The purpose of this assessment is to alert law enforcement and homeland security officials about recent suspicious activity involving school buses and the licenses to drive them.
Terrorists overseas have suggested conducting vehicle ramming attacks—using modified or unmodified vehicles—against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles. Such attacks could be used to target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including sporting events, entertainment venues, or shopping centers. Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct a Homeland attack with minimal prior training or experience.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin is intended to provide information on the 7 January 2012 arrest by the FBI Tampa Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), as part of a planned law enforcement action, of Florida-based Sami OsmakacUSPER. Osmakac is charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. This information is provided to support the activities of FBI and DHS and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial, counterterrorism and law enforcement officials to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.
A flyer designed by the FBI and the Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting in internet cafes lists basic tools used for online privacy as potential signs of terrorist activity. The document, part of a program called “Communities Against Terrorism”, lists the use of “anonymizers, portals, or other means to shield IP address” as a sign that a person could be engaged in or supporting terrorist activity. The use of encryption is also listed as a suspicious activity along with steganography, the practice of using “software to hide encrypted data in digital photos” or other media. In fact, the flyer recommends that anyone “overly concerned about privacy” or attempting to “shield the screen from view of others” should be considered suspicious and potentially engaged in terrorist activities.
A collection of 25 flyers produced by the FBI and the Department of Justice are distributed to local businesses in a variety of industries to promote suspicious activity reporting. The fliers are not released publicly, though several have been published in the past by news media and various law enforcement agencies around the country. We have compiled this collection from a number of online sources.
Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Fusion Centers, U.S. Secret Service
We have no specific or credible information indicating a threat to the US Capitol or the National Capital Region (NCR) to coincide with the 2012 State of the Union address. We assess, however, that al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates and allies remain committed to attacking the Homeland and, as of February 2010, al-Qa‘ida identified the NCR and the State of the Union address itself as important targets, presumably for attacks. Moreover, homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) as well as lone offenders could view the event as an attractive target, offering the means to inflict casualties and garner extensive media coverage. Detecting homeland plots involving HVEs and lone offenders continues to challenge law enforcement and intelligence agencies due to the operational independence of the perpetrators, which can reduce or eliminate preoperational indicators.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin provides law enforcement, public, and private sector safety officials with an evaluation of potential terrorist threats during the 2011 US holiday season, extending from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. This information is provided to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to assist federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government counterterrorism and first responder officials in deterring, preventing, preempting, or responding to terrorist attacks within the United States.
The FBI assesses with high confidence a that law enforcement personnel and hacking victims are at risk for identity theft and harassment through a cyber technique called “doxing.” “Doxing” is a common practice among hackers in which a hacker will publicly release identifying information including full name, date of birth, address, and pictures typically retrieved from the social networking site profiles of a targeted individual.
FBI-DHS Joint Bulletin from May 2008 providing assessment for general awareness of the potential threat posed by terrorists using radio-controlled model aircraft as an improvised explosive device delivery platform.
Ten surveillance videos released by the FBI regarding the investigation into the so-called “Illegals Program”, a network of accused Russian spies operating unofficially in the U.S. from the late 1990s to 2010.
The National Security Agency, a secretive arm of the U.S. military, has begun providing Wall Street banks with intelligence on foreign hackers, a sign of growing fears of financial sabotage. The assistance from the agency that conducts electronic spying overseas is part of an effort by American banks and other financial firms to get help from the U.S. military and private defense contractors to fend off cyber attacks, according to interviews with U.S. officials, security experts and defense industry executives. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also warned banks of particular threats amid concerns that hackers could potentially exploit security vulnerabilities to wreak havoc across global markets and cause economic mayhem. While government and private sector security sources are reluctant to discuss specific lines of investigations, they paint worst-case scenarios of hackers ensconcing themselves inside a bank’s network to disable trading systems for stocks, bonds and currencies, trigger flash crashes, initiate large transfers of funds or turn off all ATM machines.
The FBI assesses that the hacktivist group Anonymous is likely to participate in the “Day of Rage” protest scheduled for 17 September 2011 in New York City‟s financial district. While the extent of group members‟ participation in the event is unknown, in late August 2011 Anonymous endorsed the event through propaganda consisting of a video posted on YouTube and a campaign poster, as well as references in their Twitter accounts. In the past, Anonymous has been involved in physical protests that coincided with planned cyber attacks. This could indicate an intention to conduct a cyber attack in conjunction with the “Day of Rage” protest.
With its whitewashed bell tower, groomed lawns and Georgian-style buildings, Brooklyn College looks like a slice of 18th Century America dropped into modern-day New York City. But for years New York police have feared this bucolic setting might hide a sinister secret: the beginnings of a Muslim terrorist cell. Investigators have been infiltrating Muslim student groups at Brooklyn College and other schools in the city, monitoring their Internet activity and placing undercover agents in their ranks, police documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Legal experts say the operation may have broken a 19-year-old pact with the colleges and violated U.S. privacy laws, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid. The infiltration was part of a secret NYPD intelligence-gathering effort that put entire Muslim communities under scrutiny. Police photographed restaurants and grocery stores that cater to Muslims and built databases showing where people shopped, got their hair cut and prayed. The AP reported on the secret campaign in a series of stories beginning in August.
The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings. Often law enforcement authorities will “have a photo of a person and for whatever reason they just don’t know who it is [but they know] this is clearly the missing link to our case,” said Nick Megna, a unit chief at the FBI’s criminal justice information services division. The new facial recognition service can help provide that missing link by retrieving a list of mug shots ranked in order of similarity to the features of the subject in the photo.
For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device—a stingray—were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest. Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries. A stingray’s role in nabbing the alleged “Hacker”—Daniel David Rigmaiden—is shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. The FBI says it obtains appropriate court approval to use the device.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Potential Al-Qaeda Threat to New York City and Washington, DC During 9/11 Anniversary Period
We assess that al-Qa‘ida has likely maintained an interest since at least February 2010 in conducting large attacks in the Homeland timed to coincide with symbolic dates, to include the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We also remain concerned that the May 2011 death of Usama bin Ladin (UBL), coupled with the subsequent removal of several key al-Qa’ida figures, could further contribute to al-Qa’ida’s desire to stage an attack on a symbolic date—such as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11—as a way to avenge UBL’s death and reassert the group’s relevance, although operational readiness likely remains the primary driving factor behind the timing of al-Qa’ida attacks.
Al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates have maintained an interest in obtaining aviation training, particularly on small aircraft, and in recruiting Western individuals for training in Europe or the United States, although we do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned against aviation by al-Qa‘ida or its affiliates.
(U//FOUO) FBI Minnesota Requesting Information on All Upcoming Special Events Before September 11, 2011
The FBI – Minneapolis Field Office is requesting assistance in compiling a list of all known special events planned throughout the state between the dates of September 6-12, 2011, to include but not limited to events in regards to the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Information regarding memorials, rallies, celebrations and other public or private events that will attract a large crowd within your jurisdiction would be appreciated, September 11 related or otherwise.
As of February 2010, al-Qa‘ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the tenth anniversary of 11 September 2001. As one option, al-Qa‘ida was looking at the possibility of tipping a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge. Al-Qa‘ida noted that an attack from tilting the train would only succeed one time because the tilting would be spotted. Al-Qa‘ida also noted that newer train cars each have their own braking system, and that movement in a specific direction would derail it, but would not cause it to fall off the track.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) highlights potential terrorist threats related to the 10-year anniversary of the 11 September 2001 (9/11) attacks. This JIB provides perspective on the threat to the Homeland and US interests overseas from al-Qa‘ida, al-Qa‘ida affiliates and allies, and al-Qa‘ida-inspired homegrown violent extremists (HVEs). FBI and DHS are providing this information to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials, as well as first responders and private sector security officials, in effectively deterring, preventing, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States. Unless otherwise noted, this JIB uses the FBI’s definitions of terms, which may differ from the definitions used by DHS.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) updates a DHS-FBI joint analytic product of the same title dated 3 September 2010 and is intended to provide warning and perspective regarding the scope of the potential terrorist threats to the United States, specifically towards US persons. This product is provided to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to help federal, state, and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks directed against the United States.
Despite aggressive law enforcement efforts, stricter government regulations and tighter borrowing standards, mortgage fraud “remains elevated,” and may be getting worse, the FBI said Friday. While top officials admitted they didn’t want to sound “alarmist,” they acknowledged the distressed housing market, bleak unemployment picture and weak economy continue to provide fertile ground for fraud in the mortgage industry. “It could get worse,” said Deputy Assistant FBI Director David Cardona, who oversees the FBI’s financial crimes units. “There could be more victims,” he said.
“Body packing” is a well-documented concealment method criminals have used to smuggle drugs or other contraband. Body packing in humans and animals may involve several forms of concealment — including insertion into body orifices, ingestion, or possibly surgical implantation—of illicit items or material inside or hidden on the body to escape detection by security systems and personnel. Terrorists often assign high priority to concealment in planning attacks, and such methods—to include surgical implantation—offer potential means for suicide operatives to deliver improvised explosive devices to targets.
The FBI has been notified that ATX Global, an online marketing company, has mailed approximately 730 envelopes that include a marketing letter with an affixed live 9mm Luger PPU round. The ammo was used to catch the reader’s attention corresponding with the first line, “If you had just One Shot…” This mass mailing did not specifically target gun and ammo businesses.
The Homeland Security Department’s plan to centralize and expand in-house access to the FBI’s database of suspected terrorists has prompted a letter of protest from a coalition of Washington privacy organizations. In public comments submitted Aug. 5, a coalition led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center challenged a proposed rule under which Homeland Security would duplicate an existing system of records to create the DHS Watchlist Service. It will contain individuals’ names, dates and places of birth, biometric and photographic data, passport information, driver’s license information and “other available identifying particulars.” Homeland Security during the past year has been reviewing the eight-year-old terrorist screening database used at airports and is preparing, as set out in the July 6 proposal, to widen employee access to a mirror copy of the records created by the FBI and Justice Department “in order to automate and simplify the current method for transmitting” the data to DHS component agencies including the Transportation Security Administration. TSA uses the terrorist watch list for the Secure Flight program, which allows it to instantly check passenger names that airlines were given by ticket purchasers against a consistent national watch list of suspected terrorists.