We assess that a Shia homegrown violent extremist (HVE) attack in the US is highly unlikely absent a catalyzing event that could galvanize some US-based Shia to engage independently in violence. Given sustained bilateral US-Iran tensions, the occurrence of such a catalyst could prompt Shia HVE activity relatively quickly, underscoring the benefits of early engagement with Shia communities about indicators of HVE radicalization. Potential triggering events for such Shia HVE violence include US military action against Iran and Lebanese Hizballah, Shia leadership or senior clerics sanctioning violence in the US, prominent Sunni government attacks on Shia, or high-profile anti-Shia activity in the US, judging from the results of a structured NCTC brainstorming exercise.
(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Guide: Sunni Extremist Attacks and Plots in the US Before 9/11
NCTC assesses that the Sunni extremist threat to the US before 9/11 was characterized by diverse extremist organizations and lone actors motivated by multiple ideological narratives and other factors, including Salafi jihadism, Palestinian nationalism, theological disputes within Islam, anti-Semitism, and anti-Hindu sentiments. We have identified a dozen successful attacks, four disrupted plots, and one attempt to set up an extremist training camp in the US between 1973 and 2001, underscoring the persistent threat from al-Qa‘ida–associated extremists, Palestinian terrorist groups, and Sunni extremist lone actors in the decades leading up to 9/11. These extremists chose a wide array of targets, with the majority of their attacks before 1993 focused on Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim individuals or institutions. Most attacks after that date were against civilian or US Government targets, because of al-Qa‘ida–associated extremists’ focus on indiscriminate mass casualty attacks. In some cases, we lack clear insight into the attackers’ motivations because of information gaps, and FBI disagrees about the motivations underlying two of these attacks.
DHS-FBI Guide: Handling Threats to Private Citizens and Locations Named Online by Violent Extremists
The fusion center has no information to indicate specific or credible threats to people whose names have been published online by violent extremists. You are being provided this advisory to assist your agency in responding to queries from members of the public or other concerned parties. This information, which often includes personally identifiable information (PII) obtained maliciously via the Internet, most likely represents aspirational threats. Its primary purpose is likely to heighten anxiety and a sense of vulnerability. It is unlikely that violent extremist-inspired individuals in the United States will target people identified online, but this cannot be ruled out entirely.
(U//FOUO) DHS Reference Aid: Overview of Recently Successful or Arrested HVEs’ Radicalization to Violence
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.
(U//FOUO) NCTC Homegrown Violent Extremist Mobilization Indicators for Public Safety Personnel 2017 Edition
The indicators of violent extremist mobilization described herein are intended to provide federal, state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement a roadmap of observable behaviors that could inform whether individuals or groups are preparing to engage in violent extremist activities including potential travel overseas to join a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The indicators are grouped by their assessed levels of diagnosticity—meaning how clearly we judge the behavior demonstrates an individual’s trajectory towards terrorist activity.
In 2011, the United States adopted the Strategy for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (Strategy) and a corresponding Strategic Implementation Plan. Since publication, the mission to prevent violent extremism has progressed, and violent extremist threats have continued to evolve. The overall goal of the Strategy and United States Government efforts to implement it remains unchanged: to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from inspiring, radicalizing, financing, or recruiting individuals or groups in the United States to commit acts of violence. This updated Strategic Implementation Plan responds to the current dynamics of violent extremism and reflects experiences and knowledge acquired over the last five years. It replaces the 2011 Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide new insight into the targeting preferences of some homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) and to examine detection challenges and opportunities. This JIB is provided by FBI, DHS, and NCTC to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and private sector security partners in deterring, preventing, or disrupting terrorist attacks within the United States.
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.
Despite efforts to counter violent extremism, the threat continues to evolve within our borders. Extremism and acts of targeted violence continue to impact our local communities and online violent propaganda has permeated social media. Countering these prevailing dynamics requires a fresh approach that focuses on education and enhancing public safety—protecting our citizens from becoming radicalized by identifying the catalysts driving extremism.
In March 2014, the White House National Security Council (NSC) requested assistance from three regions with piloting the development of a comprehensive framework that promotes multidisciplinary solutions to countering violent extremism. The Greater Boston region was selected because of its existing collaborative efforts and nationally recognized success with developing robust comprehensive violence prevention and intervention strategies. With the support of the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center, a range of stakeholders in the Greater Boston region began to develop a locally-driven framework. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts has had a coordinating role in this process.
Radicalization is the process by which an individual, group, or mass of people undergo a transformation from participating in the political process via legal means to the use or support of violence for political purposes (radicalism). Radicalism includes specific forms, such as terrorism, which is violence against the innocent bystander, or insurgency, which is violence against the state. It does not include legal and/or nonviolent political protest, such as protest that is more properly called activism.
This Assessment highlights the tactics, targets, and tradecraft that potentially could be used in the Homeland by individuals associated with or inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); we do not address the likelihood of an attack against the United States by the group. This Assessment is intended to support the activities of DHS 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.
Propaganda providing guidance and/or encouraging “individual jihad” or small cell operations against the West continues to be a prevalent theme in jihadist messaging. This bulletin was created by the CFIX in order to address recent propaganda from the Islamic State and its supporters which provides guidance on targeting law enforcement officers. The CFIX bases its analysis in this bulletin from open source reporting and internet postings with varying degrees of reliability, especially in regards to the true intention and capabilities of terrorist organizations and their supporters. This information is intended to support local, state and federal government agencies along with other entities in developing / prioritizing protective and support measures relating to an existing or emerging threat to homeland security.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Medical Treatment Presents Opportunity for Discovery of Violent Extremist Activities
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.
Facility security measures, such as interior control points or exterior barriers, may require first responders to adjust normal protocols and procedures to operate rapidly during emergencies. The timeline below is an overview of attacks and plots against US-based facilities with varying levels of security. The diversity of tactics and targets used underscores the need for interagency exercises and training that incorporates multiple scenarios to account for building security measures likely to be encountered.
(U//FOUO) DHS Bulletin: Self-identified Anarchist Extremists Target Urban Gentrification Sites with Arson
This Note analyzes the recent use of arson by anarchist extremists targeting urban development sites they describe as negatively impacting lower income residents through “gentrification.” This information is provided to enable federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement; first responders; and private sector security officials to identify, preempt, prevent, or respond to intentional acts targeting urban development sites by anarchist extremist campaigns.
A facilitated brainstorming session was convened to identify and examine the most common misconceptions about conventional Homeland plotting. These misconceptions stemmed from inquiries received from Federal, state, local, tribal, and private-sector consumers and from articles published by outside experts and in the media. Analysts identified the following six misconceptions as the most common and compared them with current analytic lines.
The majority of state and local participant feedback on training that DHS or DOJ provided or funded and that GAO identified as CVE-related was positive or neutral, but a minority of participants raised concerns about biased, inaccurate, or offensive material. DHS and DOJ collected feedback from 8,424 state and local participants in CVE-related training during fiscal years 2010 and 2011, and 77—less than 1 percent—provided comments that expressed such concerns. According to DHS and DOJ officials, agencies used the feedback to make changes where appropriate. DOJ’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other components generally solicit feedback for more formal, curriculum-based training, but the FBI does not require this for activities such as presentations by guest speakers because the FBI does not consider this to be training. Similarly, DOJ’s United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAO) do not require feedback on presentations and similar efforts. Nevertheless, FBI field offices and USAOs covered about 39 percent (approximately 9,900) of all participants in DOJ CVE-related training during fiscal years 2010 and 2011 through these less formal methods, yet only 4 of 21 FBI field offices and 15 of 39 USAOs chose to solicit feedback on such methods. GAO has previously reported that agencies need to develop systematic evaluation processes in order to obtain accurate information about the benefits of their training. Soliciting feedback for less formal efforts on a more consistent basis could help these agencies ensure their quality.
(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Advisory: Homegrown Violent Extremists Targeting Law-Enforcement Officers
Some homegrown violent extremists (HVE) have targeted US law-enforcement entities and have used publicly available information to counter these entities’ CT tactics and security practices. Law-enforcement entities are being identified by these extremists as both strategic targets and targets of opportunity, mainly because a core element of HVE subculture perceives that persecution by US law enforcement reflects the West’s inherent aggression toward Islam, which reinforces the violent opposition by HVEs to law enforcement.
An updated version of a 2009 “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” produced by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The list of terms has been substantially reduced and does not include a number of controversial terms from the first version, such as “alternative media” and “direct action.”
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin is intended to increase awareness and provide understanding of the nature of potentially emergent threats in response to the alleged killing of civilians by a US soldier in Afghanistan and the burning of Korans and other religious documents on a military base. 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 and the private sector to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.
Law enforcement and government officials for decades have understood the critical importance of building relationships, based on trust, with the communities they serve. Partnerships are vital to address a range of challenges and must have as their foundation a genuine commitment on the part of law enforcement and government to address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety. In our efforts to counter violent extremism, we will rely on existing partnerships that communities have forged with Federal, State, and local government agencies. This reliance, however, must not change the nature or purpose of existing relationships. In many instances, our partnerships and related activities were not created for national security purposes but nonetheless have an indirect impact on countering violent extremism (CVE).
(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Mobilizing Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) Behavioral Indicators
A US Government interagency study of homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) revealed four major mobilizing patterns shared by a majority of HVE cases between 2008 and 2010, providing officials with an emerging picture of distinct behaviors often associated with an individual mobilizing for violence. These four patterns—links to known extremists, ideological commitment to extremism, international travel, and pursuit of weapons and associated training—repeatedly appeared in the case studies, reinforcing initial assessments of potential trends. Awareness of the patterns can help combat the recent rise in these cases while providing a data-driven tool for assessing potential changes in the HVE threat to the Homeland.