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Feb 01, 2014
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Concerns Grow Over Domestic Attacks
from Syrian al-Qaeda
Feb 01, 2014
What You Need To Know

The Senate Intelligence Committee held annual hearings this week on the nation’s most significant security threats, during which the Director of National Intelligence, along with the Directors of the CIA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency, gave testimony as to the state of the overall threat environment facing the country. The full hearing transcript can be viewed here.

Of particular note were statements made by the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, regarding the ongoing terrorist facing the homeland.

According to Clapper, the Al Qaeda terrorist organization poses a greater challenge today than ten years ago due to the network's franchises being much more globally dispersed, combined with increased knowledge of counter terrorism and surveillance methods gained, in part, from the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks.

"I have not experienced a time when we have been beset by more crises and threats around the globe."

Clapper pointed out that Syria has become a significant location for independent or al-Q aida aligned groups to recruit, train and equip a growing number of extremists to go back to their home countries and conduct terrorist acts. The U.S. intelligence community estimates that in excess of 7,000 foreign fighters have been attracted from some 50 countries. with approximately 1700 coming from Europe.

While the State Department has not provided estimates of how many Americans they believe have gone to fight with Syrian rebels, British defense consultant IHS Jane's puts the number at a few dozen.

Security analysts fear more of those militants will tire of the battle against Syrian President Assad, whose government shows no signs of collapsing, and will take their newly acquired skills back to Europe or the U.S., where even a small bomb in a shopping mall can grab much greater headlines than the now-routine reports of car bombs in Syrian cities.

Read the rest of this important article by clicking HERE.

Alerts Issued This Week by AlertsUSA

Hazmat & bomb squads resp to suspicious white powder incidents at 6 hotels near Super Bowl site. Maxwell AFB, AL rpts susp pkg testing positive for explosives.

At least one white powder letter rptd to contain non-toxic substance. This will be final msg on these incidents unless threatening results are found.

Superbowl security puts E. Rutherford, NJ and NYC on lockdown. Expect delays & heavy security screening at all local airports and transit points thru Monday.

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National Counterterrorism Center:
Substantial Potential for Sochi Terror Attack
Feb 01, 2014
What You Need To Know

With less than a week remaining before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, senior U.S. intelligence officials have been formally making their concerns about the terrorist threat facing the games known to Congress.

During hearings this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Matthew Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center said that there is "a substantial potential for a terrorist attack" on soft targets in the greater Sochi area outside of the Olympic village and actual game venues.

During the same hearings, FBI Director James Comey told the committee that Sochi security “remains a big focus” of his agency. The FBI is expected to have about three dozen agents in Sochi before and during the Games, but that number is lower than their presence in either the Beijing or London Games.

Congressman Mike McCaul of Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, visited the site of the games earlier this month. He called the security threat “the greatest I think I've ever seen because of the proximity of the terrorists to the Olympic village.

In particular, Congressman McCaul said al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called for a global jihad against the Olympics.

“There’s never been this connection between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Chechen rebels before. Although, some would argue there's been support. But for the first time, Zawahiri coming out and endorsing, blessing and calling for this global jihad against the Olympics, wow, that gives me great pause.”

In an interview this week, former CIA Deputy director Michael Morell urged Americans to take care- particularly when they leave the Olympic village.

"I think the venue itself is fairly safe. I'd worry about airports elsewhere in Russia, I'd worry about Western hotels elsewhere in Russia." Morell went on to say that the terrorist group threatening the Olympics is "capable, dedicated, determined" and has been around a long time.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagle has stated that the US will have a contingency plan to get the Americans out should an attack occur. This includes two U.S. warships on station in the Black Sea as well as aircraft stationed in the region.

Over 10,000 U.S. citizens are expected to be in Sochi as spectators. The U.S. Olympic Committee said on Monday that it is sending the all-time largest athlete delegation of any nation to Sochi. This includes 230 team members spread across all 15 disciplines.

AlertsUSA will be monitoring the threat picture for the games and will immediately notify services service subscribers of breaking developments as events warrant.

Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation prior to departure.

Important USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

See all USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings HERE.

Take Advantage of These Resources

Our social media channels provide a steady steam of important news and resources between issues of Threat Journal with little or no overlap of content. Combined with the AlertsUSA service for instant mobile notification of the really bad developments, you have an unmatched set of tools to keep yourself fully up to speed on the nation's threat environment. With times getting worse by the day, we urge you to utilize these resources.

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