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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Sep 16, 2021

Police "failed" in their response to the Manchester Arena attack, terrorism experts have told the bombing inquiry.

Three experts told the Manchester Arena Inquiry there had been a "significant failure" in Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) emergency response to the attack, which killed 22 people on 22 May 2017.

Scott Wilson, Ian Dickinson and Iain Sirrell said GMP failed to work well with other services in the aftermath.

They said there was no evidence of a "cohesive and co-ordinated response".

The hearing was told the men looked through close to 1,000 pages of evidence about the police response to the attack.

Read more: BBC News

Although domestic terrorism has always existed in the U.S., and to varying degrees and in different manifestations in most countries, the dominant threat in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks was thought to be from Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The sense of menace from FTOs was heightened by the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, and attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. While most Americans only first heard of al-Qaeda and Usama bin Laden in the days and weeks following 9/11, many in the law enforcement and intelligence communities were already very familiar with the threat posed by foreign terror groups.

In response to the catastrophic terror attacks of 9/11, the U.S. and much of the western world immediately intensified their security posture with dramatic actions ranging from the development of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to specific target-hardening measures across the public and private sectors. Security around air travel dramatically changed with the fortification of cabin doors and more thorough screening of passengers, the number of security cameras in major cities grew exponentially, and we formally entered the era of “see something, say something.”

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Nashville Fire Department investigators are searching for the person who threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of the Axis Church on Tuesday morning.

According to a release from NFD, it happened around 1:48 a.m. when crews were called to the scene for a reported building fire. A worker, in a building near the church heard the intrusion and called 911.

When crews arrived, they found a damaged window and light smoke showing in the entryway of the church. As crews gained access and investigated, there was a small fire in the building spreading to rugs and equipment in the front hallway.

Crews worked quickly to put the flames out and prevented it from spreading further.

Investigators were able to gather information from the scene and the 911 caller. A suspect description has not been released at this time. The video from the church shows the view from inside when the window was broken.

Read more: WKRN (Nashville)

Friction between pragmatists and ideologues in the Taliban leadership has intensified since the group formed a hard-line Cabinet last week that is more in line with their harsh rule in the 1990s than their recent promises of inclusiveness, said two Afghans familiar with the power struggle.

The wrangling has taken place behind the scenes, but rumors quickly began circulating about a recent violent confrontation between the two camps at the presidential palace, including claims that the leader of the pragmatic faction, Abdul Ghani Baradar, was killed.

The rumors reached such intensity that an audio recording and handwritten statement, both purportedly by Baradar himself, denied that he had been killed. Then on Wednesday, Baradar appeared in an interview with the country's national TV.

"I was traveling from Kabul so had no access to media in order to reject this news" Baradar said of the rumor.

Read more: NPR

On Sept. 7, U.S. citizens, Marc Baier, 49, and Ryan Adams, 34, and a former U.S. citizen, Daniel Gericke, 40, all former employees of the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) or the U.S. military, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that restricts their future activities and employment and requires the payment of $1,685,000 in penalties to resolve a Department of Justice investigation regarding violations of U.S. export control, computer fraud and access device fraud laws. The Department filed the DPA today, along with a criminal information alleging that the defendants conspired to violate such laws.

According to court documents, the defendants worked as senior managers at a United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)-based company (U.A.E. CO) that supported and carried out computer network exploitation (CNE) operations (i.e., “hacking”) for the benefit of the U.A.E government between 2016 and 2019. Despite being informed on several occasions that their work for U.A.E. CO, under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), constituted a “defense service” requiring a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the defendants proceeded to provide such services without a license.

These services included the provision of support, direction and supervision in the creation of sophisticated “zero-click” computer hacking and intelligence gathering systems – i.e., one that could compromise a device without any action by the target. U.A.E. CO employees whose activities were supervised by and known to the defendants thereafter leveraged these zero-click exploits to illegally obtain and use access credentials for online accounts issued by U.S. companies, and to obtain unauthorized access to computers, like mobile phones, around the world, including in the United States.

Read more: Department of Justice