Saturday, January 18, 2014

The IPT Update

General security, policy
1.  Obama fights a push to add Iran sanctions; Former CT resident arrested after attempting to ship sensitive military documents to Iran 
2.  China conducts 1st test of new ultra-high speed missile vehicle
3.  US investigating export and import procedures at Honeywell after the firm included Chinese parts in equipment it built for the F-35 fighter jet
4.  State Dep't designates three Ansar al-Shari'a organizations and leaders 
5.  Senate report: Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi could have been prevented; Senator: Benghazi survivors blamed attack on terrorism in FBI interviews
6.  Colorado woman sentenced in conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists
7.  Ex-US soldier who sought to join al Shabaab convicted and sentenced to 7 years 
8. Oregon terror convict for Mohamed Mohamud seeks snooping evidence
9.  Calgary man killed while fighting in Syria: security source

Air, rail, port, health, energy & communication security
10.  Massive RCMP probe stopped Al-Qaeda-linked conspiracy to derail passenger train: newly released documents; Entrapment defense likely
11. Passenger charged in FL with making threats to take down airplane 
12. LAX shooting delayed 15 flights more than three hours, report says
13. TSA to begin inspecting airliner repair shops to stop potential sabotage and theft
14. Report: Airport gun confiscations soared 20% in 2013
15. Judge rules U.S. government wrongly labeled Stanford grad student a terrorist
16. US senators ask Target CEO for information on massive data breach

Financing, money laundering, fraud, identity theft, civil litigation
17. Treasurer of charitable organization, Sheikh Javed Rehmat, pleads guilty to making false statements

Border security, immigration & customs
18. Border-patrol drones being borrowed by other agencies more often than previously known
19. Prosecutor: Indian diplomat indicted on visa fraud charge, but has left US
20. Radical Syrian cleric secures US visa despite endorsing suicide bombings

21. Meet al-Qaeda's new poster boy for the Middle East
22. FBI: Kenya mall attackers believed to be dead
23. Brigades of Lone Wolves claims responsibility for recent Egypt attacks; Arab neighbors take split paths in constitutions
24. What ties Hezbollah to Hariri's murder?; Palestinians prepare for potential Hizballah confrontation
25. Israel exposes Hamas-linked group's West Bank terror plot
26. 7 Afghans involved in green-on-blue attacks may be freed
27. UK police arrest two men on suspicion of terrorist offences in Syria
28. Terrorist gets 5 extra years in prison for refusing to reveal uncrackable password to British police
29. Turkish police detain AlQaeda suspects, including two employees of a gov't-supported Islamic charity group that provides aid to Syria and launched flotilla against Israel

Comment / analysis
30. Soeren Kern:  The Islamization of Germany in 2013

The Investigative Project on Terrorism Update is designed for law enforcement, the intelligence community and policy makers for non-profit research and educational use only.   Quoted material is subject to the copyright protections of the original sources, which should be cited for attribution, rather than the Update.



1.  Obama Fights a Push to Add Iran Sanctions
WASHINGTON — With the United States and Iran about to embark on a critical phase of nuclear talks, President Obama is waging an intense rear-guard action to prevent Senate Democrats from supporting strict new sanctions that could upend his diplomatic efforts.  Sponsors of the bill, which would aim to drive Iran's oil exports down to zero, have secured the backing of 59 senators, putting them within striking distance of a two-thirds majority that could override Mr. Obama's threatened veto. Republicans overwhelmingly support the bill. So far 16 Democrats have broken with the president, and the bill's sponsors hope to get more.  The struggle is casting a long shadow over the talks, which administration officials say will be even harder than those that resulted in the six-month interim agreement, signed Sunday, that will temporarily freeze Iran's nuclear program in return for limited sanctions relief.  Iranian officials have threatened to leave the bargaining table if the United States enacts any new sanctions during the negotiations…

Former Connecticut Resident Arrested After Attempting to Ship Sensitive Military Documents to Iran 
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut (203) 821-3700 January 10, 2014   
IPT NOTE:  Court documents posted at
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Mozaffar Khazaee, also known as "Arash Khazaie," 59, formerly of Manchester, Connecticut, has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint after he attempted to ship to Iran proprietary material relating to the U.S. Air Force's F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and military jet engines that he had stolen from defense contractors where he had been employed. Khazaee was arrested yesterday at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, and the complaint was ordered unsealed this morning by a U.S. magistrate judge in Bridgeport, Connecticut…

2.  China Conducts First Test of New Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle
Test is part of a new arms race for super fast weaponry
BY: Bill Gertz Washington Free Beacon January 13, 2014 4:59 am
China's military last week conducted the first flight test of a new ultra-high speed missile vehicle aimed at delivering warheads through U.S. missile defenses, Pentagon officials said.  The test of the new hypersonic glide vehicle was carried out Jan. 9 and the experimental weapon is being dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.  The hypersonic vehicle represents a major step forward in China's secretive strategic nuclear and conventional military and missile programs.  The new hypersonic vehicle was detected traveling at extremely high speeds during the flight test over China, said officials who discussed some details of the test.  The hypersonic craft appears designed to be launched atop one of China's intercontinental ballistic missiles, and then glides and maneuvers at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound from near space en route to its target, the officials said.  A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the test but declined to provide details…

3.  Exclusive: U.S. investigating Honeywell over export, import controls
BY ANDREA SHALAL-ESA Reuters WASHINGTON Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:12am EST
 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating export and import procedures at Honeywell International Inc after the firm included Chinese parts in equipment it built for the F-35 fighter jet, three sources familiar with the matter said.  Reuters last week reported that the Pentagon twice waived laws banning Chinese-built components in U.S. weapons in 2012 and 2013 for parts supplied by Honeywell for the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 program.  New details have now emerged about one of those waivers, which involved simple thermal sensors that Honeywell initially produced in Scotland before moving that production line to China in 2009 and 2010. The other waivers involved high-performance magnets built in China and elsewhere.  Federal agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, a law enforcement arm of the Pentagon, are working with prosecutors on the case, a person briefed on the matter said. The DCIS and the Pentagon declined to comment…

Exclusive: U.S. waived laws to keep F-35 on track with China-made parts
Fri, Jan 3 2014 By John Shiffman and Andrea Shalal-Esa Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China's espionage and military buildup.  According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane's radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays…

4.  Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar al-Shari'a Organizations and Leaders
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC January 10, 2014
The Department of State has announced the designations of Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi, Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah, and Ansar al-Shari'a in Tunisia as separate Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. In addition to these group designations, the Department of State has also designated Ahmed Abu Khattalah, Sufian bin Qumu, and Seifallah Ben Hassine, commonly known as "Abou Iyadh," as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under E.O. 13224. The consequences of the FTO and E.O. 13224 designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with these organizations, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization and individuals that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons. The Department of State took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.  Created separately after the fall of the Qadhafi regime, Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya.Ahmed Abu Khattalah is a senior leader of Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi and Sufian bin Qumu is the leader of Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah…

U.S. to List Libyan Groups and Militant Tied to Benghazi Attack as Terrorists
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK New York Times JAN. 9, 2014
The State Department is moving to apply the terrorist designation to two Libyan organizations and one militant believed to have played a role in the deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in September 2012, senior United States officials said on Wednesday.  The terrorist designations would be the American government's first formal public accusations of responsibility for the attack, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans… The designations were disclosed privately to Congress last Friday. Elements of the State Department action were reported on Wednesday by The Washington Post, and they were expected to be released publicly by the State Department on Friday…

5.  Senate report: Attack on U.S. compound in Benghazi could have been prevented
By Adam Goldman and Anne Gearan, Washington Post Wednesday, January 15, 9:46 AM 
Full report in PDF posted at
A long-delayed Senate intelligence committee report released on Wednesday spreads blame among the State Department and intelligence agencies for not preventing attacks on two outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.  The bipartisan report lays out more than a dozen findings regarding the assaults on Sept. 11 and 12, 2012 on the diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in the Libyan city of Benghazi. It says the State Department failed to increase security at the sites despite warnings, and faults intelligence agencies for not sharing information about the existence of the CIA outpost with the U.S. military.  The committee determined that the U.S. military command in Africa didn't know about the CIA annex and didn't have the resources to defend the diplomatic compound in an emergency…

Senator: Benghazi survivors blamed attack on terrorism in FBI interviews
By Catherine Herridge Published January 13, 2014
The FBI interviewed the Benghazi survivors over a three-day period shortly after the attack, and none of them reported a protest or demonstration, according to a Republican senator who says the timeline was confirmed by an FBI deputy director.  The account again raises questions about why the administration claimed initially after the attack that it sprung out of protests over an anti-Islam film… What is unclear is whether this information was immediately shared by the FBI, ignored, or somehow blocked from reaching the White House.   Fox News asked the FBI whether the survivors' statements were immediately flagged and made available to the intelligence community and the White House. There was no immediate response… 

6.  Colorado Woman Sentenced in Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorists
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200 Jan. 8, 2014
IPT NOTE:  Court documents posted at
PHILADELPHIA—Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 35, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Colorado, was sentenced today to eight years in prison for one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Ramirez, a co-defendant of Colleen LaRose, a/k/a "Jihad Jane," pleaded guilty to the charge on March 8, 2011. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Petrese B. Tucker ordered three years of supervised release and ordered Ramirez to pay a fine of $2,500 and a $100 special assessment... According to documents filed with the court, Ramirez, LaRose, and others conspired to obtain militarystyle training in South Asia and then traveled to and around Europe to participate in and in support of violent jihad. In a series of electronic communications dated July 19, 2009, one coconspirator (identified as CC#2 in the superseding indictment) directed another to recruit online "some brothers that can travel freely...with eu passports...[A]nd I also need some sisters too." The coconspirator further explained that "sister fatima will be in charge of other sister care....[W]e have already organized everything for her....[W]e are will[ing] to die in order to protect her no matter what the risk is."…

7.  Former U.S. Soldier Who Sought to Join Terrorist Group Convicted and Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison 
Defendant Destroyed Computer Evidence Before Leaving the U.S. to Join the Foreign Terrorist Organization al Shabaab in Somalia
U.S. Attorney's Office District of Maryland (410) 209-4800 January 13, 2014        
IPT NOTE:  Court documents posted at
BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Craig Benedict Baxam, age 26, of Laurel, Maryland, to serve seven years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after Baxam pleaded guilty today to destroying records that might be used in a terrorism investigation…  According to his plea agreement, on December 23, 2011, Baxam was arrested in Kenya by members of the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit as he traveled north to southern Somalia to join al Shabaab, a foreign terrorist organization. On December 27 and 30, 2011, FBI agents interviewed Baxam while he was in custody in Kenya. Baxam told the agents that because of his prior service in the U.S. Army, and specifically his training and experience in military intelligence, he knew of the U.S. government's capabilities in tracing Internet protocol addresses and other investigative techniques. Consequently, before leaving the U.S., he destroyed his personal home computer and threw the remains in a dumpster. He told the agents that he did not want any record left behind and that he wanted to maintain a low profile. He also said that he purchased a round-trip plane ticket to Kenya rather than a one-way ticket, even though he had no intention of returning to the U.S., in order not to arouse the suspicion of the FBI and U.S. military…

Ex-Soldier Facing Terrorism Charge to Plead Guilty
By JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press Jan 9, 2014, 11:54 AM
… The 1-page document, called an "information," suggests Baxam will plead guilty to obstruction of justice, destroying records "in contemplation of a federal investigation." Baxam, 26, destroyed his computer before leaving from Africa and, according to a court document, told FBI agents that he did so because he "did not want anything on his record and it would help him to keep a low profile."  The information says Baxam destroyed computer records "with the intent to obstruct, influence and impede a terrorism investigation" he believed would be conducted after he left for Somalia. The document does not say what will happen with the terrorism charge, though it will likely be dismissed at a hearing Monday.  Baxam's lawyer, Linda Moreno, confirmed the document's filing but said she could not comment on what will happen in court. She said it was not her client's intent to support terrorism and said what her client did was "a long way from material support" of a terrorist group…

8.  Terror convict seeks snooping evidence
By JOSH GERSTEIN Under The Radar 1/13/14 9:25 PM EST
IPT NOTE:  Court documents posted at
Lawyers for an Oregon man convicted in an attempted terrorism case using evidence derived from one of the National Security Agency surveillance programs detailed by leaker Edward Snowden are demanding broad access to the top-secret surveillance conducted against their client and arguing that it will demonstrate that his conviction should be thrown out.  In a motion filed Monday in federal court in Portland, attorneys for Mohamed Mohamud argue that information on the surveillance was deliberately withheld from the defense prior to a jury convicting him nearly a year ago on a count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Mohamud was arrested as part of an FBI sting in which he attempted to detonate a dummy vehicle bomb at Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2010…

9.  Calgary man killed while fighting in Syria: security source
PHOTO:  Damian Clairmont, a Calgary man who converted to Islam and traveled to Syria about a year ago, has been killed during fighting in the country. (Handout) Staff Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 2:21PM EST
A Calgary man has died while fighting in Syria, a security source has confirmed to CTV News.
He has been identified as Damian Clairmont. Clairmont, also went by the name Mustafa Al-Gharib, according to a National Post story published last July. The story said Clairmont converted to Islam following a suicide attempt, and left for Syria in November 2012.  He would not explain why he left Canada to fight in Syria, telling the Post only that "It's between me and God and that's it."  Foreign mercenaries have flooded into Syria to join rebels that have been struggling to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011. Media reports suggest foreign fighters have also joined hard-line Islamist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda, which are seeking to take control of the rebel movement…


IPT NOTE: For more items, see DHS Daily Open Source Infrastructure Reports ; DHS Blog ;  TSA Releases ; TSA Blog

10.  Massive RCMP probe stopped Al-Qaeda-linked conspiracy to derail passenger train: newly released documents
Stewart Bell | January 11, 2014 8:00 AM ET National Post
On Sept. 17, 2012, Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser drove to Jordan Station, a community in Niagara, Ont., wine country where the Maple Leaf train crosses a trestle bridge each day on its way from New York to Toronto.  Seven months later, the odd couple — one a Tunisian doctoral student, the other a school van driver and mover from Abu Dhabi — were arrested over what the RCMP has called an al-Qaeda-linked plot to derail a passenger train.  Most details of the alleged terrorism conspiracy remain under a court-ordered publication ban that prevents the press from reporting what the men, who are both in their 30s, are accused of doing and saying, and why they may have wanted to kill Canadians.  But some documents related to the case have now been partly unsealed by an Ontario judge at the request of the National Post and other media outlets, and they show the arrests followed a massive police undercover operation that spanned several countries.  Among the highlights that can now be revealed:…

Entrapment defence likely in train-terror case: experts
Experts say investigators in trial of alleged terrorists Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser likely have strong case.
By: Wendy Gillis News reporter, Published on Wed Jan 15 2014 Toronto Star
Two undercover agents. Covert searches of homes, businesses and vehicles. Authorization to monitor phones and banking records. Even renting the basement apartment next-door to one suspect.  Investigators went to great lengths to probe what they believe was an Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorist plot to derail a New York-Toronto passenger train, according to newly released documents.  The scope of the investigation — and the long leash granted by a judge, who approved requests for intrusive investigative actions — suggests RCMP have strong evidence against accused terrorists Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, and are leaving no room for error, according to some terrorism experts.  But the revelation that two undercover agents — an RCMP constable and an FBI officer — were involved and "very effective," according to documents, means prosecution will likely face a significant hurdle when the case goes to trial… Jaser, a 36-year-old Palestinian living in Toronto, and Esseghaier, a 31-year-old native Tunisian and PhD student living in Montreal, were arrested last April 22 on charges of conspiring to derail a Toronto-bound passenger train…

11.  Passenger Charged with Making Threats to Take Down Airplane 
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida (313) 226-9100 January 13, 2014        
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade County State Attorney; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announce today the filing of a criminal complaint charging Francisco Fernando Cruz, 22, a citizen of Brazil, with sending threatening e-mails claiming that a TAM Airline flight from Miami to Brasilia "will go down."  According to the criminal complaint, on January 8, 2014, an e-mail was sent to MDPD, as well as TAM Airlines. The content of the e-mail made a specific threat against a TAM Airlines Flight that was to depart on January 10, 2014, from Miami to Brasilia. The threat stated the following: "Flight must not take off. Targeted. It will go down. Retaliation. Cargo is dangerous. Be advised."…

12.  LAX shooting delayed 15 flights more than three hours, report says
By Hugo Martin Los Angeles Times 11:44 AM PST, January 14, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating whether to fine several airlines that left passengers stranded on flights for more than three hours after a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.  The Nov. 1 shooting, which killed a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounded three other people, delayed 15 L.A.-bound flights, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Eleven of those flights were domestic routes that were delayed on airport tarmacs for at least three hours. Four international flights were delayed for at least four hours…

13.  TSA to begin inspecting airliner repair shops
Joshua Freed, The Associated Press 12:56 p.m. EST January 13, 2014
The Transportation Security Administration is gearing up to begin inspecting airplane shops all over the world, an effort aimed at stopping potential sabotage and theft of U.S. planes.  The new rules announced Friday will put TSA in the business of inspecting airport-based repair stations, finally satisfying a mandate that Congress first issued 10 years ago because of fears that terrorists could steal an unattended plane or sabotage one while it is being repaired.  However, the TSA in its final rule exempted repair facilities that aren't near airports. The agency said it looked into the risks for those stations and decided they "represent a minimal risk to aviation security."  The Federal Aviation Administration already monitors facilities that work on U.S.-registered planes, but its focus is more on making sure work at those stations meets U.S. standards. However, there have been worries that terrorists could steal a plane or plant a bomb in one.  The new rule also ends a moratorium that had kept FAA from authorizing new overseas stations…

14.  Airport gun confiscations soared 20% in 2013
By SB Anderson, Northwestern University, Medill National Security Zone (Posted Jan. 6, 2014)
The number of guns confiscated from passengers trying to board planes in the U.S. jumped 20% in 2013 to 1,828, with the Atlanta airport leading the way at 110 confiscations. Five guns were seized on the average day across the nation's airports.  The vast majority of guns — 84% — were loaded when Transportation Security Administration agents discovered them during security screenings, and of those loaded, one in three had a bullet in the chamber, ready to fire.  The increase over 2012 is the third annual jump since 2010 — and the largest.  Data used in this story was gathered and analyzed by Medill National Security Journalism Initiative from weekly data releases the TSA makes on its blog. A TSA official said Friday that final figures will be released shortly. Final numbers tend to be slightly higher than those compiled by Medill because the weekly blog post data is not updated after it is posted.  Of the 207 airports at which at least one gun was found, Atlanta had the most with 110, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth (98) and Houston Bush (67). One in four airports had 10 or more confiscations. (See Top 10 list below).  Two types of guns — .380 and 9mm — were the most frequently found. Together, they made up nearly half of the guns confiscated. (See table below)…

15.  No-fly list challenged: Stanford student wrongly labeled a terrorist, judge says
By Howard Mintz San Jose Mercury News POSTED:   01/15/2014 06:13:18 AM PST 
IPT NOTE:  Court decision embedded on Mercury News website with this article.
The federal government violated a former Stanford University doctoral student's legal rights nine years ago when it put her on its secretive "no-fly" lists targeting suspected terrorists, a San Francisco federal judge ruled Tuesday.  In a decision for the most part sealed, U.S. District Judge William Alsup disclosed that Rahinah Ibrahim was mistakenly placed on the controversial list and said that the government must now clear up the mistake. The decision comes in a case that has for the first time revealed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assembles the no-fly lists, used to tighten security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Obama administration has vigorously contested the case, the first of its kind to reach trial, warning that it might reveal top-secret information about the anti-terrorism program. As a result, Alsup sealed his ruling until April to give the government an opportunity to persuade a federal appeals court to keep the order from being released publicly.  But Alsup issued a separate three-page ruling outlining the results for Ibrahim, who has waged a high-profile legal battle since she learned she had been placed on the no-fly list as she tried to board a 2005 flight to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport…

16.  UPDATE 3-U.S. senators ask Target CEO for information on data breach
Tue, Jan 14 2014 By Mark Hosenball and Ros Krasny Reuters
WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators were seeking answers on Tuesday from the chief executive of Target Corp about the company's response to the hacking of credit and debit cards of millions of its customers during the holiday shopping season.  "We ask that Target's information-security officials provide a briefing to committee staff regarding your company's investigation and latest findings," said John Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Claire McCaskill, who heads a Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. The Democratic senators' Jan. 10 letter to Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was released on Tuesday, the latest in a growing chorus of calls by lawmakers and others for inquiries into the hacking of the No. 3 U.S. retailer… Target disclosed on Dec. 19 that it was a victim of one of the biggest credit card breaches on record, which it said lasted for 19 days in the busy holiday shopping season through Dec. 15…

RPT-Target data breach could be costly for payment partners
Jan 15, 2014 6:00am EST By Ross Kerber Reuters
BOSTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Companies that help Target Corp process payments could face millions of dollars in fines and costs resulting from the unprecedented data breach that struck the retailer over the holiday shopping season.  Investigators are still sorting through just how thieves compromised about 40 million payment cards and the information of about 70 million Target customers. But people who have reviewed past data breaches believe Target's partners could face consumer lawsuits and fines that payment networks such as Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc often levy after cyber security incidents… Fines and settlement costs could reach into the millions of dollars for individual companies, he said, though much will depend on how the ultimate liability for the breach is determined…


17.  Treasurer of Charitable Organization Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements
U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Virginia (703) 299-3700 January 09, 2014          
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Sheikh Javed Rehmat, a pharmacist in Little Neck, New York, pleaded guilty today to one count of making false statements relating to a government investigation into violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and a conspiracy to defraud the United States…   In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Rehmat, a treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the Society for International Help (SIH), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity based in New York, admitted to making false statements surrounding financial transactions concerning SIH, as well as another charity—the Kashmiri American Council (KAC). Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the director of the KAC, was sentenced to serve two years in prison on March 30, 2012, for his role in a conspiracy to conceal that the KAC was funded between 1990 and 2011 with at least $3,500,000 from the government of Pakistan, including the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (Pakistan's military intelligence service).  Rehmat also admitted to making false statements surrounding the purchase of over $8,000,000 of shares of stock from Yasin Kadi and/or Muwaffaq Limited—over $3,330,000 of which had been purchased with money that Rehmat had wired from SIH's accounts to those of another charitable organization in Pakistan. Yasin Kadi has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, since 2001. Yasin Kadi held these shares through Muwaffaq Limited, which was registered in the Isle of Man… The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, Trial Attorney John Gibbs of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Ickovic from the Justice Department's Tax Division.


IPT NOTE:  US Customs & Border Protection,  & 

18.  Border-patrol drones being borrowed by other agencies more often than previously known
By Craig Whitlock and Craig Timberg, Washington Post Published: January 14, 2014
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly borrowing border-patrol drones for domestic surveillance operations, newly released records show, a harbinger of what is expected to become the commonplace use of unmanned aircraft by police.  Customs and Border Protection, which has the largest U.S. drone fleet of its kind outside the Defense Department, flew nearly 700 such surveillance missions on behalf of other agencies from 2010 to 2012, according to flight logs released recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil-liberties group.  The records show that the border-­patrol drones are being commissioned by other agencies more often than previously known. Most of the missions are performed for the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration and immigration authorities. But they also aid in disaster relief and in the search for marijuana crops, methamphetamine labs and missing persons, among other missions not directly related to border protection...

19.  Indicted Indian envoy accused of lying about maid's pay leaves US
Published January 10, 2014
The Indian envoy accused of lying about how much she paid her housekeeper was indicted on criminal counts Thursday but left the U.S. after being given clearance by the State Department and a federal court, authorities said.  Devyani Khobragade was indicted earlier Thursday on two counts, of visa fraud and making false statements, and later left the country by plane, a senior U.S. official said.  Earlier in the day there had been some confusion as to the envoy's whereabouts. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara initially said Khobragade had already left the U.S. after being granted diplomatic immunity. But her lawyer, Daniel Arshack, said shortly afterward that she was still in New York.  Arshack later told, "as a result of her diplomatic status having been recognized, the Federal court today recognized Dr. Khobragade's right to travel and she is pleased to be returning to her country. Her head is held high."…

20.  IPT Exclusive: Radical Syrian Cleric Secures US Visa Despite Endorsing Suicide Bombings
by John Rossomando IPT News January 14, 2014
A Syrian sheik who labeled all Jews as legitimate targets for suicide bombers and who supports the death penalty for homosexuals is the latest extremist Muslim cleric raising money for Syrian-American groups supporting dictator Bashar al-Assad's ouster.  Sheik Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi is in the middle of an 11-city tour across America on co-sponsored by the Syrian American Council (SAC) and the Wylie, Texas-based Shaam Relief… Asked about Palestinian suicide bombings in April 2001, al-Nabulsi said he was "too insignificant to give a Sharia ruling or fatwa." Instead, he extensively cited from two previous fatwas from radical clerics which bless such attacks.  "All the Jewish people are combatants" acceptable as targets for attacks in Israel, al-Nabulsi wrote in his "ruling on martyrdom operations in Palestine."…


21.  Meet al-Qaeda's new poster boy for the Middle East
The fall of the Iraqi city of Fallujah back into the hands of al-Qaeda has shown the power of the movement's new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
By Colin Freeman 7:09PM GMT 11 Jan 2014 The Sunday Telegraph (London)
The FBI "most wanted" mugshot shows a tough, swarthy figure, his hair in a jailbird crew-cut. The $10 million price on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it.  Taken during his years as a detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, this is the only known photograph of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. But while he may lack the photogenic qualities of his hero, Osama bin Laden, he is fast becoming the new poster-boy for the global jihadist movement.  Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda's resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.  Last week, his forces fought open clashes with Iraqi army troops around the city of Fallujah - once known as the graveyard of the Americans - after brazenly attempting to seize control there the weekend before…

22.  FBI: Kenya mall attackers believed to be dead
By Associated Press, Published: January 11, 2014
NAIROBI, Kenya — The gunmen who attacked an upscale mall in Kenya's capital, killing at least 67 people, likely died in the attack, an FBI official has said.  Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the Sept. 21 attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall. Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation of Kenya sending its troops to Somalia to fight the militants.  Dennis Brady, the FBI Legal Attache in Nairobi, said in an interview posted Friday on the bureau's website: "We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed."  "Our ERT (Evidence Response Team) made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area where they made their last stand," he said.  A very secure crime scene perimeter made an escape unlikely, he said.  "Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for propaganda purposes by al-Shabab. That hasn't happened," he said in the posted interview.  Kenyan authorities say they have recovered the charred remains of bodies believed to be those of the attackers from the debris in the mall.  A New York Police Department report on the attack raised the possibility the gunmen may have escaped…

23.  Brigades of Lone Wolves claims responsibility for recent Egypt attacks
Written by David Barnett January 9, 2014 2:51 PM Threat Matrix 
A new jihadist group calling itself the Brigades of Lone Wolves has announced its establishment and claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Egypt in two recent statements. In its first statement, released on Dec. 27, the group denounced the Egyptian army for "killing Muslims and displacing them, detaining them, and violating their dignity and honor."…

Arab Neighbors Take Split Paths in Constitutions
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and CARLOTTA GALL Jan 15, 2014 New York Times
CAIRO — One is setting a standard for dialogue and democracy that is the envy of the Arab world. The other has become a study in the risks of revolution, on a violent path that seems to lead only in circles.  Tunisia and Egypt, the neighbors whose twin revolts ignited the Arab Spring, are a dual lesson in the pitfalls and potentials for democracy across the region.  On the third anniversary of the flight of the former strongman, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's constituent assembly was poised on Tuesday to approve a new constitution that is one of the most liberal in the Arab world. A carefully worded blend that has won the approval of both the governing Islamist party and its secular opposition, the new charter presents the region with a rare model of reconciliation over the vexing question of Islam's role in public life.  Egyptians, meanwhile, trudged to the polls on Tuesday and Wednesday for their third referendum in three years to approve a new constitution: this time for one that validates the military ouster of their first fairly elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, and gives power and immunity to both the military and the police…

24.  What ties Hezbollah to Hariri's murder?
Almost a decade after former Lebanese PM killed in Beirut motorcade bombing, court documents shed light on the culprits
Roi Kais Published:  01.08.14, 15:22 / Israel News
Next week, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will convene to adjudicate in the matter of the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, the outspoken critic of Hezbollah who was killed in February 2005 when his motorcade was hit by a massive bomb on the streets of Beirut.  An official court document has pulled back the veil over the investigation, revealing new details about the main suspect in the murder, Mustafa Badr Aldin – the brother-in-law and heir-apparent of assassinated Hezbollah chief operations commander Imad Mughniyeh.  The document was identified by Ronen Solomon, an Israeli intelligence analyst and researcher specializing in Hezbollah's security and intelligence mechanisms. The report is comprehensive and thorough, as befitting an investigation stretching across many years, and contains information that Hezbollah's operations high command would prefer remained hidden: Private details of Aldin's family, his social circles, and business affairs…

Palestinians Prepare for Potential Hizballah Confrontation
by IPT News  •  Jan 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm
How badly is Syria's civil war spawning sectarian violence in the region? Palestinians in Lebanon fear looming violence from Hizballah – a "resistance" group created and underwritten by Iran to fight Israel.  According to a Daily Star report Wednesday, the spiritual leader of all Salafist groups in Lebanon's Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, believes that Hizballah's significant role defending Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad could lead to violence. Many Palestinians from the camp have joined rebels fighting to topple Assad, and Hizballah's support has been openly criticized.  Any prospective violence between Hizballah and Palestinians would be inherently sectarian and could be worse than the bloodshed during the 1980s between Fatah forces and the Amal militia, said Sheik Jamal Khattab…

25.  Threat Matrix: Israel exposes Hamas-linked group's West Bank terror plot
Written by David Barnett January 15, 2014 11:41 AM Threat Matrix 
Israeli authorities today announced that they have successfully thwarted a plot by imprisoned Palestinians to establish a terror cell to carry out a kidnapping plot against Israelis in the West Bank. The latest terror plot was exposed in December, but only cleared for publication today.  Muhammad Bel, 24, who has been imprisoned since 2008, recruited two other Palestinian prisoners, Ali Harub and Rajab Salah al Din. Bel was also reportedly in touch with Amr Mustafa Khalil Qassem, a Gaza-based operative in the Holy Warriors Brigades.  Harub, the Shin Bet said, is currently imprisoned for being part of a terror cell, planning attacks, and manufacturing explosives, among other offenses. Rajab Salah al Din, 53, is said to be a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and has been imprisoned since May 2012 for attempted abductions of Israelis.  The Shin Bet did not state whether the cell had yet touched base with any potential operatives in the West Bank…


26.  7 Afghans involved in green-on-blue attacks may be freed
Written by Bill Roggio on January 14, 2014 11:41 AM to 4 Threat Matrix 
The controversy over 88 Taliban fighters and prisoners slated to be freed by the Afghan government continues, as seven of the prisoners are said to have carried out the green-on-blue, or insider attacks, in which members of the Afghan security forces kill Coalition personnel. From Khaama Press:… According to a report in The Washington Post on Jan. 9, the Afghan government has decided that it will free 72 of the 88 prisoners:…


27.  UK police arrest two men on suspicion of terrorist offences in Syria
Two men, both aged 21 and from Birmingham, are detained at Heathrow airport after arriving back in UK on flight from Turkey
Press Association (UK) Monday 13 January 2014 18.19 GMT
Two men have been arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to activities in Syria.  The pair, both aged 21 and from Birmingham, were detained at the airport at around 3.30pm on Monday after arriving back in the UK on a flight from Turkey, West Midlands police said.  Detectives believe the men, from the Handsworth area, travelled to Syria in May last year.  Unarmed officers detained the men, who are now being questioned in the West Midlands, as they disembarked…

28.  Man Gets Five Extra Years In Prison For Refusing To Reveal Uncrackable Password To British Police
JIM EDWARDS JAN. 15, 2014, 11:55 AM 3,469 5
An Islamic terrorist has been sentenced to five extra years in prison for not revealing the password to a USB memory stick that British security forces failed to crack.  The interesting issue here is not simply that the convicted man, Syed Hussain, was a terrorist hindering an investigation. Rather, it is that he was a terrorist with a sophisticated password protocol that stymied security forces for about a year.  Hussain, 22, from Luton, was originally imprisoned in 2012 for his role in plotting an attack on a U.K. army base, according to the BBC. But he did not reveal the password to an encrypted thumb drive police found in his home until December 2013, claiming that stress had made him forget it.  The police became interested in the thumb drive during a separate investigation of credit card fraud. Yesterday, a jury convicted him of the separate offense of refusing the reveal the password to police, thus hindering the fraud probe.  While Hussain was sitting in prison, police turned over the stick to GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, but experts there failed to crack the password. It's not clear how the password was finally revealed: The BBC says Hussain was finally persuaded to confess it, but a local news service says the National Technical Assistance Centre, a U.K. tech intelligence agency, recovered the password.  The password was "$ur4ht4ub4h8," a play on words relating to the Koran.

29.  Turkish police detain al-Qaida suspects
By Associated Press,Published: January 14, 2014
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish anti-terrorism police carried out raids in six cities on Tuesday, detaining at least five people with alleged links to al-Qaida, including two employees of a government-supported Islamic charity group that provides aid to Syria, media reports and officials said.  The police operation came as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government is fighting allegations of corruption. It has been forced to dismiss three government ministers whose sons were detained in raids by police investigating alleged illegal money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.  The government says the corruption probe was instigated by followers of … U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government insists that Gulen's supporters have infiltrated Turkey's police and judiciary and are out to discredit the government ahead of local elections in March.… The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, known by its initials IHH, said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria on Tuesday, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after a police raid at his home, said Saban Dozduyar, a spokesman for the group's local branch… The IHH denied any ties to al-Qaida… IHH operated a Gaza-bound ship that was stormed in 2010 by Israeli security forces in a raid that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists. The group has played a major part in providing food and other aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey and its aid workers cross into Syria to provide help to people there…

Anti-Israel Flotilla Group Busted in al Qaeda Terror Raid
Group claiming to be peaceful activists actually tied to al Qaeda
BY: Adam Kredo  Washington Free Beacon January 15, 2014 9:00 am
Turkish police on Tuesday raided the offices of an al Qaeda-linked charity group responsible for organizing the 2010 Gaza flotilla that caused a deadly international incident.  The main offices of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish charity that claims to support humanitarian causes, were raided by Turkish anti-terror forces in connection with a larger bust on al Qaeda militants, according to Turkish media reports… "One gets a sense that the Turkish military knows something about the IHH that we've long suspected," said Jonathan Schanzer, a former intelligence analyst who has written about U.S. government bids to designate the IHH a terror group.  IHH, which is often lauded by U.S. groups critical of Israel, has been encircled in controversy since it organized the 2010 Gaza flotilla, a supposedly humanitarian aid mission that sought to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.  IHH claimed that it was carrying peaceful pro-Palestinian activists aboard its ship. However, when Israeli Navy personnel boarded the flotilla, activists attacked the soldiers with guns, knives, crowbars, and other weapons.  Two Israeli commandos were severely wounded during the attack, while 10 of the activists died as a result of the violence…


30.  The Islamization of Germany in 2013
by Soeren Kern Gatestone Institute January 15, 2014 at 5:00 am
In December, two new studies, one funded by the German government, found that the majority of Muslims believe that Islamic Sharia law should take precedence over the secular constitutions and laws of their European host countries…
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

No comments: