counterterrorism

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WH's Top Counterterrorism Official Had Secret Syrian Meeting

Kash Patel visited for negotiations on Austin Tice, other hostages—the first such visit in 10 years

(Newser) - American journalist Austin Tice disappeared in Syria eight years ago, and is believed to have been a captive there since. Now, in what Bloomberg calls a "rare sign of diplomacy," sources say the White House's top counterterrorism official has traveled there for secret talks to negotiate for... More »

Parents Say the FBI Let Their Son Die

Michigan parents grieve over son who died amid counterterror work

(Newser) - "You murdered our son. Don't ever talk to us again." That's what Michigan resident Theresa Reilly told an FBI agent after her son turned up dead—the end of a strange and tragic tale in US counterterrorism, writes Brett Forrest at the Wall Street Journal . Billy... More »

White House: Son of Osama bin Laden Has Been Killed

Details are still unclear on what exactly happened to Hamza bin Laden and when

(Newser) - The White House says Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaeda leader who'd become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, has been killed in a US counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A White House statement gives no further details, such as when Hamza bin... More »

How to ID a Terrorist: V Signs?

Scientists say everyone's hand geometry is different and may help ID terrorists

(Newser) - Trying to ID masked terrorists appearing in propaganda or execution videos is one of counterterrorism's biggest obstacles. But a researcher at Jordan's Mutah University and his team think they've found one physical tell that could prove invaluable: the victory sign formed by making the letter "V"... More »

Italy Terror Bust Is One of Its 'Most Important Ever'

Police take down Sardinia cell with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden

(Newser) - Italian police say they have taken down a terror cell comprised of businessmen who financed al-Qaeda from Sardinia. Counterterrorism agents arrested 18 Pakistani and Afghan nationals in seven provinces today in "one of the most important operations we ever conducted," the lead investigator tells NBC News . "We... More »

ACLU Suit: Spill Killer-Drone Details, Mr. President

Complaint says administration has been stonewalling about 'kill list' since 2013

(Newser) - In October 2013, the ACLU filed a FOIA request to find out more about the US counterterrorism drone program, the Guardian reports. Since then, the Obama administration has fought "tooth-and-nail" against releasing documents and "failed to follow through on … commitments to openness," the ACLU said today... More »

Tiny State Dept. Agency to Fight ISIS' Tweets

Obama administration expanding countermessaging against ISIS

(Newser) - The Obama administration has a plan to fight back against ISIS propaganda, and it involves what the New York Times calls a "tiny State Department agency." The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications , created in 2011, has always been tasked with coordinating "countermessaging" against extremists, but now it... More »

Australia Busts 2 Men in 'Imminent' Terror Plot

Counterterror raid turns up ISIS flag, weapons, video threat

(Newser) - Two men were charged today with planning to launch an imminent terrorist attack in Australia, after police seized a homemade ISIS flag, machete, and hunting knife in a counterterror raid. The men, ages 24 and 25, would have carried out the attack yesterday if they hadn't been arrested in... More »

TSA: Don't Bring Uncharged Devices on US-Bound Flights

Laptops to be checked as security cranked up

(Newser) - Passengers flying to the US from overseas should make sure their electronic devices are charged because they won't be allowed to board a plane with them otherwise, officials warn. The tighter scrutiny of electronic devices comes amid heavier security for US-bound flights from countries including the UK, France, and... More »

Airports to Crack Down on Phones Amid Terror Fears

Bombs could be surgically implanted: Daily Mail

(Newser) - As the US bolsters security at airports at home and abroad, officials have been concerned about " creative ," hard-to-spot bombs. Now, they'll be cracking down on phones and shoes in an effort to detect any such weapons on flights bound for the US, Reuters reports. iPhones and Samsung... More »

US Secretly Training Commandos in Africa

And on the verge of doing the same in Syria

(Newser) - The US military has been secretly training counterterrorism commandos in a handful of African countries, the New York Times reveals today, in the hopes of creating elite, homegrown foes for groups like al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The Pentagon is spending almost $70 million on the plan, drawing on classified funds,... More »

Boko Haram's Next Target: an American One?

US intelligence officials suspect they may be planning something

(Newser) - Boko Haram may be planning an attack on US interests in Nigeria, US intelligence officials tell NBC News . The evidence of this is "fragmentary" and lacks specifics, the sources admit, but counterterror officials are sufficiently worried to the point that they're stepping up efforts to locate the group'... More »

Guy Signs for Neighbor's Package, Anti-Terror Cops Pounce

His family's home was ripped apart by biohazard teams

(Newser) - This might make people think twice about accepting packages for others: After a diplomat's son in London accepted a parcel addressed for a neighbor who wasn't home, he was arrested and chemical and biological teams spent days tearing his house and garden apart, the Telegraph reports. The package... More »

FBI's Primary Mission? Not Law Enforcement Anymore

In change, it's now 'national security'

(Newser) - The FBI fact sheet used to read, "The primary function of the FBI is law enforcement." But now, Foreign Policy reports, it's been changed to read, "The primary function of the FBI is national security." It's no big surprise, considering that ever since 9/11,... More »

CIA Secretly Turned Gitmo Inmates Into Double Agents

'Penny Lane' program led to al-Qaeda leaders' deaths: officials

(Newser) - Guantanamo Bay contained "the worst of a very bad lot," according to Dick Cheney—and it was from this pool that CIA teams handpicked potential double agents, anonymous officials tell the AP . The program at Gitmo's "Penny Lane" facility, a secret cluster of eight cottages near... More »

Obama: Jeh Johnson Has 'Been There'

President nominates lawyer for Homeland Security post

(Newser) - President Obama today nominated the Pentagon's former top lawyer to help craft US counterterrorism policy as secretary of the Homeland Security Department, suggesting a shift from the department's emphasis on immigration and border security. Jeh C. Johnson, whose first name is pronounced "Jay," would replace Janet... More »

Two Men Accused of Plotting Terrorist ... Coat Drive?

New York men worked with informant to send goods to Taliban

(Newser) - Two New York men have been arrested for an alleged plot to aid Taliban fighters—by keeping them warm in the winter. The NYPD yesterday announced the arrest of Humayoun Ghoulan Nabi, 27, and Ismael Alsarabbi, 32, who allegedly conspired with a department informant to supply winter clothes to the... More »

Raids Indicate Obama Is Souring on Drone Strikes

Official says they were trying to limit civilian casualties

(Newser) - The US' twin raids in Somalia and Libya are a sign that the Obama administration wants to ease off on its controversial drone strikes, and give the military a greater role in fighting terrorists, US officials tell the LA Times . While officials could have used drone-fired missiles to take out... More »

The TSA: Now Guarding Music Festivals?

Not to mention sports matches, rodeos...

(Newser) - The Transportation Security Administration is turning up in some unexpected places these days. The organization was originally created for airport security, but after the Madrid train bombing in 2005, special teams known as Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response were deployed. The groups are now working in train stations, highway weigh... More »

In Major Shift, Obama Will Clamp Down on Drone Strikes

Will speak today on new counterterror policies

(Newser) - President Obama will today outline a new course against terror, including two big goals: cutting down on drone strikes and attempting, once again, to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. The speech comes after the administration yesterday admitted killing four US citizens with drones. Under new drone rules, strikes on foreign... More »

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