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CRS — State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (February 27, 2015)

April 23, 2015 Comments off

State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria are identified by the U.S. government as countries with governments that support acts of international terrorism. As the 114th Congress is sworn in and begins its first session, U.S. foreign policy and national security policies toward Cuba, Iran, and North Korea are in a state of close scrutiny, with an eye to easing sanctions, including removing Cuba and Iran from the terrorist lists, and with an eye to returning North Korea to the same lists. While it is the President’s authority to designate, and remove from designation, terrorist states, Congress is likely to weigh in as the reviews proceed.

This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism. It addresses the statutes and how they each define acts of international terrorism; establish a list to limit or prohibit aid or trade; provide for systematic removal of a foreign government from a list, including timeline and reporting requirements; authorize the President to waive restrictions on a listed foreign government; and provide (or do not provide) Congress with a means to block a delisting. It closes with a summary of delisting in the past.

CRS — The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation (April 2, 2015)

April 15, 2015 Comments off

The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In order to protect national security, the government maintains various terrorist watchlists, including the “No Fly” list, which contains the names of individuals to be denied boarding on commercial airline flights. Travelers on the No Fly list are not permitted to board an American airline or any flight on a foreign air carrier that lands or departs from U.S. territory or flies over U.S. airspace. Some persons have claimed that their alleged placement on the list was the result of an erroneous determination by the government that they posed a national security threat. In some cases, it has been reported that persons have been prevented from boarding an aircraft because they were mistakenly believed to be on the No Fly list, sometimes on account of having a name similar to another person who was actually on the list. As a result, various legal challenges to placement on the list have been brought in court.

CFR Backgrounder: Islamic State

April 8, 2015 Comments off

CFR Backgrounder: Islamic State
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The self-proclaimed Islamic State is a militant movement that has conquered territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, where it has made a bid to establish a state in territories that encompass some six and a half million residents. Though spawned by al-Qaeda’s Iraq franchise, it split with Osama bin Laden’s organization and evolved to not just employ terrorist and insurgent tactics, but the more conventional ones of an organized militia.

UK — National Risk Register for Civil Emergencies – 2015 edition

April 8, 2015 Comments off

National Risk Register for Civil Emergencies – 2015 edition
Source: Cabinet Office

The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies March 2015 edition has been published and provides an updated government assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of different civil emergency risks (including naturally and accidentally occurring hazards and malicious threats) that may directly affect the UK over the next 5 years. It also provides information on how the UK government and local respondents such as emergency services prepare for these emergencies.

Members of the public, organisations and businesses wishing to be better prepared for emergencies may find the National Risk Register a useful reference document.

Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured
Source: Insurance Information Institute
From blog post:

The April 2013 Boston bombing may have marked the first successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001 tragedy, but terrorism on a global scale is increasing.

Yesterday’s attack by the Al-Shabaab terror group at a university in Kenya and a recent attack by gunmen targeting foreign tourists at the Bardo museum in Tunisia point to the persistent nature of the terrorist threat.

Groups connected with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State committed close to 200 attacks per year between 2007 and 2010, a number that grew by more than 200 percent, to about 600 attacks in 2013, according to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland.

Latest threats to U.S. targets include calls by Al-Shabaab for attacks on shopping malls.

And a recent intelligence assessment circulated by the Department of Homeland Security focused on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.

On January 12, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015.

A new I.I.I. white paper, Terrorism Risk Insurance Program: Renewed and Restructured, takes us through each of more than eight distinct layers of taxpayer protection provided under TRIA’s renewed structure.

When Jihadis Come Marching Home: The Terrorist Threat Posed by Westerners Returning from Syria and Iraq

April 2, 2015 Comments off

When Jihadis Come Marching Home: The Terrorist Threat Posed by Westerners Returning from Syria and Iraq
Source: RAND Corporation

Although the numbers of Westerners slipping off to join the jihadist fronts in Syria and Iraq are murky, U.S. counterterrorism officials believe that those fighters pose a clear and present danger to American security. This Perspective seeks to examine the scope of the threat posed by Western fighters who return to their homes after fighting in Syria and Iraq; what can be done to reduce the threat, and whether military action is necessary in combating it, as well as whether a more ambitious American military intervention in Iraq and Syria is required.

FBI — Progress Report: Panel Conducts Review of FBI Since 9/11 Commission Report

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Progress Report: Panel Conducts Review of FBI Since 9/11 Commission Report
Source: FBI

A congressionally mandated panel charged with reviewing the FBI’s implementation of recommendations contained in the 9/11 Commission Report in 2004 today issued its findings.

The release of the 9/11 Review Commission’s report, The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century, followed 14 months of research, interviews, briefings, and field visits by commissioners and their 13-member staff. The commission—which included former Attorney General Edwin Meese, former Congressman Tim Roemer, and Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman—began its review in 2013 at the FBI’s request after Congress called for an appraisal of the Bureau’s progress since the 9/11 Commission issued its recommendations in 2004. A classified draft of the Review Commission’s report was sent to Congress and to other agencies mentioned in the report; the FBI released the unclassified version for the public.

That report, which can be found on FBI.gov, concludes that the FBI has “transformed itself over the last 10 years” and “made measurable progress building a threat-based, intelligence-driven national security organization.” The commission also makes recommendations on where the FBI can improve.

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