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Terrorism threats to the U.S. hit 2013 FBI top investigations list

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Terrorism threats to the United States continue to be a high concern as the FBI releases their annual top investigation cases of 2013 list this week.

"I do not think this nation has ever faced a more fluid, more dynamic, or more complex terrorism threat," stated the Assistant Director of Counterterrorism, Mark F. Giuliano. "We are seeing an increase in the sources of terrorism, a wider array of terrorism targets, a greater cooperation among terrorist groups, and an evolution in terrorist tactics and communication methodology."

During a Washington D.C. speech in 2011, Giuliano indicated that "the long-term planning undertaken by senior core al Qaeda leaders which led to the 9/11 attacks is much more difficult for them to attain in today’s environment."

"It is replaced with somewhat less sophisticated, quick-hitting strikes which can be just as lethal but which take less funding, fewer operatives, less training, and less timing to execute," Giuliano stated.

The FBI indicates their top priority continues to be "protecting the nation from terrorist attack" as they work with local, state, and federal law enforcement and intelligence orginizations through their Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Begining with the most latest case first, below are some of cases that made the top FBI terrorist list in 2013.

Airport bomb plot:

A 58-year-old Terry Lee Loewen had worked as an avionics technician, was charged earlier this month with attempting to explode a car bomb at a Witchita, Kansas airport as an act of jihad against the U.S. “Lone wolves—home-grown violent extremists—remain a very serious threat to our nation’s security," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste.

Attempt to join al Qaeda:

Marcos Alonso Zea, also known as “Ali Zea,” of Brentwood, New York was arrested in October for attempting to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and conspiring to commit murder overseas. The 25-year-old allegedly conspired with others to travel overseas to wage violent jihad against the perceived enemies of Islam, which included the secular government in Yemen.

Material support to terrorists:

Two men were indicted in August for working to provide material support to al Qaeda groups and al Shabaab. The individuals were charged with attempting to provide money and recruits to three different terror organizations.

Sovereign citizen scheme:

In July, the self-proclaimed president of a sovereign citizen group in Alabama was sentenced to 18 years in prison for promoting a tax fraud scheme that taught people how to defraud the IRS. He and other sovereign citizens also sent demands to all 50 U.S. governors in 2010 ordering each to resign within three days—to be replaced by a “sovereign” leader or be “removed.”

Attempt to wage jihad:

A Florida man was indicted in July for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The 19-year-old tried to travel to the Arabian Peninsula to join and fight with a violent al Qaeda group that has taken responsibility for multiple attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing in 2012 that killed more than 100 soldiers.

Former U.S. soldier indicted:

A U.S. citizen who formerly served in the army was indicted in June for conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The 30-year-old man allegedly wanted to fight alongside an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Syria.

Far-fetched terror plan:

Two New York men were charged in June with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Their scheme involved creating a remotely operated X-ray radiation-emitting device designed to kill people silently. Their targets were perceived enemies of Israel.

Tsarnaev charged:

In April, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings. The attacks killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Suicide bombing: An Oregon resident was charged in March for his role in a 2009 suicide bombing. The man allegedly assisted an individual who participated in the attack at the headquarters of Pakistan’s intelligence service in Lahore that killed approximately 30 individuals and injured 300 others.

Bin Laden associate arrested:

An associate of Osama bin Laden was arrested in March for conspiring to kill Americans. The individual held a key position in al Qaeda and appeared with bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks to threaten further attacks against the U.S.

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