By Rob Strayer
It is an unfortunate modern reality that cyber attacks are commonly used to steal money from businesses and individuals. Cyber attacks that disrupt or destroy physical assets, on the other hand, have been rare up to this time. The news over the weekend that a terrorist organization was able to finance its activities by hacking AT&T business customers’ telecommunications accounts represents a new and disturbing development in the use of cyber attacks by terrorists.
November 29th, 2011 - by Guest Contributor
By Rob Strayer
April 22nd, 2011 - by Marty Ficke
The decision of the Justice Department not to prosecute the Council on American Islamic Relations and other unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case is discouraging and very troubling. 246 individuals and organizations were designated as unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas terror finance case, the United States v. Holy Land Foundation. The failure to further prosecute this case clearly sends the wrong message.
As we continue to swelter in the ongoing summer heat wave, it is easy for me to reminisce about my recent visit to Aspen, Colo. Tucked amongst the Rockies with its clean air, fervent green and majestic views, a town known primarily for its skiing with the rich and famous was home to what was, simply put, the best conference program I have ever attended. The first annual Aspen Security Forum put forward a program that I can only describe as pleasant, informational waterboarding. By the time each of the presenters and panelists were done, my hand was dead from writing so much and my head hurt from being given the firehouse treatment of a candor and content overload. Here’s a rundown of some of the sessions.
The Supreme Court decision this week defining and clarifying “material support” as it relates to aid to designated terrorist organizations is a huge victory in this continuing war. In a 6 to 3 decision, the Court rejected a First Amendment challenge from humanitarian aid groups claiming the support is intended to move the terrorist groups toward peaceful and legal activities. The Court ruled that such support was illegal even if its intention was to support “non-violent” elements within such terrorist organizations.
March 16th, 2010 - by Steven Bucci
I have to admit that in the past I have been guilty of a sin of omission that has plagued many commentators in the cyber arena. I have spoken and written many times about the terrorist threats I see as strong and dangerous possibilities. I have always mentioned the present terrorist use of the internet as an aside, and so much a lesser issue as to be unworthy of too much worry. I will stand up and admit that I have been WRONG. Yes, the terrorists have not used the cyber world for an attack as we might envision, but the threat presented by what they do now is real and chilling.
October 30th, 2009 - by Marty Ficke
The recent death of three DEA Special Agents in Afghanistan is a tragic reminder that the war on narcotics and terrorism cannot be separated in that part of the world. I doubt many heroin dealers and addicts in the U.S. make the connection between the two.
October 22nd, 2009 -
Michael Braun, former Chief of Operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, testified before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control regarding the Taliban’s involvement in drug production and trafficking.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted a survey of its top performing confidential sources a couple years ago, and asked them to list in order of importance the factors that allow global drug trafficking cartels [and terrorist organizations] to succeed. At the very top of the list for every respondent was the single word— ‘CORRUPTION.’
July 21st, 2009 - by Mike Braun
Mexico must follow Colombia’s lead and not fold under the pressure of the wrath playing out on her streets today. Drug cartels, just like terrorist organizations, work very, very hard to destabilize governments around the globe. They rely on corruption, intimidation and violence, the hallmarks of organized crime, to create permissive environments where they can grow and thrive; areas where they can literally get away with mass murder.If Mexico loses the will to continue this fight, then life in Mexico and the United States will change as we know it.
The presidential elections of June have brought to the surface, like never before, the deep rifts that exist within Iranian society and its power structure. What is really happening there? And more importantly, what should the United States do about it? The delicate and serious nature of the current situation in Iran requires a very wise approach by the Obama Administration. The stakes are very high and the opportunity is unique.
Just recently, the DEA put more agents on the ground in war zones to crack down on the funneling of drug money to key terrorist operatives.
Unfortunately, the United States has already missed the boat and time has run out for any “catching up” in policy and tactics in dealing with Pakistan. Today, the world faces the stark and real possibility of Pakistan becoming a failed state and a haven for terrorism with potential nightmarish consequences. Can this be stopped and what should the U.S. do about it?
April 29th, 2009 - by Mike Braun
On March 31, Washington took its first step toward engagement with Tehran through a diplomatic encounter with the Iranian government at the Afghanistan conference in the Hague. Even though the initial contact was awkward, it was clearly a step forward for the Obama administration, and both countries agreed that the opium/heroin trade was a destructive force in both the region and the world. As such, the United States should consider using collaboration on counternarcotics as an effective means to jump-start diplomacy with Iran.
The use of assault tactics by small organized groups of heavily armed assailants who either seize hostages or kill indiscriminately is certainly not new. Between 1995 and 2004, Chechen rebels staged three major armed assaults in Russia. Even the United States has not been immune to the danger of planned armed assaults. A list of post 9/11 terrorist plots against the United States includes a August 2005 conspiracy by a Pakistani national who was arrested planning an attack on the Israeli consulate, California National Guard facilities, and other targets in Southern California.
February 24th, 2009 - by Chris Battle
By federal government standards, there has been a veritable frenzy of activity related to immigration at the Department of Homeland Security. With three high-profile appointments in the last couple of weeks, the Administration has sent mixed signals about the direction it intends to take on immigration policy from a public perspective, as well as how it intends to manage the effort from an internal perspective. Oddly, the mainstream media has missed or ignored these developments.
February 23rd, 2009 -
President Obama announced today his intention to nominate John Morton to be the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Here’s a statement that should be obvious by now: Our economic stability and national security are conjoined twins – one can’t exist without the other. As this administration focuses on economic stimulus packages to respond to our country’s economic crisis, it is easy to lose sight of Homeland Security priorities.
January 20th, 2009 - by Marty Ficke
When I managed the El Dorado Task Force, the top money laundering task force in the nation, I had a nagging belief that some of the criminal and terrorist organizations we were up against were conducting sophisticated money laundering schemes that the federal government lacked the capacity to identify, investigate and neutralize. Simply put, the government lacked the necessary resources and expertise to compete with the criminal minds set on exploiting the ever-evolving complexities of the financial world.
November 26th, 2008 - by Marty Ficke
This week’s conviction of five former organizers of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity operating in Dallas, for funneling more that $12 million to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, is clearly the most significant victory in the effort to crack down on terror financing through certain Islamic charitable groups that serve as front groups for terror operations.
John Kiriakou’s essay on “Iran’s Latin Inroads” is a must read for all concerned with homeland security and international relations. Iran’s influence in Central Eurasia is well documented but did you know:
At the invitation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Iran has established an ammunition factory, cement factory, and a car assembly plant in Venezuela. Iran Air has established direct air service between Tehran, Syria, and Caracas, Venezuela.