The Soufan Group Morning Brief



On Tuesday the Periodic Review Board cleared 51-year-old Moroccan national Abdul Latif Nasir to return to his homeland. Nasir has been held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay since May 2002, after he was detained for allegedly serving as a commander and weapons trainer against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He was never charged with a crime. Of the remaining 76 prisoners at Guantanamo, 29 have been cleared for transfer. Miami Herald

Gitmo: The question over whether Guantanamo is “a Constitution-free zone” arose during war court proceedings on Tuesday. Defense attorney Brent Rushforth sought a delay in court proceedings against his client, Abd al-Hadi, until security clearances are granted for four other civilian members of his defense team. Rushforth argued that the Sixth Amendment, which allows for counsel of choice, is the right of all criminal defendants in U.S. custody. Navy Capt. Judge J.K. Waits asked the prosecution team to address the argument. However the prosecution indicated that it does not want the judge to reach the constitutional question. Courthouse News Service, Miami Herald

The Obama administration fought back against a lawsuit brought by a U.S. soldier over the legality of the ongoing military operations against ISIS. In May, Nathan Michael Smith, an Army intelligence officer deployed to Kuwait, filed a lawsuit claiming President Obama violated the War Powers Resolution because he did not receive authorization from Congress to conduct military operations against ISIS. The Obama administration argued in a 45-page legal brief that although the President did not receive new and explicit authorization, “Congress has ratified that determination by appropriating billions of dollars in support of the military operation.” New York Times

Wiretapping: A District of Columbia bar committee has agreed to a deal that would allow former Justice Department lawyer and wiretapping whistleblower Thomas Tamm to keep his law licence despite his revealing of classified government information. In 2008, Tamm admitted that he was one of the sources for a 2005 New York Times article on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. New York Times

Surveillance: On Tuesday, New York District Judge William Pauley ruled that defendant Raymond Lambis’ rights were violated when the Drug Enforcement Administration used a surveillance device to track his cell phone’s location without a warrant. Judge Pauley said that “absent a search warrant, the government may not turn a citizen’s cell phone into a tracking device,” and deemed that the DEA’s use of a ‘stingray’ surveillance device constituted an unreasonable search. This is the first time a federal judge has suppressed evidence obtained without a warrant by U.S. law enforcement while using the stingray device. Reuters

On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces retook the village of Ajhala from ISIS, about 40 miles south of Mosul. The move further isolates the ISIS-held city of Mosul, as Iraqi forces continue to prepare for an extensive military operation to retake the country’s second largest city. Reuters

Libya: Libyan forces loyal to the U.N.-backed government carried out airstrikes and artillery bombardments on the ISIS-held city of Sirte on Tuesday. Despite recent progress against ISIS in Libya, fighters have entrenched themselves in the center of the city, holding off Libyan forces with sniper fire and mortars. Reuters

Afghanistan: The U.S. top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John. W. Nicholson Jr., said on Tuesday that U.S. troops are shifting the focus of their operations against the Taliban to the east of the country. Nicholson said that he is applying new operational authorities approved by President Obama in June on an “almost daily” basis. Washington Post

South China Sea: On Tuesday, an international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in a dispute with China over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration found that China has no legal basis to claim sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. The court also found that China violated international law in its construction of artificial islands and caused “irreparable harm” to the marine environment. New York Times, CNN, Washington Post

France: The head of France’s intelligence service warned on Tuesday that ISIS-linked terrorists will likely change their tactics and “ramp up their capabilities” in the coming months. Speaking in front of French Parliament, Patrick Calvar, head of the DGSI domestic security agency, said that he expects ISIS terrorists to use car bombs and remotely-detonated improvised explosive devices in order to strike repeatedly, rather than die in suicide attacks. Politico, USA TODAY
U.S. must lead on refugee crisis: “Given the scale of the suffering and the implications of the refugee crisis for U.S. interests, our government should do much more. That’s why we joined other national security leaders in urging that America reaffirm its commitment to refugees,” write Michael Hayden and James Stavridis in the Miami Herald. “Compassion for people displaced by persecution and calamity is a core American ideal. For more than two centuries, oppressed people seeking liberty have been drawn to the idea of America, and ensuring that they receive protection is part of what makes us who we are.”

America Is Acting Locally, the Islamic State Is Thinking Globally: “The Islamic State’s attacks prove that, despite its recent losses, it remains strong and capable of executing its global strategy to undermine modern states, expand as a caliphate, and spark an apocalyptic war with the West,” write Jessica Lewis McFate and Christopher Kozak on Foreign Policy. “The United States will fail to defeat the Islamic State and protect the homeland if it does not reframe its strategy to contend with the Islamic State globally, rather than focusing on tactical successes in Iraq and Syria.”

A year after nuclear deal, sanctions still hurt Iran: “From Iran’s perspective, unless the United States takes more concrete steps to make European banks feel confident about engaging in commerce with Iran, the Iranian people will begin to view the nuclear deal as one-sided,” writes Amir Handjani on Reuters. “If such a narrative begins to take hold, their views of the United States and the nuclear deal will change and a broader rapprochement between Iran and the West will be all but impossible.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Next Bin Ladin

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.

Center on National Security
Fordham University School of Law
150 W. 62nd St. 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 US
Copyright © 2016 Center on National Security, All rights reserved.