The Soufan Group Morning Brief



The father of the primary suspect in last weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey has claimed that he warned FBI agents over two years ago to “ keep an eye on” his son, and that he had shown interest in terrorist organizations. According to Mohammad Rahami, his son Ahmad had been interested in jihadist music, poetry, and videos. The FBI denies the father’s claims, saying that he did not provide federal agents with the newly revealed details about his son. Ahmad Rahami’s wife has reportedly walked into the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates and has given authorities a statement. New York Times, CBS

New York Times: ‘In-Betweeners’ Are Part of a Rich Recruiting Pool for Jihadists
The Hill: Homegrown radical terrorized US from grave
New York Times: Can the F.B.I. Do More to Investigate Suspected Extremists?
The Independent: How the New York bombing suspect was radicalised online by a man who had been dead for five years
New York Times: Why Didn’t the F.B.I. Stop the New York Bombing?

On Thursday, Kansas’ attorney general questioned whether the Defense Department broke a federal law that bans money from being spent on prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay when it spent $26,000 while surveying potential alternative sites. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released a Defense Department document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that accounts for the money spent by the Pentagon on finding an alternative facility to house Guantanamo Bay detainees if the prison is closed. AP, The Hill

Texas: Texas has threatened to pull out of the Obama administration's federal resettlement program for refugees. Texas has proposed a plan to limit the number of refugees admitted into the state and has asked to receive additional security assurances. New York Times

Minnesota mall attack: Authorities investigating last Saturday’s Minnesota mall stabbings have not released any new information about the attack since Monday, leaving many members of the Somali community in Minnesota frustrated with the lack of information. Many believe that the attack was not motivated by terrorism. The FBI has asked the public for help in its investigation, requesting any information or cell phone videos taken by people at the shopping mall on Saturday evening. New York Times, AP

White House hack: The FBI is investigating a possible hack of a White House staffer’s computer that reportedly led to the leak of sensitive information, including first lady Michelle Obama’s passport. The hacker group DC Leaks claim they hacked a young White House staffer’s email to gain access to the passport as well as detailed Secret Service schedules for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. CBS

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton explained what she meant by an "intelligence surge" to combat ISIS, the phrase she used in a press conference following the bomb explosions in New York and New Jersey. A key component of her plan reportedly includes measures to expand intelligence assets against ISIS and its affiliates overseas as well as domestic efforts to prevent and thwart attacks inspired by extremist groups. Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, called the plan to improve intelligence sharing a "logical evolution" and that Clinton seeks to avoid "overreacting" to threats. Greenberg added that "pushing the surveillance issue off to a future time is the elephant in the room.” Guardian

Iraqi forces, with support from U.S. airstrikes, gained control of the northern district of Shirqat on Thursday, as the military prepares for an offensive against Mosul. Shirqat is a key town along the Tigris river about 60 miles south of Mosul. Reuters

Afghanistan: Local security forces control 70 percent of Afghanistan, according to Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Afghan security forces have taken more casualties “than we’re comfortable with” and were lagging behind in air power, special operations, and intelligence efforts. Washington Post

Yemen: A senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed on Thursday in a suspected U.S. drone strike, according to Yemen officials. Abdallah al-Sanaani, an AQAP regional commander, was killed along with his bodyguard while traveling in a vehicle in al-Bayda province. Reuters

Russia: On Thursday, two senior Democratic lawmakers accused Russia of “making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) issued a joint statement describing the recent cyber penetrations of the Democratic National Committee and other political entities as an effort by Russia “intended to sow doubt about the security of our election and may well be intended to influence the outcomes.” Washington Post
Saad Hariri: Iran Must Stop Meddling in Arab Affairs: “How many schools and hospitals has Iran built in Lebanon? How much help has it provided for Lebanon to rebuild itself? The answer, of course, is little to none, and any such Iranian aid is structured entirely to the political benefit of Hezbollah,” writes Saad Hariri in The New York Times. “Iran has a unique opportunity to help those who are really fighting extremism in the Arab world. But to do that, it must stop meddling in Arab affairs, from Yemen and Bahrain to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.”

Aid attack deepens the West’s Syria policy nightmare: “Unfortunately, there are only two real options, both of them terrible. Either the United States takes what happened on the chin without any real response, essentially opening the door to Moscow and Damascus, further ramping up action and essentially driving any remaining neutral humanitarian workers from the field,” writes Peter Apps for Reuters. “Or it takes action to stop it, perhaps by declaring a unilateral no-fly zone over some key areas and then enforcing it militarily, if necessary. Even if it means blasting Russian jets from the sky.”

Don't Pardon Edward Snowden: “But to show leniency for the man now enjoying Vladimir Putin's hospitality in Moscow would be to ignore the great damage he has done to U.S. national security. It would also set a bad precedent,” writes Bloomberg View in an editorial. “Snowden also released classified information on many other intelligence programs that were clearly within the law, exposing sources and methods to America's enemies. This included details of U.S. information-gathering on his Russian hosts.”

WNYC: Is the U.S. Getting Better at Dealing with Terrorism?

New Yorker: Terrorism and the Presidency

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Nuclear Powers Clash Over Kashmir

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