Chairman Mccaul Releases October Terror Threat Snapshot Counterterrorism

Chairman Mccaul Releases October Terror Threat Snapshot Counterterrorism
Washington, D.C. – House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) today released October’s Terror Threat Snapshot, a monthly assessment of the Committee’s continuing effort to highlight the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

Key Points:

October 08, 2018: Federal prosecutors announced that they will be seeking the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov, who conducted the October 31, 2017 vehicle attack on a bike path in New York City that left eight dead.

October 08, 2018: Dutch police arrested seven individuals for plotting a “large scale event” in the Netherlands. They seized firearms, including AK-47s, small arms, grenades, completed bombs, and bomb-making materials. Three members of the group had previously been convicted of attempting to travel to join ISIS. The group was targeting two locations with the intent of maximizing the number of casualties.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated two individuals as financiers of ISIS. Emraan Ali, a Syrian-based, dual U.S. and Trinidadian national, has been funneling money from Trinidad and Tobago to Syria to support the terrorist organization. Eddie Aleong, also a Trinidadian national, assisted in, sponsored, and provided financial support to ISIS.

The U.S. Department of State has designated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Al Qaeda-affiliated group also was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. JNIM is the self-described official Al Qaeda branch in Mali, and the designations will help isolate the group and cut off funding for their operations.

British officials have revealed that members of ISIS-Khorasan are in contact with U.K.-based terrorist cells. U.K. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson stated that the Afghanistan-based arm of ISIS posed a threat to not just the U.K., but also continental Europe.

The National Cyber Strategy and Legal Reform

The White House recently released its National Cyber Strategy, and lawyers and privacy advocates alike should pay careful attention to its “priority actions” related to surveillance and criminal law reform. Within its section on combating cybercrime, the document provides that the administration will work with Congress to modernize both electronic surveillance laws and computer crime statutes in order to “enhance law enforcement’s capabilities to lawfully gather necessary evidence of criminal activity, disrupt criminal infrastructure through civil injunctions, and impose appropriate consequences upon malicious cyber actors.” However, reform in each area of law presents its own unique issues and challenges.

The National Cyber Strategy and Legal ReformModernizing Electronic Surveillance Laws: The Cyber Strategy only mentions “privacy” and “civil liberties” a handful of times. Accordingly, instead of framing the administration’s priority to modernize electronic surveillance laws in terms of safeguarding privacy rights, the document addresses this legal reform in the context of promoting law enforcement and security interests. However, past debates surrounding surveillance authorities within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—the 215 Program and 702 Program—and developments within domestic and foreign laws, foreshadow the difficulty the administration will face in attempting to enhance the government’s surveillance power for its cybersecurity purposes.

Originally, Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorized the FBI (through a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order) to acquire “tangible things” in connection with a terrorism or counterintelligence investigation. Over time, however, this provision became the basis for the government’s ability to collect telephony metadata records in bulk, and when the scope of the 215 Program was leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013, it became the subject of judicial challenges and raucous congressional debates. In the end, with the support from privacy advocates both inside and outside of Congress, President Obama signed into law the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which essentially ended the U.S. government’s ability to utilize Section 215 to collect telephony metadata in bulk. When the Section 702 Program was subject to reauthorization earlier this year, its scope and use faced similar scrutiny. Section 702 of FISA authorizes warrantless surveillance of non-U.S. persons “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States,” with the compelled assistance of electronic communication service providers. During the debate on the continuation of the 702 program, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) referred to the reauthorization bill as a “flawed” measure that would allow “the warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warned that the bill “expands the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans.” Although Section 702 was eventually reauthorized, the congressional debate led to “significant changes to 702, though the reforms are substantially more modest than those sought by privacy advocates.” Notwithstanding their modest gains, the congressional debate concerning Section 702’s reauthorization illustrates the continued influence these privacy advocates have in shaping surveillance law—influence that will undoubtedly endure in the event the administration seeks to enhance these laws in favor of cybersecurity in line with the new strategy document.

The administration should also recognize the privacy-centric developments in both domestic and foreign laws. For example, in 2018, with the passage of laws in Alabama and North Dakota, all fifty states have now enacted data-breach notification laws, ….

Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter

Vice President Mike PenceVice President Mike Pence on Twitter:

“We will continue to work tirelessly to prevent foreign nations and malign actors from hacking into our election infrastructure with the potential of changing votes or election outcomes….





US, Israel Set Up Team To Combat Cybersecurity Threat

US, Israel Set Up Team To Combat Cybersecurity ThreatIsrael and the US are set to collaborate in cybersecurity, a senior White House official said at a conference in Tel Aviv Monday.

“I announce today the commencement of an Israeli US bilateral cyber working group,” Thomas Bossert, assistant to the US President Donald Trump for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism said at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv Monday.

The group will strive to defend critical infrastructure against attackers and to track down perpetrators. It will be led by Rob Joyce, the US White House cybersecurity coordinator, and Israel’s Eviatar Matania, director general of the National Cyber Directorate. It will include US and Israeli representatives from various ministries and defense organizations including foreign affairs and justice, and the secret service.

The team will convene this week, Bossert said. “The meetings this week will focus on a range of cyber issues — critical infrastructure, advanced R&D, international cooperation, and workforce,” Bossert said, adding that these will be the first steps in strengthening bilateral ties in cyber issues.

The agencies will be… “focused on finding and stopping cyber adversaries before they enter networks, before they reach critical infrastructure and identifying ways to hold bad actors accountable,” Bossert said. “We believe the agility Israel has in developing solutions will resolve in innovative cyber defenses that we can test here and take back to America.”

Bossert said that increased cyber defense and deterrence are critical today, in a world in which the cyber threat from nations is growing, and an international consensus needs to be built regarding what is “responsible state behavior.” International norms must be set out and implemented, he said. And those who do not comply with these norms should be punished.

“It is time to consider different approaches,” he said, and the US is seeking to set up bilateral agreements with other partners globally who hold the same values. “There should be consequences for destruction,” he said.

The cyber sphere “is one of the biggest strategic challenges since 9/11,” he said, “because while physical borders are important, cyberspace knows no boundaries.”

“Nations have the ability to steal sensitive information and data and destroy systems and the trend is heading in the wrong direction,” Bossert said. Destructive attacks are being executed by belligerent nations – North Korea attacked Sony and Iran attacked Saudi Arabia in cyber attacks – and “neither of theses countries have near the sophistication and resources of China and Russia.”

President Donald J. Trump Is Strengthening America's Cybersecurity

” We must protect the American people, the homeland, and our great American way of life.”  – President Donald J. Trump

ReportSTRENGTHENING CYBERSECURITY: President Donald J. Trump is releasing a National Cyber Strategy that will strengthen our defenses against cyber threats.

  • President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy identifies bold new steps the Federal Government will take to protect America from cyber threats and strengthen our capabilities in cyberspace.
    • It is the first fully articulated National Cyber Strategy released in 15 years.
    • The strategy builds on President Trump’s Executive Order “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure,” signed in May 2017.

PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THE HOMELAND, AND OUR WAY OF LIFE: Strengthening American cybersecurity is central to the National Cyber Strategy.

  • President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy will protect American networks by:
    • Securing Federal networks and information and our Nation’s critical infrastructure
    • Combatting cybercrime and improving incident reporting

PROMOTING AMERICAN PROSPERITY: President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy will help protect cyberspace as an engine of economic growth and innovation.

  • President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy will promote American prosperity by:
    • Fostering a vibrant and resilient digital economy
    • Protecting American ingenuity from threats such as intellectual property theft
    • Developing a superior cybersecurity workforce through education and recruitment

PRESERVING PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH: The National Cyber Strategy will strengthen efforts to deter destabilizing activity in cyberspace.

  • The National Cyber Strategy will stand up to destabilizing behavior in cyberspace by:
    • Promoting responsible behavior among nation states
    • Working to ensure there are consequences for irresponsible cyber behavior
    • Launching an international Cyber Deterrence Initiative
    • Exposing and countering online malign influence and information campaigns

ADVANCING AMERICAN INFLUENCE: The National Cyber Strategy will preserve the long-term openness of the internet, which supports and reinforces American interests.

  • President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy will promote an open and secure internet by:
    • Encouraging Nations to advance internet freedom
    • Advancing a multi-stakeholder model of internet governance
    • Promoting open, interoperable, reliable, and secure communications infrastructure
    • Opening overseas markets for American ingenuity
    • Building international cyber capacity

COMMITTED TO A SECURE CYBER FUTURE: President Trump is committed to protecting the cybersecurity of our Nation and is implementing policies that work to achieve that objective.

  • The President’s National Security Strategy prioritizes keeping America safe in the cyber era.
  • The Trump Administration has released a number of agency-specific strategies emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity.

Read The Full National Cyber Strategy Report Here


Robert Brannon: “Phyllis Chesler’s new memoir, A Politically Incorrect Feminist (St. Martin’s Press, 2018), spans almost fifty years of second-wave feminism. She names 100s of women, both famous and virtually unknown today who took part in the awakening and growing women’s movement, marching, sitting-in, writing and organizing since the 1960’s. It is the personal life […]

Why Women And Children Stay Silent During Islamist Abuse

Islamist Abuse Women and Children Domestic Violence AbuseSras, a survivor of domestic violence in a women’s shelter in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Sras husband threatened to kill her and her three children about six months ago. As the world talks about women’s rights and the #MeToo movement, Cambodia continues to be a patriarchal society, like many other developing countries, and still considers women to be inferior to men, often limiting them from securing proper education and income opportunities. (Illustrative Photo: Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images)

One of the questions that surfaces about ideological extremism is the question of why women and children stay silent during Islamist abuse. Late this summer, Clarion Project broke a national story about a narrowly avoided “jihadist Waco” in which a group of children, men and women were in a remote off-grid  compound in New Mexico. One of the ring leaders was Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s son. Wahhaj Sr. is a prominent radical cleric in North America with considerable support from a wide field of Muslims ranging from Islamists such as Linda Sarsour to progressives.

The son, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, kidnapped his own child in order to exorcise him of the physical disabilities his father attributed to demonic possession. The boy, just shy of his fourth birthday, died on the compound during the ritualistic exorcism. At least one child in the compound, aged 15, was forced to undergo training to be a school shooter. Ten other children, some as young as toddlers, were living in squalor with no access to food, water, shelter or education.

A tip that finally lead authorities to this compound came from one of the women. She texted someone on the outside for money, adding that she and the children were starving and in need of help. A life-line to the outside world begging for assistance raises some questions:

  • Why did the women subject themselves to intolerable and abusive conditions?
  • How can any mother tolerate this abuse of a child, let alone her children?
  • Why didn’t the women and children just leave the premises?

Behavior analyst Ayaz Merchant offers insight. Having run training workshops for well-known life coach Tony Robbins, Ayaz shares how conditioning behavior leads to compliance in certain cultures.

  • Some cultures are still very formative in their development,

Review of A Politically Incorrect Feminist

Robert Brannon: “Phyllis Chesler’s new memoir, A Politically Incorrect Feminist (St. Martin's Press, 2018), spans almost fifty years of second-wave feminism. She names 100s of women, both famous and virtually unknown today who took part in the awakening and growing women’s movement, marching, sitting-in, writing and organizing since the 1960’s. It is the personal life story of one of the earliest feminist authors and political activists of the secondwave, the author of Women and Madness and 17 other books. Chelser discusses major issues of the time and provides an insider’s view of many of the feminism’s most significant public events. This big book contains some surprises and revelations, and is likely to be controversial.”

Review of A Politically Incorrect Feminist by Phyllis Chesler
by Robert Brannon at Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence 10/3/18

No social movement in history changed American culture so profoundly as the feminist movement which re-emerged in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Although this new memoir is not meant as a book of history, I consider it to be the most extensive, richly-detailed and lucidly-written account of that historic movement yet to appear in print. It adds significantly to valuable earlier feminist movement histories by Susan Brownmiller, Ruth Rosen, Barbara Love, Flora Davis, Marcia Cohen, Judith Hennessee, Gail Collins, Judith Hole, and Ellen Levine.

This is a big, rich, detailed, often surprising memoir that is several things at once: the personal life-trajectory of one of the early central leaders of feminism, a brief discussion of many of the key issues and concepts of the movement, and an inside look at many major meetings, conferences, and events. Most of all, however, it is a loving, honest, and informative celebration of hundreds of women, “all the radical feminists who spent their salad years organizing, marching, sitting in, and writing articles and books that quite literally changed our world” (p. 101). Hundreds of women’s names are recorded here, each within a clear context. They include both well-known women and many who are now almost unknown, women in the U.S. and around the world. This memoir will be a treasure for serious historians of feminism, and for all students of modern American culture more generally.

Duchess Meghan and Duke Harry inspect U.S. Declaration of Independence (Sussex Declaration) in England

Duchess Meghan and Duke HarryMeghan Markle may now be part of the British royal family, but the former American actress' first visit to her new royal duchy began with a viewing of a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence from the British crown.

Meghan married Queen Elizabeth's grandson Harry in May this year, and on Wednesday the couple visited the so-called Sussex Declaration one of only two known handwritten parchment copies of America’s formative text, at Edes House in Chichester.

The manuscript had been stored for more than 60 years in a strong-room among miles of documents in the West Sussex Record Office, until its significance was revealed by two Harvard University researchers last year.

The declaration cast Britain as a tyranny. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” it says.

Measuring 24 by 30 inches (60 by 76 cm), the Sussex Declaration is thought to date to the 1780s and most likely was written in New York or Philadelphia, and while other copies and printed versions of the Declaration exist, the only other ceremonial parchment is the Matlack Declaration, which dates from 1776 and is kept at the National Archives in Washington.

The trip will also include a visit to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton as Harry and Meghan pay their first trip to Sussex since they were made Duke and Duchess of the southern English county.

They will also visit a charity for survivors of sexual abuse before discussing mental health and emotional well being with youth groups.

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump Lays Wreath At 'Emotional' Slave Castle In Ghana

U.S. First lady Melania TrumpU.S. First lady Melania Trump on Wednesday laid a wreath at a slave fortress on the coast of Ghana, vowing never to forget the place where Africans were held before being shipped away into further hardship, most across the Atlantic.

“It's very emotional… I will never forget (the) incredible experience and the stories that I heard,” she said after seeing the dungeons and walking through the 'door of no return', the castle's final exit toward the ocean.

She arrived in Ghana on the first stop of her first solo international trip as first lady, a tour of Africa, a continent her husband has been reported to have referred to derisively. She will also visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

President Donald Trump has not visited Africa since taking office in 2017. In January U.S. media reported widely that he described African states as “shithole countries” during a discussion with lawmakers about immigration. He has denied making the remark.

The 17th century Cape Coast castle, now a monument, has attracted world dignitaries including America's first black President Barack Obama and his family, who also shared their emotions at the site.

During her tour on Wednesday, Melania Trump walked slowly with a guide through various wings, asking questions. She passed a row of cannons and descended into a dungeon where male slaves were held in chains. “It's really, really touching,” she said. “The dungeons that I saw, it's really something that people should see and experience, and what happened so many years ago — it's really a tragedy.”

Before proceeding to the slave castle, she visited the palace of the head chief of the area and obtained royal approval to visit the fortress after presenting drinks to the chiefs. The ceremony took place in Obama hall at the Emintsimadze Palace, a hall that was renamed in Obama's honor after his visit to the area in 2009.

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