The Soufan Group Morning Brief


MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2016

Weapons sent to Jordan by the CIA and Saudi Arabia originally intended for arming moderate Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence officials and sold to arms dealers on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials. Several of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in Amman, Jordan last November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility. The theft reportedly involved millions of dollars of weapons, including Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. New York Times, Al Jazeera

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union may make it harder for the United States to advance its national security and foreign policy interests in Europe. Experts commented that the loss of the U.K. as a key partner in European politics will have major implications for issues relating to NATO contributions, intelligence sharing, and free-trade agreements. However, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Sunday that there are “relatively few” immediate security concerns over the Brexit decision and that the United States and Britain will “remain the closest partners and allies.” New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters

Just Security: Brexit and National Security
New York Times: The Security Consequences of Brexit
U.S. News & World Report: What ‘Brexit’ Means for National Security
CNN: How the White House prepared for Brexit
Foreign Policy: Brexit is Good News for Russia, but a Headache for NATO
Financial Times: Brexit: Angela Merkel pushes back on EU pressure for quick divorce

Countering ISIS online: The Obama administration recently stood up the Global Engagement Center (GEC) at the State Department in an effort to combat online terrorist messaging from extremist groups like ISIS. The Center will be led by retired Navy SEAL Commander and former top Pentagon official Michael Lumpkin who said the goal of the Center is to get the infrastructure in place to effectively counter extremist messaging beyond the end of the Obama administration. The GEC differs from previously unsuccessful efforts, such as the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, in that it is an interagency body that uses expertise and resources from across the government, including the intelligence community. The Hill

Transgender service members: The Defense Department is expected to repeal its ban on transgender service members in the coming weeks, Pentagon officials said on Friday. Officials working on the issue said that the announcement would come by the end of July. Washington Post

Snowden: Edward Snowden’s lawyers said they plan to step up pressure on the Obama administration to grant their client a presidential pardon. ACLU attorney Ben Wizner said “we’re going to make a very strong case between now and the end of this administration that this is one of those rare cases for which the pardon power’s not for when somebody didn’t break the law. It’s for when they did and there are extraordinary reasons for not enforcing the law against the person.” Guardian


Orlando shooting: The FBI has yet to determine if Orlando gunman Omar Mateen had used gay social media sites or was a regular at the Pulse nightclub. At least six men have come forward claiming they had seen Mateen at gay clubs, encountered him online, or had romantic encounters with him. However, an extensive search of one social media site, Adam4Adam, came up with no connections to Mateen. New York Times

On Sunday, Iraqi forces recaptured the last district of Fallujah held by ISIS. The commander of the military operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, said that the battle for the city was over after a month of fighting. Iraqi forces are now expect to turn north, in preparations for retaking Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Reuters, NPR

Associated Press: ISIS Said to Abduct Hundreds of Kurdish Civilians in Syria

Somalia: At least 11 people were killed and several others were wounded on Saturday in an attack on a well-known hotel in Mogadishu. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the car bomb and shooting attack on the Nasa Hablood hotel. Washington Post

Yemen: Saudi-led airstrikes killed at least seven people on Sunday in the Khawlan and Qubaita districts in Yemen. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flew to Kuwait on Sunday to try to revitalize efforts towards a peace agreement between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. Reuters

Afghanistan: At least twelve Afghan security forces and civilians were killed amid heavy fighting between ISIS militants and government forces in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday. Reuters

Russia: Edward Snowden has condemned new anti-terrorism legislation passed by Russia’s parliament last week. The legislation passed in Snowden’s host country reportedly allows Russian mobile phone operators to store the details of all calls and texts made by their clients for up to six months and keep metadata of calls and messages, which includes information about the date, time, and participants, for up to three years. Telegraph

Belgium: Belgian authorities arrested two men suspected of planning a terror attack. Authorities said that the plot was not related to the Euro 2016 soccer championship, as had been reported earlier. The two men were charged for participation in the activities of a terrorist group. Wall Street Journal
Aziz Ansari: Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family: “One way to decrease the risk of terrorism is clear: Keep military-grade weaponry out of the hands of mentally unstable people, those with a history of violence, and those on F.B.I. watch lists. But, despite sit-ins and filibusters, our lawmakers are failing us on this front and choose instead to side with the National Rifle Association,” writes Aziz Ansari in The New York Times. “Suspected terrorists can buy assault rifles, but we’re still carrying tiny bottles of shampoo to the airport. If we’re going to use the ‘they’ll just find another way’ argument, let’s use that to let us keep our shoes on.”

Brexit Could Be a Blow for US National Security and Global Privacy: “The UK’s decision to leave the European Union could be a big blow for United States national security – and for global privacy,” writes Timothy Edgar on Lawfare. “The UK has always served as a bridge between America and Europe.  Its decision to leave the EU makes it a less effective one.”

America’s ‘Brexit’ Is Coming: “If there is a regnant consensus among the men and women who steer the Western world, it is this: The globe is flattening. Borders are crumbling. Identities are fluid. Commerce and communications form the warp and woof, weaving nations into the tight fabric of a global economy,” writes Yoni Applebaum on The Atlantic. “There may be painful dislocations along the way, but the benefits of globalization heavily outweigh its costs. And those who cannot see this, those who would resist it, those who would undo it—they are ignorant of their own interests, bigoted, xenophobic, and backward.”

Out Now: Karen Greenberg's newest book, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, is the definitive account of how America's War on Terror sparked a decade-long assault on the rule of law, weakening our courts and our Constitution in the name of national security.

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Fight for Fallujah

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