Tag Archives: Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI investigating possible ISIS attack in U.S.

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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating a possible an Islamist-inspired terrorism plot in the United States, CNN reported on Saturday, quoting law enforcement officials.

A Federal law enforcement official who asked not to be named said there was a known threat to Los Angeles International Airport, but did not say whether this was a new threat or was associated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

CNN said the investigation started after intercepted communication and other intelligence information that led officials to believe that a plot could be under way.

The network quoted an official as saying the plot focused on parts of California and that officials there had stepped up security.

The Transportation Security Administration had also alerted local law enforcement agencies responsible for security around airports in the state although the possible threat was not necessarily related to aviation, CNN said.

It added that some U.S. cities had increased their security, but gave no further details.

No one at the FBI was immediately available to comment. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also declined to comment on the reported threat to Las Angeles airport.

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2 ISIS-inspired women arrested for bomb plot in NYC

Federal agents in the United States have arrested two women who allegedly planned to detonate a bomb in New York City after becoming radicalized by the self-styled Islamic State.

US citizens Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31 were arrested early Thursday in New York and each charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction resulting from a multi-year undercover operation waged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

According to the FBI, Velentzas and Siddiqui had been researching instructions on how to make homemade bombs and were considering detonating one inside the US as part of a domestic terrorist attack.

“The defendants allegedly plotted to wreak terror by creating explosive devices and even researching the pressure cooker bombs used during the Boston Marathon bombing,” Diego Rodriguez, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to pursue those who look to commit acts of terror and deter others who think they are beyond the reach of law enforcement.”

The FBI had been investigating the pair since at least May 2013, according to a sworn affidavit used to justify the arrests of the women this week, and began collecting intelligence on the two beginning in August 2014 when Velentzas and Siddiqui started conversing with an undercover agent. Together, the three traded recipes for explosives taken from online articles, studied chemistry textbooks and discussed past acts of terror, according to the FBI, and were weighing an attack of their own. The agency claims the public was never in danger.

All three met regularly from Aug. 2014 up until recently, according to the complaint, and Velentzas acknowledged to the undercover agent in one tape recorded conversation that the trio, in the eyes of federal authorities, “look like a cell.”

Court documents suggest the defendants had shared a Queens, NY apartment, but Siddiqui reportedly moved out recently and, according to the affidavit, had begun acquiring the ingredients needed to make an improvised explosive inside her new residence. She was “currently in possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices,” as of Wednesday this week when the affidavit was filed in support of the arrests conducted early the next day.

Authorities say that Siddiqui become friends in 2009 with Samir Khan, an influential Al Qaeda member who has since been executed by a US-launched drone strike, and allege that she wrote a letter in 2011 to Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-American man currently serving a 30-year prison for a failed Portland, Oregon car bomb plot.

On her part, Velentzas, her ex-roommate, considered former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to be a personal “hero,” according to authorities, and had discussed becoming a martyr to “receive Allah’s blessing.” She was “Facebook friends” with Tairod Pugh, a US Air Force vet currently under indictment for attempting to provide material support to the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and had confided in the undercover agent that she had been disgusted with the US, according to authorities.

READ MORE: FBI accuses Air Force vet of planning to join ISIS

The complaint unsealed this week alleges that the two women have espoused violent jihadist beliefs, according to the results thus far of the FBI’s lengthy investigation, and have repeatedly expressed interest in terrorist attacking committed within the US, perhaps more so in recent months amid the emergence ISIS. Velentzas told the undercover agent in one conversation that “attacks on ISIS were tantamount to attacks on her own state,” according to the complaint, and together the two watched videos of beheadings carried out by the extremist group.

When Pugh was arrested last month and accused of plotting a trip to Syria to join the ranks of ISIS, according to the complaint, Velentzas told the agent that there were more opportunities of “pleasing Allah” in the US than overseas, in her opinion.

“Identifying and disrupting such threats to public safety, whether at home or abroad, is the number one priority of the National Security Division and our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said in a statement.

Last week, the FBI announced that two men had been arrested in Illinois and charged with conspiring to attack the US from overseas on behalf of ISIS. One of the men, a current member of the Illinois National Guard, was arrested last Wednesday at Chicago’s Midway International Airport while attempting to board a flight destined to Cairo. There, authorities say, he hoped to travel to Syria and join up with the extremist group.

A New York Police Department official confirmed to CBS News that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force made the arrests Thursday morning with the help of the NYPD. Velentzas and Siddiqui were expected to appear in court later in the afternoon.

‘Inventing terrorists’: New study reveals FBI set up terrorism-related prosecutions

Nearly 95 per cent of terrorist arrests have been the result of FBI foiling its own entrapment plots as a part of the so-called post-9/11 War on Terror, a new study revealed.

According to the report entitled ‘Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution’, the majority of arrests involved the unjust prosecution of targeted Muslim Americans.

The 175-page study by Muslim advocacy group SALAM analyzes 399 individuals in cases included on the list of the US Department of Justice from 2001 to 2010.

“According to this study’s classification, the number of preemptive prosecution cases is 289 out of 399, or 72.4 percent. The number of elements of preemptive prosecution cases is 87 out of 399, or 21.8 percent. Combining preemptive prosecution cases and elements of preemptive prosecution cases, the total number of such cases on the DOJ list is 376, or 94.2 percent,” the report concluded.

The authors define ‘preemptive prosecution’ as “a law enforcement strategy adopted after 9/11, to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government.”

Nearly 25 percent of cases (99 of 399) contained material support charges. Another almost 30 per cent of cases consisted of conspiracy charges. More than 17 per cent of the analyzed cases (71 of 399 cases) involved sting operations. Over 16 percent of cases (65 of 399 cases) included false statement or perjury charges, and around six percent of cases involved immigration-related charges.

According to the report, since 9/11 only 11 cases posed “potentially significant” threat to the United States.

“Only three were successful (the [Tamerlan and Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev brothers and Major Nidal Hasan), accounting for 17 deaths and several hundred injuries,” the paper says.

One of the FBI’s strategies involved “using agents provocateur to actively entrap targets in criminal plots manufactured and controlled by the government.”

“The government uses agents provocateur to target individuals who express dissident ideologies and then provides those provocateurs 25 with fake (harmless) missiles, bombs, guns, money, encouragement, friendship, and the technical and strategic planning necessary to see if the targeted individual can be manipulated into planning violent or criminal action,” the report concluded.

The government could also choose to use “minor ‘technical’ crimes,” such as errors on immigration forms, an alleged false statement to a government official, gun possession, tax or financial issues, etc., to go after someone for their “ideology.”

“What they were trying to do is to convince the American public that there is this large army of potential terrorists that they should all be very-very scared about. They are very much engaged in world-wide surveillance and this surveillance is very valuable to them. They can learn a lot about all sorts of things and in a sense control issues to their advantage,” Steven Downs, an attorney for Project SALAM, which issued the report, told RT. “And the entire legal justification for that depends on there being a war on terror. Without a war on terror they have no right to do this. So they have to keep this war on terror going, they have to keep finding people and arresting them and locking them up and scarring everybody.”

In the conclusion, authors of the report offered the US government several recommendations that the DOJ “should employ” to change the present unfair terrorism laws. A total seven recommendations call on the US government to accurately identify people who offer material support for terrorism, strengthening the “entrapment” defense in the courts; abolish “terror-enhanced sentencing” that triples or quadruples jail time in cases linked to terrorist acts; disallow secret court proceedings, and immediately notifying defendants if any evidence in their case is derived from secret surveillance.

‘Nothing to lose’: Three inmates hold officer hostage in Ohio jail

Three inmates at the Trumbull County Jail in Warren, Ohio are holding a correctional officer hostage in a jail cell, according to local news reports.

Trumbull County deputies have confirmed the hostage situation, which began at approximately 3:30pm EDT, but are not offering any details, according to WOIO-TV.

The inmates are David Martin, Richard Ware, and Kevin Johns, according to reports.

Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office Major Thomas Stewart said they are holding Officer Joe Lynn in a holding area. The inmates have covered the door of the room with sheets and tied them to the table so that should anyone try to enter, the sheets tighten, WKBN-TV reported.

Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere told WFMJ-TV that the inmates tackled and handcuffed the officer on the third floor of the jail.

A hostage negotiator with the Ohio State Patrol is trying to resolve the situation, according to WOIO. The FBI, Ohio State Patrol, SWAT, and Youngstown Police are also assisting.

Martin, from the Cleveland area, is facing a murder charge. Johns was recently convicted on rape and kidnapping charges. Ware is in jail on aggravated robbery charges. His pre-trial is set to begin on May 20, according to WKBN.

Some jail employees were evacuated from the facility, WKBN reported.

Martin called WOIO-TV and told a reporter that he had “nothing to lose” and wanted “his story told” according to the New York Daily News, although that information could not be immediately verified.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

 

 

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​FBI ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ used No Fly List to recruit Muslims as informers

The FBI used a no-fly list to recruit four US Muslims as informants, violating their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, association and religion. That’s the claim being made by four US Muslims in a New York federal court Tuesday.

Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, Naveed Shinwari and Awais Sajjad, who are between them either US residents or permanent US residents, are demanding that the FBI remove them from the no-fly list which contains the names of people who are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States, according to threat and intelligence reporting.

“This impermissible abuse of the No Fly List has forced Plaintiffs to choose between their constitutionally-protected right to travel, on the one hand, and their First Amendment rights on the other,” says the lawsuit.

One of the plaintiffs, Awais Sajjad, a lawful permanent US resident, learned that he was on a No Fly List in 2012 when he tried to board a flight to Pakistan. The FBI agents questioned Sajjad at the airport before releasing him. Soon they returned with an offer: he could work as an FBI informer and in return the agency would give him citizenship and compensation, the Washington Post reported.

When he refused, the bureau “kept him on the list in order to pressure and coerce Mr. Sajjad to sacrifice his constitutionally-protected rights,” says the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, three other complainants – Tanvir, Algibhah and Shinwari – said they were added to the list immediately after they refused to work as FBI informants for religious reasons.

Shinwari, a legal US resident from Omaha, Nebraska, said that after his arrival from his native country, Afghanistan, in 2012, he was twice detained and questioned by FBI agents who wanted to know if he knew anything about national security threats. He was soon put on the No Fly List, though he has never been convicted of a crime or posed a threat to national security, according to his lawyers.

In one of their visits, FBI agents wanted to know about the “local Omaha community, did I know anyone who’s a threat?” he says.

“I’m just very frustrated, [and I said] what can I do to clear my name?” says Shinwari. “And that’s where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don’t have a job; we’ll give you money,” The Guardian reported him as saying.

Though Shinwari was allowed to fly within the United States in March, he still fears that if he flies to Afghanistan to see his wife and family, whom he hasn’t seen for at least two years, he might not be able to return.

“Defendants’ unlawful actions are imposing an immediate and ongoing harm on Plaintiffs and have caused Plaintiffs deprivation of their constitutional rights, emotional distress, damage to their reputation, and material and economic loss,” adds the lawsuit.

According to Jameel Algibhah, from the Bronx, New York, the FBI asked him to get access to a Queens mosque and even pose as an extremist in online forums.

“We’re the only ones who can take you off the list,” an unnamed FBI agent told him, Algibhah told The Guardian.

The fourth plaintiff, Muhammad Tanvir, started taking action against the FBI in October 2013, after he refused to spy on his local Pakistani community. Now he can’t visit his ailing mother.

Ramzi Kassem, associate professor of law at the City University of New York, told the Washington Post that “the no-fly list is supposed to be about ensuring aviation safety, but the FBI is using it to force innocent people to become informants.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit seeks not only the plaintiffs’ removal from the no-fly list but also the establishment of a more robust legal mechanism to contest placement upon it.

“This policy and set of practices by the FBI is part of a much broader set of policies that reflect over-policing in Muslim-American communities,” said Diala Shamas, one of the lawyers for the four plaintiffs.

The FBI has not commented on the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, this is not the first No Fly List-related lawsuit against the FBI. In 2010 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attempted to sue US Department of Justice and the FBI over their barring of American citizens, including several veterans of the US military, who ended up on the No Fly List and have been denied entry to their own country.

The No Fly List was created by the US government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. In 2012, the list was extended to around 21,000 individuals.

The list, including US citizens and residents as well as foreigners, has been repeatedly criticized on civil liberties grounds, due to ethnic, religious, economic, political and racial discrimination. It has also raised concerns about privacy and government secrecy.

The ACLU called inclusion on a list a potentially “life-altering” experience, adding that “it is not at all clear what separates a ‘reasonable-suspicion-based-on-a-reasonable-suspicion’ from a simple hunch.”

Until March, no one had successfully convinced a court to force authorities to take them off the No Fly List. Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian architect, became the first person ever removed from the notorious list after the managed to force officials to admit she had been placed on the list due to an error by the agency.

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Russia withheld intel on Boston bombing suspect

People attend the Boston Marathon memorial exhibition, “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial,” at the Boston Public Library April 7, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts . View photo People attend the Boston Marathon memorial exhibition, “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial,” at the Boston

New York (AFP) – Russia declined to provide the FBI with information about one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects two years before the attack, The New York Times reported.

Three people were killed and about 260 wounded on April 15 last year when two bombs made of explosives-packed pressure cookers went off near the finish line of the marathon.

US authorities are seeking the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then 19, for his alleged role in the blasts. His brother Tamerlan, 26, died after an exchange of fire with police after the Chechen Muslim brothers went on the run, sparking a four-day manhunt.

Citing an inspector general’s review of how American intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing, the Times said that Russian officials told the FBI in 2011 that Tamerlan “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer.”

The Russian side said that Tamerlan “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

But, according to The Times, after an initial investigation by FBI agents in Boston, the Russians declined several requests for additional information they had about him.

The inspector general’s report found that it was only after the bombing that the Russians shared the additional intelligence, including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Tamerlan and his mother in which they discussed jihad, the Times said.

“They found that the Russians did not provide all the information that they had on him back then, and based on everything that was available the FBI did all that it could,” the Times quoted a senior American official briefed on the review as saying.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial begins in November.

The one-time student has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the bombings, including 17 serious charges that can carry sentences of death or life in prison.

These charges include using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, as well as conspiracy and bombing of a place of public use resulting in death, and carjacking.

He is also charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the brothers’ wild overnight getaway attempt.

 Yahoo News.

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Father of slain Tsarnaev associate pens letter to Obama, alleges FBI deliberately killed son

 Abdulbaki Todashev

Abdulbaki Todashev

The father of Ibragim Todashev, a native of Chechnya, who was shot dead by an FBI agent in Florida last spring has written a letter to US President Barack Obama in which he asks the president to help establish the truth about what happened on the day of his son’s death.

Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson of the US National Security Council, has confirmed that the letter has been received. She said that the White House is studying the letter so as to take necessary steps.

Todashev’s lawyer says that his client fears that the truth might be concealed and asks President Obama to prevent this. Todashev is also surprised that the US authorities are secretive about the investigation of his son’s death and that the investigation is taking such a long time. Florida Attorney General, who received the report of the Department of Justice about the circumstances of Todashev’s death as early as in August, has not expressed his opinion yet.

Ibragim Todashev was killed by FBI agents in his Florida apartment on 22 May during an interrogation. Shortly before his death the FBI and Massachusetts police questioned Todashev about two crimes, namely the Boston terrorist act on 15 April allegedly carried out by the Tsarnayev brothers and the triple murder in Waltham City in September 2011.

FBI’s self-investigation always leads to self-exoneration – Todashev’s attorney

Rep. Bachmann Calls on Obama to Label Muslim Brotherhood A ‘Terrorist Organization’

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann called on the administration President Obama to follow Egypt’s example and designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

In an article last week in the Daily News Egypt, the Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former presidential candidate described the history of the Muslim Brotherhood as full of violence and terrorism.

“From the time of Hassan al-Banna and the ‘secret apparatus’ staging terror attacks across Egypt and the assassinations of Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha and judge Ahmed El-Khazindar in 1948, to the ongoing attacks on Coptic Christians and churches and the terror campaign targeting the military in the Sinai and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood has always kept terrorism as part of its arsenal and living up to their motto, ‘Jihad is our way,'” Bachmann wrote.

She added that the Brotherhood engages in a two-faced policy of publicly condemning terrorism to media outlets in the West, and then supporting terrorism when they think no one is looking. When they get caught, the predictable response is to claim that they were misquoted or taken out of context. Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, observed that “like every fascist movement on the trail to power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double-speak.”

Bachmann added after the January revolution, the Obama administration and the American media fell for this double-speak, embracing the so-called “moderate Muslim Brotherhood.” But as the people of Egypt quickly discovered, they were anything but moderate.

Obama and his brother Malik " member of the terrorist organization the Muslim Brotherhood " in the White House

Obama and his brother Malik ” member of the terrorist organization  Muslim Brotherhood ” in the White House

“Under former President Morsi’s brief tenure, the Muslim Brotherhood’s program of extremism was given a green light. One of Morsi’s first agenda items was to demand the release of convicted terrorist leader Shiek Omar Abdel Rahman from American prison. Morsi also released scores of convicted terrorists from Egyptian jails,” she noted.

Last week article in the Daily News Egypt, with Michele Bachmann

By Michele Bachmann

If the decision of the interim government of Egypt is to consider the organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, then the United States should follow.

From the time of Hassan al-Banna and the “secret apparatus” staging terror attacks across Egypt and the assassinations of Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha and judge Ahmed El-Khazindar in 1948, to the ongoing attacks on Coptic Christians and churches and the terror campaign targeting the military in the Sinai and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood has always kept terrorism as part of its arsenal and living up to their motto, “Jihad is our way.”

We’ve seen the Brotherhood engage in a two-faced policy of publicly condemning terrorism to media outlets in the West, and then supporting terrorism when they think no one is looking. When they get caught, the predictable response is to claim that they were misquoted or taken out of context. This is why Alain Chouet, the former head of the French Security Intelligence Service, observed that “like every fascist movement on the trail to power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in double-speak.”

After the 25 January Revolution, the Obama administration and the American media fell for this double-speak, embracing the so-called “moderate Muslim Brotherhood.”

But as the people of Egypt quickly discovered, they were anything but moderate. Under former President Morsi’s brief tenure, the Muslim Brotherhood’s program of extremism was given a green light. Following his election, one of Morsi’s first agenda items was to demand the release of convicted terrorist leader Shiek Omar Abdel Rahman from American prison. The “Blind Sheik” was convicted in his role in federal court for his leadership role in authorising the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned follow-up “Day of Terror” attack. Morsi also released scores of convicted terrorists from Egyptian jails.

Under the Morsi regime attacks against women and religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shi’ites, increased dramatically with no response from the government. In April, when mobs and police attacked a funeral at St. Mark’s Cathedral, killing at least one mourner, one of Morsi’s top aides took to Facebook to blame the Coptic Christians for the attacks. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party have continued to incite violence against the Coptic community since Morsi’s removal

When Morsi issued his 22 November, 2012 declaration claiming that his power was beyond the review of the courts and that all his decrees could not be appealed – effectively declaring himself dictator – the Obama administration issued no condemnations. As protestors were being tortured by Muslim Brotherhood cadres in front of the presidential palace, the United States was continuing with plans to send planes, tanks, tear gas and financial aid to the Morsi regime over the protests from myself and many of my colleagues in both chambers of the United States Congress.

As Egyptians were being jailed and tried for “defamation” and “insulting the president” and after Morsi appointed a former Jamaa Islamiya terrorist leader as governor of the Luxor Governorate, where his terror group had attacked and killed 62 tourists in 1997, Obama’s Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson gave a speech in Cairo just days before the 30 June Tamarod protests continuing to back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In October 2003, the former counter-terrorism “czar” for both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, testified before the US Senate that virtually every Islamic terrorist organisation in the world had in common membership and inspiration from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not only has virtually every leader of Al-Qaeda passed through the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, but several of the 9/11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, were known to have been radicalised through the Brotherhood.

In February 2011, just days after Mubarak announced he was stepping down, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller told the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that “elements of the Muslim Brotherhood both here and overseas have supported terrorism.”

The move in Egypt to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation is one born out of urgent necessity and the group’s long history of terror. If this decision is made by the Egyptian government then the United States should follow. The designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation is warranted and long overdue.

Michele Bachmann is an American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, and a former U.S. presidential candidate.

‘Threat to homeland is real’: FBI concerned over American fighters in Syria .

US security officials warn of the threat coming from American citizens fighting alongside anti-Assad jihadist rebels in Syria – and might return to the US radicalized, experienced and ready to attack.

The latest estimates by the British defense consultant, IHS Jane’s, and cited by AP put the number of US fighters who have traveled to Syria to support the rebels at a couple of dozen. US security officials are far from underestimating the potential risks they represent.

We know that American citizens as well as Canadian and European nationals have taken up arms in Syria, Yemen and in Somalia. The threat that these individuals could return home to carry out attacks is real and troubling,” said Senator Thomas Carper at a Senate homeland security committee hearing in November.

The concern was shared by Matthew G. Olsen, who heads the National Counterterrorism Center.

Many homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) lack advanced operational training, which forces them to seek assistance online from like-minded extremists or pursue travel to overseas jihadist battlegrounds to receive hands-on experience”, said Olsen. “Recent political unrest in many parts of North Africa and the Levant, including in Syria, affords HVEs opportunities to join militant groups overseas. Foreign terrorist groups could leverage HVEs to recruit others or conduct operations inside the US or overseas.”

The issue was first brought up in August by the then FBI Director Robert Mueller and appears to be still high on the agenda.

The current FBI Director, James Comey, said in November that he was worried about Syria becoming a repeat of Afghanistan in the 1980s, after the Soviet invasion, with foreign fighters attracted there to train.

Figures by IHS Jane’s suggest the situation now in Syria is actually much worse than it was 30 years ago in Afghanistan.

Only the Afghan insurgency against the Soviet Union in 1979-89 compares with Syria in terms of the number of foreign fighters. An in-depth study by Norwegian scholar, Thomas Hegghammer, in the journal International Security in late 2011 estimated that 5,000 to 20,000 foreign fighters had travelled to Afghanistan between 1980 and 1992. As such, the arrival of 5,000 to 10,000 foreign fighters in Syria in only 18 months appears highly significant,” according to IHS Jane’s September report.

This year, at least three Americans have been charged with planning to fight beside Al-Qaeda linked extremist groups.
A Pakistani-born North Carolina resident, Basit Sheikh, 29, was arrested at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in early November on charges he was on his way to Lebanon with the purpose of joining Jabhat al-Nusrah, a terrorist group associated with Al-Qaeda, operating in Syria.

In a similar way and for the same reasons, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, was detained in April at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before allegedly boarding a plane bound for Turkey.

In March, a US Army veteran, Eric Harroun, of Phoenix, 31, was charged with conspiring with an Al-Qaeda group to wage war against the Syrian government. However, in September he was released after a secret plea deal.

Sheikh and Tounisi were captured as part of sting operations in which the FBI used websites to dupe potential jihadists into writing messages to agents posing as terrorist recruiters.

The practice has however raised questions over its moral correctness.

These sites can end up creating crimes,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney, following Tounisi’s arrest in April. “Real terrorists don’t need to go to a website for contacts. They have real contacts. From your office computer, you can get millions of cases like this – sucking people in. But it diverts our attention from the real terrorists.

In the most recent case, Sheikh commented to an undercover FBI employee’s posts on a Facebook page promoting Islamic extremism. The online relationship struck up as a result led to the man’s eventual arrest. He could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty.

‘Threat to homeland is real’: FBI concerned over American fighters in Syria — RT USA.

Exclusive : Al Qaeda in Kentucky : US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees – ABC News

Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq — prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists’ fingerprints.

“We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”

As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.

Suspect in Kentucky Discovered to Have Insurgent Past

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

Most of the more than 70,000 Iraqi war refugees in the U.S. are law-abiding immigrants eager to start a new life in America, state and federal officials say.

But the FBI discovered that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006 and confessed on video made of his interrogation then that he was an insurgent, according to the U.S. military and FBI, which obtained the tape a year into their Kentucky probe. In 2007, Alwan went through a border crossing to Syria and his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a Directorate of National Intelligence official said. Another U.S. official insisted that fingerprints of Iraqis were routinely collected and that Alwan’s fingerprint file was not associated with the insurgency.

“How do they get into our community?

Read ; Al Qaeda in Kentucky: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees – ABC News.