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MSA Intel Alert: Potential 9/11 Anniversary Threats

 
2012 benghazi attack

As the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks approaches, there are reportedly no known, credible plots against the U.S. homeland. Attacks against western interests overseas seem to be a more realistic threat at this time; however, the threat of homegrown terrorism remains. Below is an assessment of current terrorist threats to western interests at home and abroad.

MSA Intel Alert: Al-Shabaab Names New Leader

 
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The Somali-based al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab named a new leader this weekend after a U.S. airstrike successfully targeted and killed its former chief, Ahmed Abdi Godane. The airstrike also reportedly killed several other senior al-Shabaab members at a rebel training camp 105 miles south of Mogadishu. Godane’s death was confirmed on Friday by U.S. officials, and prompted al-Shabaab to unanimously select Abu Ubeid Ahmed Omar as their new leader. Omar is believed to be operating under a nom de guerre, and U.S. officials are investigating his true identity. Rebel commander Abu Mohammed announced the leadership changes, while reiterating al-Shabaab’s alignment with al Qaeda. Mohammed also warned of revenge attacks following the airstrike.

MSA Intel Alert: Al Qaeda Announces New Wing in India Subcontinent

 
Al Qaeda Announces New Wing in India Subcontinent

In a video posted online yesterday, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri announced the formation of an al Qaeda branch in the Indian subcontinent. The 55-minute video, titled, “War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir,” has been spread on jihadist forums. The branch will serve Muslims in “Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad and Kashmir.” Zawahri stated that the group will rescue Muslims in the region from injustice and “break all borders” dividing Muslim populations. Zawahri called for unity among jihadists and urged Muslims in the region “to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate.”

MSA Intel Alert: Second American Journalist Allegedly Beheaded

 
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Earlier today, a video was released by an Islamic State affiliated Twitter account, which is now suspended, depicting the beheading of a second American journalist. The video is titled “A Second Message to America,” a sequential title following the film of James Foley’s execution. U.S. defense officials are still working to authenticate the video; however, the deceased is believed to be American journalist Steven Sotloff. Sotloff was captured a year ago near the Syrian-Turkish border and was shown as a captive in the Foley execution video. The syntax, clothing and executioner closely resemble the Foley video. In the new release, the militant is wearing a black veil while standing behind Sotloff, who is dressed in the orange uniform of a prisoner. The militant warns, “I am back Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.” He also threatens, “As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike necks of your people.” Additionally, the video is used by the group to issue a threat against a British hostage, David Haines.

In Memoriam: Shalee

 
R.I.P (2)

MSA Security is unlike many other security service providers.  As many of you already know, we provide explosive detection canines, over 200 of them currently, to clients throughout the United States and abroad.  As a handler, for over 20 years now, I can say without question, these animals are more than our business they are our friends and integral members of our family unit.  It is this integration that makes MSA’s EDC teams so effective.  The bond between dog and handler weighs heavily on the accuracy and effectiveness of the EDC as a tool to combat potential terrorists.  There is no better way to develop that bond than to invite your partner into your home.  I have been blessed with excellent partners, Sky and Shalee, during my tenure with MSA.  The two of them were great friends and I had the pleasure of watching my children grow up as my partners grew older.

MSA Intel Alert: American-Born Militant Dies Fighting for ISIS

 
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The Free Syrian Army announced this week that an American-born militant from San Diego was killed over the weekend while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also referred to as the Islamic State. The militant’s identity, Douglas McAuthur McCain of San Diego, was confirmed by photos of his passport and his body. McCain was reportedly one of three foreign jihadists to die during the battle, but it is unclear how he was killed. A look at his social media footprint provides insight into his movement toward Syria. McCain was born in Illinois in 1981 and grew up in Minnesota, where he attended two different high schools. Between 2000 and 2008, he had several run-ins with the law and accumulated nine misdemeanor convictions. According to his Twitter feed, he “reverted” to Islam sometime during 2004. McCain moved to San Diego at some point in the past several years, and recently began working at a Somali restaurant and became known around the Masjid Nur mosque.

MSA Intel Alert: AQAP Releases New English-Language Publication

 
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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.

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