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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Aug 17, 2021

Refugee resettlement organizations in the DMV are working to find more volunteers, donations and any other form of assistance as more Afghan allies are expected to land in the U.S. 

About 2,000 people have already been relocated under the "Operation Allies Refuge" within the last few weeks after President Joe Biden announced removing troops from Afghanistan by September. They are in the process of completing the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program which provides a legal path to safety after helping the U.S. government during the 20-year war.

Biden announced more troops have been deployed to help with evacuation efforts in Kabul after the Taliban takeover.

About 6,000 U.S. troops are on their way to the Hamid Karzai International Airport to secure grounds after large swarmed the area risking everything to get out and ensued chaos. Videos on the ground captured some people clinging on to military aircraft or scaling walls. 

"It's really sickening what's happening in Afghanistan right now," HIAS President & CEO Mark Hetfield said.

Read more: WUSA9

A Proud Boys supporter pleaded guilty on Monday to making social media threats tied to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including a threat to kill an incoming U.S. senator.

The defendant, Eduard Florea, also admitted to storing a large collection of ammunition at his home in the New York City borough of Queens.

Florea, 41, a software engineer and father of two, entered his plea at a remote hearing before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors said Florea used the moniker "LoneWolfWar" on Parler, a social media platform used by conservatives, to make threats before and during the riot, where supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's presidential election win.

Read more: Reuters

The Bagram Air Base, including its prison, which holds 5,000 inmates, surrendered to Taliban control, the Associated Press reported.

Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi said the former U.S. base that held both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters was taken over on Sunday. Other Taliban gains include Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul after the government collapsed.

On Sunday, the Taliban started a siege in Jalalabad, the last major city not under its control. The group also took the capitals of provinces Maidan Wardak, Khost, Kapisa and Parwan, as well as the country's last government-controlled border post.

Read more: Newsweek

A San Diego man who investigators said made violent, racist threats about racial justice demonstrators and Black Lives Matter in online postings was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison on weapons charges.

Grey Zamudio, 33, was arrested in August and pleaded guilty in December to possessing an unregistered short-barreled rifle and two unregistered silencers. Rifles with barrels that are shorter than 16 inches are generally illegal under California and federal law, according to court records.

In a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors said Zamudio “is motivated by a violent ideology and appears eager to commit acts of violence against Black people, liberals and others.”

In 2020, someone alerted the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to posts linked to Zamudio on social media, including statements about a need for “vigilante militias” and to “crush the liberal terrorist.”

Read more: San Diego Union-Tribune

Islamist extremist social media lit up with celebratory messages as the Taliban cemented its control over Afghanistan this weekend, raising concerns that a weakened al Qaeda and other terrorist groups could stage a comeback in the wake of the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal.

U.S. officials, meanwhile, said they are likely to reassess their timeline for how rapidly al Qaeda’s core group, ravaged by years of U.S. counterterrorism operations, could reconstitute itself. The longstanding intelligence assessment had been 18 months to two years after an American military withdrawal, current and former U.S. officials said.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks conducted by al Qaeda, a counterterrorism mission that President Biden said was completed long ago.

But jihadist groups saw the stunningly rapid sweep to power of the Taliban—which harbored al Qaeda before 2001 and hasn’t publicly broken with it—as validating their strategy of patience, analysts who follow their online postings said.

Read more: Wall Street Journal