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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 16, 2020

Colombia’s President Ivan Duque plans to create a new spy agency to “strengthen the instruments of prevention against the scourge of terrorism.”

The new spy agency is part of a broader strategy to combat “terrorism,” a term previously used by the far-right government to criminalize peaceful protests or political opposition.

The creation of the Integral Center for Information and Intelligence against Terrorism, or “CI3T,” is part of the so-called “Presidential Program for the Prevention of Terrorism” Duque seeks to issue by decree.

Read more: Colombia Reports

A court in France has convicted 14 people in relation to the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

A total of 17 people were murdered across three days in a series of attacks that horrified the nation. All three assailants were killed in shootouts with the police, leaving only accomplices to face trial.

The defendants were found guilty on different charges, ranging from membership of a criminal network to complicity in the attacks. Terrorism-related charges were dropped for several of the defendants who were found guilty of lesser crimes.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

The Department of Justice announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Cholo Abdi Abdullah with six counts of terrorism-related offenses arising from his activities as an operative of the foreign terrorist organization al Shabaab, including conspiring to hijack aircraft in order to conduct a 9/11-style attack in the United States.  Abdullah was arrested in July 2019 in the Philippines on local charges, and was subsequently transferred on Dec. 15, 2020 in connection with his deportation from the Philippines to the custody of U.S. law enforcement for prosecution on the charges in the indictment.  Abdullah was transported from the Phillippines to the United States yesterday, and is expected to be presented today before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Analisa Torres.

“This case, which involved a plot to use an aircraft to kill innocent victims, reminds us of the deadly threat that radical Islamic terrorists continue to pose to our nation.  And it also highlights our commitment to pursue and hold accountable anybody who seeks to harm our country and our citizens.  No matter where terrorists who plan to target Americans may be located, we will seek to identify them and bring them to justice,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “We owe a debt of gratitude to the detectives, agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this defendant’s arrest.”

Read more: Department of Justice

A former police captain who was part of a private citizens group investigating still unsubstantiated 2020 election fraud claims was charged Tuesday with running a man off the road and pointing a gun to his head two weeks before the election, the Harris County district attorney said in a statement.

Prosecutors say former Houston Police captain Mark Anthony Aguirre said he believed the man was transporting fraudulent ballots.
"I believe it's a political prosecution," Terry Yates, Aguirre's attorney, told CNN affiliate KTRK.
Prosecutors say Aguirre was paid over a quarter million dollars by a private group called "Liberty Center for God and Country" to investigate alleged ballot schemes in the Houston area.

Read more: CNN

A new English-language message to the “lone wolves and hungry lions” circulating online among ISIS supporters as “new year is at the door” calls on would-be attackers to take advantage of the holiday season and specifically target American and French civilians with a variety of tactics including arson and poisoning.

The season of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s has historically generated increased threats from extremists and has included the deadly attacks on the Berlin Christmas market in 2016 and the Strasbourg, France, Christmas market in 2018. In past years, ISIS-supporting media groups traditionally have churned out propaganda lifting up those incidents as well as the 2015 attack on a county employees’ holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., calling for others to emulate the prior attacks and calling for attacks on specific targets such as the Vatican.

The new message was released with audio — French- and English-language nasheeds and an English-speaking narrator — and accompanying text, quoting various verses from the Quran and reminding followers “there are their festive days on the doors — kill them like killing insects.”

Read more: Homeland Security Today