The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016
CANADIAN COURT RULES SPY AGENCY ILLEGALLY KEPT PRIVATE DATA

A federal court in Canada issued a scathing rebuke to the country’s domestic spy agency this week, ruling that it unlawfully retained data and was not truthful with judges who authorize its intelligence programs. Federal Court Justice Simon Noel said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service overstepped its legal authority when it began retaining and analyzing metadata, including telephone numbers and email addresses, that weren’t relevant to terrorism or national security investigations or prosecutions more than a decade ago.
 
CSIS Director Michel Coulombe said Thursday evening that the agency accepts the court’s decision and has halted access to and analysis of associated data while it studies the ruling. Canada belongs to the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, along with Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Globe and Mail, Guardian, Wall Street Journal
AMERICAN WHO FLED ISIS IS INDICTED BY GRAND JURY
Eight months after he was captured by Kurdish fighters in Iraq, a Virginia man described as an ISIS defector has been indicted on charges of helping a terrorist organization and will be arraigned in federal court Friday. Mohamad Khweis, 27, faces charges including providing material support to ISIS. NBC News, Fox News
 
Guantanamo: In what the Miami Herald calls a “mysterious move,” the general in charge of war court prosecutions, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, has appointed a pair of special Pentagon prosecutors to investigate defense teams’ handling of classified information in the cases of seven former CIA captives. Miami Herald
 

WHITE HOUSE PREPARES FOR ‘CYBER MAYHEM’ ON ELECTION DAY
U.S. officials tell NBC News that the U.S. government believes hackers from Russia or elsewhere may try to undermine next week's presidential election. In response, the administration is mounting an unprecedented effort to counter their cyber meddling. The White House and DHS are coordinating the effort, with assistance from various intelligence agencies and DoD. Officials say it would be extremely difficult for a foreign state to alter actual ballot counts or election results, but officials will be on alert for “influence operations” that are intended to sow confusion in the electorate, such as misinformation being spread via social networks. NBC News
Related:
Washington Post: U.S. Officials Warn of Russian Mischief in Election and Beyond
 
REPORTS: ANTIPATHY OF CLINTON DROVE INTERNAL FEUD AT FBI
Current and former employees of the FBI tell the Guardian that deep antipathy of Hillary Clinton helped spur events that led to last week’s announcement that additional Clinton emails had been found and were being investigated. The officials describe a chaotic internal climate at the bureau that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server. Similarly, Reuters reports that “two law enforcement sources familiar with the FBI’s New York Field Office, which initially discovered the emails, said a faction of investigators based in the office is known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton. A spokeswoman for the FBI’s New York office said she had no knowledge about this.” Guardian, Reuters
Related:
ThinkProgress: FBI Launches Internal Investigation into its own Twitter Account
New York Times: As Trump Ally, Giuliani Boasts of Ties to FBI
Washington Post: How Tensions at the FBI Will Persist After the Election
 

IRAQIS IN MOSUL FEAR SECTARIAN BLOODSHED AFTER ISIS FIGHT
The New York Times reports that even as Iraqi forces come closer to ejecting ISIS fighters from Mosul, there are fears there “that another Sunni insurgency could rise after the Islamic State is beaten,” in part because there seems to be “little beyond this immediate military campaign to unite the profoundly differing factions that have temporarily come together to fight the militants—government forces, Sunni tribesmen, Kurds, local Yazidis and Christians, and Iran-backed militias. Each has a different endgame in mind.” New York Times
Related:
Reuters: Iraqi Forces Say Six Mosul Districts Seized from Islamic State
 
BRIEF CEASEFIRE BEGINS IN ALEPPO
Russian and Syrian government forces began a 10-hour ceasefire in Aleppo Friday to allow civilians to leave besieged areas. BBC News
 
PAKISTAN ACCUSES INDIA OF RUNNING ISLAMABAD SPY RING
Pakistan says it has uncovered a network of spies based at India’s mission in Islamabad. The names and photos of eight Indian officials accused of running the alleged espionage ring were leaked to the Pakistani press. BBC News
 

Germany: German police have detained a migrant on suspicion of plotting an attack for the Islamic State, giving fuel to critics who say Germany’s asylum policies are too lenient. Wall Street Journal
 
Indonesia: A hard-line, militant strain of Islam is taking hold in Indonesia, with a Jakarta rally of more than 100,000 people -- the biggest street demonstration the capital has seen in years -- taking place Friday in protest of the region’s Christian governor, who has been accused of insulting the Koran. Wall Street Journal
 
Belgium: Human Rights Watch says in a new report that Belgium’s security services have responded to recent attacks in the country in a heavy-handed and even “abusive” way. Newsweek
TOP OP-EDS
How you destroy a democratic republic: “If you really wanted to destroy a democratic republic, the surest way would be to turn its prosecutors, investigators and intelligence-gatherers into the instruments — actual or perceived — of a political party,” writes Charles Lane in the Washington Post. Our intelligence agencies “have lost their perceived impartiality despite their various attempts to preserve it, which a mistrustful, polarized society, obsessed with a high-stakes election, refuses to credit.”
 
The mind of the Islamic State: “Political ideologies take decades to form,” writes Robert Manne in the Guardian. The Islamic State’s is the latest iteration of one that has been developing for 50 years, and it is “more coherent and consistent” than Nazism.

Why cybersecurity is hard--absurd division: “Cybersecurity is, of course, very hard for any number of practical reasons,” writes Paul Rosenzweig in Lawfare. “Then there is the ‘theater of the absurd’ division of reasons why protecting the Federal government domain is so hard. Consider this opinion from the Federal Labor Relations Board (published in July 2014). It holds that a Federal agency may not cut off employee access to external email as a cybersecurity measure without first seeking to negotiate the question and get union approval.”
EDITOR'S PICK
Atlas Obscura: Inside the NSA’s For-Sale Spy Town

Newsweek: Why Vladimir Putin’s Russia Backs Trump

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Al-Baghdadi Speaks as the Caliphate Falters




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