terrorism

One of the architects of the CIA's torture program for the accused Sept. 11 terrorists testified Wednesday in a Guantánamo Bay courtroom that he eventually came to believe that those torture techniques had gone too far and verged on breaking the law.

Iran's U.N. ambassador tells NPR that Tehran has no plans to step up a confrontation with the U.S. after it fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq in "a measured, proportionate response" to the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

However, Majid Takht Ravanchi, speaking to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, says Iran is prepared for further action if the U.S. renews its aggression. He also denied the Trump administration's assertion that Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, had been plotting an attack on U.S. persons or interests.

Even by the secretive standards of U.S. national security, the court that oversees government surveillance in terrorism and espionage investigations is cloaked in mystery.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA Court — for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs it — operates completely out of sight.

That means secrecy surrounds every case in which the FBI goes to the court to get approval to wiretap an American — or foreigner — on U.S. soil who's suspected of spying for a foreign power or belonging to a terrorist group.

The Glock handgun that was used in Friday's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola was purchased legally in the U.S., the FBI says. Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national, used the weapon to kill three sailors and wound eight more people.

Alshamrani was "a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer at Naval Aviation Schools Command" in Pensacola, according to Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday called for increased vetting of foreign nationals training on U.S. military bases following the shooting Friday at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola that left three dead, including a student airman from St. Petersburg.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic descriptions of torture techniques.

The new movie The Report — which comes out Friday and tells the true story of a U.S. Senate staffer who doggedly investigated the CIA's use of torture after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — is a look back on a controversial part of our country's past. But the CIA's torture program continues to have huge implications at the U.S. military court and prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where 40 accused terrorists are still being held.

The man accused in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques has been charged with carrying out a terrorist act. Brenton H. Tarrant, 28, already faced 50 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder for the March 15 shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

An additional murder charge was lodged against him on Tuesday in relation to a Turkish man shot in the attacks who died earlier this month at Christchurch Hospital.

The FBI is investigating some 850 cases of domestic terrorism and considers it serious and persistent threat, the FBI's Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.

McGarrity and his fellow national security officials then went on to explain to committee members why the U.S. doesn't have an explicit law allowing the federal government to criminally charge extremists with domestic terrorism.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and French President Emmanuel Macron will lead a global effort to stop social media from promoting terrorism in the wake of recent attacks that devastated New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"This isn't about freedom of expression; this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online," Ardern told reporters at a news conference in Auckland on Wednesday.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the devastating Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, according to a posting by the group's Amaq news agency Tuesday.

Without offering evidence of its involvement, the group commonly known as ISIS said the suicide attacks that killed more than 320 people were carried out by "fighters of the Islamic State."

Updated at 12:53 a.m. ET Monday

Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds more wounded after explosions tore through Sri Lanka in a series of coordinated blasts that struck three churches and three hotels. It marked the country's worst violence since the end of its civil war in 2009.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday the death toll had risen to 290 dead with more than 500 wounded, according to The Associated Press.

Residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, are trying to recover and heal following Friday's attack on two mosques, which claimed the lives of 50 people and left more than 30 others in the hospital.

Police say the shooter — a 28-year-old Australian man who live-streamed the attack on Facebook and who is now in custody — likely acted alone. In the wake of the horrific attack, he left a community in pain.

A video of a stranger with a bouquet of roses walking into a New York mosque was shared thousands of times online. "An expression of sympathy for the loss of life in New Zealand," the man said, as he handed over the bouquet.

The message was clear: Muslims, you are not alone.

That message echoed in vigils and interfaith gatherings across the country over a weekend marred by a tragedy across the world that felt so close to home — an attack on two mosques in New Zealand where at least 50 people were killed as they prayed.

Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would seek a change in her country's gun laws after at least one man opened fire during afternoon prayers Friday and killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

"Our gun laws will change," Ardern declared in a news conference Saturday morning local time.

The violent attack struck at the very heart of New Zealand, a country that prides itself on being both peaceful and diverse.

Updated at 4:37 a.m. ET

Forty-nine people are dead and at least 20 are seriously injured in what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "can now only be described as a terrorist attack."

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