Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence

January 16, 2019

Here’s an interview with two top NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence officials about their assessment of current threats to the city and the police department’s preparedness. Publicly disclosed plots have averaged 1-2 per year since 2001. Since 2010, lone actor plots have become much more common than externally-directed ones. Most of the threats to the city continue to come from salafi-jihadi inspired extremists, with only a small increase in extreme right-wing acts. Plots often target New York as the iconic and symbolic representation of America, but also because it is a media center, guaranteeing maximum publicity.

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Shifting face of international terrorism

January 2, 2019

Counter-terrorism efforts directed mainly at ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Middle East will need to shift attention to Russian-speaking individuals and networks in the coming years, according to this article. Terror groups that previously resisted oppressive governments in their own countries are now focused on perceived international enemies. Attacks in Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S. over the past several years were committed by Uzbeks, and fighters from several former Soviet countries who joined ISIS in Syria have since slipped back into Europe and Central Asia.

An American in Al-Qa’ida

September 11, 2018

This article decribes the experiences of the first American foreign fighter to join Al-Qa’ida following the 9/11 attacks. He traveled from Long Island to Pakistan and Afghanistan, completed several training courses, and participated in two failed missions before being captured. He subsequently renounced the affiliation, became a western intelligence asset, and testified against captured jihadists. He is coauthor of the article along with a former NYPD intelligence official.

5 facts about mass shootings

May 23, 2018

This short article presents 5 things we know about mass shootings in the U.S. One is that mass shootings have become more frequent over the last 35 years, even as the overall homicide rate has decreased. Another is that most mass shootings are not terrorism — “The majority of active shooters are linked to mental health issues, bullying and disgruntled employees.”

Looking for strategic

May 7, 2018

Here’s an interesting long-read about a former CIA case officer now working as a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. His former life took him to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Jordan in pursuit of Al Qaeda leaders but he came to doubt that much was being accomplished. Back home in Savannah he says “We have to stop treating people like we’re in Fallujah.”

Going overseas builds capacity at home too

January 19, 2018

This column highlights two international police partnerships, Portland (Oregon) PD with Bangladesh and several Minnesota departments with Somalia, each sponsored by the US State Department. In both cases, tangible benefits have been recognized by police in the US and in the other country.

Science of interrogation

October 29, 2017

This article provides an in-depth discussion of the psychology underlying effective interrogation. A study of over 1,000 hours of taped interrogations of terrorists confirmed that the key is rapport and projecting a genuine interest in what the suspect has to say, not trying to establish dominance or using confrontational techniques. Specialist training in the UK is now based on this research and well established methods from clinical psychology.

Impact of social media

September 21, 2017

A colloquium on “The impact of social media on crime, terrorism, and national security” recently held at Rutgers University featured law enforcement, national security, and civil liberties experts. Here is a video link to the 90-minute event.

Community policing to counter violent extremism

August 5, 2017

This report provides a thorough description and assessment of an LAPD initiative to counter violent extremism by using community policing. The process evaluation concluded that “adopting a community policing model is a necessary approach to better protect and serve communities at risk for violent radicalization.” The study identified numerous challenges to such an approach, including opposing narratives within communities over whether to cooperate with police, but also identified practical ways to overcome differences and build resilience.

Lessons for terrorism first responders

July 10, 2017

This brief article identifies three lessons for first responders to terror attacks, including emergency medical personnel, based on recent incidents: (1) co-training for police and medical personnel, (2) open communication lines across responder disciplines, and (3) realistic and challenging large-scale disaster drills.