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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: insider threat

A Navy sailor has been charged with starting a fire on an amphibious assault ship last summer that injured more than 60 firefighters and caused billions in damage.

The 22-year-old USS Bonhomme Richard burst into flames on July 12, 2020, and smoldered for more than four days off San Diego. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

The ship was decommissioned in November 2020 after an assessment determined repairs to the ship would cost $3 billion and take five to seven years.

Evidence collected in the following investigation was enough to accuse the sailor, who has not been named, of starting the fire, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson, said in a statement. The sailor was a crew member at the time and has been charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel.

Read more: USA Today

A former Air Force intelligence analyst said his guilt over participating in lethal drone strikes in Afghanistan led him to leak government secrets about the drone program to a reporter.

Daniel Hale of Nashville, Tennessee, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria after pleading guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking top secret documents.

In court papers filed Thursday, Hale’s lawyers asked that he receive a 12- to 18-month sentence, which would be well below sentencing guidelines.

In an 11-page handwritten letter from the Alexandria jail where he’s being held, Hale outlines what led him break the law, describing his regret and horror as he saw gruesome videos of Afghans killed in part because his work helped track them down.

Read more: AP

The head of security at the presidential palace here has been taken into custody as part of an investigation into the mysterious assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was killed last week in his home in the hills above the capital.

The detention of Dimitri Hérard was confirmed by Bed-ford Claude, a Haitian prosecutor; Israel Jacky Cantave, a spokesperson for Haiti’s prime minister; and Carl Martin, a close friend and colleague of Hérard’s. Much public anger has been directed against Hérard, as Haitians wonder how a team of alleged assassins appeared to easily infiltrate Moïse’s residence but were later swiftly taken into custody.

It isn’t clear on what charges, if any, Hérard is being held. “The justice [system] wants him to answer questions,” Claude told The Washington Post.

Read more: Washington Post

When FBI agents in San Diego seized the cell phone of a suspected white supremacist last year, they discovered text messages with a Georgia sheriff’s deputy boasting of racial violence and preparations for a civil war.

The text message chain, called “Shadow Moses,” between San Diego plumber Grey Zamudio, 33, and 28-year-old Cody Griggers, a former Marine and sheriff’s deputy in Wilkinson County, revealed plans to steal explosives, dry runs with illegal silencers and boasts of racial violence. In one text, Griggers said he hoped law enforcement and the military would join their side in the coming conflict.

“Our only saving grace is that for the time being they have not brainwashed the military completely,” Griggers wrote, according to court records.

Griggers, who was a military policeman stationed in San Diego until his honorable discharge in 2017, said he wished he could “go ahead and fast-forward so I can enjoy the suffering of the abortion that is the American population.”

Read more: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Mariam Taha Thompson, 62, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, was sentenced today to 23 years in prison for delivering classified national defense information to aid a foreign government. As part of her March 26 guilty plea, Thompson admitted that she believed that the classified national defense information that she was passing to a Lebanese national would be provided to Lebanese Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

“Thompson’s sentence reflects the seriousness of her violation of the trust of the American people, of the human sources she jeopardized and of the troops who worked at her side as friends and colleagues,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “That Thompson passed our nation’s sensitive secrets to someone whom she knew had ties to Lebanese Hezbollah made her betrayal all the more serious. Thompson’s sentence should stand as a clear warning to all clearance holders that violations of their oath to this country will not be taken lightly, especially when they put lives at risk.”

Read more: Department of Justice