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Alleged Al Qaeda Associate Charged With Conspiring to Kill Americans and Other Terrorism Offenses

A Superseding Indictment charging Christian Ganczarski, aka Abu Mohamed, aka Abu Mohamed al Amani, aka Ibrahim, aka Ibrahim the German (Ganczarski), 51, with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, providing and conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda, a designated foreign terrorist organization, was unsealed today in the Southern District of New York.  The United States is seeking Ganczarski’s extradition from France.

 

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Office and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD made the announcement.

 

 “According to the superseding indictment, between 1999 and 2001, Ganczarski regularly interacted with members of al Qaeda leadership who were responsible for terrorist operations, and provided them with the knowledge and technology to carry out attacks against the U.S. military and its allies,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente.  “This case demonstrates the National Security Division’s resolve to find and bring to justice, terrorists who target U.S. interests in any part of the world.  I want to thank all of the prosecutors, agents and analysts who made this result possible.”

 

“Christian Ganczarski, a German national, allegedly provided critical support to the most prolific terrorists of our time,” said U.S. Attorney Berman.  “Today we publicly announce charges against Ganczarski alleging that he participated in the planning of plots to kill Americans with high-level al Qaeda terrorists Khaled Shaikh Mohammad, Usama bin Laden and others.  The unsealing of the indictment exemplifies this Office’s commitment to the relentless pursuit and prosecution of those who seek to harm Americans.”

 

“As alleged, Ganczarski willingly supported the goals of al Qaeda, immersing himself in social circles that included the likes of Usama bin Laden and one of the future hijackers in the September 11 attacks, among others,” said Assistant Director Sweeney.  “He allegedly participated in efforts to kill Americans by providing technological support and guidance, and arranged meetings between senior officials in the organization and other like-minded individuals bent on future attacks against U.S. interests.  While he’s spent the past fifteen years behind bars in France, we haven’t forgotten his allegiance to those who have threatened our interests both at home and abroad.  We will continue to work with our international partners to mitigate the threat of global terrorism, bringing to justice everyone who participates in or materially supports this crime.”

 

“As alleged, Christian Ganczarski worked for al-Qaeda, lived in its camps and guest houses,” said Police Commissioner O’Neill.  “He rubbed shoulders with Osama Bin Laden and the men who planned and executed plots from the bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 225 people, to the 9-11 attacks that cost 3000 lives, most of them here in New York City.  Ganczarski allegedly provided al-Qaeda with expertise in logistics, computers, radio communications and the maintenance of weapons systems that would be used against Americans soldiers after the 9/11 attacks.  This case is another example of the work of the FBI agents and NYPD detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.  There is no time too long, or place to far, or suspect out of reach when it comes to bringing terrorists, or those who aid them to justice.”

 

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed in federal court:

 

Al Qaeda is an international terrorist organization dedicated to opposing non-Islamic governments with force and violence.  The organization was founded by Usama bin Laden and Muhammad Atef, aka Abu Hafs el Masri (Abu Hafs el Masri), and was headquartered in Afghanistan since approximately 1996.  Bin Laden served as the leader or “emir” of al Qaeda until his death on or about May 2, 2011. 

 

Al Qaeda has a command control structure that included a majlis al shura (or consultation council) that discussed and approved major undertakings, including terrorist operations.  Bin Laden and Abu Hafs el Masri sat on the majlis al shura of al Qaeda, as did others, including Saif al Adel.  Khaled Shaikh Mohammad, aka Mukhtar, devised, planned, and facilitated terrorist operations for al Qaeda, and he also assisted in the preparation of promotional media used by al Qaeda to advertise its terrorist agenda and attract recruits.

 

Ganczarski, a German citizen born in Poland, traveled from Germany to Pakistan and Afghanistan on at least five separate occasions between 1999 and 2001.  During these trips, Ganczarski became associated with al Qaeda and developed personal relationships with bin Laden, Abu Hafs el Masri, al Adel and Mohammad.  Ganczarski lived at times with his family at al Qaeda’s fortified compound near Kandahar, Afghanistan.  At other times, Ganczarski lived in guest houses and other facilities operated by al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  Ganczarski participated in al Qaeda’s efforts to kill Americans in a number of ways, such as providing al Adel and other al Qaeda members with technological guidance and hardware, including computers, radios and other communications equipment. 

 

In approximately January 2000, Ganczarski attended a speech delivered by bin Laden at al Qaeda’s headquarters in Kandahar.  The January 2000 speech was attended by at least 100 men, including, among others, many significant al Qaeda leaders and terrorists, such as at least one of the plotters in the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa, and one of the future hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States (the September 11 Attacks).  During the speech, Ganczarski sat in the front row with al Adel’s son in his lap.

 

In approximately March 2000, Ganczarski attended a meeting in Karachi, Pakistan, between Mohammad and a member of Jamaah Islamiyah (CC-1), a Southeast Asia terrorist organization, at which U.S. and Israeli targets for terrorist attacks were discussed.  Following the meeting, Ganczarski helped transport CC-1 and a written communication from Mohammad to al Qaeda’s fortified compound in Kandahar, where Ganczarski spoke to bin Laden and took CC-1 to meetings with al Adel and Abu Hafs el Masri at which potential attacks on U.S. and Israeli interests were further discussed.

 

Ganczarski was in Germany at the time of the September 11 Attacks, and he indicated after the attacks that he had been aware that a significant event was about to occur.  In approximately early October 2001, Ganczarski returned to Afghanistan and met with other members of al Qaeda, including al Adel.  In approximately November 2001, Ganczarski and others attempted to repair anti-aircraft missiles controlled by al Qaeda that were not functioning, so that the missiles could be fired at U.S. military aircraft flying in the area at the time.

 

Ganczarski was arrested in France in 2003, and subsequently convicted of offenses under French law relating to a 2002 al Qaeda attack on a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia.  Ganczarski has been incarcerated in France since being convicted.

  

*                *                *

 

The Superseding Indictment charges Ganczarski, with four counts: one count of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; two counts of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and provision of material support and resources to terrorists, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison on each count; and one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al Qaeda) which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

 

The maximum potential 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 charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Mr. Boente and Mr. Berman praised the extraordinary investigative work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force – which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD – for the critical role they played and continue to play in the investigation of Ganczarski and his co-conspirators.  In addition, Mr. Berman thanked the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emil J. Bove III and Amanda L. Houle of the Southern District of New York are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney David Smith of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Justice Department Files Notice to Appeal and Intends to Petition for Immediate Supreme Court Review in DACA Lawsuit

The Department of Justice today filed a notice of appeal in The Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke seeking review before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  The Department also intends later this week to take the rare step of filing a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, seeking direct review in the Supreme Court.

“It defies both law and common sense for DACA—an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy—to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “It is clear that Acting Secretary Duke acted within her discretion to rescind this policy with an orderly wind down. This was done both to give Congress an opportunity to act on this issue and in light of ongoing litigation in which the injunction against DAPA had already been affirmed by the Supreme Court. We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved.”

Justice Department Files Notice to Appeal and Intends to Petition for Immediate Supreme Court Review in DACA Lawsuit

The Department of Justice today filed a notice of appeal in The Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke seeking review before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  The Department also intends later this week to take the rare step of filing a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, seeking direct review in the Supreme Court.

“It defies both law and common sense for DACA—an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy—to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “It is clear that Acting Secretary Duke acted within her discretion to rescind this policy with an orderly wind down. This was done both to give Congress an opportunity to act on this issue and in light of ongoing litigation in which the injunction against DAPA had already been affirmed by the Supreme Court. We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved.”

Bureau of Prisons Tests Micro-Jamming Technology in Federal Prison to Prevent Contraband Cell Phones

 

On January 17, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), in collaboration with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission, conducted a test of micro-jamming technology at the Federal Correctional Institution at Cumberland, Maryland.  The test was conducted to determine if micro-jamming could prevent wireless communication by an inmate using a contraband device at the individual cell housing unit level. 

Prior to this test, the BOP had conducted a limited cellphone jamming demonstration with NTIA in 2010, at the same field site in Cumberland supporting NTIA’s congressionally-mandated study of cellphone interdiction technologies.  

As part of the Jan. 17 test, NTIA conducted an independent evaluation of micro-jamming technology to determine its efficacy and interference potential with Radio Frequency communications.  The BOP and NTIA will review the data and analysis results from both BOP’s and NTIA’s testing and develop recommendations for strategic planning and possible acquisition.

“Contraband cell phones in prisons pose a major and growing security threat to correctional officers, law enforcement officials, and the general public,” said Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.  “As criminals increase their technological capacity to further criminal activity from within prisons, we must also explore technologies to prevent this from happening.  This test is part of our ongoing efforts to find a solution.” 

Contraband cellphones have been an ongoing correctional security and public safety concern for the BOP as well as for state and local correctional agencies across the country.  Contraband phones are used to further ongoing criminal activity, including threats to public officials, intimidation of witnesses, and continuance of criminal enterprises.  

The BOP will continue to evaluate cell phone detection technologies and work with its federal partners and Congress to achieve cost-effective options to combat this threat to corrections and public safety.  The agency does not endorse any specific vendor or product. 

CBP’s Air and Marine Operations in Miami Partners with U.S. Marshals Service during Coordinated Takedown

MIAMI—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Miami Air and Marine Branch (MAMB), working in partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service for the Southern District of Florida Special Operations Group and Miami-Dade Police Department, provided air support during the arrest of a high-risk fugitive with ties dating back to Miami’s “cocaine cowboys” era.

CBP Air and Marine Operations Miami Air and Marine Branch crews with Air Crew Rifle Operators (ACROs) used sophisticated surveillance equipment and streamed live video as part of the multi-agency operations on Jan. 12. Additionally, Marine Interdiction Agents from the Miami and Key Largo Marine Units supported the U.S. Marshals Service tactical commander with communications assistance.

Once law enforcement personnel arrived at the residence, the suspect attempted to evade authorities on an ATV and then on foot. The AMO crew located the individual and directed ground agents to his location for the arrest. The suspect was on the run for four years. Authorities also recovered a cache of weapons and $36,700 in cash.

“Partnership efforts and community involvement are extremely important to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission,” said Martin Wade, Director of the Miami Air and Marine Branch. “This coordinated enforcement effort is a shining example of our ability to support our partner law enforcement agencies in apprehending a very high profile and dangerous fugitive.”

The mission of CBP's Air and Marine Operations is to serve and protect the American people.  AMO applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interest. Air and Marine Operation’s day-to-day operations along Florida’s coastline involve patrolling the seas and skies, intercepting contraband, catching smugglers, and assisting in rescue and recovery operations.

Partnership efforts and community involvement are extremely important to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission.  CBP asks you to report maritime smuggling and other suspicious activities through 1-800-BE-ALERT or after hours toll-free number 1-800- 562-5943.
For breaking news and information updates from U.S. Customs and Border Protection follow @CustomsBorder @CBPFlorida and CBPCaribbean on Twitter. File footage is available through U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs via the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.

NATSO Briefs House Homeland Security Committee on Industry Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 17, 2018 -- NATSO Foundation President Lisa Mullings today told members of the House Committee on Homeland Security that the truckstop and travel plaza industry plays a vital role in combating human trafficking that takes place along the nation's Interstate Highway System.  NATSO was invited to participate as an example of the positive role that the private sector can play in the fight against human trafficking.

"As an industry, our primary goal was not only to rally behind an important cause but also to have a real impact," said Mullings. "The multi-faceted approach taken by the truckstop and travel plaza industry illustrates that private enterprise can make a consequential difference in the fight against human trafficking. When companies take the time to learn about it and invest resources into combatting it, it can make a real difference in changing lives for the better. We thought it was important for Congress to know this."

Mullings briefed the House Homeland Security Committee about the multi-pronged anti-human trafficking initiative undertaken by the NATSO Foundation on behalf of the entire truckstop and travel plaza industry.

Specifically, Mullings cited the NATSO Foundation's partnership with the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign to distribute public awareness materials that truckstops can post in their locations.

As an industry that caters to millions of travelers every year, truckstops and travel plazas and their employees are in a key position to help identify and report suspected incidents of human trafficking. Although there is no official estimate for the total number of U.S. human trafficking victims, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of adults and minors are victims of human trafficking each year in the United States — many of whom are moved from state to state along our Interstate Highway System.

"Our partnership with DHS and the law enforcement community helps ensure that the millions of Americans who stop at truckstops and travel plazas nationwide are educated about human trafficking and able to assist in the transportation sector's fight against this crime," Mullings said.

The NATSO Foundation has been helping members of the truckstop and travel plaza community engage in the fight against human trafficking since 2012. The NATSO Foundation's goal is to provide the truckstop and travel plaza industry with the necessary tools to train owners, operators and employees so that those individuals are equipped to help if they encounter a victim of this horrible crime.

The NATSO Foundation provides the industry with an online education course, titled "The Role of Truckstops in Combating Human Trafficking," to help truckstops and travel plazas train their staff in recognizing and responding to suspected incidents of human trafficking. The course is available on the NATSO Foundation's website free of charge so that any member of the truckstop and travel plaza industry can leverage this educational resource. The course can be accessed at www.natso.com/onlinelearning.

The NATSO Foundation is the research, education and public outreach subsidiary of NATSO. NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.

HID Global to Collaborate with ThreatMark on its New Cyber Threat Solutions for Banking and Finance Sectors

ID Global®, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, today announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with ThreatMark, a threat and fraud detection technology company, to develop new capabilities that will enhance the ability of financial institutions to detect cyber threats, such as malware, application hacking, phishing, account takeover, identity theft and fraudulent transactions. 

HID’s expertise in Identity & Access Management (IAM) includes multi-factor authentication, credential management system software and identity verification capabilities in complex environments. HID’s capabilities complement ThreatMark’s expertise in cyber-criminal detection and fraud prevention. The two companies will work together to extend threat and fraud detection in order to meet today’s ever-increasing risk from cyber attacks. 

“With cyber threats continuously evolving, HID Global is committed to advancing and extending our threat detection capabilities,” said Martin Ladstaetter, Vice President Products for IAM Solutions at HID Global. “Working with ThreatMark not only provides a partnership with a very successful company with domain know-how, but it also gives us visibility into an even broader attack surface that needs to be addressed, ensuring that we are staying ahead of cyber threats today and in the future.”

“Collaborating with HID gives ThreatMark the opportunity to combine our expertise to improve the overall security ecosystem through threat and fraud detection,” said Michal Tresner, CEO ThreatMark. “ThreatMark has differentiated itself by providing innovative deep behavioral profiling  technology that, together with advanced analytics, can help to understand how cyber-criminal work. Collaboration with companies like HID Global allow us to broaden our reach and develop better integrated solutions.”   

HID Global provides the broadest range of market-leading IAM solutions as the only company that can truly deliver a converged physical and logical identity management solution for high assurance and multi-factor authentication. ThreatMark’s solution integrated with HID Global’s portfolio for securing both consumer and employee transactions in banking and finance will greatly enhance security while maintaining a frictionless user experience that is important to the banking industry.

 

About HID Global

HID Global powers the trusted identities of the world’s people, places and things.  We make it possible for people to transact safely, work productively and travel freely. Our trusted identity solutions give people convenient access to physical and digital places and connect things that can be identified, verified and tracked digitally. Millions of people around the world use HID products and services to navigate their everyday lives, and over 2 billion things are connected through HID technology. We work with governments, educational institutions, hospitals, financial institutions, industrial businesses and some of the most innovative companies on the planet. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, HID Global has over 3,000 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries. HID Global® is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. For more information, visit www.hidglobal.com

 

About ThreatMark

ThreatMark is highly specialized research and development laboratory combining hacker level security know how with latest machine learning technology to combat cyber threats and online fraud. ThreatMark’s research into malware detection, artificial intelligence and behavioral biometry, is applied into the production environment of global banks, lending and payment providers and other online businesses that trust ThreatMark during their everyday operation.

ThreatMark solutions are designed to address the weakest link in security – the human factor. By monitoring subtle changes of the complex human behavior during their online business interactions even the stealthiest cyber-attack or fraud attempt can be identified and mitigated in the real-time. To learn more please visit www.threatmark.com

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DHS, DOJ Report: Three Out of Four Individuals Convicted Of International Terrorism and Terrorism-Related Offenses Were Foreign-Born

WASHINGTON – On January 16, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report revealing that three out of every four, or 402, individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016 were foreign-born. Over the same period, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed approximately 1,716 aliens with national security concerns. Further, in 2017 alone DHS had 2,554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States.

This report was prescribed by Executive Order 13780, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which declared that “it is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nationals,” and directed a series of actions to enhance the security of the American people.

The actions directed by Executive Order 13780 have—among other things—raised the baseline for the vetting and screening of foreign nationals, improved our ability to prevent the entry of malicious actors, and enhanced the security of the American people.

“My top priority as Secretary of Homeland Security is to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” said Secretary Nielsen. “This report is a clear reminder of why we cannot continue to rely on immigration policy based on pre-9/11 thinking that leaves us woefully vulnerable to foreign-born terrorists, and why we must examine our visa laws and continue to intensify screening and vetting of individuals traveling to the United States to prevent terrorists, criminals, and other dangerous individuals from reaching our country. Without legislative change DHS will continue to see thousands of terrorists a year attempt to enter the United States, and while we must be right every time, the terrorists only need to be lucky once. Therefore, DHS has personnel deployed around the world and along our borders working with our global and domestic law enforcement partners to stop terrorists before they enter the homeland.” 

“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality—our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “And the information in this report is only the tip of the iceberg: we currently have terrorism-related investigations against thousands of people in the United States, including hundreds of people who came here as refugees.  Our law enforcement professionals do amazing work, but it is simply not reasonable to keep asking them to risk their lives to enforce the law while we admit thousands every year without sufficient knowledge about their backgrounds.  The pillars of President Trump’s immigration policy—securing our porous borders, moving to a merit-based immigration system that ends the use of diversity visas and chain migration, and enforcing our nation’s laws—will make their jobs easier and make the United States a safer place.”

The report reveals that at least 549 individuals were convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016.  An analysis conducted by DHS determined that approximately 73 percent (402 of these 549 individuals) were foreign-born.  Breaking down the 549 individuals by citizenship status at the time of their respective convictions reveals that:

  • 254 were not U.S. citizens;
  • 148 were foreign-born, naturalized and received U.S. citizenship; and,
  • 147 were U.S. citizens by birth.

According to information available to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), since September 11, 2001, there were approximately 1,716 removals of aliens with national security concerns. 

As mentioned above, in FY 2017, DHS encountered 2,554 individuals on the terrorist watchlist (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States. Of those individuals, 335 were attempting to enter by land, 2,170 were attempting to enter by air, and 49 were attempting to enter by sea. Where consistent with the law, such individuals are denied entry into the United States, while in some cases law enforcement authorities are notified and can take appropriate action.

From October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2017, a total of 355,345 non-U.S. citizen offenders, were administratively arrested after previously being convicted of an aggravated felony, as defined in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43), or two or more crimes each punishable by more than one year (felony offenses).  During that same period, a total of 372,098 non-U.S. citizen offenders were removed from the United States after conviction of an aggravated felony or two or more felonies. 

Data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate shows that between 2007 and 2017, USCIS referred 45,858 foreign nationals who applied for immigration benefits to ICE for criminal or civil enforcement action, based on information indicating that such foreign nationals had committed egregious public safety-related offenses within the United States.

Between FY 2010 and FY 2016, CBP identified and prevented the boarding of 73,261 foreign travelers on flights destined for the United States, who may have presented an immigration or security risk.

In October, the Trump Administration sent to Congress a list of legislative priorities that would enhance our national security—such as eliminating the diversity visa lottery and extended family chain migration, funding the wall, closing loopholes in our asylum system, combatting visa overstays, and closing other loopholes in existing law that potentially benefit aliens who pose threats to our national security.

Background on the Executive Order

Section 11 of Executive Order requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, to collect and make publicly available the following information:

  1. Information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation with or provision of material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national-security-related reasons;
  2. Information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and who have engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States;
  3. Information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called “honor killings,” in the United States by foreign nationals; and,
  4. Any other information relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General, including information on the immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses.

The link to the report is available HERE.

Block MEMS Awarded Phase II of $10.7 Million IARPA Contract to Detect Explosives and other Threats

Block MEMS, LLC (Block) has been awarded Phase II of the Intelligence Advanced Research Programs Activity (IARPA) Program for the standoff detection of explosives and toxic chemical threats. Block was chosen for Phase II in a competitive down-selection process.
Under Phase I, Block successfully demonstrated the ability to detect trace quantities of explosives and other threats on multiple surfaces at 1 and 5 meter standoff distances in a few seconds.
A critical achievement under Phase I has been the development of a benchtop system based on quantum cascade lasers and an innovative chemical detection algorithm. The algorithm combines powerful data processing techniques, simulations of light/material interactions, and modeling of anticipated detected signatures in order to eliminate the effect of clutter, reduce false alarm rates, and improve limits of detection.
The IARPA program is called "Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures" (SILMARILS). The contract value of the program is now at $10.7 Million. The program is managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Dr. Anish Goyal, Block's VP of Technology and Principal Investigator of the SILMARILS Program at Block, commented, "I am very pleased to receive the second Phase of the SILMARILS Program. The achievements of the previous Phase have taken a significant step towards the ultimate goal of the SILMARILS Program to be able to detect explosives and other chemicals at standoff distances of 30 and 50 meters. The ability to not only detect Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs), but Explosives and Pharmaceutical Based Agents (such as Fentanyl) as well at these standoff distances is addressing a strong need within the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security."
Dr. Petros Kotidis, Block's CEO added, "We are honored to receive this award and I am very proud of the accomplishment of the Block team under the SILMARILS Program. The technology being developed under this program has far reaching applications within the Security Markets, as it will eventually enable the highly sought-after capability of Standoff Detection of trace chemical threats. Ranging from protection of soft targets against explosive terrorist attacks and faster check-in lines at transportation terminals and airports, to detection of Chemical Warfare Agents (CAWs) and better surveying of contaminated ground and surfaces, the SILMARILS capability will revolutionize the field of chemical security."

Privacy Incident Involving DHS Office of Inspector General Case Management System

On January 3, 2018, select DHS employees received notification letters that they may have been impacted by a privacy incident related to the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Case Management System.  The privacy incident did not stem from a cyber-attack by external actors, and the evidence indicates that affected individual’s personal information was not the primary target of the unauthorized unauthorized transfer of data.

 

Message Received by Affected DHS Employees
This message is to inform you of a privacy incident involving a database used by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  You may have been impacted by this privacy incident if you were employed by DHS in 2014, or if you were associated with a DHS OIG investigation from 2002 through 2014.


On May 10, 2017, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by DHS OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DHS OIG discovered an unauthorized copy of its investigative case management system in the possession of a former DHS OIG employee.


This privacy incident involved the release of personally identifiable information (PII) contained in the DHS OIG case management system and affects two groups of individuals. The first group consists of approximately 247,167 current and former federal employees that were employed by DHS in 2014 (the “DHS Employee Data”).  The second group is comprised of individuals (i.e., subjects, witnesses, and complainants) associated with DHS OIG investigations from 2002 through 2014 (the “Investigative Data”).


The privacy incident did not stem from a cyber-attack by external actors, and the evidence indicates that affected individual’s personal information was not the primary target of the unauthorized exfiltration.
All individuals potentially affected by this privacy incident are being offered 18 months of free credit monitoring and identity protection services. Notification letters were sent to all current and former employees who were potentially affected by the DHS Employee Data on December 18, 2017.  Due to technological limitations, DHS is unable to provide direct notice to the individuals affected by the Investigative Data. Therefore, if you were associated with a DHS OIG investigation from 2002 through 2014, you may contact AllClear ID at (855) 260-2767 for information on credit monitoring and identity protections services.


The Department of Homeland Security takes very seriously the obligation to serve the Department’s employees and is committed to protecting the information in which they are entrusted. Please be assured that we will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again.  DHS is implementing additional security precautions to limit which individuals have access to this information and will better identify unusual access patterns. We will continue to review our systems and practices in order to better secure data. DHS OIG has also implemented a number of security precautions to further secure the DHS OIG network.


We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  See below for additional information you may find useful.
Sincerely,
Phillip S. Kaplan
Chief Privacy Officer
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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