Joint Terrorism Task Force

Joint Terrorism Task Force

The National Security Investigation Division’s (NSID) National Security Unit (NSU) oversees U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) participation on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF investigates, detects, interdicts, prosecutes and removes terrorists and dismantles terrorist organizations. ICE is involved in almost every foreign terrorism investigation related to cross-border crime. Foreign terrorists need to move money, weapons and people across international borders to conduct their operations, and ICE holds a unique set of law enforcement tools for disrupting these illicit activities.

In fiscal years 2009 and 2010, ICE special agents initiated 1,133 criminal investigations related to terrorism. During that same period, ICE agents made 534 arrests and conducted thousands of seizures of money, arms, contraband and other assets related to illegal schemes. These efforts significantly contributed to preventing and disrupt national security threats against the United States.

ICE is the largest federal contributor to the JTTF, through active participation in each of the 104 local JTTFs nationwide. The agency also plays a critical leadership role on the national JTTF.

Notable ICE JTTF and NSU Cases:

  • ICE JTTF agents in Philadelphia led an undercover weapons smuggling investigation resulting in the arrests of 31 subjects, most notably a reputed procurement officer for an overseas terrorist organization.
  • ICE JTTF special agents arrested and indicted multiple targets involved in an organized import/export scheme with an OFAC-designated Hezbollah front-company in South America’s Tri-Border area, resulting in guilty pleas to export smuggling and conspiracy.
  • An ICE JTTF special agent led the investigation, arrest, conviction and ultimate removal from the United States of the Brooklyn imam accused of tipping-off Najibullah Zazi and his co-conspirators days prior to the attempted attack against the New York subway system in September 2009. ICE agents in Denver developed immigration fraud charges against Amanullah Zazi, a family member of Najibullah Zazi, and placed him into removal proceedings in November 2009. Amanullah Zazi later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and abetting others to receive military training from a foreign terrorist organization.
  • More than 30 ICE special agents were the first criminal investigators to respond to the attempted Christmas Day attack of Northwest flight #253. They rapidly disseminated lead information to other ICE and JTTF special agents throughout the country.
  • ICE JTTF special agents were influential in identifying the would-be Times Square bomber in May 2010 and utilized unique immigration authorities to arrest an alleged hawaladar who allegedly provided funds to execute the attack.
  • An ICE JTTF special agent authored the criminal complaint against Brahim Lajqi, a citizen of Kosovo who intended to engage in acts of terrorism targeting four major U.S. cities. Lajqi ultimately pleaded guilty to fraud/misuse of visas.