Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Summary of U.S. Counterterrorism Strikes Outside Areas of Active Hostilities

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In accordance with the President’s direction and consistent with the President’s commitment to providing as much information as possible to the American people about U.S. counterterrorism activities, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is releasing today a summary of information provided to the DNI about both the number of strikes taken by the U.S. Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities and the assessed number of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes. “Areas of active hostilities” currently include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Used in March 2016 Brussels Attacks

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This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide a review of the tactics, techniques, and procedures demonstrated by the perpetrators of the 22 March 2016 attacks in Brussels, Belgium. The analysis in this JIB is based on statements by European government and law enforcement officials cited in media reporting and is subject to change with the release of official details from post-incident investigations. This JIB is provided by DHS, FBI, and NCTC to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials, first responders and private sector partners in deterring, preventing, preempting, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States.

NCTC Counterterrorism Digest January 26-February 2, 2016

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Counterterrorism Digest is a compilation of UNCLASSIFIED open source publicly available press material, to include relevant commentary on issues related to terrorism and counterterrorism over the past seven days. It is produced every Wednesday, excluding holidays. Counterterrorism Digest is produced by the National Counterterrorism Center and contains situational awareness items detailing on-going terrorism-related developments which may be of interest to security personnel.

NCTC Counterterrorism Digest January 20-26, 2016

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Counterterrorism Digest is a compilation of UNCLASSIFIED open source publicly available press material, to include relevant commentary on issues related to terrorism and counterterrorism over the past seven days. It is produced every Wednesday, excluding holidays. Counterterrorism Digest is produced by the National Counterterrorism Center and contains situational awareness items detailing on-going terrorism-related developments which may be of interest to security personnel.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Used in November 2015 Paris Attacks

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This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide a review of the tactics, techniques, and procedures demonstrated by the perpetrators of the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris, France. This JIB does not provide analysis of any follow-on operations or operations occurring in Europe in the wake of the attacks. It relies on a variety of open source and media reporting for the analysis, which could change as official details of the post-incident investigations come to light. This JIB is intended to support the activities of DHS, FBI and NCTC to assist federal, state, and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials, first responders, and private-sector security partners in effectively deterring, preventing, preempting, or responding to terrorist attacks against the United States.

U.S. National Counterintelligence Strategy 2016

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The National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America 2016 (Strategy) was developed in accordance with the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act of 2002 (Pub.L. No. 107-306, 116 Stat. 2383 (as amended) codified at 50 U.S.C. sec. 3383(d)(2)). The Strategy sets forth how the United States (U.S.) Government will identify, detect, exploit, disrupt, and neutralize foreign intelligence entity (FIE) threats. It provides guidance for the counterintelligence (CI) programs and activities of the U.S. Government intended to mitigate such threats.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Terrorist Impersonation of First Responders Overseas

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(U//FOUO) Two disrupted plots in Europe earlier this year highlight terrorists possible interest in impersonating first responders through the acquisition of authentic or fraudulent uniforms, equipment, vehicles, and other items which may be associated with government, military, law enforcement, fire,…

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Risks for U.S. Persons Traveling to Fight ISIS

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This Joint Intelligence Bulletin highlights the potential risks for US persons traveling to Syria or Iraq to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or expressing online a desire to do so. The FBI, DHS, and NCTC remain concerned that US persons traveling to combat ISIL are at risk of being killed, wounded, or captured. Further, ISIL members or supporters could attempt disingenuously to identify and target US persons so as to harm them before or upon their arrival in Syria or Iraq. The State Department has issued travel warnings for both Iraq and Syria and the US Government does not support US persons traveling overseas to combat ISIL.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: ISIL Supporters Targeting Uniformed Personnel for Weapons and Equipment

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In the first half of 2015 there were at least two instances of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inspired individuals in the West expressing interest in targeting law enforcement (LE) to obtain weapons and other specialized gear through theft. As ISIL continues to exhort its individuals in the West to carry out attacks, the potential exists that some terrorists may use this tactic and attempt to steal weapons or issued items, such as credentials, badges, uniforms, radios, ballistic vests, vehicles, and other equipment, which could be used in furtherance of an attack. We note that laws governing the purchase of firearms differ widely among Western nations making this tactic more likely to occur in countries where laws are most restrictive and firearms are harder to obtain through legitimate means.

DoD-DoJ-CIA-NSA-ODNI Inspectors General Report on the President’s Surveillance Program

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A declassified report from 2009 compiled by the offices of the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Office of the Director National Intelligence on the President’s Surveillance Program.

DHS Privacy and Civil Liberties Assessment Report on Executive Order 13636

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Section 5 of Executive Order 13636 (Executive Order) requires the DHS Chief Privacy Officer and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to assess the privacy and civil liberties impacts of the activities the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, or Department) undertakes pursuant to the Executive Order and to provide those assessments, together with recommendations for mitigating identified privacy risks, in an annual public report. In addition, the DHS Privacy Office and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) are charged with coordinating and compiling the Privacy and Civil Liberties assessments conducted by Privacy and Civil Liberties officials from other Executive Branch departments and agencies with reporting responsibilities under the Executive Order.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Terrorists Encouraging Use of Propane Cylinders as IEDs

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Since the May 2010 publication of the Roll Call Release “Terrorist Use of Propane Cylinders,” terrorists have continued to advocate the use of propane cylinders in building improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Throughout 2014, al-Qa‘ida-inspired violent extremists posted on the Internet English-language instructions for building and using propane IEDs and encouraged attacks in the United States. The posts recommended military, commercial, and financial sector targets, major metropolitan areas, and mass gatherings.

National Counterintelligence Executive Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information Training Course

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This course identifies and discusses employees’ responsibilities for safeguarding classified information against unauthorized disclosures. This course also outlines the criminal and administrative sanctions which can be imposed for an unauthorized disclosure. While there are multiple categories of unauthorized disclosures, this course will focus on unauthorized disclosures to the media due to the significance of the damage these leaks have caused to both the Intelligence Community (IC) and national security.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Malicious Cyber Actors Use Advanced Search Techniques

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Malicious cyber actors are using advanced search techniques, referred to as “Google dorking,” to locate information that organizations may not have intended to be discoverable by the public or to find website vulnerabilities for use in subsequent cyber attacks. “Google dorking” has become the acknowledged term for this malicious activity, but it applies to any search engine with advanced search capabilities. By searching for specific file types and keywords, malicious cyber actors can locate information such as usernames and passwords, e-mail lists, sensitive documents, bank account details, and website vulnerabilities. For example, a simple “operator:keyword” syntax, such as “filetype:xls intext:username,” in the standard search box would retrieve Excel spreadsheets containing usernames. Additionally, freely available online tools can run automated scans using multiple dork queries.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Medical Treatment Presents Opportunity for Discovery of Violent Extremist Activities

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Efforts to gain expertise with explosive, incendiary, and chemical/biological devices may lead to injuries and emergency treatment, which may provide potential indicators of violent extremist activities to responding emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. Scene size-up and patient assessment provide first responders the opportunity to view both the scene and any patient injuries. EMS personnel and other first responders should consider the totality of information gleaned through direct observation and the statements of patients, witnesses, and bystanders to evaluate whether an injury is a genuine accident or related to violent extremist activity.

National Counterterrorism Center Flyer: College Drone Programs Can Be Targeted by Violent Extremists

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College programs in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are susceptible to potential penetration or attack plotting by violent extremists. Enhanced information and operational security practices can reduce the likelihood of a violent extremist infiltrating UAS programs or planning an attack against students and faculty. There are potential indicators that a student or faculty member may possess ulterior motives for their interest in unmanned aircraft.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Terrorists Continued Interest in Targeting Mass Transit

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Terrorists in late December 2013 conducted three attacks targeting people using public transportation systems in Russia, emphasizing terrorists’ persistent interest in attacking locations where large congregations of people are confined to small, often enclosed spaces. Russian officials claim North Caucasus-based violent extremists associated with the Imirat Kavkaz (IK) probably conducted these attacks to embarrass the Russian government in the build-up to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The IK, a violent extremist group based in Russia, has no known capability in the Homeland and is unlikely to directly target Western interests overseas.

National Counterterrorism Center Enhanced Safeguards Decision Matrix

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The DNI, D/NCTC and the Attorney General approved revised Attorney General Guidelines for NCTC’s handling of US Person (USP) information in March 2012. These revised NCTC Attorney General Guidelines (“NCTC’s AGGs”) govern NCTC’s access, retention, use, and dissemination of datasets identified as including non-terrorism information and information pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism, and provide NCTC with the authority to retain USP information for up to five years (unless a shorter period is required by law, executive order, regulation, international agreement, etc.). During this temporary retention and assessment period, additional safeguards and protections are applied to this data, to include baseline (and potentially enhanced) safeguards, as well as additional compliance, auditing, reporting and oversight mechanisms.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Report on Boston Marathon Bombings

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On April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon detonated within seconds of each other, killing three and injuring more than two hundred people. Law enforcement officials identified brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as primary suspects in the bombings. After an extensive search for the then-unidentified suspects, law enforcement officials encountered Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, Massachusetts. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot during the encounter and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who fled the scene, was apprehended the following day and remains in federal custody.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Fake Help Desk Scams an Ongoing Problem

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Law enforcement continues to see reporting of malicious cyber actors using fake help desk scams, also known as technical support scams. These scams, if successful, seek to compromise and take control of computer systems. Malicious cyber actors send users an e-mail or they make cold calls, purportedly representing a help desk from a legitimate software or hardware vendor. The malicious cyber actors try to trick users into believing that their computer is malfunctioning—often by having them look at a system log that typically shows scores of harmless or low-level errors—then convincing them to download software or let the “technician” remotely access the personal computer to “repair” it.