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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 2021

The FBI's investigation of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol this month has identified more than 400 suspects, according to the figures disclosed Tuesday by the Justice Department.

Steven D'Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said more than 150 criminal cases have been filed so far. Charges include unauthorized access, theft, damage to government property and assault on law enforcement officers.

The top prosecutor on the case, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, said the goal is to identify as many people as possible who entered the Capitol during the siege.

"Regardless of the level of criminal conduct, we're not selectively targeting or just trying to charge the most significant crime," Sherwin said. "If a crime was committed we are charging you, whether you were outside or inside the Capitol."

Read more: NBC News

Almost three months after his arrest, a Hartland man pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in the foiled plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen  Whitmer and has agreed to "fully cooperate" with the FBI in exchange for leniency, including testifying against his cohorts if called upon.

Ty Garbin, an airline mechanic, pleaded guilty to kidnap conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids Tuesday morning, admitting he was part of a group that sought to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and that he was more than a bystander.

Specifically, Garbin admitted that he cased Whitmer's vacation home in preparation for the kidnapping, attended training exercises and brought night binoculars to one practice exercise.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters.

In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling.

Tarrio, in an interview with Reuters Tuesday, denied working undercover or cooperating in cases against others. “I don’t know any of this,” he said, when asked about the transcript. “I don’t recall any of this.”

Read more: Reuters

Federal prosecutors alleged in charges made public Wednesday that a California man who wrongly believed Donald Trump had won the election built pipe bombs and planned to go to “war” against Democrats and others to keep him in power.

Ian Benjamin Rogers had been taken into custody earlier this month on state charges after Napa County authorities and the FBI searched his home and business and found 49 guns and five pipe bombs, according to an FBI affidavit in the case.

While Rogers, 44, who owns an auto repair shop specializing in British vehicles, told investigators the bombs were for entertainment, investigators came to believe otherwise. According to the affidavit, authorities recovered text messages on Rogers’s phone showing “his belief that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, and his intent to attack Democrats and places associated with Democrats in an effort to ensure Trump remained in office.”

Read more: Washington Post

The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden’s election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4.

Read more: AP