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MSA Intel Alert: AQAP Releases New English-Language Publication


The Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), launched a new English-language publication. It was released through the al-Malahem Media outlet, the same producers of the infamous Inspire magazine series. The new release, titled “Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience,” is designed similarly to Inspire. From the onset, it is clearly utilized by AQAP to capitalize on the recent conflict in Gaza to renew their continuous call for lone wolf attacks against targets in the U.S. and UK.

MSA Intel Alert: American Journalist Beheaded by the Islamic State

James Wright Foley

Yesterday, the Islamic State released a five minute video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Wright Foley who was kidnapped 22 months ago in Syria. The video begins with a clip of President Barack Obama announcing the authorization of airstrikes in Iraq. Foley is then forced to read a letter condemning the U.S. military action before the masked executioner beheads him with a six to eight inch knife. Following the murder, the militant grabs a second kidnapped journalist, Steven Sotloff, and states, “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.” Sotloff, a contributor for Time Magazine, was captured near the Syrian-Turkish border a year ago.

MSA Intel Alert: Islamic State Releases Video Threatening the U.S.

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The Islamic State has released a video threatening to attack Americans “in any place” if U.S.
airstrikes in Iraq kill any of its members. The video emerged after the U.S. military provided air cover and drones to aid Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in recapturing the Mosul Dam. The 45 second recording features a graphic of the American flag splattered with blood and the phrase “we will drown all of you in blood.” It goes on to show footage of an American who was beheaded during the Iraq War, snipers shooting people and vehicles being blown up. The hastag #AmessagefromISIStoUS, which has been used to circulate Islamic State propaganda on social media, was also included in the video.

The Mosul Dam was recaptured from Islamic State militants yesterday by Kurdish and Iraqi forces, using U.S. airstrikes as cover. The dam is a strategically important location as it controls the water and electrical supply to the area. Additionally, the militants could use the dam as a weapon to flood surrounding villages, potentially killing thousands of people. The U.S. reportedly carried out 35 airstrikes over the past three days, destroying over 90 targets, including Islamic State vehicles and checkpoints.

MSA Intel Alert: Suspected American Militant Arrested at JFK

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Amid the warnings of the growing threat to the U.S. posed by the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the FBI arrested 44-year-old Donald Ray Morgan at John F. Kennedy Airport on August 2 under suspicions he was preparing to take part in jihad. The North Carolina native was arrested after returning home from eight months in Lebanon, where his wife lives. Morgan, an ex-convict, had been allegedly brokering deals for military-grade weaponry in his home state and was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Morgan caught the attention of the FBI when they discovered his Twitter rants from Lebanon under the alias “Abu Omar al Amreeki.” Aside from pledging his allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on the social media page, his tweets suggested that he may have been preparing for jihad in Syria, Iraq or possibly the U.S., as he referred to himself as a jihadist fighter. During a bail hearing last week, U.S. Attorney Nadia Moore argued that the alleged gun trafficker was too dangerous to return to North Carolina, and that it is possible that he traffics guns to people in the Islamic State. Morgan is currently being held without bail after a Brooklyn federal judge stated that the tweets clearly implied that he had been seeking to join the fighting in Syria or Iraq as a next step in waging jihad.

MSA Intel Alert: U.S Carries Out First Airstrike on Iraqi Militants

August 8th Blog Photo

This morning, the U.S. government launched airstrikes on Islamic State artillery near Erbil, Iraq after the militant group tried to shell Kurdish forces defending the city where U.S. personnel are located. According to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, 500-pound bombs guided by lasers were dropped by two F-18 fighter jets on a mobile artillery target. The strikes come a day after President Barack Obama authorized military action to defend U.S. personnel and prevent the “genocide” of the ancient Yazidi sect in the region. In addition to airstrikes, the U.S. military dropped relief supplies to Yazidi refugees, who are currently trapped on a mountaintop as they try to escape Islamic State fighters. The militants have been systematically clearing religious minorities from their newly acquired territory, broadcasting brutal killings over the internet, including crucifixions and beheadings.

Cyber Security Alert: Hackers Hijack Over One Billion Passwords

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Recently, there was a massive hack of over 1 Billion user names and passwords from website databases by a Russian gang.

MSA Intel Alert: New ISIS Video Features Possible U.S Children

August 4th blog photo

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a new video, claiming to feature a U.S. citizen and several other westerners. The 20 minute recording was posted over the weekend by the al Hayat Media Center. The video was reportedly released to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, but also serves as a propaganda tool to recruit Muslims to move to the Islamic State. In several scenes, small children are shown laughing, riding a merry-go-round and accepting toys from a man with ammunition strapped to his chest. The footage is interspersed with foreign fighters making statements that portray the Islamic State as a utopian society for Muslims from around the world.
In the video, the alleged American identifies himself by the nom de guerre Abu Abdurahman al-Trinidi and reports that his experience in the Islamic State is “like living in a dream world.” He addresses his audience in Arabic and further encourages all believers to come to the caliphate. Al-Trinidi’s true identity and nationality have yet to be confirmed. Another man, who identifies himself as Abu Abdullah al-Habashi, claims to be British and is featured speaking English and praising the Islamic State. It is unclear where the video was shot, but the speakers repeatedly reference the land of Sham, which refers to Syria and parts of neighboring countries.

Key Points

  • Abu Abdurahman al-Tinidi has yet to be officially identified; however, his nom de guerre indicates that he may be of Trinidadian-American descent.

MSA Intel Alert: One Dead in Chicago Workplace Violence Incident

August 1st blog photo

Today, the chief technology officer at the Chicago-based business ArrowStream opened fire on the company’s CEO before taking his own life. The incident occurred on the 17th floor of 231 South LaSalle Street in Chicago’s financial district. The gunman, 59-year-old Anthony DeFrances, had been demoted last Friday and requested a one-on-one meeting with the company’s CEO, 54-year-old Steven LaVoie. During the meeting, DeFrances allegedly took out a firearm, and the two men began to struggle for control of the weapon. DeFrances shot LaVoie in the stomach and head before turning the gun on himself. The entire building was then placed on lockdown, with employees told to remain on their respective floors. According to police, DeFrances was apparently angered over the fact that he was demoted and targeted LaVoie for personal reasons. LaVoie is listed in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Key Points

  •  DeFrances allegedly concealed the firearm in a backpack and was not screened prior to the meeting.

MSA Intel Alert: Norway Bolsters Security Due to Syria

July 24th blog photo

Security in Norway has been bolstered due to an imminent threat linked to a small group of Islamist militants with fighting experience in the Syrian conflict. The announcement was made by security officials during a news conference this morning. Benedicte Bjoernland, head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), said there was “reliable information” about plans for an attack in Norway “within days.” She also described the threat as “unspecified,” but “credible.” It is unclear how many people are involved in the plans or whether any are Norwegian citizens.

MSA Intel Alert: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down

july 18th blog photo  Malaysia

Today, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members were killed in the crash. Several sources are reporting the Boeing 777 was likely shot down by an SA-17 missile system, also referred to as a Buk ground-to-air missile, which is a self-propelled, medium-range system. The weapons were first developed by the former Soviet Union and are designed to fight cruise missiles, smart bombs, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters) and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). U.S. intelligence officials independently confirmed the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. More information is expected to be obtained as both flight recorders were recovered in the wreckage. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the accident an “act of terrorism” and denied any Ukrainian involvement. In response, pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Borodai accused the Ukrainian government of shooting down the plane. He denied any rebel involvement, claiming they do not have weapons capable of shooting down an aircraft flying at that attitude. However, earlier this week, rebel forces claimed responsibility for shooting down two Ukrainian military planes.

MSA's Research and Intelligence Analysis (RIA) Group has been monitoring this situation closely and has identified the following implications:
At this time, there are conflicting reports as to whether the plane’s “black box” was sent to Moscow for analysis. If this is confirmed, it could lead to questions over the results of the analysis as Russia is accused of interfering in the region. Additionally, there are unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian security services intercepted a phone call between pro-Russian rebels shortly after the crash, indicating that they shot down a civilian aircraft, but this remains unconfirmed. Earlier this week, rebels shot down a Ukrainian military fighter jet and cargo plane in the same area, further adding to speculation that they may have mistakenly targeted a civilian aircraft.

Social media is also playing a major role in the investigation as several posts by pro-Russian separatists suggest the rebels thought they shot down a Ukrainian military plane instead of a Malaysian passenger airliner. The posts have since been deleted or removed. If Russian backed pro-separatist rebels are found responsible, the incident is likely to further strain Russia’s relationships with the U.S. and EU, which are already suffering due to the Ukrainian conflict.

MSA Security's Research and Intelligence Analysis Group provides real-time intelligence on events and worldwide threats as they evolve.


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