The Soufan Group Morning Breif


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WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2016
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY HAS “HIGH CONFIDENCE” OF RUSSIAN ROLE IN DNC HACK

U.S. intelligence agencies told the White House on Tuesday that they have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee. However, intelligence officials said they were uncertain whether the hack into the DNC’s network was specifically part of a Russian effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange reportedly timed the leak of emails in order to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. In a June 12 interview, Assange said Wikileaks had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.” New York Times, AP, CBS, The Hill

Related:
CNN: The DNC Hack Was a Brilliant Political Weapon
New York Times: Why Security Experts Think Russia Was Behind the D.N.C. Breach
NPR: Was That A Russian Spy, Or Am I Getting Paranoid?
Washington Post: After DNC leaks, Obama hints at possible motive for Russia to help Trump
CNBC: Hack attack on DNC would be in keeping with Russian tactics

FBI TO LEAD CYBERSECURITY OPERATIONS
President Obama announced a new directive on Tuesday that places the FBI in charge of the government’s initial response to cyber attacks. The directive also outlines the responsibilities of other government agencies such as Homeland Security and the federal Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, created in 2015. It also includes criteria for determining the severity of a cyber security incident. Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

Gitmo: The prosecution in the 9/11 suspects case asked the judge to put 2,967 death certificates of the victims of the attacks into the pretrial record on Tuesday. Defense lawyers said the tactic was “trying to “cut corners, [and] do an end run around the 6th Amendment and Confrontation Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. The defense team argued that the prosecution is required to question circuit court judges and other witnesses to the death certificate documents, which are under seal, in order to use them as evidence. Miami Herald

Counterterrorism: The United States is looking at ways to increase cooperation with China on counterterrorism efforts, including information sharing and assistance with operations to stabilize Iraq, according to a senior administration official. National Security Advisor Susan Rice discussed in “some detail” the threat of terrorism during a visit with Chinese officials. Reuters

FBI threat: A truck driver who claimed to have a bomb onboard deliberately crashed his vehicle through a security gate at the FBI’s offices in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. However, authorities did not find a bomb in the truck and there appeared to be no connection to terrorism. AP

Refugees: On Tuesday, the White House announced an expansion of a program to admit Central American refugees to the United States in an effort to protect those fleeing dangerous conditions in their countries. The administration said the program, which currently allows unaccompanied children from Central America to enter the United States as refugees, would be expanded to allow entire families to qualify, including siblings, parents, and other caregivers. New York Times


AFGHAN OFFICIALS: KEY ISIS LEADER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN
Afghan security forces said that Saad Emarati, a key ISIS commander in Afghanistan, was killed in an operation in the Kot district in the eastern province of Nangarhar. Afghan officials said he was one of 120 suspected militants killed in the operation. Emarati was formerly a Taliban commander but switched his allegiance to ISIS following the death of Taliban founder Mullah Omar. BBC

Somalia: Al Shabab suicide bombers killed at least 13 people in Somalia on Tuesday. A series of car bombings occurred near the airport and bases for the UN and African Union missions in the capital, Mogadishu. New York Times

Syria: The U.S. Agency for International Development has suspended some of the aid being sent to Syria over allegations of fraud by its partner organizations. A USAID spokesman said the agency “took immediate action to halt several activities in Turkey and to suspend individuals and third-party vendors from receiving U.S. funding.” Washington Post


France: ISIS claimed responsibility for the killing of an 84-year-old French priest at a church in the northern town of St-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Two knife-wielding attackers who told hostages they were ISIS members slit the throat of Jacques Hamel before they were killed by French police. New York Times, BBC, Reuters
TOP OP-EDS
Normandy, Istanbul, Dhaka, Nice, Baghdad, Orlando: WHY?: “After each one of these attacks the first question is: Why? Why would anyone kill complete strangers who are dancing at a nightclub, or eating at a restaurant, or folks attending a holiday fireworks display, or an 86-year-old priest?,” writes Peter Bergen on CNN. “There are five deep historical currents that are influencing these events. At the macro level, ISIS is not itself the problem — though it certainly amplifies existing problems — but rather it’s the symptom of five major problems that are driving jihadist terrorism around the globe and will continue to do so even when ISIS is contained and largely defeated.”

The Myth of Lone-Wolf Terrorism: “Observers have repeatedly erred by definitively categorizing attacks as lone-wolf operations when they would later turn out to be connected to broader cells or networks. At a minimum, individuals labeled lone wolves are often in communication with other militants, sometimes using encrypted services that are difficult to detect and decipher,” write Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Nathaniel Barr on Foreign Affairs. “There is a danger in rushing to label operatives as disconnected from others, as doing so can cause analysts to overlook the networks that facilitate and encourage attacks. It is time to put the myth of the lone wolf to rest.”

The Democrats Bomb Their Nuclear Test: “The Democratic Party’s 2016 platform commits a President Hillary Clinton to the terrible idea of conducting another Nuclear Posture Review,” writes Jeffrey Lewis on Foreign Policy. “That would both make it harder for President Barack Obama to act on urgent nuclear weapons issues as his term ends and tie Clinton’s hands on the issue through much of her first term.”
 
EDITOR'S PICK

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Islamic State’s Favorite Target

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.




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