The Soufan Group Morning Brief



Ahmad Khan Rahami, the primary suspect in last weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, was charged on Tuesday with several crimes, including the use of weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use. The criminal complaint filed against Rahami suggests that he was motivated by an extremist Islamic ideology, evidenced by notes recorded in a notebook he had with him at the time of his arrest after a shootout with police. In the notebook, he referenced pipe bombs, pressure cookers, and shooting police. The pressure cooker bombs that Rahami allegedly built were significantly more powerful than those used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. New York Times, CNN

New York Times: Bombing Case Points to Gaps in Trump’s and Clinton’s Antiterrorism Plans
Politico: McCaul: We'll look at FBI's prior probe into accused bomber
The Hill: Federal charges filed against NY,NJ bombing suspect
USA Today: Terror-bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami shares common 'lone wolf' traits
NPR: Bombing Suspect Drew FBI's Attention In 2014 After Domestic Dispute
AP: Court papers: Suspect vowed 'bombs will be heard' in streets

The Periodic Review Board at Guantanamo Bay has upheld the detention of Afghan prisoner Muhammed Rahim al-Afghani, according to a decision released by the Pentagon on Tuesday. Of the remaining 61 detainees at Guantanamo, Rahim is the 20th to be designated for indefinite detention as a “forever prisoner.” He is accused of serving as “a trusted member of al-Qaida who worked directly for senior members of al-Qaida, including Osama bin Laden, serving as a translator, courier, facilitator, and operative.” Rahim has been held at Guantanamo since March 2008 and has never been charged with a crime. Miami Herald

Minnesota deradicalization: German deradicalization expert Daniel Koehler appeared in U.S. federal court in Minnesota on Tuesday to discuss the potential for a deradicalization program planned for several Minnesota men convicted of plotting to join ISIS in Syria. Koehler argued that it is possible to deradicalize violent Muslim extremists using the same techniques developed in Europe to rehabilitate neo-Nazis. AP, Minn. Star Tribune, MPR News

Illinois terror case: A federal judge in Chicago sentenced a former Illinois National Guard soldier and his cousin to prison for plotting to join ISIS and for planning an attack on a U.S. military facility. The former soldier, 23-year-old Hassan Edmonds, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 30 years in prison. His cousin, 30-year-old Jonas Edmonds, was sentenced to 21 years in prison. The attack had been planned on the National Guard armory in Joliet, Illinois. AP

Boston terror case: A Rhode Island man charged earlier this year with conspiracy to support ISIS and recruit others to a “martyrdom operations cell” accepted a plea agreement in federal court in Boston on Tuesday. Nicholas Alexander Rovinski, 25, faces up to life in prison. Rovinski allegedly attacked several police in a parking lot with a military-style knife when they tried to question him about a plot to kill police officers. Boston Globe

Saudi arms sales: Members of both the House and Senate have introduced legislation to block the sale of $1.15 billion worth of tanks and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia, after a series of Saudi-led airstrikes reportedly killed and wounded scores of civilians in Yemen. The bipartisan legislation attempts to block the deal to send up to 153 M1A1/A2 battle tanks and 33 recovery vehicles, as well as other equipment, including heavy machine guns, smoke grenade launchers, thermal sights, and ammunition. Washington Post, The Hill

On Tuesday, U.S. officials said that Russia was likely responsible for the deadly bombing of a UN aid convoy in Syria. The incident has unraveled the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the United States, which had originally included plans to increase cooperation and coordination of airstrikes against ISIS. New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters

Libya: An airstrike killed at least nine civilians near the town of Houn in central Libya on Tuesday. It is unclear who was responsible for the civilian casualties, which reportedly included women and children. Reuters

Refugee crisis: President Obama secured pledges from dozens of countries to resettle or allow the lawful admission of 360,000 refugees in the next year. Obama held a summit to discuss the refugee crisis during the annual UN General Assembly meetings in New York. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that the number was “still only a fraction” of the 1.2 million refugees in need of resettlement. Reuters

Russia: On Tuesday, Russia's security service said it had thwarted an attempt by two men in Siberia to sell false military secrets to the CIA. The made-up intelligence information was reportedly, “about railroad cars leaving for Ukraine and the placement of missiles aimed at the United States,” according to Russian FSB officials. AFP
Terrorists like Ahmad Khan Rahami don't deserve the same rights as most Americans: “As New Yorkers know all too well, ISIS refuses to obey the civilized rules of warfare by refusing to wear uniforms and launching attacks with only the goal of spreading fear among civilians,” writes John Yoo in the New York Daily News. “The only way to stop such attacks is by gaining intelligence on these barbarous attacks, which requires the rebuilding and expansion of the NSA's electronic surveillance programs, a renewed program to capture and interrogate terrorist leaders, and expanded use of force on the ground against ISIS and al Qaeda.”

Bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami must get his day in federal court: “There is no question Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspected bomber in this weekend’s bombings, should be prosecuted in U.S. federal court. Rahami is an American citizen who is being tried for a crime perpetrated on American soil. As such, he is guaranteed the right to be charged and tried here,” writes Karen J. Greenberg in the New York Daily News. “More than a right, it is an imperative.”

Unprecedented and Unlawful: The NSA’s “Upstream” Surveillance: “Because of how it operates, Upstream surveillance represents a new surveillance paradigm, one in which computers constantly scan our communications for information of interest to the government,” write Ashley Gorski and Patrick C. Toomey on Just Security. “As the legislative debate gets underway, it’s critical to frame the technological and legal issues that Congress and the public must consider — and to examine far more closely the less-intrusive alternatives available to the government.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: A Model Joint Terror Investigation

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