The reasons for cyber security have never been stronger. Luckily, there is a lot of attention being paid to that. I want to remind us about our other concerns.
As of this writing there are 455 open cases directly linked to Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) That are being worked by the combined 4 FBI led Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) in California. These cases virtually all are inspired by Salafi Jihadist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State. That’s a ten-fold increase from when I supported the Eastern District’s JTTF as the Deputy Commander of what is now known as the Central California Intelligence Center.
From my more recent position in the State Threat Assessment Center, I have watched the Social Media messaging from those international groups increase by the same amount, and I conclude the two are linked. The Islamic State (IS) ‘caliphate’ has imploded over the past few years and they now control 4% of their prior territory. The Caliphate may be defunct but the idea behind, the movement, is not. It’s goal is powerful domination and it’s rhetoric and history directs it’s adherents to violence.
As IS suffered loss after loss on the battlefield, they’ve increased their messaging, both in volume and focus. Communications that once urged support of Jihad in any way now more specifically say to attack Western interests with bombs, guns, and vehicles.
The emphasis has also shifted from attacking infrastructure to attacking vast numbers of people. Following jihadi attacks, such as the one in Orlando, al Qaeda now publishes an Inspire Guide which is a short evaluation of how the attacker performed and suggestions on how someone could do the same operation, only better, in an effort to train “copy cat” attackers.
I have to praise the JTTF’s in this country. Because of the number of plots they are disrupting, actual attacks remain relatively low.
As InfraGard members, we need more than threat awareness, though. We need to have an understanding of the mental and emotional drivers of the behavior to know how to detect the motivation to attack.
First, realize that people committing terrorism acts in the US are not high capability folks. The myth of the super terrorist is well explored by Dr. Gary LaFree in the University of Maryland’s free online course, “Understanding Terrorism and the Terrorist Threat.” I would urge anyone who wants a better understanding of this issue to take that course.
Remember that in their mind, it’s David and Goliath and we (the US) are Goliath. Goliath can’t use his all of abilities due to political correctness but David breaks all of the rules.
I’ve studied these folks academically for a long time and spoken with dozens face to face. They believe the following:
According to analysis by the National Counterterrorism Center things that may indicate a need to see something, say something are:
As InfraGard members, we are in the front line of the Countries interior defense, so see something, say something!
InfraGard Sacramento Members Alliance
A FBI-affiliated 501(c)3 Organization
InfraGard Sacramento members are reminded that it is necessary to log into the national portal at least every 90 days to maintain active membership. Visiting this chapter website is encouraged, but does not serve to keep your membership active.
In an effort to support the protection of the critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR), the chapter is organized into 16 critical infrastructure sectors. This provides focus for the membership on the issues of CIKR and the unique characteristics and conditions of each sector.