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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Mar 28, 2012

When the FBI prepared to arrest nine Hutaree militia members two years ago in a homegrown terrorism case, the lead agent made one point clear.  "We haven't worked a year and a half on this investigation and risked (an undercover agent's) life to walk away from this with 3 arrests," the agent wrote in an e-mail that surfaced during trial.  In the end, that's exactly what the FBI got.

In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge on Tuesday acquitted the remaining Hutaree members of plotting a violent revolt against the U.S. government with weapons of mass destruction -- crimes that could have landed them in prison for life.  Just two are left standing in the case on a handful of weapons violations.  One previously pleaded guilty, and one was found incompetent to stand trial.  U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts concluded that federal prosecutors, who rested their case last week, failed in five weeks of trial to prove the Hutaree had a specific plan to kill a police officer and attack law enforcement personnel.
Read more: Detroit News

A major terrorist plot targeting Afghan soldiers was uncovered Monday at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Kabul, an official at the Ministry has confirmed to CBS News.  The official, who asked not to be identified because the Afghan government yet to acknowledge the plot, revealed that 11 suicide vests were found in three rooms in the area surrounding a parking lot at the Ministry.  The investigation is still in its early stages but it is known that 11 buses were scheduled to leave the parking lot carrying Afghan army personnel.  The working theory among investigators so far is that a bomber was meant to get on each of those buses and stage a spectacular simultaneous attack.

Six Afghan soldiers were immediately arrested on the scene and it is believed they were ready to proceed with a suicide attack.  The BBC reports Tuesday that 12 additional arrests have been made.  The Afghan government has so far refused to confirm the plot, but CBS News has learned that Afghanistan's defense minister has been called to the presidential palace to give a full briefing on the details of the investigation. The palace itself is less than a mile away from where the vests were found.

Read more: CBS News

Material that can be used to make nuclear bombs is stored in scores of buildings spread across dozens of countries.  If even a fraction of it fell into the hands of terrorists, it could be disastrous.  Nearly 60 world leaders who gathered Tuesday in Seoul for a nuclear security summit agreed to work on securing and accounting for all nuclear material by 2014.  But widespread fear lingers about the safety of nuclear material in countries including former Soviet states, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and India.

While the threat of nuclear terrorism is considered lower now than a decade ago, especially after the death of Osama bin Laden, the nightmare scenario of a terrorist exploding a nuclear bomb in a major city isn't necessarily the far-fetched stuff of movies...Building a nuclear weapon isn't easy, but a bomb similar to the one that obliterated Hiroshima is "very plausibly within the capabilities of a sophisticated terrorist group," according to Matthew Bunn, an associate professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  There's an "immense difference between the difficulty of making safe, reliable weapons for use in a missile or combat aircraft and making crude, unsafe, unreliable weapons for delivery by truck," Bunn said.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based nonproliferation group that tracks the security of world nuclear stockpiles, said in a January report that 32 countries have weapons-usable nuclear materials.  Some countries, such as the United States, maintain strict controls already.  However others, including Russia and other former Soviet republics, have struggled to secure their stocks, raising fears of "loose nukes" falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Read more: Associated Press