot Illustrates Balkans' Role as Islamist Foothold

    9 May Washington Times - Plot Illustrates Balkans' Role as Islamist Foothold by Bill Gertz.

    The six foreign-born Muslims accused of planning a shooting attack at the U.S. military base included four ethnic Albanians, and U.S. officials say their arrests highlight how Islamist groups are using the Balkans region to help in recruiting and financing terrorism.

    Prosecutors described the men as "radical Islamists," with four coming from the province of Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia, where the ethnic Albanian population of Muslims fought one of the several wars that grew out of the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Suspect Agron Abdullahu, who faces only weapons violations in the case, was described in court papers as a "sniper in Kosovo."...

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    sounds like displaced KLA members to me but then jihadism cuts across all borders and nationalities

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    I doubt that these guys were al Qeda for the simple fact that I just don't think that AQ would try to make their next big attack against the US be a National Guard/Reserve post in New Jersey.

    SFC W

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    Default Attempts Seen As Model for New Attacks On U.S. Soil

    3 July Washington Post - Attempts Seen As Model for New Attacks On U.S. Soil by Karen DeYoung.

    The next terrorist assault on the United States is likely to come through relatively unsophisticated, near-simultaneous attacks -- similar to those attempted in Britain over the weekend -- designed more to provoke widespread fear and panic than to cause major losses of life, U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials believe.

    Such attacks require minimal expertise and training and are difficult to prevent. Although British investigators have not claimed al-Qaeda involvement in the latest incidents, officials here said they may constitute a "hybrid" phenomenon, in which al-Qaeda inspires and guides local groups from afar but establishes no visible operational or logistical links.

    "What is a direct link?" asked one counterterrorism official. "Is it couriers? Messengers?" U.S. officials "from very senior folks" on down, he said, are watching as the British work to reconstruct the attacks and trace their origin...

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    3 July Washington Post - Attempts Seen As Model for New Attacks On U.S. Soil by Karen DeYoung.
    It certainly bears watching but if this slate of buffoons in UK is any indication, we're dealing with the terrorism "D" team at this point.

    What leaves me eternally perplexed is exactly what those guys are thinking. I'd love to talk to them and say, "Please connect the dots between murdering people on the streets and the conversion of the English to Islam and the adoption of sharia law." Do they really think millions of English are going to say, "Yowzee--a religion whose adherents murder women and children. Sign me up for that!"?

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    Council Member Graycap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Do they really think millions of English are going to say, "Yowzee--a religion whose adherents murder women and children. Sign me up for that!"?
    I don't think so. I think that they only want the Great Britain State to over-react in front of a choice: security vs normality. Do you want business as usual? No problem you will have all the bombs you can think of. Do you want security? Goodbye swinging London and multiculturalism.

    Whatever choice you make the risk to have a social breakdown is real. After that to impose sharia law at islamic minority will be easy once it will be equal to say social security. And when we will have a portion of a western state run by sharia we will know that war will be on our soil.

    Just my two cents..

    Graycap

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz
    It certainly bears watching but if this slate of buffoons in UK is any indication, we're dealing with the terrorism "D" team at this point....
    I second Steve's comment; relatively unsophisticated is an overstatement regarding these clowns. But that observation is offset by the point made in this 3 Jul 07 article in The Economist:

    Britain under threat: Even failed attacks may promote terrorists’ interests.
    ....Attempted bombings like these recent ones may not be carried out by the most effective al-Qaeda operatives, but even failed strikes take up a huge quantity of time from intelligence officers and police, potentially distracting them from other planned attacks. In Britain MI5 is expanding substantially, from 1,800 staff in 2001 to a projected 3,500 in 2008. But growth takes time, as does the training of new officers and the recruiting of informers. Meanwhile the number of suspected terrorist networks is growing exponentially, roughly doubling every year since the invasion of Iraq in 2003....

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    Council Member CPT Holzbach's Avatar
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    The English will overcome this just fine. They handled many years of IRA terrorism, shootings, and bombs. The real question is will we be smart enough to learn from them?

    Tomorrow Ill be calling for people to tar and feather the hated English overlords. But for today, I say let's study what they do about these attacks and learn something.
    "The Infantry’s primary role is close combat, which may occur in any type of mission, in any theater, or environment. Characterized by extreme violence and physiological shock, close combat is callous and unforgiving. Its dimensions are measured in minutes and meters, and its consequences are final." - Paragraph 1-1, FM 3-21.8: Infantry Rifle PLT and SQD.

    - M.A. Holzbach

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    Council Member Abu Buckwheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    It certainly bears watching but if this slate of buffoons in UK is any indication, we're dealing with the terrorism "D" team at this point.

    What leaves me eternally perplexed is exactly what those guys are thinking. I'd love to talk to them and say, "Please connect the dots between murdering people on the streets and the conversion of the English to Islam and the adoption of sharia law." Do they really think millions of English are going to say, "Yowzee--a religion whose adherents murder women and children. Sign me up for that!"?
    Oh I really second this great post! This was horribly amateurish! I pray to god that AQ inspired terroristskeep up this level of incompetence ... however we should be cautious that mistakes are always learned by others and corrected. Still this was not much of a threat but they exposed themselves and now they will pay the price.
    Putting Foot to Al Qaeda Ass Since 1993

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    Default Coupla points (as usual)

    Frankly, I'm surprised we haven't seen more of this type of attack.

    1. Amateurs are sometimes successful. Please don't write them off out of hand.

    2. AQ has varying levels of influence on operations:
    -- Those that are centrally planned by the A team
    -- Those that are "nominated" from the field and then get support ($$, planning assistance, etc) from higher up
    -- And those carried out by copycat/wannabes

    3. We win by good police work and rule of law, even in the intelligence work that goes into prevention. It appears (obvious to me) that NSY/MI5 were onto some of this plot, but couldn't wrap it up before hand as they have some of the other recent attempts. If we sacrifice our freedoms and way of life in the name of security, the bad guys win.

    4. The good news is that both the US and UK have decent LE and judicial systems. Both societies are very resilient.

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    Default Al Qaeda's shallow bench

    I think it is a reflection of the lack of depth at the operational level. The guy who originally thought up the idea of limo bombs using propane cannisters was already in jail in the UK.

    I am sure the deficiencies in the plan were also compounded by the arrogance of doctors who think that because they are smart in medicine they are smart in other "operations." An interview with one of the professors of the "brilliant" neurosurgeon leader of the group discloses earlier manifestations of hubris. This led to many errors that just kept compounding.

    I would also point out that unlike the Iran-Hezballah operation in Karbala, these guys got no practice time with training to see if their device would even explode. At this point the Shia terrorist appear to be much more "professional." However, even their operations in Iraq are suffering from the roll up of "secret cells." BTW, anyone know how the Iranian-Hezballah cells came to be called "secret cells?" I thought all terrorist cells were supposed to be secret.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
    Frankly, I'm surprised we haven't seen more of this type of attack.

    1. Amateurs are sometimes successful. Please don't write them off out of hand.
    And success breeds imitators, and maybe even studied failure does too. They may have been "clowns" but I think the number is 7 now of the 12 in custody are medical doctors, so they are not stupid people by any means, just inexperienced. With the internet and other modern communications tools, the enemy is going to have his own "lessons learned" capability, and the quality of advice available to amateurs like these will only get better. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to create a lot of mayhem, and thus it is very disturbing to see MDs involved in this business. We may not be so lucky the next time. It's disturbing to see the enemy's ideology attracting people who really ought to know better, and I think it is a sign of worse to come.
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merv Benson View Post
    I am sure the deficiencies in the plan were also compounded by the arrogance of doctors who think that because they are smart in medicine they are smart in other "operations." An interview with one of the professors of the "brilliant" neurosurgeon leader of the group discloses earlier manifestations of hubris. This led to many errors that just kept compounding.
    In my other life, I play a mild-mannered airplane mechanic. With as many doctors I count as customers, you have no idea how fricking funny (and true) this is.

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    Default NYPD Intelligence Division: The Homegrown Threat

    NYPD Intelligence Division: The Homegrown Threat - SWJ Blog.

    Recently released report from the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division - Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt.

    Preface

    If the post-September 11th world has taught us anything, it is that the tools for conducting serious terrorist attacks are becoming easier to acquire. Therefore intention becomes an increasingly important factor in the formation of terrorist cells. This study is an attempt to look at how that intention forms, hardens and leads to an attack or attempted attack using real world case studies.

    While the threat from overseas remains, many of the terrorist attacks or thwarted plots against cities in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States have been conceptualized and planned by local residents/citizens who sought to attack their country of residence. The majority of these individuals began as “unremarkable” -they had “unremarkable” jobs, had lived “unremarkable” lives and had little, if any criminal history. The recently thwarted plot by homegrown jihadists, in May 2007, against Fort Dix in New Jersey, only underscores the seriousness of this emerging threat.

    Understanding this trend and the radicalization process in the West that drives “unremarkable” people to become terrorists is vital for developing effective counter-strategies. This realization has special importance for the NYPD and the City of New York. As one of the country’s iconic symbols and the target of numerous terrorist plots since the 1990’s, New York City continues to be the one of the top targets of terrorists worldwide. Consequently, the NYPD places a priority on understanding what drives and defines the radicalization process.

    The aim of this report is to assist policymakers and law enforcement officials, both in Washington and throughout the country, by providing a thorough understanding of the kind of threat we face domestically. It also seeks to contribute to the debate among intelligence and law enforcement agencies on how best to counter this emerging threat by better understanding what constitutes the radicalization process...
    Much more at the blog entry and on the NYPD site (entire report)

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Wink Updates

    The link to this document no longer works (not known why). There are numerous Google links that do work, try:

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b...n_the_West.pdf

    I note the document caused considerable comment, mainly in the USA and little to date in the UK. Normally we would see a review from London.

    Also found an Islamic critique, which I've yet to read in full:

    http://conflictblotter.com/files/SalafiManhaj_NYPD.pdfNo onger readily available, although multiple hits on Google.

    Back to the NYPD document, which I read at the weekend. It is a useful reference, especially as it is based on open source and interviews. Worth reading.

    Added March 2011 post 115 on the following thread has a critique of the NYPD report:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...?t=7188&page=6

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2011 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Updated re document not easily found. March 2011 last sentence and link added.

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    Default The FBI and Counterterrorism Intelligence

    CQ Politics, 2 Nov 07: FBI Hoped to Follow Falafel Trail to Iranian Terrorists Here
    Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

    The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

    The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

    A check of federal court records in California did not reveal any prosecutions developed from falafel trails......
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-08-2007 at 01:16 PM.

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    The Investigative Project on Terrorism, 7 Nov 07: The FBI's Latest Outreach Outrage
    Much has been written about the U.S. government's current bout of schizophrenia in its outreach to the American Muslim community, specifically related to the Department of Justice. While federal prosecutors in Dallas have labeled several Islamist organizations as unindicted co-conspirators – describing them as front groups for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood - in the terrorist financing trial against the Holy Land for Relief and Development (HLF), the FBI is meeting with the very same groups to hold outreach events and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is setting up booths at their conferences.

    As wrongheaded and shortsighted as these policies are, they do not hold a candle to a recent outreach event held by the FBI's Detroit field office at the end of last month.....
    ...follow-up on the Counterterrorism Blog: FBI's New Friends Were Kicked Out of UAE For "Talibanization"
    As a follow-up to Steve Emerson's post about the FBI's meeting with Tanzeem-e-Islami, I want to suggest to the FBI that they use a website named "Google" to comprehensively search the groups and individuals with which they are planning to meet. If they had done that search well, they would have found that the UAE government kicked Ahmad's supporters out of the country back in May, fearing "the spread of Talibanization.".....

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Jed, This really is pretty funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post

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    Maybe an FBI special agent should sit down and have coffee with a CIA case officer.

    Who knows, something positive and productive might happen for both sides.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

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