Militia Extremists: Threatening the Muslim Community

US militia groups—right-wing extremists with an anti-government, conspiracy-oriented ideology—are adopting violent, anti-Islamic rhetoric following the attacks in Paris last month, as well as the media’s continuing coverage of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Militia members across the country have threatened Muslim communities and mosques, and they have released some Muslims’ personally identifiable information online. 

ISIS Releases New Propaganda in Wake of Paris Attacks

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, ISIS has released three videos and the 12th edition of its English language magazine, Dabiq, vowing follow-on operations in the United States. The FBI reports no intelligence to suggest the group is planning a Paris-type attack in the US, and ISIS has previously used propaganda campaigns to generate momentum and encourage supporters to conduct attacks in the West. 

US Military Aid: Unlikely to Impact Boko Haram

In September, the United States pledged $45 million to a Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Benin to combat Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram. Using a scenarios based analysis, we evaluated three potential ways in which Boko Haram will respond to increased US military assistance to the MJTF over the next year. Scenarios analysis identifies multiple ways in which a situation may evolve, and is most useful when a situation is complex or when the outcome is too uncertain to trust a single prediction.

Implications of Conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Terroritories

Recent widespread violence between Israelis and Palestinians is unlikely to spur criminal activity in New Jersey, based on a NJOHSP review of previous periods of conflict. Instead, in recent years, Israeli-Palestinian tensions have yielded some peaceful demonstrations and rallies in New Jersey, which fall within constitutionally protected practices.    

Al-Qa'ida: Possible Trajectories in 2016

After 14 years of pressure from an international anti-terrorism coalition and facing competition from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for supremacy of the global jihadist movement, al-Qa’ida’s trajectory through 2016 is uncertain. Using a scenarios based analysis, we evaluated three potential futures for the group in terms of their likelihood to occur. Scenarios analysis identifies multiple ways in which a situation may evolve, and is most useful when a situation is complex or when the outcome is too uncertain to trust a single prediction.

ISIS: Defectors Expose Group's Deficiences

A new study of 58 recent Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) defectors—many of European and Middle Eastern descent—reveals clues and countermessaging themes that can likely deter individuals from joining the group in the first place. Four key narratives are identified as driving defectors to leave ISIS: group infighting; brutality against Sunni Muslims; corruption and “un-Islamic” behaviors; and poor quality of life. The former members also claim that ISIS has failed to live up to its central pledge to create a “perfect” Islamic society.

ISIS Capabilities - June to July 2015

Since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced their self-proclaimed caliphate in June 2014, the group has expanded its presence throughout Iraq and Syria and has become a significant security threat to the United States by encouraging Homegrown Violent Extremists to execute attacks locally. In order to develop a deeper understanding of ISIS’s overall capabilities, a new joint counterterrorism assessment–produced by the State of New York and New Jersey — will examine key indicators that reflect the overall capabilities of the group. 

AQAP/ISIS: New Editions of English Magazines Released

Two days prior to the anniversary of September 11, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released new editions of their English-language periodicals, which focus primarily on broad issues and contain no threats to New Jersey. On Wednesday, AQAP released Inspire 14 following an audio message disseminated earlier in the day by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa’ida’s leader, while ISIS published the 11th issue of its Dabiq magazine. 

Animal Rights Extremists: Low Threat in New Jersey

The threat of violence from animal rights extremists in New Jersey is low because laws passed in recent years are having a deterrent effect and some previously extremist organizations have shifted to public outreach campaigns and nonviolent action to push their political agenda. From 2001-06, there were eight documented cases of animal rights extremism in New Jersey; since that time, none have been reported. 

Chattanooga: Attack Underscores Threat to Military

In July 16, Air Force recruiters witnessed a white male pull up in front of a National Guard recruiting center in a strip mall in Chattanooga and fire 25 to 30 rounds at the office with an automatic rifle. Local authorities pursued the shooter to the NOSC, approximately 7.5 miles from the first shooting site.

AQIS: Eying Small-Scale, Local Attacks

Leadership losses and a failed plot against a US Navy tanker in Pakistan since last year have forced al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) to shift its attack strategy from large-scale to small-scale operations, such as assassinations. In October 2014, shortly after the group was formed, AQIS’s English language magazine Resurgence encouraged attacks on US oil companies, terminals, and pipelines, as well as on US Navy bases protecting Western oil interests.

UAVs: Difficult for Terrorists to Utilize

Terrorist groups and individuals face major hurdles in arming and deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for attacks against public and private institutions in the United States. Although we cannot rule out the possibility that terrorists could seek to use UAVs in the future, most groups lack the technical know-how to mount and effectively utilize IEDs and firearms on a UAV, and these groups and individuals also face rapidly evolving UAV counter-technology.

Shooting in Charleston, South Carolina

There are no immediate threats to New Jersey resulting from last night’s shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which claimed the lives of nine people. As of 1200 today, the suspect, 21-year old Dylann Storm Roof of Columbia, South Carolina, was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina. The stop was initiated after a citizen saw the suspect’s car and reported it to law enforcement. According to local media, Roof has a history of arrests on drug and trespassing charges.

Al-Qa'ida: Adam Gadahn's Death Largely Inconsequential

The death in January of al-Qa’ida media chief Adam Gadahn—the last known American member of the group’s senior leadership—will have little impact on al-Qa’ida because Gadahn did not direct operations; he largely failed to motivate Westerners to join the group; and he did not competitively adapt al-Qa’ida’s media strategy. To date, al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has not acknowledged or memorialized Gadahn’s death, suggesting Gadahn’s contributions to the organization may have diminished in the months and years leading up to his demise.

AQAP: Implications of Wahishi's Death

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahishi’s death probably will not impact the group’s operations in Yemen or its capacity to strike the West, including the United States. Wahishi’s demise comes on the heels of the group’s loss of five high-profile leaders—mostly involved in media and radicalization—since January as a result of US airstrikes.

Outbreak of H5N2 Influenza in Midwest

Since December, H5N2—a highly pathogenic influenza strain—has spread to 21 states, affecting over 48 million chickens and turkeys. The virus has not affected the public or food safety in New Jersey or elsewhere on the East Coast. H5N2 does not pose a threat to humans and no cases of the illness have been reported among individuals exposed to diseased birds.

ISIS: Issuing New Threats

We have no specific intelligence to indicate near-term terrorist attacks in New Jersey following the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) statement on Tuesday that it has 71 “soldiers” in 15 states ready to launch operations. Although we cannot corroborate ISIS’s claims, the statement follows dozens of public threats the group has issued against US law enforcement and military personnel since the onset of the US-led counterterrorism campaign in Iraq and Syria in September.