Thursday, August 27, 2020

Bosnian National Charged with Robbery and Firearms Offenses in Connection with Attack on New York City Police Officers

 Defendant Allegedly Stabbed One NYPD Officer, Robbed the Officer of his Service Weapon and Fired the Weapon at Several NYPD Officers

An indictment was returned today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Dzenan Camovic with robbery and firearms offenses for his June 3, 2020 knife and firearm attack on multiple New York City Police Department (NYPD) police officers in Brooklyn.  As set forth in the court filings, the defendant, a Bosnian national in the United States illegally, was motivated to attack the officers because of his interest in and support for violent Islamist extremism.  The defendant is currently in state custody and will be arraigned at a later date. 

The indictment charges Camovic with Hobbs Act robbery, using and discharging a firearm during that robbery, theft of a firearm that moved in interstate commerce and unlawful possession of a firearm as an illegal alien. 

William P. Barr, Attorney General; Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Christopher A. Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office, and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

“Dzenan Camovic, an illegal alien and Bosnian national, is alleged to have used the cover of chaos during recent civil unrest in New York City to launch a premeditated and cowardly attack from behind against two New York City Police officers, brutally slashing one with a knife, stealing his weapon and opening fire, and injuring several responding officers,” stated Attorney General Barr.  “We know that Camovic repeatedly yelled, ‘Allahu Akbar’ during his attack.  We know that he possessed a significant volume of materials that demonstrates his interest in and support for violent Islamist extremism, including materials related to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).  But the defendant’s access to the dark web and his use of encrypted communication platforms has created evidentiary roadblocks to fully learning his plans and who he discussed them with.  This is the second violent Islamist extremist attack on our land in the last nine months where the attacker used encrypted technology that can help cover his tracks and mask his communications.   If not for the heroism and bravery of the responding NYPD officers who returned fire and took the assailant down early in the attack, untold additional officers and innocents could have been killed or injured.

“As we have alleged in the indictment and set forth in related filings, just before midnight on June 3, 2020, the defendant launched a surprise attack on police officers standing post on the streets of Brooklyn, nearly ending their lives.  After stabbing a police officer in the neck, the defendant ripped a 9mm service pistol away from an officer and shot at the officers while perversely invoking religion,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme.  “Despite engaging in technical tradecraft that covered some of his tracks, this defendant cannot escape the reach of the investigators and prosecutors who are committed to making sure that he faces justice for his extremely serious crimes.”  Mr. DuCharme expressed his grateful appreciation to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force as well as the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work.

“Two New York City police officers, who swore an oath to protect and serve, were heinously ambushed in the line of duty at the hands of Dzenan Camovic as alleged in today’s indictment,” stated FBI Director Wray. “As fellow Americans were exercising their rights to demonstrate, these brave law enforcement officers were brutally attacked to further a violent agenda associated with ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This case demonstrates that the FBI remains steadfast in our fight to protect the U.S. from extremists who wish to harm our citizens and fellow law enforcement officers.”

“Several days into protests that erupted in New York City and throughout the country, we allege Dzenan Camovic, motivated by ISIS-inspired ideology, ambushed three NYPD officers on the streets of Brooklyn and caused serious injury to those officers.  As he commenced his attack, the NYPD officers were doing what the citizens of our city ask them to do every day - to stand watch and protect their fellow New Yorkers. Mr. Camovic's alleged behavior has no place in our community. His assault on the officers was an attack against the entire New York City community.  Our society has never tolerated this type of behavior, and today's federal charges will ensure Mr. Camovic isn't a threat to society again,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. 

“Dzenan Camovic, as outlined in the indictment, was a consumer of terrorist propaganda and calls for violence by groups like al-Qaida and ISIS. His premeditated ambush of two New York City police officers can never be accepted. As the investigation continues into his motives, these significant federal charges reinforce the notion that an attack against police officers is an attack against society,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.   

On the evening of June 3, 2020, in the midst of a public health emergency and while New York City was under a nightly curfew order, the defendant allegedly carried out his attack on NYPD police officers who were assigned to an anti-looting post near the intersection of Flatbush and Church Avenues in Brooklyn, New York.  At approximately 11:30 p.m., Camovic walked past two uniformed police officers on foot patrol and appeared to crouch for several minutes watching them.  Security footage shows that Camovic then moved around the block in an apparent effort to approach the two police officers from behind. 

At approximately 11:50 p.m., Camovic rounded the corner from Flatbush Avenue onto Church Avenue and stabbed one of the officers (“Officer 1”) in the neck with a knife.  After stabbing the first officer (“Officer 1”), Camovic chased the second officer (“Officer 2”), lunging at him and attempting to stab him.  Camovic then ran back to Officer 1, attacked him, forcibly took control of Officer 1’s firearm and fired multiple shots at Officer 2 and other officers who had responded to the scene.  Responding officers ultimately shot Camovic and took him into custody.  Several officers were wounded during Camovic’s attack and robbery, including Officer 2 who was shot in the hand.

During his attack on the police officers, Camovic repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” a common Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” that has been used by perpetrators of violent jihadist terror attacks during the commission of violent attacks.  The government’s investigation has revealed that, prior to the attack, Camovic possessed a significant volume of radical jihadist propaganda. 

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

If convicted, Camovic faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Craig R. Heeren, Artie McConnell and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

Age:  20
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.  20-CR-326 (RPK)

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Weekly Update: DHS Response to COVID-19


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to work with partners across both public and private sectors to execute the Whole of America response to COVID-19 and ensure the challenges we face during these unprecedented times are met. Our partners at the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) have worked diligently with our private sector partners to find creative solutions to those challenges, while carrying out the mission of DHS to secure our homeland.

“When it comes to security and safety issues, the government doesn’t always have all the answers, which is why S&T works with the private sector to find technology solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science & Technology. “S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program has reached out to the innovation community seeking technologies that can help DHS and the nation in this battle against COVID-19. We are seeking solutions to ensure the security of data in contact-tracing apps, automatic disinfection of surfaces, and tools to deconflict available information about the virus. Our National Urban Security Technology Laboratory in New York is conducting a market study on non-invasive febrile temperature screening technologies for the responder communities. Meanwhile, our studies are continuing at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center to characterize and learn as much about the deadly virus as possible, so that efforts to combat this disease are effective in protecting people, not only across the nation, but around the world.”

Below is a list of some of DHS’s efforts against COVID-19 last week:

Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Expanding Essential Workers Guidance. On August 18th, CISA released an update to its Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance. The updated guidance reflects the changing landscape of the nation’s COVID-19 response. While earlier versions were primarily intended to help officials and organizations identify essential work functions in order to allow them access to their workplaces during times of community restrictions, Version 4.0 identifies those essential workers that require specialized risk management strategies to ensure that they can work safely. The guidance also identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing operational functions, among others. It includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure. Additionally, the list now includes workers who teach and support our children either in-person or through virtual learning. The guidance does not make judgment on whether schools should re-open, as those decisions are in the purview of state and local officials.

Continued Support in Federal Response. On August 18th, in support of Emergency Support Function #14, CISA hosted a Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure stakeholder conference call to discuss CISA’s response efforts in support of COVID-19 and share recent cybersecurity alerts.  

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of August 22nd, Administrator Gaynor has approved 23 states for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or 400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of August 22nd, FEMA has obligated $9.7 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.

Providing Full Federal Reimbursement for States’ National Guard Forces. On August 3rd, President Trump granted an extension for the use of the National Guard under Federal Title 32 orders to respond to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. As of August 21st, 18,594 National Guard troops have activated in T-32 duty status and 276 troops have activated in State Active Duty status to help with testing and other response efforts. To date, President Trump has approved 49 National Guard requests for federal support for the use of National Guard personnel in a Title 32 duty status through December 31. For those states and territories that are approved under these criteria, FEMA executed a fully reimbursable mission assignment to the Department of Defense, including reimbursement for pay and allowances of National Guard personnel serving in a Title 32 duty status in fulfillment of the FEMA mission assignment.

Coordinating Deployment of Federal Personnel to Support States’ Efforts. FEMA continues to lead the operational coordination for the federal interagency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of August 21st, there are over 23,110 federal personnel deployed across the country from FEMA, HHS, CDC, DoD, National Guard, and VA to support state, local, tribal and territorial COVID-19 response efforts. FEMA and our interagency partners are constantly tailoring staffing and resources across agencies, ensuring we can provide support when and where it’s needed most.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)

Successful Training of Agents. As of August 21st, more than 2,100 officers and agents have successfully graduated and are now in the field performing work that is critical to protect the homeland since training was restarted on June 17th. There are currently 2,016 students attending in-residence training at Glynco, Charleston, and Artesia training delivery points. There are an additional 121 students attending training at the Cheltenham training delivery point. Their graduation in the coming months and the continual influx of new students ensures that our federal law enforcement partners receive the trained personnel they need to help keep our nation secure.

Science and Technology (S&T)

Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On August 18, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:

·        An article in Archives of Disease in Childhood stated that during a period of social distancing and contact tracing in South Korea, rates of transmission from children to other family members were low.

·        An article in Frontiers in Public Health stated COVID-19 generally begins with fever, then cough and malaise, with gastrointestinal symptoms developing later.

·        The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a saliva-based diagnostic assay.

·        The US Center for Disease Control advised that recovered patients need not be tested for SARS-COV-2 again within 3 months of recovery unless symptoms re-develop; this advice does not imply protection from re-infection in recovered patients.

Mobilizing the Innovation Community. On August 18th, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) conducted a virtual industry day for innovative technology developers interested in submitting proposals for the Emerging Needs: COVID-19 Response & Future Mitigation Topic Call. The solicitation calls for technologies to address near-term needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Potential solutions discovered from the invites start-up and the innovation community to submit technology solutions that could serve the mission needs of DHS operational components and have a broader application to enhancing operations and preparing for future mitigation. There were more than 500 participants on the virtual industry day. Deadline for submitting proposals is September 30, 2020.

Engaging Industry. On August 19th, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) issued a press release to remind technology vendors, manufacturers, and distributors of the August 31 deadline to submit their interest to the request for information for non-invasive febrile temperature screening. The technologies will be included in a market study conducted by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) to meet the needs of first responders and protective services as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between August 16th and August 22nd, TSA screened more than 4,951,602 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.

Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On August 18th, TSA Administrator Pekoske participated in the Homeland Security Advisory Committee meeting to provide an update on TSA efforts in response to COVID-19.  The HSAC is a group of experts who provide DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf independent advice to support decision-making across the spectrum of homeland security operations. On August 19th, TSA Administrator Pekoske visited Chicago O’Hare International Airport to conduct an airport tour of checkpoint changes in response to COVID-19 and met with PHL employees to remind them to take precautions while off duty to help reduce infections. TSA also deployed new acrylic barriers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as part of its ongoing efforts to implement touchless technology in response to COVID-19.   

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of August 20th, the USCG is tracking 59 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 10,920 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 222 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.

Reservists. As of August 21st, the USCG has recalled and deployed 406 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of August 20, as part of OSP, the agency has made 64 criminal arrests, analyzed 58,124 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $7,912,215 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 46 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,298 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 85 search warrants, and made 1,039 COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks, and more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Protecting U.S. Consumers. On August 17, CBP’s Seattle Field Office announced the seizure of eight separate shipments of unauthorized influenza treatments being marketed to treat COVID-19. The seizures came from both express consignment shipments as well as passengers at the airport and totaled 2,376 pills. 

Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of August 23, 2020, CBP had referred 644,872 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to DHS CWMD for enhanced health screening.  CBP also continues to collaborate on a daily basis with the Department of State (DOS) to facilitate the safe travel of American citizens currently abroad to return home. CBP also works closely with DOS and foreign consulates to review 212(f) National Interest Waiver requests.

Minneapolis Woman Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to Al-Qa’ida

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 22, to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al-Qa’ida).  Hassan entered her guilty plea this morning before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, in March of 2017, while a freshman student at St. Catherine University (SCU) in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hassan drafted a letter encouraging others to join a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, al-Qa’ida (AQ), and anonymously delivered the letter to two other students at SCU for the purpose of recruiting those individuals to join AQ.  During a subsequent interview with FBI agents, Hassan denied authoring or delivering the recruitment letter.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on Sept. 18, 2017, Hassan purchased a round-trip airline ticket from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and purchased a second round-trip ticket from Dubai to Kabul, Afghanistan.  Hassan later admitted that she planned to travel from Dubai to Kabul where she hoped to join AQ and that she had no intentions of returning to the United States.  On Sept. 19, 2017, Hassan boarded a flight and traveled from MSP to Dubai, but was prevented from traveling to Kabul because she failed to secure a travel visa allowing her to enter the country.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on Jan. 17, 2018, Hassan, who at that time was living in a SCU dorm lounge without the university’s permission, attempted to set several fires on the SCU campus.  Hassan admitted that she attempted to burn SCU buildings as a retaliatory act against the United States for its opposition to AQ in Afghanistan.

Hassan has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of first-degree arson.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, St. Paul Police Department, and arson investigators from the St. Paul Fire Department. 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Winter.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Guantanamo Periodic Review Board Media Invitation Announced CANCELLED for Abd Al-Salam Al-Hilah

 Aug. 21, 2020


The Guantanamo Periodic Review Board scheduled for August 25, 2020 for Abd Al-Salam Al-Hilah (ISN 1463), has been cancelled. The PRB will be re-scheduled in due course.


Original Press Advisory:

The Department of Defense will allocate seats for news media at a satellite viewing location in Arlington, Va. August 25, to cover unclassified portions of the Guantanamo Periodic Review Board for Abd Al-Salam Al-Hilah (ISN 1463). Due to limited space availability, selection is not guaranteed. Upon selection, additional information on meeting time and location will be provided. Media desiring to observe the hearing should send requests via email to

All requests must be received no later than noon EDT, August 18. Media members should include their name, position, sponsoring organization and contact information (cell phone and email address) in their request. Multiple names from the same organization may be submitted. Further information, including media ground rules, can be viewed at the Periodic Review Secretariat website at

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf Announces New Homeland Security Advisory Council Members


Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, introduced three new members to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC): John Clark, Dr. Sharon Cooper, and Daniel Kaniewski. Created by President George W. Bush in 2002, the HSAC is a Department of Homeland Security federal advisory committee that provides the secretary with independent, informed recommendations, and advice on a variety of homeland security issues.

“My vision for the HSAC, consistent with its charter, is to seek its organizationally independent, strategic, timely, specific and actionable advice on a range of homeland security issues,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “I’m pleased to appoint these leaders in their respective fields to the council, and I thank all the HSAC members for their continued service to the country, and to the Department. The unique perspectives provided by HSAC members to address emerging threats is of the utmost importance to the Department. I’m confident that the new members announced today will contribute to this important mission.”

The three new HSAC members are:

  1. John F. Clark, former director of the United States Marshals Service and longtime child advocate, is the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. After an extensive nationwide search, NCMEC’s Board of Directors unanimously chose Mr. Clark to lead the nonprofit organization, which was designated by Congress in 1984 to work in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice on issues related to missing and exploited children. He took the helm of the Alexandria, Virginia-based organization on Dec, 7, 2015. Mr. Clark, whose career with the USMS spanned 28 years, was appointed in 2006 as its ninth director by then-President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. In 2011, Mr. Clark joined Lockheed Martin Corp. as its director of security.
  2. Sharon Cooper is a developmental and forensic pediatrician who evaluates and treats children who have been victims of all forms of abuse, though her primary area of expertise is that of sexual exploitation. Dr. Cooper holds faculty positions at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Department of Pediatrics and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a consultant and Board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a member of the Expert Working Group on Children who Experience Violence in Cyberspace, of the Baltic Seas. She is also the lead author of one of the most comprehensive texts on child sexual exploitation. Dr. Cooper provides training to numerous national and international investigative agencies in the area of Internet and Communication Technology crimes against children.
  1. Daniel Kaniewski is the Managing Director, Public Sector at Marsh & McLennan Companies. Prior to joining the firm, Dr. Kaniewski was Deputy Administrator for Resilience at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where he was FEMA’s second ranking official and led the agency’s pre disaster programs. He was also Chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) High Level Risk Forum, comprised of risk managers from 36 OECD member nations. Dr. Kaniewski is a senior fellow at the McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security and previously co-founded a homeland security think tank at George Washington University. He was Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Response Policy in the George W. Bush Administration.

On Tuesday, the HSAC gathered to welcome the new members, discuss multiple homeland security issues, and receive briefings from the council's Economic Security, Information and Communications Technology Risk Reduction, Youth Engagement, and Biometrics subcommittees. Acting Secretary Wolf also announced the formation of HSAC’s new Academic Subcommittee, which will address matters at the intersection of homeland security and the academic community. The Subcommittee will address:

  1. The threat of malign foreign influence in our academic institutions.
  2. The openness of research and exchange of ideas between academia and DHS, to include DHS research programs.
  3. Promoting campus resilience resources to address threats affecting K-12 and higher education institutions.
  4. International student engagement as it relates to immigration.
  5. Monitoring student visa recipients who violate their status.

Additionally, Acting Secretary Wolf awarded outgoing HSAC Chair Judge William Webster, with the Department’s highest honor, the DHS Distinguished Service Medal, for his exceptional leadership and service as Chair of the HSAC for the past 14 years. Under Judge Webster's guidance and leadership, the Council has provided Acting Secretary Wolf and his predecessors with strategic recommendations and advice on a variety of issues critical to America’s national security in an ever-changing threat environment. Acting Secretary Wolf was also pleased to announce the appointment of William Bratton, former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, as the new HSAC Chair, and Karen Tandy, Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as the new Vice Chair. 

For more information about the HSAC, visit