Quick Hits

The Moscow attack bears the signature of jihadis…so far

While it is always a good strategy to wait for more confirmation when it comes to terrorism, we can make initial assessments based on what we know.

Episode 240 – Why jihadis should be seen as the prime candidates for the Moscow carnage

133 dead and at least 140 wounded in a massive terrorist attack in Moscow’s Crocus Concert Hall: both the number of dead and wounded are likely to rise, putting this attack in the category of the 2015 ISIS one in Paris. ISIS has claimed responsibility: the US had warned Russia that jihadis were planning something big in Moscow but Russian President Putin dismissed the advice as ‘provocative’. Unsurprisingly, there are voices accusing Ukraine (and even NATO) of spearheading the action. What do we know so far and what should we believe (and why)? Borealis weighs in on this mass casualty terrorist onslaught.

Moscow attack latest: All four suspects arrested after concert hall shootings, Russia says – BBC News

US had warned Russia ISIS was determined to attack | CNN

Quick Hits

In a world of multiple voices and opinions it can be very hard to know where to turn.  One choice is to look to those who actually worked in counter-terrorism in the national security world. 

In these short podcasts, 30-year Canadian intelligence veteran Phil Gurski looks at a variety of issues ties to national security and public safety, bith in Canada and abroad as well as insight into what they mean and what we need to do about them.

About Phil Gurski

Phil worked as a senior strategic analyst at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) from 2001-2015, specializing in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation. From 1983 to 2001 he was employed as a senior multilingual analyst at Communications Security Establishment (CSE – Canada’s signals intelligence agency), specialising in the Middle East. He also served as senior special advisor in the National Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada from 2013, focusing on community outreach and training on radicalisation to violence, until his retirement from the civil service in May 2015, and as consultant for the Ontario Provincial Police’s Anti-Terrorism Section (PATS) from May to October 2015.

He was the Director of Security and Intelligence at the SecDev Group from June 2018 to July 2019 and the Director of the National Security Programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute from 2020-2022. Mr. Gurski has presented on violent Islamist-inspired and other forms of terrorism and radicalisation across Canada and around the world.

He writes at

He is the author of The Threat from Within: Recognizing Al Qaeda-inspired Radicalization and Terrorism in the West (Rowman and Littlefield 2015) Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat to Homeland and International Security (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), The Lesser Jihads: Taking the Islamist fight to the world (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), An end to the ‘War on Terrorism When Religion Kills: How Extremist Justify Violence Through Faith (Lynne Rienner 2019) and The Peaceable Kingdom? A history of terrorism in Canada from Confederation to the present (self-published: 2021, republished by Double Dagger in 2022). He regularly blogs and podcasts (Canadian Intelligence Eh!), and tweets (@borealissaves) on terrorism and intelligence matters.

He was an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in the Netherlands and is currently a digital fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies at Concordia University. He is also a visiting fellow at the International Security and Risk Management programme at the University of South Wales

Mr. Gurski is a regular commentator on terrorism and intelligence for a wide variety of Canadian and international media.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.