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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Aug 23, 2021

A woman who told Clive police she intentionally struck a 14-year-old with her SUV because the girl was Latina and a Black 12-year-old boy because he appeared to be Middle Eastern and a member of an Islamic terrorist group was sentenced in federal court Thursday on two hate crime charges.

A U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Iowa, Stephanie Rose, sentenced Nicole Poole Franklin to 25 years and four months in prison.

Poole, 43, of Des Moines pleaded guilty in state court in April to two counts of attempted murder. She was sentenced to 25-year-concurrent sentences for those charges in May. Her federal hate crime sentence will run concurrently to her attempted murder sentence by the state.

The victim's family submitted sealed victim impact statements to the court, but did not wish to have them read aloud.

Read more: Des Moines Register

Today, Paul James Kryscuk, 35, Liam Collins, 21, Jordan Duncan, 26, and Joseph Maurino, 22, were charged via a third superseding indictment obtained in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Collins and Duncan are former Marines assigned previously to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  The defendants are charged with conspiracy to damage the property of an energy facility in the United States.

According to the indictment, Collins, Kryscuk, Duncan, and Maurino researched, discussed, and reviewed at length a previous attack on the power grid by an unknown group.  The group in that attack used assault-style rifles in an attempt to explode a power substation. Between 2017 and 2020, Kryscuk manufactured firearms while Collins stole military gear, including magazines for assault-style rifles and had them delivered to the other defendants.  During that time, Duncan gathered a library of information, some military-owned, regarding firearms, explosives, and nerve toxins and shared that information with Kryscuk and Collins.

The indictment also alleges that the defendants discussed using homemade Thermite, a combination of metal powder and metal oxide which burns at over 4000°F to burn through and destroy power transformers.  In mid-2020, Collins asked others to each purchase 50 pounds of Tannerite, a binary explosive containing aluminum powder and oxidizers, and can be used to make Thermite.  In October 2020, a handwritten list of approximately one dozen intersections and places in Idaho and surrounding states was discovered in Kryscuk’s possession, including intersections and/or places containing a transformer, substations, or other component of the power grid for the northwest United States.  If destroyed, the damage caused could exceed $100,000.

Read more: Department of Justice

A Charlotte, Michigan man is facing serious charges after allegedly making false bomb threats and threatening the life of Democratic state Representative Cynthia Johnson of Detroit in December 2020.

On Friday, Michael Varrone, 49, was arraigned on two counts of false report or threat of terrorism and a count of false report of a bomb threat. Varrone is currently out on bail but was ordered to stand trial on Thursday after receiving a preliminary examination in district court.

On December 12, 2020, Varrone allegedly called the Michigan House of Representatives six times and threatened Johnson and her family. The voicemail from Varrone stemmed from Johnson's comments days earlier, telling "Trumpers" to "stand down" after she continuously received death threats from Trump supporters.

Read more: Newsweek

The U.S. State Department was hit by a cyberattack and notifications of a potentially serious breach were made by the Department of Defense Cyber Command, a Fox News reporter said on Saturday.

A knowledgeable source told Reuters the State Department has not experienced significant disruptions and has not had its operations impeded in any way.

Fox News reported that the breach is believed to have occurred weeks ago. It’s unclear when it was first discovered, according to the reporter’s tweet thread. The extent of the breach and whether or not there is any ongoing risk to operations is also unclear.

Read more: CNBC

Far right-wing demonstrators and left-wing protesters clashed Sunday in Portland, a conflict that was punctuated with gunfire on a downtown street.

Dustin Brandon Ferreira, 37, a left-wing activist, said he was with other activists Sunday evening when a man used a slur against a Black man in the group and fired multiple rounds in their direction. Portland police said in an email that “the entire incident” is under investigation.

Dennis Anderson, 65, was charged with unlawful use and possession of a firearm and booked into the Multnomah County Jail shortly after the shooting, according to jail records. Anderson’s bail was set at $7,500. Portland police Sgt. Kevin Allen confirmed Anderson was the shooter.

A video taken by one witness showed shots being fired toward the shooter at Southwest Yamhill Street and Southwest 2nd Avenue at one point, though it is unclear whether he was fired on first.

No one was injured.

Read more: The Oregonian