The Fight Against Terrorism: Brazil’s Role in International Security Efforts

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Brazil and the US maintain strong counterterrorism cooperation. The Brazilian Federal Police (PF), Brazil’s lead Counter-terrorism agency, worked closely with law enforcement from the United States and other countries to assess and mitigate potential terrorist threats. The Brazilian administration continued to support CT activities, including controlling sensitive technologies and analyzing fraudulent travel documents.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s HS Investigations agency routinely communicates information on online school threats with Brazil’s Ciberlab; the latter then distributes information to touches in appropriate states for investigation and action.  In 2022, HSI shared information on 131 social media users who had expressed their intention to commit school massacres or other acts of violence. 

Brazilian law enforcement identified 24 subjects using that information and made eight detentions. On 8 November 2023, the Federal Police of Brazil arrested two men. They carried out 11 search and seizure warrants in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Brasília in an operation against the terrorist group Hezbollah, which was planning attacks on synagogues in the country.[

On 21 July 2016, two weeks before the organized start of the Olympic Games, Brazilian Federal Police foiled an Islamic jihadist terrorist ring plotting to wreak havoc like the 1972 Munich massacre. Still, they had relatively poor preparation compared to their objectives. Ten people suspected to be allied with ISIS were arrested, and two more were on the run.

Under current counter-terrorism laws, the PF conducts 12 investigations. There have been 63 investigations and 11 convictions in the five years the law has existed. In December 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury specified a Brazil-based web of al-Qa’ida-affiliated individuals and their parties for providing support to al-Qa’ida.  Among those set was Haytham Ahmad Shukri Ahmad Al-Maghrabi, one of Brazil’s first identified individuals linked to this al-Qa’ida network.  This action will freeze all the named individuals’ assets and accounts in the United States.

Brazil is also a member of the FATF and the FATF of Latin America.  Brazil’s Council for Financial Activities Control is a part of the Egmont Group. The CT Bureau began supporting the Countering Financing of Terrorism Project in 2021, enforced by the American Bar Association. This agenda will construct the capacity of governments and financial sector stakeholders in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to subvert and disrupt the financing of Hizballah and other terrorist groups, thus restricting their ability to plan and carry out raids in the TBA region and globally.

Brazil also participated in regional CT fora, comprising the Organization of American States Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism; Russia, India, China, and South Africa Joint Working body on CT; and the Southern Common Market’s working body on terrorism and sub-working group on financial issues. Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay harmonized law enforcement efforts in the TBA utilizing their Trilateral TBA Command. Brazil is a member of the Regional Security Mechanism.

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