This Reference Aid is based on I&A’s review of the radicalization to violence of 39 US homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) who either successfully carried out or were arrested before attempting to carry out attacks in the Homeland between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2016. It is intended to inform federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial counterterrorism, law enforcement, and countering violent extremism (CVE) officials. For additional information about these HVEs, please see the classified I&A Intelligence Assessment “(U//FOUO) Commonalities in HVEs’ Radicalization to Violence Provide Prevention Opportunities,” published 10 February 2017.
This case study is an examination of behaviors that resulted in a disrupted terrorist attack, revealing a cycle of planning and preparation that could provide indicators for preventing similar attempts. The terrorist attack planning cycle is not a static, linear process but rather could begin in any of the several stages with variances in details, sequence, and timing. An individual’s mobilization to violence often provides observable behavioral indicators such as, pre-attack surveillance, training, and rehearsal. The indicators potentially allow third-party observers and law enforcement to identify individuals moving to violence, circumstances that may allow for disruption of planned attacks. This product is intended to cultivate an awareness of the planning cycle among stakeholders for identification, mitigation, and disruption of attack planning.
Terrorist and violent extremist groups have long expressed interest in poisoning and adulterating food and beverage supplies in the West but rarely use this as a tactic. Nonetheless, recent incidents in Europe and Africa underscore the continued interest by some groups in targeting food products at point-of-sale, distribution, and storage. The mere threat of product adulteration in the Homeland almost certainly would cause psychological and economic harm. While we have not seen any specific, credible terrorist threats against Homeland food production and distribution infrastructure, we cannot rule out the possibility of inspired violent extremists or disgruntled insiders attempting to adulterate or poison food and beverages with commonly available toxic industrial chemicals or crude biological toxins due to the relative ease of product manipulation, especially at the last point of sale, which criminal actors have demonstrated consistently in the past.
On December 2, 2015 at about 10:58 am San Bernardino Police began to receive numerous calls of shots fired at the Inland Regional Center located at 1365 South Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino. Initial calls indicated that there were several gunshots heard. Another call reported that there were two or possibly three subjects in all black clothing and masks armed with assault weapons. Within a matter of three to four minutes there were multiple calls reporting that multiple masked subjects had entered in the conference room, located in Building 3 of the Inland Regional Center, and opened fire in the main conference room.
Recent calls over the past year for attacks on hospitals in the West by media outlets sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) highlight terrorists’ perception of hospitals as viable targets for attack. Targeting hospitals and healthcare facilities is consistent with ISIS’s tactics in Iraq and Syria, its previous calls for attacks on hospitals in the West, and the group’s calls for attacks in the West using “all available means.” While we have not seen any specific, credible threat against hospitals and healthcare facilities in the United States, we remain concerned that calls for such attacks may resonate with some violent extremists and lone offenders in the Homeland because of their likely perceived vulnerabilities and value as targets.
(U//FOUO) DHS, Fusion Centers Reference Aid: Malicious Terrorism Hoaxes Likely to Endure, Strain State and Local First Responder Resources
This Reference Aid is intended to provide information on malicious terrorism hoaxes that will continue to challenge first responder resources throughout the Homeland and territories. This Reference Aid is provided by I&A, DIAC, NCRIC, NVRIC, and NJ-ROIC to support their respective activities, to provide situational awareness, and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and first responders with recognizing the indicators and implications of malicious terrorism hoaxes. The use of hoax calls may also be used as a technique to lure authorities to a particular location for the purpose of conducting a potential attack, but is not discussed in this article, as luring is viewed as its own distinct tactic.
(U//FOUO) New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center Bulletin: Improvised Explosive Device Awareness
The NJ ROIC currently has no specific indication of any credible specific threats to transportation facilities. However, with the rise in “self-radicalized” actor(s), and homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) influenced by ISIL and other terror groups, targeted violent attacks to any of these sectors could occur with little or no notice by an individual(s) who has not yet garnered law enforcement attention. This advisory highlights recent transportation concerns in the wake of the recent attacks in Belgium.
Several recent incidents underline the possibility that soft targets, including entertainment venues such as bars and restaurants, are increasingly chosen over hard targets that may hold more significance to the victims and the attacking person or group. Using analysis of recent events and data from the START Global Terrorism Database, the BRIC completed the following study to raise awareness regarding the targeting of entertainment venues by violent extremist groups.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Used in November 2015 Paris Attacks
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.
Joint Staff Strategic Assessment: Neurobiological Insights on Radicalization and Mobilization to Violence
This concise review presents theories, findings, and techniques from the neurobiology and cognitive sciences, as well as insights from the operational community, to provide a current and comprehensive description of why individuals and groups engage in violent political behavior. This report is based primarily on recent findings from the academic community. It has been compiled with the policy, planning, and operational community as the primary audience.
(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,…
Netherlands National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism Global Jihadism and Radicalization Analysis
This report looks in greater depth at the phenomenon of global jihadism and how it manifests itself in the Netherlands. It addresses the question of what global jihadism actually involves and what factors have led to its current revival. We must try to understand jihadism and the form it takes in the Netherlands: an understanding of this phenomenon, and of its underlying processes and motives, is a vital prerequisite for devising an appropriate approach. This analysis therefore starts with the ideology behind jihadism. It will also reflect on the process of radicalisation that occurs before a person embraces extremist views. After all, in order to intervene effectively to halt radicalisation it is important to understand the potential appeal of extremist ideas and why some people are susceptible to them.
Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this study focuses on the question of how to best prevent youth radicalisation in the EU. It evaluates counter-radicalisation policies, both in terms of their efficiency and their broader social and political impact. Building on a conception of radicalisation as a process of escalation, it highlights the need to take into account the relation between individuals, groups and state responses. In this light, it forefronts some of the shortcomings of current policies, such as the difficulties of reporting individuals on the grounds of uncertain assessments of danger and the problem of attributing political grievances to ethnic and religious specificities. Finally, the study highlights the ambiguous nature of pro-active administrative practices and exceptional counter-terrorism legislation and their potentially damaging effects in terms of fundamental rights.
In May 2015, the wife of a US military member was approached in front of her home by two Middle-Eastern males. The men stated that she was the wife of a US interrogator. When she denied their claims, the men laughed. The two men left the area in a dark-colored, four-door sedan with two other Middle-Eastern males in the vehicle. The woman had observed the vehicle in the neighborhood on previous occasions.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: ISIL Supporters Targeting Uniformed Personnel for Weapons and Equipment
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.
I&A assesses that the plot disrupted by Belgian authorities in January 2015 is the first instance in which a large group of terrorists possibly operating under ISIL direction has been discovered and may indicate the group has developed the capability to launch more complex operations in the West. We differentiate the complex, centrally planned plotting in Belgium from other, more-simplistic attacks by ISIL-inspired or directed individuals, which could occur with littleto no warning.
This Field Analysis Report (FAR) is designed to support awareness and inform enforcement and collection operations of federal, state, and local partners involved in homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. Some of the activities described in the FAR may be constitutionally protected activities and should be supported by additional facts to justify increased suspicion. The totality of relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action. Our assessment of the level of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) name recognition since its declaration of a caliphate in June 2014 is based on a review of suspicious activity reporting (SAR) across the United States between 1 January and 30 December 2014, criminal complaints of US persons charged with supporting or seeking to support ISIL, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) intelligence reporting, and DHS I&A open source reporting to assess the influence of ISIL’s messaging campaign within the United States and ISIL’s perceived legitimacy among homegrown violent extremists (HVEs).
Radicalization is a critical subset of the terrorist threat. The RCMP defines radicalization as the process by which individuals — usually young people — are introduced to an overtly ideological message and belief system that encourages movement from moderate, mainstream beliefs towards extreme views. While radical thinking is by no means problematic in itself, it becomes a threat to national security when Canadian citizens or residents espouse or engage in violence or direct action as a means of promoting political, ideological or religious extremism.
An intelligence assessment released last month by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis found that a domestic terrorist attack conducted by individuals affiliated with or inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would most likely “employ tactics involving edged weapons, small arms, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).” The assessment, which was obtained by Public Intelligence, was released in October following several recent attacks conducted in Europe and Australia by individuals sympathetic to ISIL. Based on a review of these and other planned attacks, analysts at DHS evaluated the tactics and targets, as well as operational security measures employed in order to determine “tactics, targets, and tradecraft that potentially could be used in the Homeland by individuals associated with or inspired” by ISIL.