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Homeland Security News

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

The Department of Defense is seeking a sharper definition of prohibited extremist activity, among other steps, as it pushes forward with a fight against extremist ideology within the ranks, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The steps include a review of current military policy that allows a service member to belong to an extremist organization as long as they don't advocate for the group.

The newly announced "critical initial steps" come after the military completed its service-wide discussions about extremism, including a review of the oath of service and current rules about supremacist and extremist ideologies. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave the services 60 days to conduct these discussions, which ended this week.

Read more: CNN

An Illinois man was sentenced today to 162 months, the equivalent of 13 ½ years, in prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), a foreign terrorist organization.

Edward Schimenti, 39, of Zion was convicted by a federal jury in 2019 on one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS, and one count of making false statements to the FBI. According to court documents, Schimenti advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group. In 2015, Schimenti began meeting with undercover FBI employees and individuals who, unbeknownst to Schimenti, were cooperating with law enforcement. During the meetings, Schimenti discussed his devotion to ISIS and his commitment to ISIS principles.

In 2017, Schimenti 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, Schimenti 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.

Co-defendant, Joseph D. Jones, 39, of Zion was also convicted of a conspiracy charge and sentenced last month to 12 years in federal prison.

Read more: Department of Justice

A federal grand jury has indicted four members of a militia group associated with the “boogaloo” movement in connection with a scheme to obstruct justice and destroy records to thwart the investigation and proceedings involving the May 29, 2020 shooting of federal Protective Services Officers, announced Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie M. Hinds and FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.

The grand jury returned an indictment alleging that Jessie Alexander Rush, Robert Jesus Blancas, Simon Sage Ybarra, and Kenny Matthew Miksch, all members of a militia group, conspired to destroy communications and other records relating to the May 29, 2020 murder and attempted murder of two federal security officers in Oakland, California.  The indictment charges Rush with an additional count of obstruction of official proceedings and Blancas with an additional count of destruction of records in official proceedings.

Read more: Department of Justice

A Wichita Falls man who allegedly plotted to blow up a data center in Virginia has been charged with a malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.

Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, was arrested on Thursday after allegedly attempting to obtain an explosive device from an undercover FBI employee in Fort Worth. He was charged via criminal complaint and made his initial appearance in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton Friday morning.

“We are indebted to the concerned citizen who came forward to report the defendant’s alarming online rhetoric. In flagging his posts to the FBI, this individual may have saved the lives of a number of tech workers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “We are also incredibly proud of our FBI partners, who ensured that the defendant was apprehended with an inert explosive device before he could inflict real harm. The Justice Department is determined to apprehend domestic extremists who intend to commit violence, no matter what political sentiment drives them to do so.”

Read more: Department of Justice

A nuclear facility in Iran was hit by "sabotage" a day after it unveiled new uranium enrichment equipment, the country's top nuclear official says.

Ali Akbar Salehi did not say who was to blame for the "terrorist act", which caused a power failure at the Natanz complex south of Tehran on Sunday.

Israeli public media, however, cited intelligence sources who said it was the result of an Israeli cyber-attack.

Israel has not commented on the incident directly.

But in recent days it has ramped up its warnings about Iran's nuclear programme.

Read more: BBC News