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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Mar 5, 2021

Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) and the U.K. Intelligence Services announced on March 4 that they have foiled three terror attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, despite lockdowns causing terrorism-related arrests to fall to their lowest level in nearly a decade.

The Home Office’s quarterly release of statistics relating to the police’s use of powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 revealed there were a total of 185 arrests for terrorism-related activity in the year ending 31 December 2020, 97 (34%) fewer than in the previous 12-month period and the lowest annual total since 2011.

But despite the reduction in the number of arrests, which is largely due to an overall reduction in crime since the beginning of the national lockdown in March last year, the number of terror plots stopped by CTP and their intelligence partners has risen to a total of 28 since March 2017.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

An Illinois man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, a foreign terrorist organization (aka ISIS).

Joseph D. Jones, 38, of Zion, Illinois, was convicted by a federal jury on one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS in 2019.  According to court documents, Jones advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group.  In 2015, Jones began meeting with undercover FBI employees and individuals who, unbeknownst to Jones, were cooperating with law enforcement.  During the meetings, Jones discussed his devotion to ISIS and his commitment to ISIS principles.

In 2017, Jones furnished cellular phones to one of the cooperating individuals, believing the phones would be used to detonate explosive devices in ISIS attacks overseas.  On April 7, 2017, Jones drove with the cooperating individual to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, with the understanding that the cooperating individual would be traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS.

Read more: Department of Justice

Pope Francis landed in Baghdad on Friday for his most risky foreign trip since his election in 2012, saying he felt duty-bound to make the “emblematic” visit because Iraq had suffered so much for so long.

An Alitalia plane carrying him, his entourage, a security detail, and about 75 journalists, touched down at Baghdad International Airport slightly ahead of schedule just before 2 p.m. local time.

Iraq is deploying thousands of additional security personnel to protect the 84-year-old pope during the visit, which comes after a spate of rocket and suicide bomb attacks raised fears for his safety.

Read more: Reuters

Trinidad police are investigating the discovery of a third explosive device they believe could be related to two others found in the area recently. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also located a person of interest.

Police say 40-year-old Joseph Romero provided officers the location of a device that had yet to be discovered.

“Romero was transported to the Trinidad Police Department to meet with Detectives and ATF Agents. During the interview with Romero, information about a suspected device was ascertained. With the assistance of ATF, Pueblo Metro Bomb Squad, and Colorado Springs Metro Bomb Squad, a device was located in a rural area outside of Trinidad and detonated. It should be noted the device was not in the area of any residences and there was no danger to the public,” police said in a news release.

Read more: CBS Denver

Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has briefed senior members of Congress on his independent review of security at the US Capitol and submitted draft recommendations for sweeping changes to bolster protections for lawmakers after the January 6 insurrection, two sources with direct knowledge of his findings told CNN.

The review recommends establishing a quick reaction force to be on standby full time near the Capitol and that the US Capitol Police Chief should not need to get approval from the police board or Sergeant at arms to request the quick reaction force, a change that is appears aimed toward resolving chain of command issues in deploying the National Guard like those seen on January 6.

In addition, the review includes adding more than 1,000 US Capitol Police officers to help protect lawmakers while they are in Washington, DC, and back in their home states and installing retractable fencing around the Capitol complex.

Read more: CNN