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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 11, 2020

President Trump's political appointees at the Pentagon are reviewing the Defense Department's (DOD) aid to the CIA and could withdraw support from counterterrorism efforts in place of missions related to Russia and China, according to a report.

The Pentagon ordered the review to determine whether DOD personnel should be repurposed for more calculated missions aimed at "near-peer competitors" versus maintaining counterterrorism operations in hot spots throughout the world, Defense One reported Wednesday.

The report said the review is the pet project of acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who is one of Trump's political appointees following the president's Election Day loss.

Read more: The Hill

Sub-Saharan Africa is now home to some of the world’s worst terrorism hotspots, according to a new index released today.

Seven African countries are among the top 10 nations facing the greatest terrorism threat, according to a ranking of 198 countries released by Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consultancy, making the continent the worst performing region globally.

With the index’s worst possible score of 0 out of 10, Burkina Faso, Mali and Somalia rank alongside Syria and Afghanistan for the highest risk.

Cameroon, Mozambique, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all facing sustained violence from various jihadist groups allied to Al Qaeda or Islamic State, also rank among the worst affected countries in the world.

Read more: The Telegraph (UK)

The leader of an anti-government white supremacist militia group and former sheriff's deputy has been convicted of hate crime charges after a pipe bomb attack on a Minnesota mosque in 2017.

Jurors found Michael Hari guilty on five counts, including damaging property because of its religious character, forcibly obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, conspiracy to commit felonies with fire and explosives, using a destructive device in a crime of violence, and possessing an unregistered destructive device.

Hari and two other men — Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter — carried out an attack on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., on Aug. 5, 2017, as several men gathered for morning prayer. According to Morris and McWhorter, who pleaded guilty to their roles in the bombing and testified against the 49-year-old, Hari was the mastermind behind the plot.

Read more: NPR

The European Commission wants member states to reinforce external border controls and police cooperation to better protect the 27-nation bloc from extremist attacks.

As part of its Counter-Terrorism Agenda unveiled Wednesday, the EU’s executive arm said an efficient detection of suspects at the bloc’s borders is crucial to guarantee European citizens’ security.

Since the deadly Paris attacks five years ago in which fighters who had returned from Syria were involved, the EU has been repeatedly hit by extremist actions. In 2019, seven jihadist terrorist attacks were carried out in the EU, and twice that number of plots were thwarted by law enforcement.

Read more: Washington Post

Four years ago, Simon Neumeyer enrolled in the Saxony State Police Academy in the eastern German city of Leipzig as a 19-year-old cadet.

"At the time, I naively thought the police were 100% committed to law and order," he remembers.

His naiveté began to wear off on the academy's target-shooting grounds while he and his fellow cadets, guns in hand, listened to a lecture from their commander.

"He told us we have to shoot well, because there are many refugees coming to Germany," Neumeyer recalls. "I thought to myself: 'Wow. This is very racist.'

Read more: NPR