The Soufan Group Morning Brief

FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017

Police in London say they have foiled two active terror plots in 24 hours, after arresting a total of seven people in raids across the British capital and southeast England. On Thursday, a 27-year-old man carrying knives was arrested near Parliament and charged with planning a terrorist attack. And in a separate incident, police arrested six people in Willesden and Kent; one woman was shot and injured. The Met said those individuals were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorist acts. BBC News, Independent, CNN, New York Times
President Trump warned in an interview on Thursday that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible, saying he was seeking a diplomatic solution to concerns that Pyongyang was preparing to conduct another nuclear test. In the interview with Reuters, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to resolve the North Korean dispute, but he cautioned that diplomatic efforts might fail. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” Trump said. “Absolutely.” Reuters, New York Times, Bloomberg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday, in an apparent shift, that the U.S. was willing to negotiate directly with Pyongyang. In an NPR interview that will air today, Tillerson said “Obviously, that will be the way we would like to solve this. But North Korea has to decide they’re ready to talk to us about the right agenda, and the right agenda is not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things.” Washington Post

In a separate interview with Fox News, Tillerson said the administration wasn’t seeking to overthrow Kim Jong Un. “We do not seek regime change in North Korea, we’re not seeking a collapse of the regime, we are not seeking to find some excuse for an accelerated reunification,” said Tillerson. “What we are seeking is the same thing China has said they seek: a full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Wall Street Journal

The House will vote next week on a new bill to ramp up sanctions on Pyongyang. CNN
Wall Street Journal: Trump Challenges North Korea in High-Stakes Game of Risk

Pentagon launches Flynn investigation: The Pentagon’s inspector general is now investigating Michael Flynn over payments he received from foreign governments after retiring from the Army, documents released Thursday reveal. Politico

CIA’s new No. 3: Brian Bulatao, a private equity investor from Dallas, is slated to become the No. 3 official at the CIA, NBC News reports. The job has traditionally, but not always, been filled by career intelligence officers. Bulatao was classmates with CIA Director Michael Pompeo at West Point and later business partners, according to officials. NBC News

Ohio man arrested for attempting to fight for ISIS: A 26-year-old Dayton, Ohio, man was arrested Thursday at the Cincinnati airport after authorities say he attempted to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS. USA Today

The Pentagon said Thursday that two U.S. service members had been killed in an operation in the same part of Afghanistan where the military dropped its most powerful conventional weapon two weeks ago. New York Times, CNN

U.S. drone kills Pakistani militants: A suspected U.S. drone strike killed several Pakistani Taliban militants in North Waziristan, a Pakistani regional government official said on Thursday. If confirmed, the strike would be only the second drone attack inside Pakistan since Trump took office. Reuters

Turkey arrests 1,000: Turkey has arrested some 1,000 people it suspects of having being followers of cleric Fetullah Gulen. Turkey accuses Gulen for being behind the 2016 coup attempt. BBC News

Putin and Trump’s first meeting: Russia and the U.S. are preparing for a possible first meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump before the two presidents attend July’s Group of 20 summit in Germany, a Russian official said this week. Bloomberg
Flynn’s fall tells a much bigger story: “When intelligence officers such as Flynn move from compartmented boxes to a wider world, they often make mistakes,” writes David Ignatius in the Washington Post. “They’ve been living inside super-secret units that resemble a closed family circle. They don’t understand the rules of public behavior. They’re not good at being normal. And they often pay a severe price.”

Who is publishing NSA and CIA secrets and why? “I think there’s something going on between the U.S. and Russia that the public is just seeing pieces of,” writes Bruce Schneier in Lawfare.

Terrorists are not snowflakes: “The West has started treating would-be terrorists as children in need of protection from radical ideas,” writes Simon Cottee in Foreign Policy. “That's as dangerous as it is insulting.”

From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State
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Tuesday, May 2
Fordham Law School
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