ALERT: US Business Owners urged to Search Buildings, Property
Explosives Found in Russian Cinema
by Douglas J. Hagmann, Director, Northeast Intelligence Network
This is a special HQ INTEL-ALERT Advisory for Public Dissemination
10 September 2004--Police in the Russian city of St Petersburg have found explosives, detonators and a gun in the Progress Cinema, a theater that was recently closed for repairs. Interior Ministry officials disclosed that the discovery followed the arrest of three men from Kazakhstan by police specializing in organized crime. Police discovered 23 ammunition cartridges, a stick of TNT, plastic explosives, a rifle and at least two home-made bombs. They are continuing to search for additional weapons and explosives.
Although police suggest that the weapons were being stored in the warehouse for use elsewhere, they did not rule out the possibility that the weapons were to be used at the theatre where they were found.
On the eve of the third anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks and as we approach the November presidential election, the United States should be on heightened alert for any type of suspicious activity that could reveal terrorist plans. Analysts from the Northeast Intelligence Network and the HQ INTEL-ALERT have found that the pattern of pre-positioning weapons and explosives is an active operational terrorist tactic. Accordingly, we are urging the owners or security officials for large businesses, including but not limited to theaters, schools, stadiums, malls, office complexes and even churches and synagogues especially those where construction was recently performed or is in progress - to conduct thorough searches of their buildings and property. Numerous terrorist incidents can be cited where explosives and weapons were positioned in well in advance and thus bypassing normal security.
People tend to ignore construction crews and equipment at facilities, especially at larger buildings and complexes in the private sector. As the pre-positioning of weapons and explosives has been identified as an effective method of operation by the terrorists, we urge everyone to carefully inspect their property and facilities. As the terrorists are devious and extremely patient, it would not be unthinkable that such caches could be in place for weeks, months or even years. If anything unusual is found or suspected, the police should be notified immediately.
20 August 2004 - Emergency Vehicles of Interest to Terrorists
By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director
As reported by ABC News, a number of suspicious incidents involving interest in emergency response units by potential terrorists have authorities worried - and rightly so. The Northeast Intelligence Network first reported terrorist plans using ambulances and emergency vehicles 9 months ago - on 22 November 2003 (see article here>LINK TO ARTICLE), noting that communications on terrorist websites detailed the use of ambulances as Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs). Accordingly, we are seeing emergency services across the US tightening their security and maintaining better control of their inventory and assets. As the saying goes, however, necessity is the mother of invention, even for terrorists. Is the security too tight at the local ambulance company? No problem - simply turn to the open market for what you need.
From ambulances, retired police vehicles and even authentic police, fire and rescue uniforms, badges, and patches, a would-be terrorist does not have to look far to fill the need. Such items can be readily purchased over the Internet on web-sales sites such as e-bay (the ambulance above is one example of what is listed for sale on e-bay) or through mail-order outlets. Should I be so inclined, I can purchase an authentic police jacket like the one in the image at right (patches sold separately) on yet another Internet site. All I need is a valid credit card and shipping address and I can fulfill my childhood desires "to serve and protect" or alternatively as a terrorist, "spoof and detonate."
A search of on-line e-commerce and mail-order sites of all types found over fifty possible locations to purchase authentic police and emergency response gear. There are more, I simply stopped looking after fifty sites. While many sites require some level of proof of authentication regarding identity and association with a police, fire or ambulance department, some do not. Even those requiring such authentication are not foolproof; after all, when genuine looking fake passports can be obtained by the terrorists, furnishing sufficient proof to satisfy the requirement's of a seller's due-diligence is not that much of a stretch.
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Emergency Vehicle Alert Renewed Threat
By Randy Taylor, Network Analyst
Since last fall, analysts at the Northeast Intelligence Network have warned about the intended use of emergency vehicles as potential weapons to carry deadly payloads into areas otherwise restricted and secured. Now, the New York Post reports a number of suspicious incidents involving Middle Eastern-looking men trying to infiltrate New Jersey ambulance corps. In a recently released report, the New York Post writes:
Counterterrorism officials in New York and New Jersey are circulating a two-page memo detailing the efforts of five men who appeared to be on missions to gather information on emergency-response operations. Authorities fear the men could be part of a plot to load ambulances or firetrucks with explosives or chemicals and breach security barriers at hard targets or to set up a "secondary incident" after an initial terror strike.
The memo detailed three incidents all involving men of Middle Eastern origin or appearance raising suspicions by their line of questioning involving the operation of emergency vehicles. All of the outlined incidents took place in the northern area of New Jersey, not far from the greater New York City area.
The report further stated: "We're concerned there could be a secondary explosive device intentionally set for first responders or [an attempt to] block emergency room doors." In a third incident, outside the emergency room at an Essex County hospital, an EMT found a man who appeared to be Middle Eastern taking notes near an ambulance and questioned him.
25 August 2004 - HQ INTEL ALERT ADVISORY: Russian hijackings may have been assassination attempt on Putin;
possibly the assassination Al Qaeda was predicting
The twin airline disaster yesterday in Russia may have marked what was to be the beginning of a wave of terror intended to rival or surpass the September 11 attacks on the US, according to analysts who have reviewed both Arabic and Russian language websites, and reviewed peer-to-peer communications in internet chatrooms frequented by persons claiming affiliation and sympathies with Al Qaeda.
Based on the information gleamed from these sources, it appears that at least one of the doomed planes yesterday was intended to be used in an assassination attempt on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was vacationing on the Black Sea. The two mid-range planes also had the range to reach much of Europe.
Although reports are still sketchy, persons posting on a Russian language board claim that at least one of the planes was shot down by Russian military fighters. It is impossible to verify whether this claim is true or not; the Russian government has not indicated that any passenger flights were shot down.
It has been widely reported over recent weeks that the next wave of Al Qaeda attacks will be set off by the assassination of a prominent political leader. It is possible that these hijackings yesterday were a component of this reported plan. Although the attacks did not succeed in assassinating Putin, all passengers and crew aboard both planes were killed, making this a significant terror attack.
A similar incident happened earlier this year on January 3, when a Flash Airlines charter flight out of Cairo crashed without warning into the Red Sea, near the location where British Prime Minister Tony Blair was vacationing with his family. Although Egyptian officials ruled out terrorism, there was a considerable amount of speculation that the flight might have been involved in an assassination bid on Blair's life. Blair had suddenly left the resort shortly before the crash.
If these attacks were in fact an assassination attempt on Putin, then it is possible that the subsequent attacks which were to be triggered by the assassination may still proceed.
Based on this information, the HQ INTEL ALERT is issuing this special alert, which indicates what we believe to be an increased risk of attacks against the US and her allies, both within the respective countries and against their interests overseas. Special caution is urged in the transportation sector, including airline, rail, and bus. In addition, there is an increased risk of terror attempts through vehicle born explosive devices, similar to those which were used in the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, and against the Oklahoma City Murrah Building.
Special Note: Copyright 2004 HQ INTEL ALERT. All Right Reserved.
This special advisory may be disseminated publicly as long as it is properly attributed.
For more information on the HQ INTEL ALERT, please see www.homelandsecurityus.com/hq.htm.
ALERT: (Janurary 2004) Increased terror risk for the next 3-4 days
Analysts at the Northeast Intelligence Network have concluded that the terror threat level is once again rising. This is based on intelligence reports and analysis from a number of sources.
Over the past few days, the chatter level in the Arabic jihad forums has been increasing. The tone of the chatter has become more and more ominous. There are references to "The Martyrs Wedding", "100 Staircases prepared for 100 militants to ascend within the next 3 days", and specific references to attacks on America. The following translation of one of these postings illustrates the reason for increased concern:
A message to the young men, the students ... ( and Allah I envy them )
The God's Messenger said, peace be upon him : ( in paradise there are one hundred staircases that Allah has prepared for the one hundred militants crossing during the three days, these who work for God sake what between the two degrees between sky and earth )
(and how much from religious experts who know the truth of Allah's religion and then deviate from it, and declare another, and uses its knowledge in the for wrongful purposes, and the required fatwas of the transient land sultan, you try and you proves by attacking the sultan with Allah's blessing and his sanctities over all the earth, have seen from these who knows and says : [ the law is a right from Allah's rights; glory be to those who claimed it; he has claimed the divine; and he who claimed the divine without the right, he has disbelieved; and he who is recognized for it this right and followed up it on it that have disbelieved also ] and despite that, with its knowledge of this truth, that knows it from the religion necessarily,, it calls for the tyrants who claim the legislation right, and they claim the divine with the claim of this right, who he judged on them by the disbelief, and names them the Muslims and names; what they practice as Islam is not the Islam)
In addition to this, Al Arabeya Television aired an audio tape today by Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri, first lieutenant to Osama Bin Laden, and the man who many believe is the brains behind Al Qaeda and who may in fact be running the organization today. In the tape, Zawahiri informed the world of additional death squads which have been sent to the American homeland. The absence of a videotape or other credible evident that Osama bin Laden remains in charge of the organization lends considerable credence to this belief.
In the past, statements by Zawahiri have been followed in rapid succession by violent attacks on civilian targets around the world, as illustrated in the chart shown here. (The notable exception is the Christmas holiday, when it is widely believe US authorities stopped several major attacks on the US homeland.) The matrix here illustrates this quite well.
Another factor increasing the level of concern is the release this past weekend of issue #11 of the Al Qaeda internet magazine, Sout al Jihad (Voice of Jihad), which is published every two weeks. This issue of Voice of Jihad has three primary themes: the success of the internet propaganda war, encouragement for the militants in their battle against the "crusaders", and reiteration of the Al Qaeda position on the Saudi Royal Family. SITE Institute has a more comprehensive analysis here.
In more breaking news this morning along these topics, please see the following articles:
HONOLULU -FBI, Coast Guard, JTTF search Honolulu harbor yesterday- Military divers searched Honolulu Harbor Tuesday after a Coast Guard sentry reported a scuba diver in the water Monday night. Recreational divers aren't allowed in the harbor. The sighting raised more red flags because the diver was reported near the Coast Guard's 47-foot patrol boat moored at the Sand Island base. The Coast Guard organized the search, which eventually included Army and Navy divers, state law enforcement and joint terrorism task force agencies, including the FBI.
PAKISTAN - Capture of Al-Zawahri's son unconfirmed. The Urdu-language Jang daily, quoting diplomatic sources, said al-Zawahri's son Khalid, was handed over to US custody soon after his arrest and flown out of Pakistan.
MANILA. Fire triggers blasts at Philippine national police headquarters. A fire at the Philippine national police headquarters triggered a series of blasts in a building housing explosives and ammunition on Wednesday, said police. Police officials said there was no immediate reports on casualties and the cause of the fire that set off the explosions was yet to be known.
WASHINGTON. Al Qaeda As Committed As Ever. Weapons of mass destruction, terrorists and the unstable countries that harbor them top the list of security threats Americans face, the nation's leading security officials warned lawmakers Tuesday. ''The al-Qaida leadership is seriously damaged, but the group remains as committed as ever to attacking the American homeland,'' CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee during his annual worldwide threat assessment. ''This enemy remains intent on obtaining and using catastrophic weapons.''
ADVISORY 20 August 2003 0445 EDT
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: Low
ANTICIPATED TIME PERIOD: Through 30 September 2003
Talk of Possible "Attack" Against UN Building in New York
20 August 2003: Postings were found on two radical Islamic Internet forums by supporters of various radical Islamic factions that indicates an "interest" in attacking the UN Building in New York City, in a copycat style of the blast that took place at the Canal Hotel in Iraq yesterday. It was also noted that several claims of responsibility for the Baghdad blast were also found, posted by alleged members of Al Aqsa, Hamas and al Qaeda. None of those claims are able to be substantiated at this level or at this time.
ADVISORY 14 August 2003 0445 EDT
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: HIGH
ANTICIPATED TIME PERIOD: Through 30 September 2003
Subject: Potential Bombing Targets Uncovered
The latest intelligence data gathered by the Northeast Intelligence Network concerning the terror group known as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), responsible for the recent bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, suggests the following Indonesian locations or businesses of US or western origin as potential and even intended targets of physical destruction by the terrorist organization:
Pendok Indah Mall
All oil companies including but not limited to:
All Other US Based Businesses with Indonesian Presence
Although the timing of the potential bombings is unclear and no "direct evidence" was identified to indicate an attack is imminent, an immediate increase in security on all levels by US and western businesses is urged based on past events and in consideration of the stated objectives of the terrorist group.
Related News Source Link: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2003/s922014.htm
ALERT: 16 June 2003
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: HIGH
ANTICIPATED TIME PERIOD: From 16 June 2003 forward
Based on intelligence developed through a number of sources, there appears to be a significant threat to critical computer databases, US systems and infrastructures that rely on Internet and Intranet usage, combined with a concurrent, unspecified ground attack within the continental United States. The origin of these attacks appear to be from unorganized al Qaeda and al Qaeda sympathizers, Hamas and Hamas supporters. Information concerning these attacks appear to originate, in part, from Internet communications out of (among other locations) Lahore, Pakistan.
This alert stems from the findings that our national computer infrastructure has been and is currently being "probed" to compromise the same, with the intent of causing catastrophic damage and interruptions to our financial systems (e.g US financial institutions and information database repositories), and operational infrastructure (e.g. power plants, electrical grids, water supplies).
Reference to a potential "physical" attack suggests that targets include oil and gas refineries within the continental US, and perhaps specially in the gulf coast region of the United States.
UPDATE: 7 July 2003
There was a great deal of confusion by readers regarding the announcement of a "hacking contest" that took place on 6 July 2003. It should be noted that this was NOT the event referenced by this alert. Those following the "defacer's challenge" hacking contest know that an announcement was made by government officials, and the web site associated with this specific "contest" was taken down by the ISP due to violations of the server's terms of service (TOS). What IS interesting, however, is that at least one of several Internet addresses associated with the defunct site was a valid e-mail address originating from the People's Republic of China (PRC).
This ALERT will remain in effect until further notice. There continues to be references to an "e-jihad" in the planning stages by radical Islamic factions and their allies and sympathizers. It is important to understand that our enemy is very patient (as evidenced by the extensive planning of the 9/11 attacks) and will strike by their schedule. It would be prudent for all businesses, especially financial institutions, data base companies, and operations controlling certain infrastructures of the United States to take this time to enhance their defenses against intrusion and attack. This is only common sense, even in a normal threat environment.
Lastly, it is important for everyone to understand that we are involved in an asymmetrical war, which is admittedly difficult for many to comprehend. The ultimate objectives of our enemies is to destroy the United States. Instead of (or likely in addition to) conventional weapons, our enemies will use unconventional means against us. No longer just bombs and bullets, they will use our own assets as weapons. They will exploit our weaknesses wherever they are found, by any and all means available to them, including the Internet.
With specific regard to this alert, our enemies will use the Internet in an effort to create financial havoc, whether it is through stealing legitimate identities of others by hacking into the necessary data bases, or organizing and implementing mass attacks against certain servers in an attempt to disrupt the normal flow of business. As an example of the latter, consider the potential ramifications of an effective electronic attack against a single financial institution. Consider what would happen if the customers of this financial institution were suddenly unable to make deposits, withdraw money, use an automated teller machine, use a debit card for purchases, and so on as a result of a successful attack against that institution. Although the situation could be temporary and the overall damage could be ultimately contained, this would undoubtedly be not only inconvenient, but costly to repair, and the loss of revenue due to this situation would probably never be recovered. Also, consider the ramifications to other businesses as a result of this sudden disruption.
The above is merely one "simple" example of a potential scenario that is part of this alert. Many more exist, with some having more ominous ramifications than described above. In short, we are not referring to Sunday hackers or lame attempts to deface websites. The situation is more complex and more potentially damaging, especially if steps are not immediately taken to shore up our critical defenses against electronic intrusion.