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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 31, 2012

Pakistan’s security services are directly assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan and know where senior militant leaders are hiding, the BBC reported on Tuesday.  The British news service cited a leaked secret NATO report compiled from thousands of interrogations.  According to the report, the Taliban remain defiant in the midst of allied bombardment and also still maintain wide support among Afghans.  The BBC story comes after a series of reports that the United States, NATO and the Afghan government plan talks with the Taliban in an effort to end the 10-year war in Afghanistan.  It also comes amid tensions between the United States and Pakistan.

Read more: NBC News & BBC

Can science predict where terrorists will strike?  Not quite.  But researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) and the University of Massachusetts, Boston (UMB) have created a detailed map of where terrorism attacks have occurred since 1970 - and it reveals some big surprises.  The map's accompanying study, conducted at the UMD's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), found that while certain areas (those surrounding Manhattan and Los Angeles, for example) have endured as terror 'hot spots' throughout the study, others have come and go.

The study, which looked at all 3,143 U.S. counties, also found that terrorism hot spots and motivations have changed dramatically from decade to decade.  Where do terrorists come from? In the last decade, many politicians have conjured the image of Islamic fundamentalists from the Middle East.  But in the 1970s, many attacks classified as 'terrorist' came from left-wing groups in Berkeley, San Francisco and surrounding areas.  The research showed a strong association between the county in which a terrorist attack occurred and its motivation.  "For example," a University of Maryland statement notes, "Lubbock County, Texas, only experienced extreme right-wing terrorism while the Bronx, New York, only experienced extreme left-wing terrorism."  The researchers hope that the insights from the study can be used to determine the relationship between terrorism and ordinary crime, which has historically been much easier to predict.

Read more: Huffington Post

Al-Qaida is in decline around the world but is still a leading threat to the United States, the top U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday in an annual report to Congress on threats facing the country.  Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper also told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iran's leaders seem prepared to attack U.S. interests overseas, particularly if they feel threatened by possible U.S. action.  The U. S. now faces many interconnected enemies, including terrorists, criminals and foreign powers, who may try to strike via nuclear weapons or cyberspace, with the movement's Yemeni offshoot and "lone wolf" terror attacks posing key threats, he said.

But while al-Qaida still aspires to strike the U.S., it will likely have to go for "smaller, simpler attacks" as its ranks are thinned by continued pressure from U.S. drone strikes and special operations raids since Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of Navy SEALs in Pakistan last year.

...The annual threat assessment looked further afield to places like Afghanistan, where it assessed the Afghan government's progress as fragile, and the Taliban as "resilient."

Read more: MSNBC / Associated Press

The city of Sacramento's main website and two other city sites were taken offline on Sunday, apparently after someone hacked into a parking website.  Sunday morning readers reported to The Bee that a city parking website had been taken over by someone who wrote: "HaCKed by El _MhUaMMcD.  This Turkish Hacker."  The city also learned about the problem at 9 a.m. and sent six employees to city offices to troubleshoot, officials said.  City spokesman Maurice Chaney said the websites affected were ones for parks and and recreation and the convention center and the city's main website,  He said other city websites, which are on other servers, appeared to be intact.

Adrian Lamo, a world-renowned hacking expert and profiler, told The Bee on Sunday evening that the attack was probably "a random scam."  Lamo is credited with alerting authorities to the Army private suspected of leaking information to He currently is a threat analyst who develops profiles of online intruders.

Read more: Sacramento Bee

A New York airport screener who removed two pipes from a traveler's bag and set them aside Monday morning prompted a security scare six hours later when the next shift saw the pipes and feared they might be pipe bombs, local and federal officials said.  The incident at New York's LaGuardia Airport began at 11:30 a.m. when a screener discovered unidentifiable items inside a passenger's carry-on bag.  The officer screened the item for explosives, determined them not to be a threat and cleared the passenger through the checkpoint, a Transportation Security Administration official said.

But the officer prevented the metal item from going through because of its "material and appearance," a TSA official said.  When the next shift arrived, one officer saw the items and mistakenly believed they were test objects, used to check screener proficiency.  When that officer later learned they were not test items, the officer alerted others, and the TSA contacted the Port Authority Police Department, responsible for protecting the airport.

Read more: CNN