The Soufan Group Morning Brief



In three instances in France over the last several months, female jihadists have been involved in terror plots against western targets. Two female suspects were arrested last month in connection with a parked car filled with gas canisters near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Radicalized women were behind a suspected plot to attack a train station near Paris, and one of ISIS’s top propagandists allegedly attempted to recruit two young women in Nice. Security officials are seeking to understand if women are beginning appear in these cases as a way to avoid detection because so many men are under surveillance. Top french terrorism prosecutor François Molins said that ISIS “not only uses men but also women, young women, who meet and develop their projects virtually,” to carry out attacks in the West.  New York Times

Telegraph: Majority of Paris attackers used migration routes to enter Europe, reveals Hungarian counter-terror chief

Unclassified prisoner intelligence reports have shown many of the assumptions about the “worst of the worst” prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay lack credible and concrete evidence. The reports, which are updated as the Periodic Review Board reviews the cases of the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo, have shown that prisoners, such as those known as the “Dirty 30” and the “Karachi 6,” were not key members of Al Qaeda. The intelligence reports, prepared by representatives from the Departments of Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, State and the Director of National Intelligence, have been instrumental in the review board’s work to evaluate each prisoner and determine if they can be released from Guantanamo. Miami Herald

Miami Herald: Guantánamo Navy base begins evacuating 700 parents and kids, plus pets, ahead of Hurricane Matthew

9/11 victims bill: Lawyers of victim families of the 9/11 attacks are reportedly moving quickly to take advantage of the new legislation that allows Americans to sue Saudi Arabia for its role in the attacks. James Kreindler, whose firm represents hundreds of victims’ families, said that attorneys would soon file papers at the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, saying “If we haven’t done it by [Friday], we’ll do it Monday.” Wall Street Journal

AP: Sept. 11 families can now sue the Saudis but will it matter?

Extremist Imam: The FBI is facing a dilemma in the case of Suleiman Anwar Bengharsa, a Maryland Imam who has shown open support for ISIS, but so far has not done anything to break the law. Bengharsa has repeatedly made inflammatory statements and provided $1,300 in June 2015 to a Detroit man who used the money to buy firearms and grenades. However, there was no evidence Bengharsa knew the man was going to purchase illegal explosives with the money. Imam Bengharsa has not been arrested nor charged with a crime. New York Times

NSA: A group that is attempting to sell the source code to specialized NSA hacking tools has reportedly received a high bid of only $1,082 for the data. The group, called the Shadow Brokers, is holding an ongoing online auction for the data. Newser

Syrian government forces and their allies have advanced towards Aleppo after dozens of airstrikes this weekend. The Syrian military told rebels to leave their positions in the besieged city, offering safe passage and aid supplies if they surrender. Human rights groups also condemned the bombing of hospitals by Syrian government forces over the weekend. Reuters

Libya: An ISIS sniper killed a Dutch journalist in the Libyan city of Sirte on Sunday. Freelance photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans was shot and killed while documenting the military operation to retake Sirte from ISIS control. Oerlemans had previously been kidnapped  in Syria in 2012 but was released after a week. CNN, New York Times

Washington Post: Haunting traces left behind by ISIS in Libya

Iran: Iran has complied with last year’s landmark nuclear agreement, according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said on Saturday that “the deal is being implemented since January without any particular problem.” Reuters

Egypt: Gunmen killed five police officers in northern Sinai on Saturday, according to the Egyptian interior ministry. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which occurred south of the city of El Arish. Reuters
Liberty Is Security: The Lesson Not Drawn From Post-9/11 Government Overreach : “When it comes to terrorism and civil liberties after 9/11, that pendulum swung strongly toward the power side of the equation and it has been slow indeed to swing back,” writes Karen J. Greenberg on TomDispatch. “It’s a curious fact that what’s actually lawful and mindful of liberty has turned out to be what also makes us more secure against our enemies. In these years, safety and liberty have been anything but incompatible.”

The U.S. needs to negotiate with North Korea: “While the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remains the long-term goal, we propose using this U.S. leverage to enter into talks with Pyongyang with the stated goal of negotiating a freeze of all North Korean nuclear and long-range missile tests and a return of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors,” write Jane Harman and James Person in the Washington Post. “Realistically, this can only be achieved through direct talks with North Korea, not a return to a six-party process that evoked too much mistrust among key stakeholders, especially between Pyongyang and Beijing.”

Ideology à la Carte: Why Lone Actor Terrorists Choose and Fuse Ideologies: “As details emerge about the recent arrest of Ahmad Rahami, the man who is charged with planting numerous bombs in New York and New Jersey, one facet of the case seems obvious: the man’s ideological inspiration does not place him neatly within one terrorist group,” writes Paige Pascarelli on Lawfare. “Evidence from Rahami’s journal paints a complex portrait of the man’s relationship with the broader jihadist movement, citing a constellation of groups.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Russia Warns the U.S. in Syria

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