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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: policy

A Muslim civil rights organization said Tuesday it plans to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s terror watch list system, including a newly disclosed program in which air marshals have secretly monitored air passengers with no known terrorism links.

Gadeir Abbas, senior litigation attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the group will file the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, on behalf of more than 10 Muslim travelers who allege they faced harassment at airports and suffered other consequences because of being placed on a terror watch list. The plaintiffs are from Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Kansas, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Abbas said the defendants named in the lawsuit will include the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and other government agencies.

The suit claims the travelers’ due process rights were violated and asks the court to grant an injunction to “prevent the federal government from putting innocent people, people who have not been charged, arrested or convicted of any crime, on any type of watch list,” Abbas said.

Abbas said the lawsuit will underscore both travel-related and non-travel related consequences of being on a watch list, including being subjected to searches and interrogations at airports, having electronics seized, not being able to get a license to transport hazardous materials or not being allowed to enter a military base.

 

Read more:  AP

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will soon expand a policy that gives extra screening to canisters containing powders to foreign airports that send flights to the United States.

The security agency began having its screeners watch for powder containers last summer, mindful that potentially hazardous materials could be smuggled onto jetliners in that fashion. Screeners are watching for canisters that hold more than 350 milliliters, or about the size of a soda can.

Starting Wednesday, TSA and airlines began an awareness campaign to explain the change. And starting June 30, the agency will ask foreign airports with direct flights to the United States to do the same.

The rule asks passengers to pack larger containers of powder in checked luggage instead of carry-on bags.

The agency said the change is not a ban on powder cans, but screeners could confiscate them at security checkpoints if they are found in carry-on luggage.

Products like baby powder, protein mixes and spices will be allowed in large containers in checked luggage. Gun powder is prohibited from checked or carry-on luggage.

The change addresses concerns that bomb-making elements, weaponized materials or drugs could be smuggled onto planes disguised in the powder canisters.

 

Read more:  UPI

American Special Operations forces are likely to be sharply cut in Africa as a result of a new Pentagon strategy that focuses on combating rising threats from Russia and China and, in turn, is driving a sweeping review of the nation’s elite commando missions.

The review, ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in recent weeks, could result in slashing counterterrorism forces in Africa by as much as half over the next three years. It was issued amid an ongoing Pentagon assessment of Special Operations forces worldwide after an ambush in Niger killed four American soldiers last fall.

More than 7,300 Special Operations troops are working around the world, many of them conducting shadow wars against terrorists in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and other hot spots. The Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., has also assumed important new missions in recent years, like taking the lead on combating weapons of mass destruction.

Pentagon officials said Mr. Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are worried that the commandos are spread too thin. The two leaders have ordered the military’s Special Operations and Africa commands to present a range of options by mid-June to balance rising security challenges — which also include North Korea and Iran — with vital counterterrorism operations.

 

Read more:  New York Times

Citing a growing threat that terrorists will use drones for surveillance or as weapons, the Trump administration is asking Congress to give the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice the power to track, reroute or destroy the devices, according to a copy of the legislative proposal obtained by The Washington Post.

The legislation would free safety and security officials from those agencies, and their contractors, from laws against intercepting electronic communications that officials say have hamstrung their ability to protect sensitive facilities from increasingly cheap and powerful unmanned aircraft, which already number in the millions.

It would also give wide discretion to those working for the government, outside observers said. The full picture of which facilities would fall under the new authorities remains unclear. Those facilities would be subject to what the proposed legislation calls a “risk-based assessment” as well as regulations and guidance that would be shielded from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Read more:  The Washington Post

In his first State of the Union address, President Trump announced that he signed a new executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay open. The move reverses an Obama-era order to close the detention center.

"I am keeping another promise," Mr. Trump said. "I just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis, who is doing a great job thank you, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay."

"I am asking Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down."

Mr. Trump has said he wanted to keep Guantanamo open and "load it up with some bad dudes." However, this is the first formal reversal of former President Obama's effort to close it down.

President George W. Bush opened the prison after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to hold and interrogate suspected enemy combatants. At its peak in 2003, it held 680 detainees. Mr. Bush transferred about 500 out before leaving office.

Mr. Obama ran for office on a platform of closing the prison, and signed an executive order on Jan. 22, 2009 to close it within a year. But he was unable to completely shut it down during his presidency. During his time in office, he transferred 197 detainees out, leaving 41.

The order says the U.S. may transport additional detainees to the detention center in Cuba, when necessary to protect the nation. It requires the defense secretary to recommend criteria for determining the fate of individuals captured by the U.S. in armed conflict, including transferring individuals to Guantanamo Bay.

 

Read more:  CBS News