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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 14, 2021

Telegram, a Dubai-based chat app that has attracted a surge of new users, including some far-right Trump supporters fleeing purges at other sites, has begun a rare purge of American extremist content.

At least 15 extremist Telegram channels — akin to chatrooms where the founders have moderating power — have recently been banned, according to a tally by NBC News. Content has been censored on several others.

Some pro-Trump zealots have moved to Telegram in recent days to plan violence on Jan. 20, the day Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated.

Read more: NBC News

The Justice Department today announced the guilty plea of Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 24, to one count of providing material support and resources, namely personnel and services, to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Al-Madioum, a native of Morocco and naturalized U.S. citizen, previously had been detained overseas by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and was subsequently transferred into FBI custody and returned to Minnesota.  Al-Madioum entered his guilty plea today before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A sentencing date will be scheduled at a later time.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed with the court, on June 23, 2015, Al-Madioum and his family traveled from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to Casablanca, Morocco, to visit their extended family.  On July 8, 2015, Al-Madioum left Morocco and traveled to Istanbul, Turkey.  There, Al-Madioum met up with members of ISIS who aided his border-crossing into Syria.  Once in Syria, the defendant joined other members of ISIS who brought him to Mosul, Iraq.

Read more: Department of Justice

A recent FBI bulletin obtained by CBS News warns law enforcement agencies moving in to arrest suspects in the deadly Capitol attack to "use caution and consider the use of SWAT when affecting the arrest."

The bulletin said the agencies should be especially cautious when arresting people who wore "body armor" or "other armament during criminal activity conducted at the U.S. Capitol."

The FBI shared an image of the arsenal found in one suspect's home in recent days. Investigators said the suspect wore body armor and a combat helmet on the floor of the U.S. Capitol.

The warning comes as the FBI continues its aggressive push to arrest and charge those responsible for last Wednesday's deadly attack on the Capitol. Five people died, including a Capitol police officer.

Read more: CBS News

Acting U.S. Attorney for D.C. Michael Sherwin said Tuesday that with a strike force established to focus strictly on sedition charges related to the U.S. Capitol riot “we’re looking at and treating this just like a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation.”

“We’re looking at everything, money, travel records, looking at disposition, movement, communication records,” Sherwin said at a Justice Department press conference. “So, no resource related to the FBI or the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be unchecked in terms of trying to determine exactly if there was a command and control, how it operated, and how they executed these activities.”

Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said that in six days “we have opened over 160 case files and that’s just the tip of the iceberg” as agents investigate and fan out across the country to arrest and charge people with taking part in last week’s Capitol riot.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Federal law enforcement officials are warning that domestic extremists are likely more emboldened to carry out attacks on President-elect Joe Biden's upcoming inauguration and throughout 2021 after seeing the success of last week's siege on the US Capitol.

The threat is further complicating an already monumental challenge facing law enforcement agencies tasked with securing Washington in the coming days.
CNN has learned that federal law enforcement agencies, in a series of bulletins and calls with local partners this week, have issued an urgent call for assistance in securing the nation's capital as the inauguration nears, and painted a dire picture of potential threats leading up to January 20.

Read more: CNN