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July 11, 2015
Threat Journal is a weekly supplement to the AlertsUSA National Threat
and Incident Notification Service for Mobile Devices
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WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP
Now Published Each Saturday Afternoon
 
New Head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - ALLOW IMAGES
 
Al Qaeda Calls for Attacks on the U.S.,
ISIS Threat Remains
July 11, 2015
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Between June 28 and July 9, AlertsUSA issued the following
related Flash message to subscriber mobile devices:

7/9 - New leader of al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP), Qasim al-Rimi, releases new video msg calling on Muslims to carry out attacks on the US. Monitoring...

7/6 - AlertsUSA monitoring reports of shot(s) fired at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Shelter in place order in effect. Will rpt again if substantive.

7/4 - AlertsUSA warns ISIS supporters now posting US mil pers names / adrs on Twitter. Examples: http://bit.ly/ausa0704 . See your email. Caution and vigilance urged.

7/1 - DoD warning mil pers and families to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings during July 4th holiday. Observe OPSEC and anti-terrorism awareness practices.

6/30 - Law enf nationwide incr security at prominent gathering places, event locations & transport hubs in adv of 7/4 holiday. Expect delays and security checks.

6/29 - US embassies and military bases worldwide increasing security posture in advance of July 4th holiday. Expect possible delays if traveling abroad.

6/28 - Terror alerts / warnings in place for the US, Portugal, Spain, France, UK, Italy, Germany, Greece and Turkey during coming week. DHS/FBI urging incr vigilance.

What You Need To Know

On multiple occasions over the past two weeks, AlertsUSA subscribers have been notified via text messages to their mobile devices regarding a variety of federal warnings concerning the increased threat of domestic and international terrorism and the need to remain vigilant.

This week a number of federal officials, including FBI Director James Comey, revealed that U.S. law enforcement efforts thwarted a number of terror plots in the last two weeks, including plots timed to the July 4 holiday weekend. Here at AlertsUSA, we are aware of several direct action counterterrorism missions carried out over the last three weeks by various arms of the U.S. government and partner organization in Canada and Mexico, each related to eminent threats on the United States.

AlertsUSA subscribers are cautioned that the overarching threat of domestic terror attacks has not diminished.

As AlertsUSA reported to subscribers in a special update sent just prior to the holiday weekend, sources within the defense and intelligence communities have been absolutely clear in their information sharing that the threats facing the U.S. from both Islamic State supporters/operatives, as well as al Qaeda, are very real.

NEW AL QAEDA THREAT

Late this week, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a call for attacks on the U.S. homeland by the new leader of al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP), Qasim al-Rimi (Raymi).

In a new video message posted to the internet, al-Rimi states the following:

“All of you must direct and gather your arrows and swords against it. God has helped you against this enemy, for not only did you reach its home, but with praise to God and His grace, you have reached the depths of its heart.

al-Rimi's predecessor, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, made it very clear that it was his goal to land successful attacks on the United States.He had already tried on multiple occasions.

AlertsUSA strongly encourages everyone to continue to enjoy the Summer, but given the high threat environment, it is behooves you to keep your antenna up. Try your best to drown out the astronomical levels of hype by the mainstream media, as well as the whiners who complain when no terror attacks take place. Just realize that there is tremendous evil in our world and it is prudent for you to remain security minded when out and about.

YOU MIGHT AS WELL GET INTO THE MINDSET

Are you heading to a large public event? Keep your eyes open. Make it a point to identify exits closest to you, which are often different than entrances!. Don't focus on faces, but hands. Watch the flow of the crowds. Are there people dressed inappropriately (such as would be necessary to cover nefarious items) or bags left unattended? What about other attributes about someone's demeanor that does not look right and might signal evil intent? In these instances, tell a cop, but move. All it takes is a quick word to bring a person or situation to their attention. Above all, trust your gut instincts. If your brain is screaming that something is not right, you would be wise to heed those cues. With just a little practice, this basic mindset of increased awareness becomes second nature and will serve you well.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international terrorism threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


AlertsUSA.com

ALERTS ISSUED THIS WEEK BUT
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

7/8 - AlertsUSA monitoring ongoing halt of trading on NYSE. NASDAQ presently not affected. DHS/FBI involved in investigation.

7/5 - AlertsUSA monitoring Greek referendum vote count on addl austerity in return for rescue loans from EC/ECB/IMF. Potential for global market turmoil w NO result.

7/2 - AlertsUSA monitoring reports of active shooter situation inside Washington Navy Yard in DC. Will rpt again if a significant event.

 
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Seal of the Office of Personnel Management - ALLOW IMAGES
 
Size of OPM Data Breach Increases 5X,
Information Stolen on 21 Million USGOV Employees
July 11, 2015
What You Need To Know

Following up on a story we covered twice last month (here and here), this week the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is the human resources department for the U.S. government, announced a dramatic expansion in the number of people impacted by the massive cyber attack and breach of their computer networks and databases.

As AlertsUSA has previously warned, it is standard practice in federal crisis management to downplay or otherwise intentionally misrepresent the severity of an incident in initial reports, then add detail after the first wave of news has normalized with the public. Once again we have been proven right. Readers will recall that initial reports from the OPM stated that hackers accessed the personal information for over 4 MILLION U.S. government employees, which encompassed nearly 95% of the entire U.S. federal workforce.

This week OPM publicly stated that sensitive personal information had been stolen for in excess of 21 MILLION individuals, which includes 19.7 million individuals that actually applied for a background investigation, as well as 1.8 million non-applicants, predominantly spouses or co-habitants of applicants. In total, this is greater than a five-fold increase compared to what was originally reported.

OPM also states that the stolen information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, residency and educational histories, employment histories, information about immediate family members and other personal and business acquaintances; health, criminal and financial histories as well as findings from interviews conducted by background investigators and fingerprints.

ACCORDING TO OPM :

If an individual underwent a background investigation through OPM in 2000 or afterwards (which occurs through the submission of forms SF 86, SF 85, or SF 85P for a new investigation or periodic reinvestigation), it is highly likely that the individual is impacted by this cyber breach. If an individual underwent a background investigation prior to 2000, that individual still may be impacted, but it is less likely.

During testimony this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey called the OPM hack a QUOTE UNQUOTE "enormous breach," saying "millions and millions" of government records were stolen, including his own.

According to Office of Personnel Management, the hack that resulted in the loss of these records began in May 2014 and was not discovered until May 2015.

MISSING FROM THE MAINSTREAM NARRAIVE:

OPM's Director, Katherine Archuleta [UPDATE: Former Director...], had absolutely no background experience whatsoever related to the critical mission of the Office of Personnel Management. In fact, she is a political operative whose previous position was that of National Political Director for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. Before that, she was Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Labor. Before that, she was a community organizer for the Colorado-based Latina Initiative.

YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS

AlertsUSA again warns readers that the threat posed by these overall hacking incidents extends far beyond that of identity theft. A foreign government may now be in possession of detailed personal information on a significant number of U.S. citizens currently or previously holding some level of security clearance, as well as that of family members and close acquaintances. This includes most active and reserve members of the U.S. military, members of Congress and their staff. The value of this kind of information to foreign governments and intelligence services cannot be overstated. Depending on the specifics, such as the nature of someone's work, the sponsoring department or agency, as well as the likelihood this information is correlated with that gleaned from other cyber intrusions, these individuals could become targets of interest to foreign intelligence services both within the U.S. as well as when you are traveling abroad.

OPM BREACH INFORMATION FOR SALE

Finally, be advised the OPM and other federal agencies are publicly stating that "there is no information to suggest any misuse or further dissemination of the information that was stolen in the data breach." This statement is patently false. As AlertsUSA has previously reported, some of this information is already appearing on the Dark Net for sale (see this, this and this)..

AlertsUSA cautions readers that while OPM, DHS, FBI and private sector contractors have already begun efforts at contacting those impacted, we strongly urge US government and private sector employee whose job requires a federal security clearance, including tens of thousands of law enforcement officials across the country, that it is extremely important you proactively contact your department, agency or company Security Officer for updates and specific guidance on securing your situation.

There is no magic solution to individual exposure in this situation. Readers impacted by this are advised to be proactive.

GENERAL INCIDENT RESOURCES

Office of Personnel Management

Information about OPM Cybersecurity Incidents
Steps to Protect Fed Workers & Others From Cyber Threats

Department of Defense

Sample Notification Email (PDF)

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE RESOURCES

DoD Defense Security Service

Counterintelligence Handouts
Counterintelligence Training Materials
Reporting Suspicious Contacts

DOJ / FBI Domestic Security Alliance Council

Elicitation Techniques Explained
Internet Social Networking Risks
Safety Tips for U.S. Business Travelers Abroad

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Your Personal Information: Protecting It From Exploitation

AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor developments with this incident as well as a broad list of other threats facing the United States and it's citizens and interests abroad and will immediately notify service subscribers of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture as events warrant.


U.S. and Lithuanian Training - ALLOW IMAGES
 
World News Roundup
June 27, 2015
Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

FBI: More Than 200 Americans Have Tried to Fight for ISIS
Joint Chiefs Nominee Calls Russia #1 Threat, Proposes Arming Ukraine
Joint Chiefs Nominee: Russia, China Biggest Threats to US
FBI Chief: Terrorist Group Turning to Encrypted Communications
Russian Antisubmarine Ships Go on Combat Duty in Pacific
NSA Intercepts 98% of South American Communications – Assange.

EUROPE

Holiday Warning: Britons flocking to Sun in Spain at High Risk of ISIS Attack
Turkey Warns Next Wave of Syrian Refugees May End Up in Europe
Exclusive: Greek Banks Face Closures, Bailout or Not
'Hackers' Take Control of German Missile Battery in Turkey
Russia to Launch Space Based Missile Warning System

MIDDLE EAST

$500M US Program Has Only Trained 60 Syrians to Fight ISIS
Kerry Threatens to Quit Iran Nuke Talks After More Delays
U.S. Strategy Against The Islamic State Is Failing
Oh, Great. Now ISIS Says It Can Shoot Down Aircraft
The Saudis Are Cozying Up to Putin

ASIA

China Is Looking To Build A Long Range Bomber
China's First Aircraft Carrier Battle Group to be Formed Next Year
US Predicts 42,000 Unmanned Chinese Military Planes by 2023
Could China's Collapsing Stock Market Take Down Its Economy?
US Senators Want Obama to Crack Down on North Korea


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.

Latest USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

Nepal   07/02/2015
South Sudan   07/01/2015
El Salvador   06/22/2015
Iraq   06/22/2015
Ebola Travel Alert   06/12/2015
  01/09/2015
   

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 33:3 - "Then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head."