This assessment highlights potential al-Qa’ida threat scenarios by identifying plausible indicators and corresponding outcomes. Significant indicators were selected by compiling observable events and past outcomes to determine potential future scenarios.
The assassination of Walter Lübcke, a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, at his home in Istha, Germany, on June 2 could instigate further violence against other politicians who similarly support pro-migrant policies. According to the German Interior Ministry, authorities arrested far-right extremist Stephan Ernst on June 15. Officials said Ernst admitted committing the attack to take “revenge” for Lübcke’s pro-refugee stance, marking the first political assassination the country has seen in more than half a century. Ernst later retracted his confession.
On July 6, counter-protest groups, including anarchist extremists, plan to mobilize against a “Demand Free Speech” rally the Proud Boys and several alt-right personalities are attending in Washington, DC. At this time, there are no overt calls for violence from either side; however, physical altercations have occurred at similar events in the past.
Environmental extremists are not active in New Jersey because grassroots organizations throughout the State take an active role in environmental issues, reducing the perceived need for violent and criminal activity. Environmental agencies at the State and federal levels conduct aggressive oversight and prosecutions of environmental extremists, contributing to the low threat level. There have been no documented violent incidents involving environmental extremists in New Jersey since 1998.
Animal rights extremists in New Jersey present a low threat to the State, as there have been no reported incidents since 2006, when key members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were convicted and received prison sentences of four to six years for inciting attacks on tertiary targets associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences.
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.