WASHINGTON – The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin today after consultation with the intelligence community and law enforcement partners. There is currently a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks. DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot; however, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances and ideological causes fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
In San Antonio today, 22-year-old Cost resident Jaylyn Christopher Molina (aka Abdur Rahim) admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer, Molina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS and one count of receiving child pornography. By pleading guilty, Molina admitted that since May 2019, he conspired with 34-year-old South Carolina resident Kristopher Sean Matthews (aka Ali Jibreel) and others to provide services to ISIS by administering an encrypted, members-only chat group for persons who supported ISIS ideology; by collecting, generating and disseminating pro-ISIS propaganda; by attempting to recruit individuals to join ISIS; and by disseminating bomb-making instructions.
Molina also pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. On September 18, 2020, federal authorities executing a search warrant at the defendant’s residence seized his cell phone, which contained 18 images depicting child pornography.
Molina faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years in federal prison on the child pornography charge. He remains in federal custody pending sentencing scheduled for April 22, 2021, before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia in San Antonio.
On November 24, 2020, Matthews pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge to provide material support to ISIS. Matthews, who remains in federal custody, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on March 4, 2021, before Judge Garcia.
The San Antonio FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with valuable assistance from the San Antonio Police Department, the United States Secret Service and the Gonzalez County Sheriff’s Office, investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Roomberg, William R. Harris, Eric Fuchs and Tracy Thompson and DOJ Trial Attorneys George C. Kraehe and Felice J. Viti of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
DOD Announces Charges Referred Against Guantanamo Detainees Encep Nurjaman, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin
Jan. 21, 2021
The Department of Defense announced today that the Convening Authority, Office of Military Commissions, referred charges to a military commission in the case of United States v. Encep Nurjaman, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin.
Mr. Nurjaman is alleged to have been a leader in Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian affiliate to al-Qaeda. The referred charges allege that he and the co-accused planned, aided and abetted in a course of conduct that resulted in the bombing of nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia in 2002 and the bombing of a J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2003.
The charges include conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, destruction of property, and accessory after the fact, all in violation of the law of war.
The charges are only allegations that the accused committed offenses punishable under the Military Commissions Act, and the accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The case is non-capital and arraignment is pending.
More information, including the relevant charge sheet, will be available at the Office of Military Commissions website at http://www.mc.mil.
On Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 3:30 PM ET, NIJ will provide details and guidance for potential applicants to the National Institute of Justice’s Research and Evaluation on Domestic Terrorism Prevention, Fiscal Year 2021 solicitation. In addition to discussing the purpose and goals of this funding opportunity, the presenters will highlight several new additions to the solicitation, including, but not limited to:
Special emphasis will be placed on the solicitation's focus areas:
Presenters will review eligibility requirements and highlight expected deliverables. At the webinar's conclusion, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. Funded projects will apply an approach that engages researchers and practitioners in an active partnership to develop more effective solutions to specific problems and to produce transportable lessons and strategies that may help other localities with similar problems.
NIJ anticipates awarding up to $8,000,000 under this solicitation; NIJ expects to make: 6 to 11 awards.
Register to attend, or get notified when materials are available online.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Focus Area #1 of NIJ’s Domestic Terrorism Prevention Solicitation is to Fund Research to Inform Terrorism Prevention Efforts
NIJ is seeking applications that build and improve on existing national and international research in the area of terrorism prevention, including research that improves on program development, data sources, and methods. More specifically, NIJ encourages applicants to propose novel approaches to study risk and protective factors as they relate to radicalization and terrorism within the evolving terrorist threat landscape in the United States. NIJ is particularly interested in understanding how the radicalization process is similar or different based on the types of extremist ideologies as manifested in the United States; including, but not limited to, the full spectrum of political ideologies. This also extends to an understanding of how strategies for effective intervention and prevention may vary based on the ideology.
NIJ anticipates awarding up to $8,000,000 under this solicitation.
In FY 2021, applications will be submitted in a new two-step process, each with its own deadline:
NIJ is hosting a webinar for interested applications to learn more about this solicitation on January 28 at 3:30 PM ET. Register to attend, or get notified when materials are available online.
This solicitation is competitive; therefore, NIJ staff cannot have individual conversations with prospective applicants. Any questions concerning the solicitation should be submitted to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service: 1-800-851-3420; TTY at 301-240-6310 (for hearing impaired only); email; fax 301-240-5830; or web chat. See also NIJ.gov's solicitation FAQ page.
The following application elements MUST be included in the application submission for an application to meet the basic minimum requirements to advance to peer review and receive consideration for funding: Program Narrative, Budget Worksheet and Budget Narrative, and resumes/curriculum vitae of key personnel. Make sure to also go over the application checklist provided in the solicitation before submitting.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Provided Tactical Guidance in Attempt to Help ISIS to Attack U.S. Forces in the Middle East
The Justice Department, along with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and U.S. Army Counterintelligence, announced today the arrest of a private first class in the U.S. Army, on federal terrorism charges based on Bridges’ alleged efforts to assist ISIS to attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East.
Cole James Bridges, aka Cole Gonzales, 20, of Stowe, Ohio, was charged by complaint with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and attempting to murder U.S. military service members. The FBI and U.S. Army Counterintelligence arrested Bridges today, and he will be presented later today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
“Bridges is charged with giving military advice and guidance on how to kill fellow soldiers to individuals he thought were part of ISIS,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “This alleged personal and professional betrayal of comrades and country is terrible to contemplate, but fortunately, the FBI was able to identify the threat posed by Bridges, and today's charges are the first step in holding him accountable for his crimes. ISIS ideology continues to infect those who would threaten the nation's security from within and without, and we will continue to fight this threat.”
“As alleged, Cole Bridges betrayed the oath he swore to defend the United States by attempting to provide ISIS with tactical military advice to ambush and kill his fellow service members,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss. “Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own. Today, thanks to the efforts of the agents and detectives of the JTTF, and our partners in the Department of Defense, Bridges is in custody and facing federal terrorism charges for his alleged crimes.”
“As we allege today, Bridges, a private in the U.S. Army, betrayed our country and his unit when he plotted with someone he believed was an ISIS sympathizer to help ISIS attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office William F. Sweeney Jr. “Fortunately, the person with whom he communicated was an FBI employee, and we were able to prevent his evil desires from coming to fruition. Bridges could have chosen a life of honorable service, but instead he traded it for the possibility of life in prison. This case should serve as a reminder that the FBI’s New York JTTF will never quit in its commitment to protect our Nation from all those who seek to do it harm.”
“Army Counterintelligence’s top priority is protecting the force so it can remain committed to fighting and winning our nation’s wars,” said Army Counterintelligence Coordinating Authority Director Roy T. Cochran. “The results of this investigation show the efforts of Army Counterintelligence agents working alongside our partners in the FBI. We are dedicated to protecting our soldiers, civilians, and families from terrorist acts and insider threats.”
According to the criminal complaint charging Bridges, which was unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Bridges joined the U.S. Army in approximately September 2019 and was assigned as a cavalry scout in the 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Beginning in at least 2019, Bridges began researching and consuming online propaganda promoting jihadists and their violent ideology. Bridges also expressed his support for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and jihad on social media. In or about October 2020, Bridges began communicating with an FBI online covert employee (the “OCE”), who was posing as an ISIS supporter in contact with ISIS fighters in the Middle East. During these communications, Bridges expressed his frustration with the U.S. military and his desire to aid ISIS. Bridges then provided training and guidance to purported ISIS fighters who were planning attacks, including advice about potential targets in New York City, such as the 9/11 Memorial. Bridges also provided the OCE with portions of a U.S. Army training manual and guidance about military combat tactics, for use by ISIS.
In or about December 2020, Bridges began to supply the OCE with instructions for the purported ISIS fighters on how to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East. Among other things, Bridges diagrammed specific military maneuvers intended to help ISIS fighters maximize the lethality of attacks on U.S. troops. Bridges further provided advice about the best way to fortify an ISIS encampment to repel an attack by U.S. Special Forces, including by wiring certain buildings with explosives to kill the U.S. troops. Then, in January 2021, Bridges provided the OCE with a video of himself in body armor standing before a flag often used by ISIS fighters and making a gesture symbolic of support for ISIS. Approximately a week later, Bridges sent a second video in which Bridges, using a voice manipulator, narrated a propaganda speech in support of the anticipated ambush by ISIS on U.S. troops.
Bridges is charged in the complaint with (1) attempting to provide material support to ISIS, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and (2) attempting to murder U.S. military service members, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1114, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The statutory penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
The Justice Department praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which consists of agents and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies, U.S. Army Counterintelligence, the FBI Washington Field Office, the FBI Atlanta Field Office and its Savannah Resident Agency, the FBI Cleveland Field Office, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sam Adelsberg, Matthew Hellman, and Sidhardha Kamaraju are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Michael Dittoe and Lauren Goddard of the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.