As editor of Security Debrief, I get a lot of interesting e-mails. Yet, a lot of what hits my inbox is just noise. Yesterday, however, I received an e-mail that was unlike any other. The first line of the e-mail read: “I have information which can help to prevent a terrorist attack from happening.”
The civil war in Syria may have begun in March 2011 with peaceful protests against regime policies, but it is now unquestionably a brutal sectarian conflict characterized by massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is now clear that the Syrian humpty dumpty, with its mix of Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Ismailis, and other communities, cannot be put back together again. One action that could potentially bring stability and advancement to Syria is partition.
We now have information on 800,000 people in our terrorist databases. We have “big data,” as the people would say who pretend to know something about it. Big Data, they often claim, will solve the problem. To my mind, we have a big search, analysis and distribution problem, and despite “big data” claims of prowess, connecting the dots before a terrorist strikes is never going to be an easy thing.
As the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings continues, one of the more clouded aspects is the tale of “Misha,” a mysterious US-based Islamist who has been accused by members of the Tsarnaev family of radicalizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two alleged bombers. Today I was able to meet “Misha,” whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov.
For all the calls to consider ramping up rail security after police foiled what’s being called the first al-Qaeda directed plot in the country, experts suggest investing in counter-terrorism intelligence remains the best way to keep the public safe.
You have heard the saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. News sources and government officials tell us we live in a world of constant cyber attack, so we must be at war, right? In cyber world, this kind of talk is harmful and obscures the new world in which we really exist. We are not at war – we are in conflict, and some of the tools we are using cross interesting and controversial 20th-century political lines.
National security scholar Dr. Joshua Sinai has just published a new analysis on the evolving threat to US interests by Al Qaeda and their associated adherents. The underlying premise is that the serious threat to U.S. interests from Al Qaeda has not diminished, but it has changed. Testimony provided Tuesday by ODNI director General James Clapper suggests the threat of the core al Qaeda is severely weakened, though associated groups remain an issue. Which viewpoint will prevail?
By Alex Sorin
The news of the violent gang rape of a young Indian woman on a public bus and her subsequent death has shocked the world and led to protests and unrest. While increased security is by no means the sole solution, certain security measures can help alert law enforcement of similar incidents and assist in catching the perpetrators. While surveillance technology can help, just as critical is an Incident Management System.
By Doug Doan
So far, none of the presidential candidates have mentioned much about Homeland Security. With so many other problems, issues surrounding how best to organize, manage and lead the vast DHS bureaucracy are just not that important. Too bad. I would have liked to see the candidates talk about what they might do. Here is an agenda that I happily provide.
There has been a great deal of media coverage relating to an FBI/DHS document detailing likely anarchist activity during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The vast majority of that coverage has related to the threat of anarchists using Molotov cocktails, acid filled eggs, or even IEDs and IIDs. It appears an FBI/DHS report over-states and sensationalizes some of the likely threats from anarchists, as most recently expressed in their Joint Intelligence Bulletin released August 21, 2012.