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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: recruitment & radicalization

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today released a white paper, The Need for Transparency on Insider Threats: Improving Information Sharing Between Government and Industry, that identifies key policy and statutory changes needed to improve insider threat information sharing between government and the cleared contractor community.

Developed by INSA’s Insider Threat Subcommittee, the paper notes that government and cleared industry are partners in ensuring the protection of the national security workforce. However, in order for cleared contractors to fully meet their security obligations and effectively implement mandatory insider threat training programs, they need all pertinent information the government may have regarding risks presented by their employees.  Yet the government – often relying on misinterpretations of privacy laws and policy guidelines – generally fails to share such data.

“Many individual contractors work full-time at government facilities, so only government agencies have the opportunity to identify suspicious or malicious behavior,” said Larry Hanauer, INSA’s Vice President for Policy.  “Contracting firms cannot assess whether their on-site employees pose a security risk unless the government shares what it has observed.”

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Eighteen months of global lockdowns have led to growing engagement in a toxic online cocktail of extremist material ranging from terrorist content to conspiracy theories and disinformation, experts warn.

Jacob Davey from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD) said studies had already shown “there has been a proliferation of harmful and troubling activity online” during the pandemic, with an impact that is impossible to predict.

“What we’ve seen is evidence of spikes of online activity in a wide range of extremist issues during lockdown. It is not just terrorist material but a broad cocktail of online harms, as people spent more time indoors,” Davey said.

Last year the UK’s Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) said over 7% more pieces of suspected terrorism content had been reported to them during 2020 compared with the year before, reflecting global trends.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

Military veterans say they are increasingly and aggressively being recruited by extremist groups, including those allegedly involved in the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

The News4 I-Team reported in July about growing concerns extremist groups spread disinformation by social media to try to lure military vets to join. The investigation found dozens of military veterans and at least one active duty Marine are charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, including a number allegedly affiliated with extremists.

Veterans service groups say extremists recruit them because vets are considered influencers who can bring others along if they join extremist causes and because veterans have experience in planning and equipping for missions.

According to testimony at a congressional hearing this week, the groups of concern include the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters -- all of which have also been linked to the Jan. 6 riot.

Read more: NBC Washington

The Department of Homeland Security and partners have been working to strengthen critical lines of communication in confronting terrorist threats as “some of the information- sharing relationships the department had forged over the years had atrophied,” DHS Counterterrorism Coordinator John Cohen told lawmakers during a discussion on agencies surging resources and collaboratively moving forward with strategically confronting the domestic terrorism threat.

The Sept. 29 hearing was the sixth in a series of hearings that the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has been holding on white supremacist movements and activities. 

“While we certainly are facing a threat that has an organizational dynamic, it involves groups of individuals that coalesce around and even engage in violent and destructive behavior in furtherance of extremist or a blend of extremist beliefs. It’s important to remember that it’s also a threat that is very individualized in nature,” Cohen said. “It has been repeatedly assessed by DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, when looked at from a lethal perspective, the most significant terrorism-related threat facing the U.S. today comes primarily from lone offenders, individuals who engage in violent activity inspired by extremist beliefs, or a blend of extremist beliefs, or a blend of extremist beliefs and personal grievances that are most often cultivated through the consumption of online content.”

Read more: Homeland Security Today

To the largely anonymous world of 4chan, Moleman was an outlier: an outlandish figure who liked to dig tunnels, shoot guns and thumb his nose at authority.

Unlike other users on the notorious message board site, Moleman made no secret of his real-world location, posting alleged photos of himself and his friends at recognizable locations around Edmonton wearing camouflage and other military gear.

Prosecutors claim Moleman is Kelvin Gregory Maure, the 26-year-old alleged right-wing extremist arrested after police turned up a cache of weapons and explosives at his Parkland County home earlier this year.

Maure is facing 34 charges after an investigation by the RCMP’s Alberta-based Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET). Police say their search turned up seven prohibited weapons including loaded assault-style rifles and materials for making explosives.

Read more: Edmonton Journal