Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Amir Ehsaei Named Special Agent in Charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the Los Angeles Field Office

Director Christopher Wray has named Amir Ehsaei as the special agent in charge (SAC) of the Counterterrorism Division of the Los Angeles Field Office. He most recently served as a section chief in the Human Resources Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington.

As the counterterrorism SAC, Mr. Ehsaei is responsible for counterterrorism investigations in Los Angeles, as well as much of Asia and Australia. He is also responsible for crisis response matters and the weapons of mass destruction program.

Mr. Ehsaei began his career as an FBI special agent in 2004. He was first assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in the Los Angeles Field Office and moved to the Human Intelligence Squad in 2010. He was promoted later that year to supervisory special agent of a counterterrorism squad on the JTTF. Mr. Ehsaei deployed to Baghdad in 2010, leading an interagency team that interviewed members of a foreign terrorist organization.

In 2013, Mr. Ehsaei moved to the Inspection Division at Headquarters, where he served as an assistant inspector and team leader. He returned to Los Angeles in 2015 as the assistant special agent in charge (ASAC) of the Administrative Division and was named the ASAC for the Los Angeles JTTF in 2017.

Mr. Ehsaei was promoted to chief of the Employment Development and Selection Program Section of the Human Resources Division at Headquarters in 2018. As section chief, he oversaw the Leadership Selection Unit, the Office of Workforce Development, the Performance Appraisal Unit, and the Transfer Unit.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Ehsaei was an attorney. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Colorado and graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Law. He is a member of the Florida and California State Bars. He is fluent in Farsi.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Utah U.S. Attorney Highlights DOJ China Initiative During Remarks At Salt Lake City Security Webinar

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah U.S. Attorney John W. Huber shared highlights of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative with law enforcement agents and officers, private sector business representatives, university officials, and others at a Salt Lake City Security Webinar Wednesday morning. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI sponsored the webinar.

Huber’s remarks focused on the economic and national security threats China poses to the United States and the importance of defending the country against these efforts.

Huber referenced testimony given by Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 12, 2018.  “In many of the cases we see, China’s strategy is the same: Rob, Replicate, and Replace.  Rob the American company of its intellectual property, Replicate the technology, and Replace the American company in the Chinese market and, one day, in the global market,” Demers said in his testimony.

“About 80 percent of all federal economic espionage prosecutions have conduct that would benefit China and around 60 percent of federal trade secret theft cases have some nexus to China,” Huber said.

Utah has experienced its own China-related espionage case, Huber told those participating in the webinar.  Ron Rockwell Hansen, a Syracuse, Utah, resident and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in September 2019 after admitting to spying and selling classified information to China. 

Huber concluded with key takeaways for those involved in the webinar, including identifying trade secrets and valuable intellectual property; instituting protections such as non-disclosure agreements, access controls, and need-to-know rules; employee training; and developing an internal employee reporting mechanism for suspicious activities.

“Utah companies should take affirmative steps to protect their hard-earned intellectual property and trade secrets,” Huber said. “The Department of Justice will respond to the economic aggression and other national security threats from the Chinese government.  United States Attorneys will hold accountable, and expose the tactics of those who would steal American innovation.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

DHS Makes $10 Million in Funding Available for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grants

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is making $10 million available to help local communities more effectively combat terrorism and targeted violence across the United States. The $10 million appropriated by Congress under the Fiscal Year 2020 Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program will support the development of a nationwide terrorism and targeted violence prevention framework. DHS strongly encourages all eligible entities to apply for this funding opportunity to build capabilities in their communities and online.
“Attacks by domestic terrorists, those inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, and acts committed by violent individuals with no clear ideological motivation have occurred in communities across America with tragic outcomes,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf. “These grants will improve local communities’ ability to prevent individuals from mobilizing or radicalizing to violence and create locally-based prevention frameworks to address these emerging threats.”
The TVTP Grant Program helps DHS to fulfill its commitment to addressing the threat posed by terrorism and targeted violence at home and builds on the promising practices identified in previous grant programs. It is the only federal grant program dedicated to enhancing prevention capabilities in local communities. In its first year, the TVTP Grant Program has three priorities: (1) establishing and enhancing local prevention frameworks with an emphasis on threat assessment and management capabilities; (2) preventing domestic terrorism; and (3) finding innovative solutions for preventing targeted violence and terrorism.
“I want to thank Congress for funding for this mission in a bipartisan way over the last few years, most recently and most significantly, in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Act. We look forward to working with Congress to continue to advance this effort.” Wolf continued.

Eligible activities under the TVTP Grant Program cover all aspects of prevention, including building resilience, intervention, recidivism prevention, and reintegration programs at the local level. The program directly supports the objectives of the DHS Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence, which DHS released in September 2019. Making these funds available for local prevention partners is a key milestone in the implementation of the Strategic Framework.

TVTP Grant Program funds will support the development of local prevention capabilities at a time when DHS is observing an uptick in online efforts for terrorism recruitment and radicalization from a variety of sectors. DHS is committed to expanding the program and the President has requested an additional $20 million for TVTP grant funds next fiscal year.

The application period will close on May 29, 2020. Applicants should consult the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more specific information about the process. Applying for this grant is a multi-step process and it is recommended that applicants begin that process early in order to allow sufficient time to complete the interim steps.

For more information, please see the TVTP Grant Program site at https://www.dhs.gov/tvtpgrants.