DHS to Focus on Providing Intelligence to Local Governments, Private Sector to Counter Domestic Threats

Nearly a decade after Congress created the Department of Homeland Security to prevent other 9/11-style terrorist attacks, a bipartisan group of experts says it is time for the agency to shift its focus from foreign enemies to working with local governments and the private sector so it can secure the border and critical infrastructure from homegrown threats. “The growth of our expectations of domestic security, and the evolution of threats away from traditional state actors toward non-state entities — drug cartels, organized crime, and terrorism are prominent examples — suggest that the DHS intelligence mission should be threat agnostic,” said a report by the Aspen Homeland Security Group, which is co-chaired by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

(U//FOUO) TSA Mass Transit and Passenger Bus Attacks Warning

TSA’s Office of Intelligence (TSA-OI) assesses that although counterterrorism pressure has weakened al-Qa’ida (AQ) and al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), both organizations represent an enduring and evolving threat and remain committed to attacking the Homeland, including the transportation sector. Both organizations have targeted commercial aviation and AQ has repeatedly plotted to attack mass transit. We also remain concerned about the threat posed by homegrown violent extremists (HVE) or lone offenders inspired by AQ’s violent extremist ideology to launch attacks against less secure targets, such as mass transit and passenger bus systems.

(U//FOUO) ISAF CJIATF-Shafafiyat Afghan Corruption Information Paper

The level of corruption across Afghanistan’s public and private sectors represents a threat to the success of ISAF’s mission and the viability of the Afghan state. Corruption undermines the legitimacy and effectiveness of Afghanistan’s government, fuels discontent among the population, and generates active and passive support for the insurgency. Corruption and organized crime also serve as a barrier to Afghanistan’s economic growth by robbing the state of revenue and preventing the development of a strong licit economy, thus perpetuating Afghan dependence on international assistance. Corruption also threatens the process of security transition, as institutions weakened by criminality will be unable to accept the transfer of responsibility for security and governance.

Anonymous Hacks Public Intelligence in “Friendly Audit”

On January 16, 2012 an unauthorized party associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous gained access to this site’s web server. The attacker gained root access and posted a number of versions of a photo of a naked man. These images were used to deface the front of the site in multiple locations and contained the message “WAS HERE WITH 0DAY, ONLY SHIT I FOUND BAD WAS U LOGGING IN FROM A DSL CONNECTION… THEN AGAIN U BOUGHT THIS SERVER WITH UR PERSONAL CARD SO U CAN BE DOX’D… LEFT U THESE COX AS A FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT YOUR BOX CAN BE PWNED AT ALL TIMES…” The attackers then manipulated configuration files for the server which caused an error message to appear to visitors of the site. This state persisted for approximately eight hours blocking access to the site before it was later fixed by the attacker, who left a longer explanation for the hack in the server’s root directory.

Congress Pressing DHS For Greater Monitoring of Social Media

Leaders of a congressional subcommittee are urging the Department of Homeland Security to extensively monitor social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to detect “current or emerging threats.” The top Republican and Democrat on a House counter-terrorism subcommittee last month sent a letter to Homeland Security’s intelligence chief encouraging department analysts to pore over huge streams of social media traffic. Representatives Patrick Meehan and Jackie Speier said in the letter to Caryn Wagner, undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis, that they “believe it would be advantageous for DHS and the broader Intelligence Community to carefully parse the massive streams of data from various social media outlets to identify current or emerging threats to our homeland security.”

ISAF Joint Command Media Operations Standard Operating Procedures

Media Operations is responsible for the Command’s media relations activities, including identifying media to engage with to disseminate information, responding to queries, arranging interviews, and advising senior leaders and IJC members on media issues. Media Operations works with local and international media. The staff also manages the IJC media accreditation and embed programs, and works closely with Regional Commands and NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) Public Affairs staffs. IJC Media Operations distributes, under its letter head, releases from special operations units.

U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Afghan Insurgent Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Field Guide

Studying past combat helps gain insight into how insurgents may operate in the future. This guide uses short, simple vignettes to highlight common Afghan insurgent tactics. Each vignette focuses on a particular mission profile, such as raids, ambushes, and defending against a cordon and search. While tactics are continually evolving, the Afghans have a well documented history of using similar techniques against foreign militaries. Most of the vignettes in this guide are from the 1980s when Afghan insurgents fought the Soviet Union. Despite being more than 20 years old, many of the tactics remain in use today. For a more complete description of Afghan insurgent tactics against the Soviets, MCIA strongly recommends reading The Other Side of the Mountain by Ali Jalali and Les Grau, which this guide is based on. The final three vignettes in this guide are from recent operations in Afghanistan and demonstrate the evolution of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) by Afghan insurgents.

DHS to Give Talk on “Deceptive Dating Tactics” at Online Dating Conference

The Department of Homeland Security is set to participate in a discussion panel at an online dating industry conference in Miami in the coming days. Tom Millar, chief of communications for the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is slated to discuss deceptive dating tactics in a January 24 panel at the iDate SuperConference event, said a statement from Ticondergoa Ventures, Inc., the sponsor of the conference. The event takes place on January 23-30, 2012 in Miami Beach. Millar’s session is designed, said Ticonderoga Ventures, to help dating operators prevent fraud within their respective sites.

(U//FOUO) Open Source Center Growth in Afghan Insurgent Reintegration

A body of open-source reporting suggests that fighters leaving the Afghan insurgency are doing so in greater numbers this winter (1,865 fighters) than last winter (443 fighters). As with the winter of 2009-2010, the majority of defecting fighters have continued to reintegrate into Afghan Government entities in the comparatively peaceful northern and western provinces of Afghanistan. The Taliban have rejected these reports, claiming that those joining the government are not Taliban fighters. Because of variations in the level of detail provided in media reports, this compilation could understate the number of reported militants leaving the battlefield. However, even 2,000 defections over six months would not appear to represent a major blow to an insurgency estimated to have 25,000 to 36,000 current fighters,12 and it is likely that at least some of those taking advantage of government reintegration programs were not committed fighters.

DEA Agents Helped Launder Millions in Drug Cartel Money

Mexico’s government allowed a group of undercover U.S. anti-drug agents and their Colombian informant to launder millions in cash for a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his Colombian cocaine supplier, according to documents made public Monday. The Mexican magazine Emeequis published portions of documents that describe how Drug Enforcement Administration agents, a Colombian trafficker-turned-informant and Mexican federal police officers in 2007 infiltrated the Beltran Leyva drug cartel and a cell of money launderers for Colombia’s Valle del Norte cartel in Mexico.

DHS Project Shield Program Completely Wasted $45 Million in Illinois

Project Shield was supposed to make citizens safer. But in the end, the $45-million Homeland Security program more resembled a disaster, wasting taxpayers’ dollars and failing to make a single citizen more secure. The failed Cook County initiative was replete with equipment that failed to work, missing records and untrained first responders according to a report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The report, to be released Monday but obtained by The Sun-Times and NBC5 News, found “millions of tax dollars may have been wasted.”

(U//FOUO) U.S. Marine Corps Afghanistan Operational Culture for Deploying Personnel

In certain parts of the US government, when an operation has unintended negative second or third-order consequences, they are called “blowback.” The radical Islamic movements in the Pashtun areas today were always present, but putting them on steroids in the 1980’s was pretty short-sighted by any reasonable accounting — a classic case of “blowback.” During the Soviet-Afghan war, the Pakistanis had their own agenda. The Pakistani Army’s intelligence branch, called the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, became extremely powerful by cooperating with the United States and the government of Saudi Arabia to channel roughly $7.2 billion dollars worth of covert foreign military aid to their preferred Mujahideen clients. To control the Mujahideen, the ISI formed seven resistance groups, each with a notional political party associated with it. These became known as “the Peshawar Seven.” CIA oversight of the covert money was weak, and much of it went into ISI’s pockets.

Canadian Defence Department Won’t Release Photos of Taliban Detainees’ Hair

The Defence Department is prepared to go to Federal Court and spend whatever it takes to prevent the public from seeing government photos of Taliban hairdos because it believes the captured insurgents have a right to their privacy. The department’s decision, outlined in newly released documents obtained by the Citizen, is the result of a test of the Access to Information law by two Ottawa lawyers, Paul Champ and Amir Attaran. To see how far DND would go to prevent the release of information about captured Afghan insurgents, Attaran requested copies of photographs the military took of such individuals but asked that the faces of the prisoners be completely blacked out and that only the hairdos of the detainees shown.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) Manual

The focus of Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is the personal development of each Marine in a team framework using a standardized, trainable, and sustainable close combat fighting system. As a weapon-based system, all techniques are integrated with equipment, physical challenges, and tactics found on the modern battlefield. The MCMAP is designed to increase the warfighting capabilities of individual Marines and units, enhance Marines’ self-confidence and esprit de corps, and foster the warrior ethos in all Marines. The MCMAP is a weapon-based system rooted in the credo that every Marine is a rifleman and will engage the aggressor from 500 meters to close quarter combat.

Interpol Secretary General Wants Global Cyber Fusion Center

As a former head of the US Secret Service, Ronald Noble knows only too well how terrorism, drug-smuggling and people-trafficking cross borders which individual police forces cannot. He is now Secretary General of Interpol, and a specialist team from the organisation he has spent 11 years rebuilding will next summer help the Metropolitan Police combat those crimes and others, during the huge security operation protecting the 2012 Olympic Games. Meeting The Independent before visiting Scotland Yard to discuss arrangements for the Games, Mr Noble said he recognised that some people are scared the event could bring an increased threat of violence to the UK. “In terms of terrorist activity, there is talk, there is chatter, that follows any major event,” he says, but adds Interpol has “not seen or heard terrorists saying we’re going to target this event”.

Income for Top 1% of Americans Rose 74% From 1996-2006

The rich have gotten richer, thanks to the stock market and the Bush tax cuts, a recent report has found. Growth in income from capital gains and dividends has widened the divide between the wealthy and the poor in recent years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. It supplanted wage inequality as the primary driver of the growing income gap, which helped spur the Occupy Wall Street movement last fall.

U.S. State Department Creates Bureau of Counterterrorism

The State Department plans to elevate its counterterrorism office to a full-fledged bureau on Wednesday, a move that officials say will send a strong signal to allies about the U.S. commitment to strengthening their ability to combat extremism. The promotion fulfills a pledge by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech last year to do so as part of an effort to integrate all the tools of American power to combat terror threats. The new bureau is not expected to receive a larger budget, but officials say it will help raise the State Department’s counterterrorism profile both within the U.S. government and abroad.

(U//FOUO/LES) Maryland Fusion Center Criminal Use of Police Scanner Apps and RadioReference.com

During several recent contacts with criminal gang members, an identified Maryland law enforcement agency has heard their radio transmissions broadcast over a suspect’s smartphone. In one incident, officers pursuing a suspect on foot overheard the suspect listening to the pursuing officers’ radio transmission over a smartphone. The radio broadcasts of the agency’s primary secure law enforcement channel had an approximate delay of three seconds on the suspect’s smartphone. Further investigation revealed that the general public, as well as criminal gang members and associates, are utilizing the website www.radioreference.com to listen to law enforcement secure channels streaming via the Internet. Registration and access to the site is free, with advanced features available to premium subscribers. A customer is able to search radio frequencies throughout the country by state, metro area, city and/or zip code. The website advertises a search for trunked frequencies as well. The frequencies are obtained over the Internet and any cell phone that has web access can listen in.

DHS Expands Future Attribute Screening to Study Behavioral Impact of Passive Imagery

In the last week before Christmas, the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office quietly issued an updated Privacy Impact Assessment for the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program. The controversial FAST program is designed to study the use of automated systems for scanning behavioral indicators to detect malicious intent in individuals who might pose a potential threat to security. A subject of FAST screening at an airport, sports arena or other public venue enters a mobile screening trailer that contains a number of devices that monitor behavioral cues believed to be associated with malicious intent. The subject is then asked typical screening questions in an attempt to elicit a heightened response and identify malicious actors. The new Privacy Impact Assessment indicates that in addition to verbal interactions, the FAST program will study the impact of passive screening measures on a subject including “audio, visual, or tactile stimuli.” In this modified version of the program, a subject will enter the FAST screening trailer and be confronted with images or videos and may never speak with security screening personnel.