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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Nov 12, 2020

The second lockdown in England is making more young people vulnerable to being groomed by extremists, a senior counter-terror officer has warned.

Supt Matthew Davison, from Counter Terrorism Policing, said extremists were using the pandemic to spread hate and disinformation online.

He said young people were being targeted "in their bedrooms".

At the same time referrals to the anti-extremism Prevent programme are falling.

The government said it would "continue to challenge and disrupt extremists who sow division".

Supt Davison said online recruitment activity by extremist groups increased during the first lockdown, but referrals to the government-led Prevent programme fell.

Read more: BBC News

For the second time in as many weeks, an explosive device has gone off in a portable toilet. Pittsburgh Police are investigating this latest one near a construction site on the North Side.

Police were present in the 900 block of Itin Street around 8 a.m. Tuesday with dogs sniffing around the scene. According to police, the call came in around 7, with the incident happening sometime overnight.

“When they got on scene they had discovered that the porta John had evidence of an explosive device that went off inside of the porta John,” Public Safety Assistant Spokesperson Maurice Matthews said.

A construction worker at the nearby site says they came to work to find the portable toilet already destroyed.

Read more: KMOV

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday to prevent men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from leaking the identities of informants and undercover agents who infiltrated the alleged conspiracy.

Prosecutors fear the premature identification of informants and undercover agents could lead to witness tampering or worse. On Tuesday, they asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens to issue a protective order shielding evidence from anyone outside of the defense team, court officials and potential witnesses.

"Such premature identification might reasonably be expected to lead to witness tampering, intimidation and/or retaliation," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote in a court filing. "If not by the defendants themselves, by individuals or groups sympathetic to their perceived aims. In addition, pretrial dissemination of unadmitted evidence could taint the jury pool and create challenges to the selection of an unbiased venire (jury pool)."

Read more: The Detroit News

Austria would allow courts to extend the sentences of convicted terrorists and it would establish a new criminal offense for people who “create the breeding ground” for terrorism, as part of a package of legislative proposals announced a week after an Islamic State sympathizer killed four people in Vienna.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the tough new proposals on Wednesday after meeting with his cabinet in the Austrian capital, Vienna, a day after he held talks with President Emmanuel Macron of France and other European Union leaders to coordinate efforts across the bloc to crack down on Islamist terrorism.

“We will do everything to protect the population,” Mr. Kurz said. The legislative package will be put before Parliament for approval before the end of the year.

Read more: New York Times

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, will assume the additional role of the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS following the retirement of Special Envoy James Jeffrey.

Jeffrey, a senior American diplomat with experience in political, security, and energy issues in the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, and the Balkans, was appointed to the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, Career Ambassador, in 2010. He came out of retirement in 2018 to serve as special envoy for Syria engagement, and became the lead U.S. representative at the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in 2019.

Jeffrey has held senior assignments in Washington, DC, and abroad, including as Deputy National Security Advisor (2007–2008); United States Ambassador to Iraq (2010–2012); United States Ambassador to Turkey (2008–2010); and United States Ambassador to Albania (2002–2004).

Read more: Homeland Security Today