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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Aug 20, 2021

The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.

Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.

"Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases," said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. "Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages."

Read more: Reuters

A Tennessee sheriff's deputy assaulted a fellow law enforcement officer and then attempted to use his status to gain access to the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, according to a motion filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office Wednesday. 

Ronald Colton McAbee, a 27-year-old Williamson County sheriff's deputy, was arrested Aug. 17 after the FBI received a tip he was the man in officer-worn body camera footage who attempted to fight a Metropolitan Police Department officer and drag another into the mob storming the Capitol.  

The U.S. attorney's office pre-trial motion argued McAbee should be held without bail because he was a "spoke in the wheel" that caused the Jan. 6 riot and was a "threat to the peaceful functioning of our community."

McAbee is part of a seven-person indictment group all charged with assaulting officers on the day of the insurrection. His co-defendants included Jack Wade Whitton, who is accused of using a crutch to attack an MPD officer, and Jeffrey Sabol, who is accused of holding a baton across an officer's neck.

Read more: The Tennessean

The man who claimed to have a bomb in his car parked near the Capitol surrendered following an hours-long standoff with law enforcement on Thursday.

The man, identified by the Capitol Police as 49-year-old Floyd Ray Roseberry, drove a pickup truck onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress at about 9:15 a.m. When an officer approached the vehicle to investigate, Roseberry informed the officer that he had a bomb, and the officer said Roseberry appeared to be holding a detonator, according to The Associated Press.

For part of the standoff, Roseberry was streaming himself from inside the car on Facebook Live, during which time he referenced, among other things, former President Trump having the 2020 election stolen from him. At one point, Roseberry stated there were four others around D.C. like himself also carrying bombs.

Read more: The Hill

UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the threats posed by terrorist groups, saying that Da’esh continues to exploit the disruption, grievances and development setbacks caused by the pandemic to regroup, recruit new followers and intensify its activities – both online and on the ground.    

“Today, we face transnational terrorist threats like Da’esh and Al-Qaida that are enduring and able to adapt to new technologies, but also expanding to include individuals and groups that commit terrorist attacks connected to xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance”, said Mr. Voronkov. 

The UN counter-terrorism architecture, largely set up in the wake of the 9/11 attack, helps Member States implement effective frameworks to prevent, address, investigate and prosecute acts of terrorism.  

It is also ramping up efforts to help countries adapt to the rapidly changing nature of the threat, which has become more digital and de-centralized in recent years.  

Read more: UN News

Two alleged members of one of the most serious transnational criminal organizations will make their initial appearances in U.S. federal court on charges of narco-terrorism and distributing kilogram quantities of cocaine from Colombia.  

This is the first time believed members of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional aka ELN) have been extradited to the United States in their nearly 60-year history to face both narco-terrorism and drug trafficking charges. ELN is a Colombian guerrilla group officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization Oct. 8, 1997. It continues to operate as one of the largest narco-terrorism organizations in the world.

Yamit Picon-Rodriguez aka Choncha, 36, and Henry Trigos-Celon aka Moncho Picada, 44, were extradited and landed in Houston just moments ago. They are set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon at 10 a.m. tomorrow.  

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Picon-Rodriguez, Trigos-Celon and others Feb. 12, 2020. Colombian authorities took them into custody at the request of the United States in September 2020.

Read more: Department of Justice