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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 12, 2021

Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the most cases classified as domestic terrorism in 2020 compared to all other federal districts, according to a court tracking clearinghouse run by Syracuse University.

Most of the cases stemmed from consecutive nightly protests last summer outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.

By the end of September, 40 people had been accused of assault on a federal officer and 15 faced the rare charge of civil disorder during protests, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Others were charged with destruction of government property, arson or attempted arson of federal property and violating national defense airspace.

Read more: Oregon Live

ISIS said in a new issue of its weekly newsletter that rioters “being seen breaking into one of the most important centers of sovereignty in America” signaled that domestic unrest could work to the terror group’s advantage.

The full-page article in the latest al-Naba used a Reuters photo of a police flashbang illuminating the west front of the Capitol in order to disperse rioters on Wednesday. The terror group hailed the “great” symbolism of breaking into the U.S. Capitol “during a meeting of the tyrants,” and said the history of America “over the past decades” reveals a pattern of “greater and more serious internal events.”

ISIS noted that it’s “not the first U.S. election whose results are contested and questioned,” and “it will not be the last.” They predicted that President-elect Biden will be preoccupied with domestic strife as “the conflict is between the two parties and their supporters.”

Read more: Homeland Security Today

As investigators seek to identify rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, police departments in Virginia and Washington state have placed officers on leave as authorities examine whether they took part in unlawful acts while off-duty.

Fire departments in Florida and New York City have also said they reported to federal authorities allegations that some of their members may have been present when the mob broke into the Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The police department in the small town of Rocky Mount, Virginia, said on Sunday it had placed two officers on administrative leave after it learned they attended an “event” in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday while off-duty.

Read more: Reuters

Today, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for the District of Columbia announced charges against an Alabama man that include one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device, and one count of carrying a pistol without a license.

Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, of Falkville, Alabama, was arrested yesterday and charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Coffman remains in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, January 12.

As alleged in the Complaint, on January 6, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers responded to reports of possible explosive devices in the area around the United States Capitol. In the course of conducting a protective sweep of the area, officers observed the handle of what appeared to be a firearm on the front right passenger seat of a red pickup truck with Alabama tags. A law enforcement database check of the vehicle registration revealed that the vehicle was registered to Lonnie L. Coffman with a home address in Falkville, Alabama. USCP Bomb Squad members subsequently searched the vehicle and secured one black handgun, one M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition, and components for the construction of eleven “Molotov Cocktails” in the form of mason jars filled with ignitable substances, rags, and lighters.

Read more: Department of Justice

The insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol this week has prompted governors and lawmakers in several states to heighten security at their own capitol buildings as they gather amid a pandemic for legislative sessions and inaugural ceremonies.

Like the U.S. Capitol, statehouses are regular targets for demonstrations. Many already have armed security personnel and metal detectors that screen visitors.

But if the U.S. Capitol — a shining symbol of democracy with a dedicated police force— can be overrun by a violent mob, could state capitols be next?

Read more: AP