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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Mar 23, 2012

French authorities have no evidence that al-Qaida commissioned a French gunman to go on a killing spree that left seven people dead, or that he had any contact with terrorist groups, a senior official said Friday. France’s prime minister and other senior figures have been fending off suggestions that anti-terrorism authorities fell down on the job in monitoring 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, who had been known to them for years. The senior official who is close to the investigation into Merah’s attacks told The Associated Press there was no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists.”

A little-known jihadist group claimed responsibility for one of the killings. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Internet messages, said Jund al-Khilafah, based in Kazakhstan, issued a statement saying “Yusuf of France” led an attack Monday, the day of the Jewish school shootings. The French official said the claim appeared opportunistic and that authorities think Merah had never heard of the group.

Read more: Washington Post 

The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and serve as a terrorism threat clearinghouse. The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat. 

Intelligence officials on Thursday said the new rules have been under development for about 18 months, and grew out of reviews launched after the failure to connect the dots about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber,” before his Dec. 25, 2009, attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner. After the failed attack, government agencies discovered they had intercepted communications by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and received a report from a United States Consulate in Nigeria that could have identified the attacker, if the information had been compiled ahead of time.

Read more: NY Times