London Vehicle/Knife Assault Shows Difficulty of Preventing Unsophisticated Attacks; Interfaith Issues: Jewish Groups Strengthen Security After Bomb Threats, Despite Arrest of Israeli Suspect; Aviation: DHS Cites “Evaluated Intelligence” in Electronic Devices Ban
Anarchist extremists are protesting the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and aiding in the destruction of pipeline construction material, resulting in transport disruptions in at least two states. DAPL is a $3.7-billion project to build a pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois, where crude oil would be transported to refineries on the Gulf or East Coast. It is unlikely this activity will impact New Jersey pipeline projects because no New Jersey-based companies are directly supporting the DAPL project.
Last week, an “anonymous environmental activist collective” defaced one of the President’s private golf courses in Rancho Palos Verde, California, claiming offense with the Trump Administration’s perceived “disregard” for the environment and threatening further action. This act, which caused roughly $20,000 in damages, is the first time a US golf course affiliated with the President has been targeted; other Trump properties have been vandalized in the past.
Aviation: Attacker Killed at Paris Airport After Grabbing a Soldier's Rifle; Parcel Bombs: Sent to Paris and Berlin Illustrate Continuing Threat; Jersey City Man Leaves Suspicious Device Components in a Suitcase at Port Authority Bus Terminal
ISIS will likely continue refining its UAV capabilities and touting successes as proofs of concept for future operations. Since February, ISIS claims it has conducted approximately 80 UAV attacks in Iraq and Syria, killing approximately 40 and injuring 100. The UAVs are primarily quadcopters, which can be easily purchased online and customized to drop small explosive munitions.
NYPD Official Says One Person Suspected in Most Jewish Threats, Calls for “Measured Response”; Interfaith Issues: Seattle Synagogue Vandalized With Holocaust Denial Graffiti; Florida Man Charged With Trying to Burn Store Because He Thought Indian Owners Were Muslim
On March 8, four men killed at least 30 people and wounded more than 50 at the Sardar Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, using tactics indicative of premeditation after foreign terrorist calls to strike hospitals in the West. ISIS later claimed responsibility.
A dam failure like the one on February 12 at the Oroville Dam in Northern California does not present similar risks to New Jersey’s population because of differences in the State’s dam design, topography, and magnitude. According to media outlets, heavy damage to the Oroville Dam’s main spillway compromised its structural integrity, hindering its safe release of floodwater. Water flowing down the unpaved auxiliary spillway eroded the hillside and roughly 180,000 people in the inundation zone were subsequently evacuated.
Interfaith Issues: Spike in Anti-Semitic Incidents Continues, in New Jersey and Nationwide; Interfaith Issues: Mosques in Jersey City and Brooklyn Receive Threats From “Muslim Slayer”; Sikh Man in Seattle Area Shot in His Driveway; Was Told “Go Back to Your Own Country”
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is leveraging a recent US counterterrorism (CT) operation in Yemen to spread anti-American rhetoric and motivate supporters in the West. On January 29, US forces raided an AQAP-controlled area in Bayda Province, killing three tribal chiefs linked to the group and the daughter of deceased US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi. In a rare audio statement, AQAP leader Qasim al-Rimi mocked the US President for the operation.
Terrorists—particularly homegrown violent extremists (HVEs)—will likely continue using vehicles as weapons based on foreign terrorist organizations promoting this tactic, the success of past attacks, and the ease of vehicle acquisition. An NJOHSP review of vehicle-ramming attacks in the West over the last 10 years shows increases in this tactic and resulting casualties.
FBI is working with local authorities to determine whether the shooting last week of two Indian immigrants in Olathe, Kansas, was racially motivated. On February 22, Adam Purinton shot two Indian men, killing one and wounding the other—as well as injuring another witness—before leaving the scene.
On February 26, US military forces killed al-Qa’ida deputy leader Abu Khayr al-Masri in northwestern Syria, further undermining the organization’s command structure in Syria. Masri, the global deputy to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was a member of the Khorasan Group—a network of senior al-Qa’ida extremists in Syria dedicated to planning operations against the United States and Europe and advising the Nusrah Front, al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in the country.
The ransomware infection of Cockrell Hill Police Department’s (CHPD) servers in Texas on December 12, 2016 revealed cyber vulnerabilities that can be mitigated. The hacker behind the attack demanded $4,000 in bitcoins to decrypt CHPD’s files. After consulting with the FBI Cyber Crime Unit, CHPD decided not to pay the ransom and wiped its server to remove the virus. The wipe caused the loss of some body camera, dash camera, and surveillance videos, as well as photos that were not properly backed up.
The proposed Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines pose little impact to New Jersey due to the State’s robust, independent infrastructure and the lack of credible threats from anarchist or environmental extremist groups. The Dakota Access Pipeline will transport crude oil from the Bakken shale oil fields in northwest North Dakota to a terminal in Illinois, where it will travel to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico and the Midwest. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed project awaiting US State Department approval, which will provide a more direct route to transport crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska.
Large-scale power outages are unlikely in New Jersey because of safeguards built into the electric grid, safety measures implemented following major weather events, and regular tests of grid resiliency. Last Thursday, an explosion at a high voltage substation near Brussels, Belgium damaged a physical connection between electrical grid components—causing a widespread power outage. Technicians restored power within three hours and reported a technical issue still under investigation caused the explosion.
Kansas Man Charged With Murder in Shooting of Two Indian Men at a Bar; Interfaith Issues: Hundreds of Headstones Vandalized at Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia; Interfaith Issues: Fire at a Florida Mosque Determined to be Arson
NJOHSP continues to offer resources to religious facilities in New Jersey, especially following recent bomb scares against Jewish centers across the United States and Canada. Since January, approximately 60 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and day schools in 30 states have received roughly 100 bomb threats. The FBI is coordinating all investigative activity with state and local law enforcement partners.
Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) are individuals inspired—as opposed to directed—by a foreign terrorist organization and radicalized in the countries in which they are born, raised, or reside.
HVEs pose the greatest threat to New Jersey and will likely remain so this year.
This map reflects 39 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2016. All information was derived from publicly available sources.