On June 4, the US Department of Justice announced Peyman Amiri Larijani, an Iranian citizen and former Turkish resident, was charged with conspiracy to transfer US aircraft parts to Iran. The indictment alleges Larijani conspired to use the supplies to equip an Iranian airline suspected of providing logistical support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The US Department of State designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization on April 15.
Iran will likely continue using social media to target assets in the United States to gain access to information sources and promote disinformation campaigns. Iranian intelligence services use social engineering to target those within the US Government and key private-sector areas to collect intelligence and gain access to associated accounts and networks.
The threat from terrorists recently released from prison is moderate given the small number of releases in connection with terrorism-related offenses in the past five years and the level of public scrutiny and supervised monitoring. High-profile releases such as those of John Walker Lindh, Shannon Conley, and Colleen LaRose, also known as “Jihad Jane,” have prompted the US government to propose the Terrorist Release Announcements to Counter Extremist Recidivism Act, or the TRACER Act.
White supremacist extremists will likely cite “white genocide” as justification for violence against certain religious communities being the only option to save the white race. Since 2018, there have been no New Jersey-based white supremacist extremist attacks; however, groups and individuals within the State continue to promote the conspiracy in person and online.
Some domestic extremists are likely willing to shift to foreign terrorist ideologies as a way to justify violence due to their susceptibility to radicalization, existing violent tendencies, and willingness to support extremist groups. An NJOHSP review found that many domestic extremist and foreign terrorist ideologies share similar viewpoints typically rooted in hatred and intolerance.
LeT poses a low threat to New Jersey due to the group’s continued focus on local and regional issues, including its operations in Kashmir and Pakistan, and its efforts to expand foreign-based fundraising. Since its creation, LeT has threatened the United States, but has not succeeded in conducting an attack domestically.
TTP poses a low threat to New Jersey due to its territorial losses in Pakistan, the United States targeting its leaders, and internal conflicts constraining the group to regional operations, despite prior plots against the United States. TTP has never succeeded in conducting an attack in the United States; however, the group continues to entice Americans to provide monetary and material support.
Boko Haram has never conducted an attack in the United States, and its operational capability is limited due to its focus on operations in Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, as well as competition for support from ISIS West Africa. From January 2018 to March 2019, Boko Haram conducted large-scale attacks that resulted in approximately 307 fatalities within its operational regions near the borders of Nigeria.
ISIS’s release of a video featuring its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, prior to Ramadan likely indicates efforts to rally supporters during its post-caliphate period, purport its global presence, and encourage attacks during the holy month. On April 29, ISIS released its first video in five years with Baghdadi, who has not publicly appeared since he proclaimed ISIS’s caliphate in 2014 at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq.
White supremacist extremists will likely consult online manifestos for ideological and tactical guidance due to the success of past attacks and their idolization of like-minded extremists. The manifesto of Anders Breivik, a white supremacist who killed over 70 people in Norway in 2011, has been the inspiration for multiple white supremacist extremists, including Christopher Hasson, who created a target list of high-profile media members and political figures.
On April 21, complex coordinated suicide attacks targeted several churches and Western hotels in Sri Lanka, resulting in at least 290 deaths and more than 500 injuries. At this time, the incident remains under investigation and no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, police arrested at least 24 people, and the Sri Lankan government believes the Nations Thawahid Jaman group conducted the attack with assistance from international terrorist groups. Additionally, Sri Lankan authorities temporarily blocked popular social media sites and apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook, to prevent the spread of disinformation.
There were 32 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 2018. NJOHSP defines domestic terrorism as violence committed by individuals or groups—including anti-government, race-based, religious, and single-issue extremist ideologies—associated primarily with US-based movements.
AQAP has demonstrated the intent and capability to act outside its primary area of operations in Yemen and has attempted to strike the United States on three occasions since 2009. The group failed to release its English-language magazine, Inspire, in 2018, the first year without an issue since the publication’s inception in 2009.