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Category Archives: Terrorism Investigations: Domestic

Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta observed in his recent memoir that so-called “lone wolf terrorists”–terrorists who work without group assistance−are a growing threat to the internal security of the United States. It’s an observation that has been echoed by many officials and former officials. Some would respond that the threat of lone wolf . . .
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Will the Supreme Court Take Up Mehanna?

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Does translating “radical” Arab texts and videos amount to material support for terrorism? That is the question that would face the Supreme Court, should they decide to take up Mehanna v. United States. (For full background and facts on the case, see our extensive prior coverage here.) The basic facts of Mehanna are simple. The . . .
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Jose Padilla Re-sentenced to 21 Years

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has re-sentenced Jose Padilla to 21 years in prison for his 2007 conviction for conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and main individuals in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists. An appellate court had vacated Padilla’s original, 17-and-a-half year sentence, after finding . . .
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Consequence, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Fourth Amendment’s ‘No-Win’ Scenario

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Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 10:29 AM

And, since I’m catching up on my blogging this morning, let me also recommend this paper by Scott Glick from the National Security Division of DOJ.   Very much relevant to the ongoing meta-data debate and other post-9/11 domestic law enforcement issues.  You may not agree, but it is worth a read. Here’s the abstract: . . .
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Khatalla Transitions from Military to Civilian Custody

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM

[Update:  A colleague writes in to say that Khatalla may have been in "civilian" custody, formally speaking, all along.  That may be; I recall a statement after the capture to the effect that the raid was conducted in some fashion under color of FBI authority, albeit with substantial SOF involvement under that umbrella.  This approach, . . .
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The FBI and the Bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Two opposite mistakes in an after-the-fact review of a terrorist incident are equally damaging. One is to fail to recognize the powerful difference between foresight and hindsight in evaluating how an investigative or intelligence agency should have behaved.  After the fact, we know on whom we should have focused attention as a suspect, and we . . .
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On Proliferating State and Local Surveillance Technologies

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Monday, October 14, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Over at Security States,  I have this piece up, about the proliferation of city- and state-operated surveillance technologies—and the need to pair collection rules for these technologies with effective use and access rules.  The piece begins: The New York Times reports today that “Privacy Fears Grow as Cities Increase Surveillance.” The main theme is that municipal police and law . . .
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The President’s Surveillance Reform Initiatives: A Section-by-Section Analysis

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Friday, August 9, 2013 at 5:46 PM

During his press conference today (transcript here), President Obama announced a quartet of reform initiatives meant to enhance the credibility and legitimacy of NSA activities and the FISA system, both of which have come under heavy pressure thanks to the Snowden revelations and their aftermath.  Here’s a rough section-by-section analysis of what he said: 1. . . .
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Al Nusrah/Al Shabaab Supporters Brought to the US for Prosecution, and other Terrorism Prosecution News

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Friday, August 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Some interesting terrorism-prosecution developments over the past few days that are worth noting. United States v. Mohammed (S.D. Fla.) First, a pair of men (one leaving in Kenya, and the other–who happens to be a naturalized US citizen–living in Saudi Arabia) are in custody in the US facing material support charges based on their efforts . . .
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Harold Koh Identifies a Big Difference Between the Bush and Obama Administrations

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM

From Harold Koh’s speech to the Oxford Union yesterday: A third critical difference between this Administration and its predecessor is the Obama Administration’s determination not to address Al Qaeda and the Taliban solely through the tools of war. . . . [O]ur longer term objective must be what Secretary Clinton called a “smart power” approach. . . .
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The “Tsarnaev is Innocent” Movement

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 7:09 AM

I suppose this was inevitable: A Twitter hashtag has developed devoted to the proposition that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent: #Freejahar, for those curious to check it out. Spencer Ackerman describes it as follows: Barely two days after cops apprehended Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombings, supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are rallying online. A flood of . . .
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Geoff Corn on Tsarnaev, Miranda, and Questioning Terrorism Suspects

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Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 9:26 AM

The following guest post is from Professor Geoffrey Corn (South Texas College of Law).  While there is still much we do not know regarding the Boston marathon bombings, there is enough information (and even more misunderstanding) to prompt discussion on the intersection of, and balance between, national security, law enforcement, and “the law of confessions” . . .
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Four Reasons Sens. Graham and McCain are Wrong

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Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain were quick out of the box last night in declaring that the Obama administration should hold Dzhokar Tsarnaev in military detention: Now that the suspect is in custody, the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent. It is absolutely vital the suspect be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes. . . .
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Interrogating Tsarnaev: No Need for Military Detention Here

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Unless there is good reason to believe that the Tsarnaev brothers were acting as agents of al Qaeda or some other AUMF-covered group, talk of putting Dzhokar Tsarnaev into military custody as an enemy combatant makes no legal sense, for the reasons that Ben Wittes explains in this excellent post from Jacob Gershman at the Wall . . .
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Good Twitter Sources and News Links on the Ongoing Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

We’re reposting our Twitter feed of reliable sources on the manhunt that’s ongoing in Boston right now. As with last time: “This does not mean that everything they are saying will turn out to be correct. This is a fluid situation. But these are all responsible people and outlets.” In addition, we’ll be posting useful . . .
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A Crash Course on Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM

It has been widely reported that the two prime suspects in the Boston marathon bombings—one who was killed in a shootout early this morning—are ethnic Chechens. The brothers allegedly lived in Kyrgyzstan with their family before moving to the United States in 2002, and reports say they are citizens of that country. Here is a running . . .
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One Quick Thought on the Unfolding Situation in the Boston Suburbs . . .

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Friday, April 19, 2013 at 7:59 AM

. . . where one of the Boston Marathon suspects is dead and the other is on murderous rampage: It is very important that the remaining suspect be taken alive. The New York Times has identified the two suspects as Chechen brothers, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26—the latter of whom is apparently dead. The most . . .
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AG Holder’s Statement on the Terrorist Attack in Boston

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

The Attorney General’s statement is posted here.

US v. Cromitie

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Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:24 PM

I was struck by this report of a recent oral argument in the 2nd Circuit involving a terrorism prosecution.  The defendant (and his co-conspirators) were convicted of having plotted to blow up a synagogue in New York and sentenced to 25 years in prison.   Part of the plot was hatched with the connivance of . . .
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Yousef Wanted to Cooperate, New York Times Reports

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Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

In today’s New York Times is this article by Ben Weiser about some information that has come to light in a memorandum written by District Court Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy this week. Weiser writes: Federal officials had to be intrigued a few years ago when they learned that the terrorist Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who is serving a life . . .
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