Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Capitol Hill, GOP fighting itself instead of Democrats

CISA, or Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, likely delayed until fall 

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Consideration of a controversial cybersecurity bill that encourages private companies to share data with the federal government is now expected to be delayed until the fall, with opponents attributing the holdup to their grassroots efforts aimed at derailing the act.
Lawmakers say the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, will ...

On Capitol Hill, GOP fighting itself instead of Democrats

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WASHINGTON (AP) - When Republicans took full control of Congress this year, they were determined to show voters they could govern responsibly. Instead they've been tearing each other apart in extraordinarily public displays, delighting Democrats and giving some in the GOP heartburn as the party aims for the White House ...

Senate confirms Obama's pick for Joint Chiefs chairman

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Barack Obama's pick to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., who is currently commandant of the Marine Corps, is expected to take over Oct. 1 for Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who will ...

Islamic State uses women to recruit, raise next generation of fighters 

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In the past few months, the FBI arrested a woman in Philadelphia charged with plotting to join the Islamic State and martyr herself, while a young Alabama woman was lured via the Internet to join the terrorist group in Syria.
Halfway around the world, Spanish police arrested a woman who ...

Unusual terror case going to trial in U.S. court in Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)  Hundreds of terror suspects have been tried in federal courts since the 2001 attacks, but a case unfolding in Virginia differs from most in at least one key respect.
Irek Hamidullin was a combatant captured on the battlefield  not a financier, recruiter or schemer arrested ...

Afghan official: Drone strike kills 20 members of IS group

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An Afghan official says two separate drone strikes in an eastern province bordering Pakistan have killed 20 militants affiliated with the Islamic State group.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, says the strikes took place late on Wednesday night. He says both ...
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United Airlines Breach Linked to Chinese-Origin Hackers Behind OPM Cyber Attack 

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A previously unreported breach of United Airlines computer systems has been linked to the Chinese-origin hackers behind the massive cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management that compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans.
Bloomberg Business reported that United noticed an invasion of its computer systems between May and early June, according to individuals familiar with the investigation, three of whom alleged that investigators have connected the breach to the cyber attacks on OPM and health insurer Anthem Inc.
While the airline is still working to pinpoint exactly what data was stolen, hackers likely got ahold of the airline’s manifests, which contain information on passengers, origins and destinations of United flights. The hackers also may have lifted information regarding United mergers and acquisitions.
Taken with information stolen from OPM, the stolen United data could theoretically allow hackers to track the movements of U.S. government and military officials, as United is one of the biggest airline contractors with the government.
U.S. officials believe that the China-based hacking group has connections to the Chinese government.
According to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month, the cyber attacks on OPM networks are believed to be part of a larger-scale operation aimed to steal information for intelligence or military reasons.
Security experts contend that the United Airlines breach is yet more evidence that China is creating a database of personal information about Americans.
In addition to the security breach, United has also endured two separate computer glitches over the past two months, one of which occurred July 8, the day before OPM acknowledged the number of Americans affected by the massive data breach. The same day also saw trading halt on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange amid a technical issue.
The July glitch, which forced the airline to ground all domestic and international flights for over an hour, has been deemed unrelated to the computer breach, according to individuals close to the investigation. The June 2 glitch that halted domestic takeoffs, however, may have been connected.
The commander of U.S. Cyber Command Adm. Mike Rogers said Monday that the OPM hack is indicative of a new trend toward using Big Data analytics to carry out cyber attacks.
Over the weekend, the Pentagon took the unclassified email network used by hundreds of its military and civilian personnel offline, citing suspicious activity.
Meanwhile, President Obama has been thanking China for its role in finalizing the Iran nuclear arms deal.
Read the whole story
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Islamic State Recruitment Document Forecasts Terrorist Army, World Takeover 

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An Islamic State recruitment document deemed likely authentic by multiple U.S. intelligence officials suggests that IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS) has designs to build a terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan and cause a war in India to incite an  “end of the world.”
Sarah A. Carter, an award-winning investigative reporter for the American Media Institute, reported for USA Today:
The undated document, titled “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”
“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,” it proclaims. “This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”
Spanning 32 pages and written in the language Urdu, the document explains that IS wants to attack U.S. soldiers withdrawing from Afghanistan as well as organize attacks against American diplomats and Pakistani officials.
The literature, which was discovered in Pakistan, also hints of “preparations” for an attack on India that would result in a “final battle” between the Muslim global community and the United States with “all its allies.”
Moreover, it describes the IS strategy as focusing on harnessing powers in the Arab world. “Instead of wasting energy in a direct confrontation with the U.S., we should focus on an armed uprising in the Arab world for the establishment of the caliphate,” the document reads.
Three U.S. intelligence officials–unable to publicly discuss the matter–examined the document and deemed it likely authentic.
After reviewing the document, Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn called it a “red flag” worthy of attention, explaining, “[It] represents the Islamic State’s campaign plan and is something, as an intelligence officer, I would not only want to capture, but fully exploit. It lays out their intent, their goals and objectives.”
The White House indicated its awareness of IS presence in Afghanistan but suggested it has not yet had a “meaningful impact” on the region.
“We are aware of the presence of ISIL-affiliated militants in Afghanistan, and we are monitoring closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region,” deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council Alistair Baskey elaborated.
As it gains territory in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is exhibiting signs of transforming itself into an actual functional state, issuing identification cards and dispersing fishing guidelines in the areas it controls.
Still, President Obama insisted earlier this month that there are “no current plans” to send more troops overseas to fight the terrorist organization.
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Congress Adjourns, Leaving Ex-Im Bank Shuttered

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With Congress adjourning on Wednesday, the U.S. Export-Import Bank will remain shuttered until at least September, ending for the time being an intense fight over the controversial export finance agency.
The bank will run out of funding in September and lacks congressional authorization for continued operations. The White House chided Congress as conservative groups celebrated the development.
Ex-Im, which finances the purchase of U.S. exports by foreign governments and corporations, became a flash point in the debate over the role of government intervention in the economy.
Business groups claim that the agency is necessary for American exporters to remain globally competitive. Conservatives say that it is a hotbed of cronyism that rewards the most politically connected companies.
Ex-Im reauthorization was attached to a highway funding bill passed by the Senate on Monday, but the House balked at the legislation, instead moving on a short-term funding bill that lacked Ex-Im provisions.
Congress will take up the highway funding bill when it returns in September.

Iran: Obama Admin Lying About Nuclear Deal for ‘Domestic Consumption’ 

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Senior Iranian officials are accusing the Obama administration of lying about the details of the recent nuclear accord in order to soothe fears among U.S. lawmakers and Americans about the implications of the deal, which will release billions of dollars to the Islamic Republic while temporarily freezing its nuclear program, according to reports from Iran’s state-controlled media.
As Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior Obama administration figures launch a full-court press to convince Congress to approve the  deal, Iranian leaders are dismissing the rhetoric as “aimed at domestic consumption.”
Kerry and other top administration officials have been defending the deal on Capitol Hill in recent days, claiming that it will rein in the Islamic Republic’s contested nuclear program and fix its nuclear “breakout” period, the time required for it to obtain the amount of highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon, at one year.
Critics have noted that the deal provides Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief that could be spent on terrorism and lifts bans on Iran’s export of weapons and construction of ballistic missiles.
When addressing claims this week by the administration that the deal shuts down Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure, Iranian officials scoffed and said that the Obama administration is misleading the public in order to sell the deal.
Hamid Baeidinejad, an official in the Iranian foreign ministry and one of the country’s nuclear negotiators, scoffed on Wednesday at the Obama administration’s comments, saying that they were meant to placate an American domestic audience.
“The remarks by the western officials are ambiguous comments which are merely uttered for domestic use and therefore we should say that there is no ambiguity in this (nuclear) agreement,” the Fars news agency quoted Baeidinejad saying in an interview with state-controlled radio.
Baeidinejad said that the Obama administration is misleading Americans about the deal in order to “calm opponents in the Congress and Zionist lobbies to soothe the internal conditions prevailing over debates on the nuclear agreement in that country,” Fars, which is also run by the Iranian state, reported.
As Congress spends 60 days reviewing the deal, which it may reject, the Iranian parliament is undertaking the same task.
During a meeting on Wednesday with Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran urged world powers to keep its commitments under the deal.
These includes lifting sanctions on the nearly $100 billion dollar financial empire of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and agreeing to bar American inspectors from all Iranian nuclear sites.
“The Iranian government is standing strong on the path of (implementing) the agreement and we will remain committed to our undertakings as long as the other side remains loyal to its obligations,” Rouhani was quoted as saying during a meeting in Tehran with Fabius, who served as a key negotiator for the French.
Rouhani said the agreement could help Iran become a key player on the international stage.
“This agreement is not against any country and our cooperation and consultations to settle the regional problems, including fight against terrorism, humanitarian aids, and materialization of nations’ demands can prove it,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Fabius was met at the airport by Iranian protestors who accused him of serving as an Israeli spy.
“The protesters chanted slogans such as ‘Aids, A French Gift to Iran’, ‘We Neither Forgive nor Forget’, ‘Fabius, Servant of the US, Spy of Israel’ and ‘No Welcome to Aids Lord,’” according to Fars.
Read the whole story
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Pentagon Takes Down Email Network Used By Hundreds of Military Personnel After Suspicious Activity 

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The Pentagon took the unclassified email network used by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey as well as hundreds of military and civilian personnel offline over the weekend, citing suspicious activity.
According to CNN, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said Tuesday that the U.S. military’s Cyber Command is currently investigating the issue, though officials would not specify details of what happened. 
Pentagon officials have said that there is no indication classified systems were compromised by the suspicious activity on the unclassified computer system.
An unnamed defense official said Dempsey and his colleagues have been given a “work around” to gain access to their unclassified email accounts as the investigation persists.
The official said the Pentagon is focusing on “mitigating the cyber security risks we see across our impacted network.”
The news comes just weeks after the Office of Personnel Management admitted that a massive cyber attack originating from Chinese sources compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans. 
According to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security, the attack on OPM networks is believed to be part of a large-scale operation aimed to steal information for intelligence or military reasons.
The commander of U.S. Cyber Command Adm. Mike Rogers said Monday that the OPM hack is indicative of a new trend toward using Big Data analytics to carry out cyber attacks. 

Majority of Americans Want Congress to Reject Iran Deal

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More Americans want Congress to vote down the Iran nuclear deal than to approve it, according to two new polls released this week.
Fifty-two percent of Americans polled by CNN/ORC said Congress should reject the agreement, while 44 percent said it should be approved. A plurality of respondents in a separate survey commissioned by the Israel Project also said legislators should scrap the deal.
The CNN poll found opposition to the deal is higher among Republicans and independents, with a respective 66 percent and 55 percent objecting to it. Sixty-one percent of Democrats said the agreement should be approved.
The results are similar to the TIP survey of registered voters released on Wednesday. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they disapprove of how President Obama has handled the Iran nuclear negotiations.
That poll also found that opposition to the Iran deal itself has grown significantly over the past two months. In early June, 30 percent of respondents disapproved of the framework agreement and 43 percent approved. In the latest TIP poll, 44 percent disapproved of the deal and 40 percent approved.
There are also indications that arguments against the agreement are persuasive to many Americans. After hearing a list of 10 concerns about the deal, just 23 percent said they wanted Congress to approve it, while 62 percent said they wanted Congress to reject it.
“The more voters hear about and learn about the deal with Iran, the greater their opposition,” said TIP in a statement. “While some seemed to hold out hope in June, those hopes have been dashed and voters now stand in opposition. As the debate surrounding this issue continues to heat up, there is little question as to which direction these numbers will continue to move.”
The polls follow another survey released by TIP on Tuesday of Jewish Americans, which found that a majority of respondents disapproved of how President Obama handled the Iran talks.
The latest TIP poll surveyed 1,978 registered voters between July 21 and July 24. It was conducted by Olive Tree Strategies and had a 2.2 percent margin of error.
The CNN poll interviewed 1,017 adult Americans between July 22 and July 25. It was conducted by ORC International and had a 3 percent margin of error.
Read the whole story
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Russia Signs Nuclear Deals With Traditional U.S. Allies in Middle East 

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The Russian government has signed major nuclear cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan since the start of this year, increasing its influence among traditional U.S. allies in the region.
In June, Russia closed a major deal on nuclear cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Since the end of the last decade the Saudis have been implementing plans to construct as many as 16 commercial nuclear power plants. The Saudis have signed agreements with other nuclear nations, including the United States, France, China and Argentina, to help construct the reactors.
Russia is now expected to play a sizable role in operating the nuclear plants, which are still to be built.
The Saudis have indicated that a nuclear program will free up oil reserves to be used almost exclusively for foreign sales that generate hard currency earnings.
In February, Russia and Egypt secured a preliminary deal in which Russia signaled its willingness to assist Egypt in building its first nuclear power plant. The agreement was announced during President Vladimir Putin’s February visit to Cairo, during which he also solidified Russia’s overall political and trade relationships with his Egyptian counterpart, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Current plans call for the power plant to be built near the northern Egyptian city of El Dabaa. Russia, which has extensive experience with nuclear energy, has offered to provide training and nuclear-related research for Egyptian engineers.
Shortly thereafter, the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission and Russia’s Rosatom, the state-run nuclear energy corporation, agreed on a plan for the construction of Jordan’s first nuclear power plant. Under the agreement two nuclear reactors of 1000 megawatts each would be built.
As with the plans in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, construction of the nuclear power reactors is a complex undertaking and could easily take as many as 10 years. For Jordan, the reactors will provide badly needed cheap electricity.
The three deals will earn Russia billions of dollars in new business, but it has been suggested that Russia and its new partners also have political goals in mind. The three Arab states involved in pursuing new paths of nuclear cooperation with Russia are all Sunni nations. The recently negotiated nuclear deal between the major powers and Iran, a Shiite, Persian nation, may have convinced the Arabs that Iran would one day become a nuclear weapons state.
Civilian nuclear power, such as that which the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians are seeking, has been used in the past in other nations to serve as cover for an enrichment program, a direct path toward acquiring fissile material.
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Strategic Command Focused on Hypersonic Missile Threat

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OMAHA—China and Russia are developing maneuvering high-speed strike vehicles that pose new threats to the United States, U.S. Strategic Command leaders said Wednesday.
Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Strategic Command’s (Stratcom) senior leader, said during remarks at a nuclear deterrence conference that despite arms control efforts, hypersonic weapons are among several threatening strategic trends emerging in the world.
China has conducted four flight tests of a 7,000 mile-per-hour maneuvering strike vehicle, and Russia is developing high-speed weapons and reportedly tested a hypersonic weapon in February.
“Nation states continue to develop and modernize their nuclear weapon capabilities,” Haney said. “Nuclear and non-nuclear nations are prepared to employ cyber, counter-space, and asymmetric capabilities as options for achieving their objectives during crisis and conflict, and new technologies such as hypersonic glide vehicles are being developed, complicating our sensing and defensive approaches.”
The advanced weapons capabilities are being proliferated by U.S. adversaries and “are becoming increasingly mobile, hardened, and underground, which is further compounded by a lack of transparency,” the four-star admiral said.
Asked later about the hypersonic missile threat, Haney said the Pentagon is developing capabilities that can be used to counter hypersonic arms.
“As I look at that threat, clearly the mobility, the flight profile, those kinds of things are things we have to keep in mind and be able to address across that full kill chain,” Haney said.
“Kill chain” is military jargon for the process used to find targets, gauge location and speed, communicate data to weapons used to strike the target, and then launch an attack.
Stratcom is in charge of U.S. nuclear weapons and warfighting, and is tasked with protecting and countering threats to strategic space systems and cyberspace, which is used for command and control of both conventional and nuclear weapons.
Hypersonic weapons are ultra-high speed weapons launched atop missiles that accelerate to speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10—five and ten times the speed of sound. The vehicles fly along the edge of space and can glide and maneuver to targets.
Air Force Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the outgoing deputy commander at Stratcom, said hypersonic strike vehicles are part of efforts by nations to gain strategic advantage.
Hypersonic weapons technology “certainly offers a number of advantages to a state,” Kowalski said.
“It offers a number of different ways to overcome defenses, whether those are conventional, or if someone would decide to use a nuclear warhead, I think gives it an even more complicated dimension,” Kowalski added.
The three-star general said, “at this point since nothing is fielded it remains something that concerns us and may be an area of discussion in the future.”
Hypersonic weapons are being developed by China and Russia to defeat U.S. strategic missile defenses that currently are designed to counter non-maneuvering ballistic missile warheads that travel in more predictable flight paths that are tracked by sensors and can be hit by missile interceptors.
The National Air and Space Intelligence Center has testified to Congress that China’s hypersonic glide vehicle will be used to deliver nuclear weapons. A variant also could be used as part of China’s conventionally-armed anti-ship ballistic missile system, which is aimed at sinking U.S. aircraft carriers far from Chinese shores.
Russian officials have said their hypersonic arms development is aimed to penetrate U.S. missile defenses.
China has conducted four tests of what the Pentagon calls a Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle. The four tests over the past several years are an indication the program is a high priority for Beijing.
The Pentagon is also developing hypersonic vehicles, both gliders and “scramjet” powered weapons. A year ago, an Army test of a hypersonic weapon blew up shortly after launch from Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Haney said some of his concerns are being reduced by U.S. weapons research.
“I am assured in some regards because we ourselves are doing some research and development associated with understanding that kind of capability,” Haney said.
“But at the same time, clearly, we are working to ensure that we can do what we always do with any threat—be able to understand it and then be able to have a variety of courses of action in order to address it, number one, to deter its use, but then of course to be able to have our own mechanisms to counter that kind of capability.”
Haney said it is “very important that we pay attention to that kind of capability.”
Nuclear deterrence, preventing foreign nuclear weapons states from attacking, requires more than warheads and bombs on aircraft and missiles, Haney said.
“To have a credible, safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent, we must also ensure we have the appropriate intelligence and sensing capabilities to give us those early indications and warnings of threats coming against the U.S. and our Allies including—but not limited to—missile launches and bomber threats,” he said. “We must also maintain the ability to communicate and provide the president options should deterrence fail.”
As a result, Stratcom also must protect space assets and cyberspace in a conflict, he added.
“Peacetime activities must shape the environment of crisis and conflict and dissuade our adversaries from considering the use of cyber, space, or nuclear in a strategic attack,” Haney said.
Kowalski, the deputy commander, also was asked in a meeting with reporters about China’s development of multi-warhead missiles and whether the deployment of additional weapons will change the U.S. nuclear force posture.
“I’m not aware that there’s been any significant change in the overall size of the Chinese [nuclear] inventory that may cause us to go back and reassess,” Kowalski said.
“Right now we’re pretty comfortable that they’re well below 300 [warheads] and there’s a mix in there,” he said, adding that intelligence estimates of the Chinese arsenal are deficient and that there is a need for greater openness on the part of the Chinese.
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Revealed: Private firms at heart of US drone warfare 

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Corporate staff are reviewing top-secret data and helping uniformed colleagues decide whether people under surveillance are enemies or civilians
The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private-sector contractors to the heart of its drone operations to analyse top-secret video feeds and help track suspected terrorist leaders, an investigation has found.
Contracts unearthed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal a secretive industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, placing a corporate workforce alongside uniformed personnel analysing intelligence from areas of interest.
The problem is the ratio of contractors to government personnel
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'When you mess up, people die': civilians who are drone pilots' extra eyes

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Screeners spend hours looking for anything suspicious to pass to crafts’ missile controllers, yet one in 10 are employed not by the Pentagon but by private firms
Sitting in his curtained cubicle at Hurlburt Field airbase in Florida, an image analyst was watching footage transmitted from a battlefield drone. If he thought the images showed someone holding a weapon or doing anything suspicious, he had to type it in to a chat channel seen by the pilots controlling the drone’s missiles.
Once an observation had been fed in to the chat, he later explained, it was hard to revise it – it influenced the mindset of those with their hands on the triggers.
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Nuclear Deal Reduces Risk of Conflict With Iran, Top U.S. General Says 

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Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee that the diplomatic approach to relieving the risk of a nuclear conflict was the right one.

Rational Security, the "What Happens in Aspen" Edition

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In my humble opinion, this is the best episode yet of Rational Security. If you've never listened to it before, check this one out. Shane, Tamara, and I discuss whether notorious Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead—again—and whether it matters if he is. Shane and I whine about not having been invited to the Aspen Security Forum, and we all talk about two issues discussed there: Has ISIS eclipsed Al Qaeda as the most important terrorist threat to America? And was FBI Director James Comey's plan for back doors in encryption systems undermined when three former senior security officials cast doubt on the idea in the Rockies? Then, at the end, Tamara shows off some Aspen Security Forum swag—courtesy of Raytheon—and we invite the company to sponsor Rational Security, which reaches more listeners than were present at Aspen, to sponsor the podcast too.
Now that I think about, Lawfare could use some sponsors too.
You can Subscribe to Rational Securityusing our RSS feed, on iTunes, or on Stitcher.
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Cyber Conflict in DOD’s Law of War Manual 

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Editor’s Note: Just Security is holding a “mini forum” on the new Defense Department Law of War Manual. This series includes posts from Sean WattsEric JensenAdil Ahmad HaqueGeoffrey CornCharlie Dunlap, Jr.John Dehn,Rachel VanLandingham, and more to come.
Law of cyber warfare practitioners surely breathed a sigh of relief when they found that only 15 of the 1,176 pages in DOD’s new Law of War Manual addressed cyber warfare. DOD appears to have concluded that the law in this area is still developing (or, perhaps, not developing), and that trying to capture it precisely would lead to the creation of a chapter that would soon be irrelevant. As a result, the cyber warfare chapter sticks broadly to the application of the principles of the law of armed conflict to cyber warfare – although it “inconveniently” introduces a new legal concept that seems inconsistent with other sections of the manual.
It’s well-settled in the US that the law of armed conflict applies to cyber warfare – the trick is determining exactly how it applies. Are cyber intrusions analogous to physical intrusions? Is cyber sovereignty the same as Westphalian sovereignty, or has cyberspace morphed the concept into something else entirely? Is temporarily impairing the functionality of equipment the legal equivalent of damaging it? What if the “temporary” period is weeks or months?
For the most part, the conversation about the law of cyber warfare resolves into three main headings: 
– What is a cyber attack?
– What is a cyber weapon?
– What are the rules (if any) governing cyber espionage?
Of the three, the DOD manual provides some interesting detail on the first, defers on the second, and avoids the third. It’s understandable that DOD’s treatment of espionage is brief. After all, armed conflict is DOD’s area. Intelligence operations are overseen by others, and the Law of War Manual might not be the best place for a discussion of cyber espionage, however interesting and timely.
Cyber weapons, on the other hand, are within DOD’s area of responsibility, and they have been a topic of increasing interest. There are concerns about whether States have an obligation to disclose vulnerabilities in civilian software, for example, rather than using them as exploits in military or intelligence operations. Sellers of previously unknown software vulnerabilities known as “zero days” have been referred to as “arms dealers.” All the while, there is not even an agreed definition of what constitutes a cyber weapon, and on this difficult issue the manual defers to the individual military services. “Not all cyber capabilities, however, constitute a weapon or weapons system. Military Department regulations address what cyber capabilities require legal review.” Unfortunately, only the Air Force has issued specific guidance on cyber weapons and capabilities, and it’s not clear that the other services hold the same views on these matters as the Air Force. On this issue, the Law of War Manual missed an opportunity to provide some clarity to this area. Perhaps because the department felt the international law on the subject is insufficiently settled to provide definitive guidance.
The manual’s treatment of the notion of cyber attack is the most complete. Two uses of the word attack are addressed in the DOD manual. We’ll first look at the term in its ad bellum sense, because when headlines or political discussions question whether something is a cyber attack, they’re normally considering whether a particular cyber action could justify a State acting in self-defense, which for the US means the action rises to the level of a use of force (the US asserts that the right of self-defense may apply in the case of any use of force against it, as explained in chapter one, footnote 230 of the DOD manual).
In this regard, DOD notes that using cyber capabilities to trigger a nuclear plant meltdown, open a dam above a populated area, or disable air traffic control services resulting in airplane crashes, would “likely be considered” a cyber attack. No surprises there. However, the DOD manual goes on to include in this category crippling a military’s logistics system. Although how extensive an attack would have to be to be considered “crippling” isn’t specified, it’s potentially quite a leap from bursting the Hoover Dam to conducting a long-term denial of service disruption against Transportation Command’s computer network, delaying the movement of troops and materiel . This standard could be especially problematic if applied by a smaller State with a less robust military logistics capability. For example, in a situation like the 2007 events in Estonia, a relatively small State might incidentally have its military logistics system crippled when civilian communications in the country are disrupted. Until now, disrupting communications (like in Estonia) probably wouldn’t have been considered a sufficient basis for exercising the right of self-defense.
The DOD manual discusses the meaning of cyber attack during armed conflict (in bello), as well. The definition of attack is important within on-going armed conflicts because it determines when the principles of the law of armed conflict apply. The DOD manual notes the term doesn’t encompass defacing government webpages; briefly disrupting Internet service in a minor way; briefly disrupting, disabling, or interfering with communications; or disseminating propaganda. However, the DOD manual modifies its stance by introducing a unique principle of cyber warfare – Avoidance of Unnecessary Inconvenience. “[E]ven if a cyber operation is not an ‘attack’ or does not cause any injury or damage that would need to be considered under the proportionality rule, that cyber operation still should not be conducted in a way that unnecessarily causes inconvenience to civilians or neutral persons.” Perhaps the language is just a specific articulation of the principle of humanity, for example, and is also applicable to kinetic warfare, but it appears to be new. It’s not clear that inconvenience has ever been a consideration in warfare, as emphasized in chapter 5, footnote 306 of the DOD manual.
One striking thing about the chapter on cyber operations is that it relies almost entirely on two references: a 1999 DOD Office of General Counsel paper and Harold Koh’s 2012 speech at the US Cyber Command Legal Conference. Although Mr Koh’s speech in particular clearly sets out the US position on some of the key issues, it’s odd that the chapter contains not a single reference to theTallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, which has been generally well-regarded since its publication in 2013. As the Tallinn manual is often consonant with US positions, it may have been helpful to cite it to give a non-US voice to some of the positions, as was the case throughout other chapters of the DOD manual.
DOD should be applauded for tackling the difficult issue of the law of cyber warfare. Cyber operations in 2015 little resemble what they were in the 1990’s when the DOD manual was conceived, and the chapter undoubtedly underwent many revisions over the years. The final product strikes a balance between saying too little and saying too much in an area of law that is fast evolving. This risk is that DOD chose the wrong areas to say too little and too much about – too little about cyber weapons, and too much about law of war principles.
Read on Just Security »
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The DOD Law of War Manual: What is it Good For?

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Editor’s Note: Just Securityis holding a “mini forum” on the new Defense Department Law of War Manual. This series includes posts from Sean Watts,Eric JensenAdil Ahmad HaqueGeoffrey CornCharlie Dunlap, Jr.John DehnRachel VanLandingham, and Gary Brown, with more to come.
Previous commentators have examined specific provisions in the Defense Department’s (DOD) new Law of War Manual. I’d like to ask a more basic question about this curious publication: what authority should it have both within and outside the US military? We should be clear upfront that much of the manual’s substantive content is unexceptional, simply spelling out internationally agreed treaty rules. The issue is what weight is the manual entitled to regarding matters subject to dispute, particularly its unique views on the status of some customary international law obligations?
The world’s first entry in the law of war manual genre was the 1863 “code” drafted by Columbia professor Francis Lieber. Although knowledge of the rules of war was a core competency for professional soldiers, the Civil War saw a massive influx of volunteer officers direct from civilian life. Lieber thus pressed the US Army to let him to prepare “a little book on the Law and Usages of War” for their guidance. Army commanding general Henry Halleck (the author of an 1861 treatise on which Lieber drew heavily) personally edited the work to ensure its accuracy and comprehensibility before sending it to the White House for Lincoln’s approval. It was then distributed to the Army under cover of General Order No. 100.
By 1914, Geneva and Hague Convention development had dated Lieber’s work, so the Secretary of War approved a new “Rules of Land Warfare” manual issued as a serialized War Department document. It provided a concise summary of the law with shorthand citations to primary legal authority in the text. Following obscure 1917 and 1934 updates; a 1940 revision was issued over the signature of Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall as field manual FM 27-10. The current iteration dates to 1956, with a single 1976 “Change 1” reflecting US ratification of the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. It thus fails to provide guidance about most significant legal developments of the last six decades, including a dozen relevant treaties (most notably the Additional Geneva Protocols of 1977), recent international criminal law jurisprudence, and the publication of several unofficial, but influential, legal manuals. 
The US Air Force has done little better. Its 1976 Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, “International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations” has been out of print for years and few officers or commentators even seem aware of its existence.
The US Navy has done the best job of the services with a periodically revised Naval Warfare Publication, “The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations,” (currently NWP 1-14Mof 2007). It addresses both the law of the sea and law of war, providing straightforward explanations of applicable legal rules, although generally without reference to their source. Naval War College lawyers have produced several annotated editions, adding detailed citations for the benefit of those engaging in more rigorous analyses.
There is little doubt that a credible unified US law of war manual is badly needed. As noted, most US military personnel currently lack access to up to date guidance. The Navy manual capably addresses traditional maritime operations, but shortchanges the Marines and SEALs with respect to ground combat guidance. And it makes little sense to coordinate air campaign operations jointly yet have no common legal reference for targeting decisions!
Unfortunately the new DOD manual lacks essential characteristics that gave its predecessors credence. First, as a “manual” approved only by the DOD General Counsel, an individual outside the legal chain of command, it lacks any formal status familiar to our military forces. Every prior manual reflected chain of command approval and was issued as a recognized military publication type: general order, field manual, NWP, etc. As a warrior, I’d have no idea what the significance of this tome was – if I’d ever even see it; the absence of distribution guidance in the online version calls into question whether it will even be provided to operational units. If the Department of Defense intended this publication to be taken seriously by operational military forces, it should have undergone formal review within the actual chain of command and been issued as an actual DOD directive or Joint Publication.
Moreover, the manual lacks the clarity of its predecessors thanks to often obtuse prose, frequent cross references, unnecessary bulk, and verbose repetition. Although dissing the academic practice of “providing tangential information in footnotes,” a cursory flip through the pages shows that the manual’s ratio of body text to footnotes is on a par with the worst law review practice. In terms of clarity and practical utility, this manual can’t hold a candle to either its US predecessors, the UK Ministry of Defence’s2004 Armed Conflict Manual, or unofficial modern volumes such as the HPCR Air and Missile Warfare and Tallinn cyberwarfare manuals.
There are many reasons why military personnel need law of war knowledge. As the manual’s foreword notes, compliance facilitates military success (a point typically overlooked by those fixated on “lawfare” as an enemy strategy). But US personnel also require guidance to avoid risk of criminal prosecution, whether by our own military, the Justice Department employing the War Crimes Act, enemies who might capture them, or foreign states exercising universal jurisdiction. Our troops thus deserve the best possible guidance on the internationally recognized rules governing conflict blessed by the US military commanders who make prosecution decisions, by the Department of Justice which could prosecute them domestically, and by the State Department which may have to justify their conduct to foreign states. This idiosyncratic volume by a few DOD lawyers with disclaimers about the views of these other entities does our military personnel a disservice.
Is the manual at least of value internationally; that is to say, can it be taken as an accurate indication of US opinio juris? I think not. US foreign policy is formed through an interagency process. To the extent any single entity could speak for the United States with respect to international law, it would be the State Department’s Office of Legal Counsel or Legal Advisor, not DOD. Tellingly, the critical 2006 US response to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) customary international humanitarian law study was jointly signed by the DOD General Counsel and State’s Legal Advisor. Core US complaints included allegations that the ICRC gave credence to state practice “insufficiently dense to meet the ‘extensive and virtually uniform’ standard generally required to demonstrate the existence of a customary rule,” that it gave too much weight to military manuals, and that it cited DOD publications that were not “authoritative statements of US policy and practice”. Even if DOD could unilaterally express US government views on opinio juris, it would be hypocritical to assert that this manual, which contains numerous cites to single instances of US conduct, or to earlier US manuals, merits substantial international weight. But it is the manual’s status as a unilateral DOD General Counsel product that ultimately undermines its utility both at home and abroad.
Our military badly needs an unified law of war manual, providing clear guidance approved by senior leadership, to our service personnel. Unfortunately this manual does not fulfill that need.
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Has the Human Rights Committee Extended its Reach?

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Last week the (UN) Human Rights Committee, the independent body created by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to monitor states’ compliance, issued its Concluding Observations (COBs) on the periodic reports of seven states, including Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. These most recent statements of concern and recommendations to those states may exhibit an innovation in the committee’s approach to the perennial debate over extraterritorial application of the ICCPR. They suggest a broadened understanding of the concept of “jurisdiction” that links an individual overseas to a state and triggers the state’s ICCPR obligations, although the committee has not clearly articulated or explained the change.
The COBs on France and the United Kingdom both address issues of surveillance of communication, within and outside national territory. The observations on the UK (and a March 2014 COB on the USA) seem to assume that extraterritorial communications surveillance raises privacy issues under article 17 of the Covenant, regardless of the nationality of the parties to the communication. (The COBs for France are less explicit on the latter point.) The committee therefore expresses concern about overbroad and unchecked surveillance practices, and makes a series of recommendations for reform.
If one probes the committee’s assumption that extraterritorial communications surveillance always raises privacy issues under the Covenant, the following question arises: How does the committee explain the relationship between extraterritorial surveillance of foreign nationals and the undertaking of each state party to the ICCPR “to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant,” as article 2(1) of the treaty provides? 
It is well-known that the Committee interprets the phrase “within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction” disjunctively, despite the disagreement of some states parties, and I am not questioning that interpretation. The problem lies in how one defines “individuals … subject to its jurisdiction” in a manner that brings all extraterritorial surveillance of private communications within the scope of the ICCPR. The committee has not yet, to my knowledge, provided an official explanation of that point. The committee did, however, officially elaborate the meaning of article 2(1) in 2004. In itsGeneral Comment No. 31 on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on states parties to the Covenant, the committee explained that:
“[A] State party must respect and ensure the rights laid down in the Covenant to anyone within the power or effective control of that State party, even if not situated within the territory of the State party. … This principle also applies to those within the power or effective control of the forces of a State party acting outside its territory, regardless of the circumstances in which such power or effective control was obtained, such as forces constituting a national contingent of a State party assigned to an international peacekeeping or peace-enforcement operation.”
That interpretation provides an obvious explanation for last week’s concluding observation regardingallegations of sexual abuse of children by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, but one might still ask how individuals around the world whose communications are intercepted are “within the power or effective control” of France.
There is no shortage of theories proposing to fill out the content of “jurisdiction” for the purpose of determining the scope of human rights treaties, ranging from physical custody to any adverse impact on the enjoyment of human rights, and perhaps beyond. The question is which understanding the Human Rights Committee employs.
New light on that question might arise from one of the recent COBs on Canada, on a somewhat different topic: Business and Human Rights. The dialogue with Canada addressed the extraterritorial activities of multinational corporations and their effect on human rights. According to the UN press release describing the dialogue, the delegation responded that Canada’s policy was influenced by the UN  Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, but that Canada’s commitment to ensure the application of the Covenant related to individuals on Canadian territory. The resulting observation reads as follows:
6. While appreciating information provided, the Committee is concerned about allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating abroad, in particular mining corporations and about the inaccessibility to remedies by victims of such violations. The Committee regrets the absence of an effective independent mechanism with powers to investigate complaints alleging abuses by such corporations that adversely affect the enjoyment of the human rights of victims, and of a legal framework that would facilitate such complaints (art. 2).
The State party should: a) enhance the effectiveness of existing mechanisms to ensure that all Canadian corporations, in particular mining corporations, under its jurisdiction respect human rights standards when operating abroad; b) consider establishing an independent mechanism with powers to investigate human rights abuses by such corporations abroad; c) and develop a legal framework that affords legal remedies to people who have been victims of activities of such corporations operating abroad.
This COB is rather strong in its implications of the relevance of the Covenant. True, the committee merely “regrets” the absence of an effective independent mechanism, rather than saying that one is required, and says that the state should “consider establishing” one, rather than “should establish” one. Nevertheless, the committee also asserts that Canada should enhance the existing mechanisms, and should develop a remedial framework for overseas victims of all Canadian corporations that are under its jurisdiction. Note that “jurisdiction” may have migrated from being a link to the individual whose rights the state should ensure, to being a link to the corporation, whose respect for everyone’s rights the state should ensure.
This COB on Business and Human Rights is not wholly unprecedented in the Human Rights Committee. (Other treaty bodies have gone further, but they do not have article 2(1) of the ICCPR to contend with.) The committee’s prior example was a much softer COB in October 2012 regarding Germany:
16. While welcoming measures taken by the State party to provide remedies against German companies acting abroad allegedly in contravention of relevant human rights standards, the Committee is concerned that such remedies may not be sufficient in all cases (art. 2, para. 2).
The State party is encouraged to set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in its territory and/or its jurisdiction respect human rights standards in accordance with the Covenant throughout their operations. It is also encouraged to take appropriate measures to strengthen the remedies provided to protect people who have been victims of activities of such business enterprises operating abroad.
That recommendation tracked more closely the soft language of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the concern was tied to the adequacy of an existing mechanism in Germany, the German National Contact Point under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which invited the victims to bring in their disputes. The Guiding Principles themselves had not purported to base the “expectation” of corporate respect for ICCPR rights on an expansive interpretation of states’ legal obligations under article 2.
Again, there may be no shortage of theories to explain why multinational corporations should be regarded as agents of their domicile state, or why their activities abroad should be otherwise regarded as subjecting persons whose enjoyment of human rights they adversely affect to the jurisdiction of the domicile state. The question is which, if any, of these theories the committee endorses, and what else follows from that endorsement.
Of course, it could be said that this is only a Concluding Observation, not a finding of a violation of the ICCPR in Views on an individual communication. COBs do not necessarily express the definite legal conclusions of the committee. In that regard, it is also interesting to read the Summary Recordof the committee’s consideration of a report on follow-up to concluding observations, and in particular to the 2014 COBs on the United States of America. Summary records are abbreviated, and should always be read with a grain of salt, but this document, if accurate, opens a window on possible disagreement within the current committee on the implications of the COBs on extraterritorial surveillance. It appears that an objection was raised to characterizing the recommendations as invariably grounded on ICCPR obligations, because that characterization would go further than General Comment No. 31 would support.
The texts from the July 2015 session do not definitely establish that the committee has adopted a new definition of “jurisdiction” for purposes of article 2(1). They do suggest, however, that the committee might need to modify either its definition or its practice. An expanded definition of jurisdiction could have implications for the application of the Covenant to many other forms of activity or inactivity that has effects on individuals abroad. Theorists have new grist for their mills, but clarification from the Human Rights Committee would also be welcome.
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The Reasons Why Dylan Roof Wasn’t Charged With Terrorism

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Last week, Dylann Roof was charged with 33 criminal acts, including hate crimes and firearm violations, for his killing spree at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Even before the charges were announced, questions were raised about FBI Director James Comey’s reluctance to call the attack an act of domestic terrorism, especially since his office is quick to label acts of violence by Muslims terrorism.
The discrepancy in the way authorities handle mass shootings by different actors reflects distinctions that are baked into the criminal code. At the end of the day, Roof’s alleged crimes didn’t align with any that would qualify as terrorism.
Federal law defines domestic terrorism roughly as violent acts occurring within the United States “intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population” or to influence government policy or conduct. But whether or not a violent crime satisfies this definition doesn’t necessarily bear on the criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted when announcing the charges against Roof, there is no singular crime of domestic terrorism encompassing acts of politically motivated violence. Instead, federal law specifies a wide array of crimes as terrorism-related offenses, regardless of intent, including hijacking an airplane, assassinating a government official, detonating certain kinds of explosives or chemical weapons, or bombing a government facility.
This structure allows prosecutors to seek high terrorism penalties while avoiding the problems of proving that the perpetrators actually have the motives characteristic of terrorism. More common offenses like shootings or kidnappings don’t necessarily fit into this scheme for obvious reasons: including them would sweep in regular criminal activity.
Such criminal offenses can be charged as terrorism if there is some kind of international connection. Violence transcending national boundaries or directed against Americans overseas may meet specific statutory prohibitions against terrorism-related activity. 
By far the most common terrorism-related charge is material support for terrorism, which doesn’t necessarily involve any violent activity, but does carry the heavy penalties typically associated with terrorism. According to NYU’s Center for Law and Security, in 2011, 87.5 percent of terrorism prosecutions were for material support (a sharp rise from 11.6 percent as recently as 2007). Federal law includes two flavors of material support:
1) Title 18 US Code 2339A, which prohibits providing material support for any one of a set of enumerated terrorism-related offenses; and
2) Title 18 US Code 2339B, which prohibits providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Material support includes property, services, training, expert advice or assistance, personnel (including the person charged), and transport.
Extending the material support framework to cover Roof’s alleged activities, particularly section2339B, would open a Pandora’s box of problems. The charge depends on identifying particular terrorist organizations that are banned from receiving support. If extended to domestic groups, the political aspect of such a designation (already fraught in the international context) would carry enormous First Amendment risks. Because terrorism is inherently a political crime, extending material support would allow the government to assign the label to groups with unpopular beliefs. Provided the opportunity, former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover would no doubt have been delighted to designate as terrorist the civil rights groups and anti-war protesters he so detested. Nor is this solely a historical problem: as recently as 2008, the Bureau classified environmental and animal rights advocacy groups as the biggest domestic terror threat.
The risk of abuse is particularly acute because material support laws don’t just cover people who carry out (or even deliberately support) violence. In its controversial decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court held that even providing a terrorist group with training in how to peacefully resolve conflicts could qualify as material support. As cases such as the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation charity show, the intent requirement for material support can be interpreted broadly. After a mistrial, the defendants in that case were convicted for donating money to legitimate religious charities in Palestine that were allegedly affiliated with Hamas. At trial, the government conceded the charities (which were not themselves designated as foreign terrorist organizations) had no financial link with Hamas. Rather, prosecutors won convictions by arguing that contributing to charities that operated in Hamas-controlled territory effectively provided material support to the group by strengthening its standing in the community. Material support laws have also been used to criminalize what seems like pure speech. Tarek Mehanna was convicted of material support based on evidence that he viewed, translated and disseminated al Qaeda propaganda on his own volition. The prosecution never established that Mehanna had been in contact with al Qaeda, let alone that he received instructions from them. In sum, given their expansive reach and history of overbroad application, material support laws are hardly a solution for addressing domestic terrorism issues.
Given this framework, it’s no surprise that the Department of Justice didn’t charge Roof with terrorism. Rather, DOJ chose to go down the hate crimes route. Federal law criminalizes violence perpetrated as a hate crime, defined as any attempt to cause bodily injury to a person “through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device” because of that person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. Where a hate crime results in death, the maximum sentence is life in prison.
While these legal standards help explain prosecutors’ charging decisions in Roof’s case, they don’t address the societal importance of how we describe violence, raised in this Just Security post. After the Charleston attack, some in the press and government were cautious about attaching the terrorism label to a Muslim man’s shooting of military personnel in Chattanooga, which took place just weeks later. In bringing federal hate crimes charges, the Department of Justice recognized the racial animus that allegedly motivated Roof. The Attorney General went so far as to call hate crimes “the original terrorism.” But, unlike in terrorism prosecutions of Muslims where the least interest in Al Qaeda or ISIS is enough to brand an act part of a global threat, there was no attempt to place Roof’s crime in the context of the right wing threat that state and local law enforcement officials have identified as the biggest terrorism risk in their communities. This differential treatment was neatly captured on Twitter in the wake of yet another shooting, in a movie theatre in Louisiana: #lonewhitemale.
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Germany and Holland investigated Russian physicist for espionage 

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The German and Dutch governments allegedly joined forces to investigate a Russian supercomputer specialist, who studied in Germany and Holland, suspecting him of passing technical information to Russian intelligence.

US Congressional review considers impact of federal database hack 

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A United States Congressional review into last month’s cyber theft of millions of government personnel records has concluded that its impact will go far “beyond mere theft of classified information”.
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The Making And Breaking Of An American Spy 

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Title:                      The Making And Breaking Of An American Spy
Everett, James A. (2011). The Making And Breaking Of An American Spy. Durham, CT: Strategic Book Group
OCLC:                    747036638
Date Posted:      July 27, 2015
In this memoir, author James Everett tells the story of his 17-year career in the CIA as an officer under non-official cover (NOC). That means he had a regular job with a commercial company while carrying out espionage duties in 35 countries. Everett says he wrote the book for two reasons . The first was to convey a “better understanding about how intelligence works … and shouldn’t work.” (p. v) The second and more important reason, Everett writes, is to tell his “tale of betrayal: betrayal of the American government to fulfill its promises to one of its spies.” (p. vi)
The original draft of the book was completed in the late 1980s and submitted for review. Substantial changes were requested. Everett was unwilling to make them, and he put the manuscript aside for nearly 20 years. The project was revived and revised with encouragement and help of a friend, and again submitted for review. Everett dwells at some length on both review sequences, making clear his reluctance to accept the restrictions imposed.
The story itself is a chronological narrative: recruitment, training—Philip Agee was in his class-selection as a NOC, and his various assignments. Everett sympathetically returns to Agee later in the book, making clear that he accepts Agee’s contention that he was never a KGB agent. This and other claims Everett makes raise questions about the depth of his research. For example, he incorrectly asserts that Gen. Walter B. Smith was the first DCI; that Allen Dulles was DCI from 1961 to 1973; and that the US government had advance knowledge of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and did not disseminate the information in a “correct and timely manner.” (pp. viii, x)
The balance of the book, however, is a forthright discussion of how Everett raised a family and managed his commercial job while conducting his clandestine assignments for many years in Sweden and the Netherlands. Things went well until Watergate. During the investigation that followed, it was revealed that E. Howard Hunt worked for the same firm as Everett. In the end, the clandestine relationship with the company was severed and Everett’s service with the CIA was terminated. He describes in considerable detail the trouble he had negotiating a retirement settlement. Everett left, a bitter man.
In the final chapter Everett discusses his public activities against covert action, but he doesn’t call for the demise of the CIA. Instead he encourages reforms that reflect his views.
The Making and Breaking of an American Spy is a sad personal story that conveys the difficult life of NOC officers.
Good luck trying to find the book in a library. I found only three libraries in the US that have the book, and it is not listed in the Library of Congress.

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Moscow Uses Kadyrov in Kremlin Push for Rapprochement with Saudi Arabia

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Chechnya, formally a Russian province, has found a place for itself in relations between Moscow and Riyadh. Indeed, in general, subnational units of the Russian Federation, in particular the Muslim regions, have become much more active in the Middle East. Chechnya’s governor, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been especially dynamic in this regard: over the past year, he has met the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, the royal family of Saudi Arabia, the emir of Qatar and the king of Jordan among others.
Ramzan Kadyrov’s last visit to Saudi Arabia was considered private, but high politics were still involved. The Saudi government made an exception for Kadyrov’s family and his entourage, opening the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam, for them. Kadyrov communicated the news via his Instagram account, saying that thanks to “the deputy Crown Prince, Minister of Defense, Mohammed bin Salman, mother and I, Medni Musaevna, dear sisters Zargan, Zulai, as well as Adam Delimkhanov, Magomed Daudov, Khasan Khakimov, Ziyad Sabsabi, entered the Kaaba. 20 people in all” (, July 20).
Several significant developments occurred during Kadyrov’s trip to Saudi Arabia. First, Adam Delimkhanov and Magomed Daudov apparently remain the two closest associates of the Chechen leader. Earlier rumors that Daudov’s appointment as the speaker of the Chechen parliament marked a loss in status were apparently incorrect. Secondly, one of the most active politicians in Saudi Arabia, Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, hosted Kadyrov and his group. The visit could have been considered a diplomatic overture had it been only a private visit. However, Kadyrov had meetings not only with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but also with the head of the king’s administration, the foreign affairs minister and the culture and information minister, as well as the head of the kingdom’s security department (, July 21). This suggests Kadyrov was received at a high level in the hopes of obtaining something through him that was left outside the press coverage.
According to Kadyrov, Prince Mohammed bin Salman “praised the Chechen Republic’s experience in combatting terrorism and extremism and economic development. The Saudi prince announced his decision to send a series of three delegations to Chechnya. In September, the Foreign Minister will come to Chechnya to review the situation and to explore possible areas of cooperation. Another delegation headed by the Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments will visit the republic to learn about Chechnya’s experience in countering the ideology of terrorism and extremism. […] A delegation from Saudi Arabia’s investment fund will examine investment projects in the republic. Independently of the investment fund, the Saudi government will consider extending a helping hand to the Chechen Republic in various spheres…” Kadyrov said in his speech that relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia will develop successfully and that the friendship between Chechnya and Saudi Arabia, in particular, will receive a new impetus (, July 21). It is unclear why the Saudi foreign minister would fly to Grozny, given that Chechnya is only one of Russia’s many regions. Normally, Moscow would oppose such a visit, but is apparently not doing so at this time.
According to Vladimir Isaev, a professor at Moscow State University’s Institute of Asian and African Studies, Prince Mohammed ben Salman is one of the key figures in the Saudi government (, June 16). The Saudi prince was one of the few high-profile foreign dignitaries who attended the St. Petersburg economic forum this year against the backdrop of continuing Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The Russian Federation is apparently using Ramzan Kadyrov to establish closer relations with the young prince. As the United States refused to support Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive policies toward Iran and Shi’ites in general, Riyadh started looking toward Moscow, where it will find full understanding and may even be prepared to scale down its interests in Syria.
Kadyrov and Mohammed ben Salman have much in common: both are young politicians, who want to achieve more than they have thus far and, above all, face a common threat in the form of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Saudi authorities recently arrested 431 people with alleged ties to the Islamic State (, July 19). Given that the IS “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has many Chechen supporters, the Chechen government is prepared to cooperate with anyone to prevent the group’s emergence in the North Caucasus. Frequent news reports about prison sentences for Chechens who had ties to the Islamic State (, June 16), arrests in Turkey (Kavkazsky Uzel, July 22), and fighters returning from Syria to Chechnya (, May 28) forced Russia to realize that the threat of the Islamic State is real, not hypothetical.
Moreover, Russian foreign ministry officials understand that combatting terrorism could become the foundation for striking an alliance (even if a temporary one) with Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Persian Gulf. If Ramzan Kadyrov manages to convince the Saudi king to visit Grozny, it will be an immense diplomatic achievement by any Russian regional politician. Thus, Moscow is seeking a rapprochement with Riyadh using Ramzan Kadyrov as a representative of the Chechen people. Chechens are known for having fought two bloody wars with Russia and are highly regarded in the global Muslim community. Moscow sees an opportunity to use this widespread respect for Chechens among other Muslims and Russia and is using Kadyrov as a vehicle for forwarding its interests among the influential leaders of the Arab world.
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Ukraine Accepts Constitutional Amendment to Russia’s Advantage at US Insistence

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The international context of negotiations to implement the Minsk armistice is changing in Russia’s favor. As the leading Western power, the Barack Obama administration effectively pressures Ukraine to legitimize the Donetsk-Luhansk authorities in the constitution and through elections. This would satisfy Russia’s main demands at this stage (with more demands awaiting).
German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande recently failed to pressure Kyiv into those concessions to Russia (see EDM, July 910). From lower hierarchical rungs, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Vice President Joseph Biden are pressuring Ukraine more successfully, since US leverage on Kyiv is stronger and tips the balance (seeaccompanying article).
Increasingly, the object of negotiations is Ukraine’s own constitution—namely, accommodating Russia’s demands to insert its Donetsk-Luhansk proxies into Ukraine’s political system. The focus on Ukraine’s constitution means that Ukraine itself, instead of Russia’s aggression, becomes the object of negotiations. In that sense, the diplomatic process is rapidly turning into negotiations “on,” and potentially “over,” Ukraine.
Western powers now hold Ukraine its to constitutional “obligations”—the new buzzword—vis-à-vis Russia, under the Minsk Two agreement (February 12); although this is no “agreement” but a diktat and not a valid source of Ukrainian “obligations.” Wiggling out of onerous obligations is a standard diplomatic practice; but Western diplomacy does not support Ukraine to wiggle out from political “obligations” to the Kremlin’s Minsk Diktat.
No Western power had ever held Georgia, Moldova or other aggressed countries to political (let alone constitutional) “obligations” toward Moscow or Moscow’s proxies. Ukraine is now experiencing this Western pressure for the first time. While this message is not surprising from Berlin, and certainly not shocking from Paris, it is only Washington that can enforce those “obligations” on Ukraine.
Assistant Secretary Nuland acted as enforcer during her July 15–16 visit to Kyiv. She sounded the “obligations” buzzword more loudly and more frequently than any Western diplomat yet (America House Kyiv news release, Ukrinform, UNIAN, Ukraine Media Crisis Center, July 15–17). Nuland prevailed on President Petro Poroshenko and parliamentary leaders to approve a constitutional amendment that, if confirmed in subsequent votes, would insert Russia’s armed proxies from Donetsk and Luhansk as legitimate players in Ukraine’s political system (see EDM, July 20).
From the Obama White House’s domestic political perspective, Nuland was ideally suited for such enforcement. As the most forward-leaning official of this administration on Ukraine, she enjoys unparalleled confidence in Congress, specifically on Ukraine policy. In Kyiv, it seemed shocking that Nuland of all possible emissaries should demand constitutional concessions to Russia at Ukraine’s expense. But she apparently had her marching orders from the top. That a “mere” US assistant secretary should force the Ukrainian president’s hand, meanwhile, seems normal in Kyiv, reflecting US influence there and Ukrainian reliance on the United States.
Moscow had publicly insisted all along that the US alone holds the leverage to pressure Kyiv into concessions. The Kremlin readily accepted the US proposal to create the US-Russia channel of Nuland and her Russian counterpart, Grigory Karasin, for bilateral handling of Ukrainian matters, without Ukraine and without publicity. This channel is a direct by-product of the Obama White House’s rapprochement with Russia over the Middle East. As the rapprochement advanced closer to fruition over Iran, the Nuland-Karasin channel became increasingly active. Following their meeting in Zurich, on July 9, Karasin declared: “We have agreed to meet periodically in order to exert a constructive influence on Kyiv, to facilitate the fulfillment of these [Minsk] agreements, by Kyiv in the first place. Washington has great influence; we hope that our contacts will allow us to use this influence” (Interfax, RIA Novosti, July 10).
According to Russian media, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Karasin and Nuland conferred by telephone on July 20 and 22, about “practical matters regarding the constitutional reform in Ukraine.” This was a follow-up to Nuland’s intercession with Kyiv to approve the constitutional amendment that would legalize the secessionist authorities. In this follow-up, Karasin “insisted on a start to direct dialogue between the representatives of Kyiv and those of Donetsk and Luhansk” (Interfax, July 20, 22). While Moscow offers such tidbits on the Karasin-Nuland channel, Washington does not comment—for instance, about Moscow’s assertion that Ukraine’s constitution has become an object of informal US-Russia talks.
Speculation is rife in Kyiv that the Obama administration might short-change Ukraine as a quid-pro-quo for Russia’s “help” (current and prospective) on the Middle East. Asked about this in Kyiv, Nuland replied: “It is offensive to suggest that the US does tradeoffs. The US never trades one thing for another thing in international relations” (Ukrinform, Zerkalo Nedeli, July 16). It may well be that no deal exists, at least not directly; and the indignant rejoinder was perhaps fully sincere. But, according to Serhiy Tolstov of the Kyiv Institute of Political Analysis, the rejoinder in that form and that context “sounded ridiculous to any graduate from international relations courses” (17-07-FP-info, accessed July 24).
President Poroshenko tried very hard, against his own wisdom, to line up the governing coalition behind this constitutional amendment. He resorted to the ultimate argument, far beyond the intrinsic merits of the case: “Do not create with your own hands a situation that would leave Ukraine facing the aggressor one on one” (Ukrinform, July 16). Had Poroshenko been threatened with loss of Western support? Regardless, some deputies from this camp declined to vote for the constitutional amendment, or voted against it, bucking coalition discipline. Conversely, the parliamentary factions that originate in the former Party of Regions genuinely approved this constitutional amendment. The amendment passed thanks to the former Party of Regions deputies; and even so, far short of the constitutional majority that will be required in the final reading.
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How Long Can Putin Continue Doing Nothing?

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Russia had all but disappeared from the international arena in the last couple of weeks, particularly following the July 14 signing of the international de-nuclearization deal reached with Iran. Indeed, as long as the pause in the Ukraine war holds, Moscow’s opinions on international relations attract little attention because its ability to influence key global matters has shrunk to irrelevance. But much more unusually, domestic politics in Russia have essentially gone silent as well. And this is despite an obvious need for the Russian government to make difficult decisions on economic and social matters to stem the steadily deteriorating situation in the country. President Vladimir Putin has not disappeared from the public eye, as he did in March 2015 (see EDM, March 16); he reportedly presided over meetings of his government and the Security Council last week. The government meeting considered, in the best Soviet tradition, the prospects for this year’s harvest, and the Security Council dealt with safety on Russia’s legendarily bad roads (, July 25). This imitation of leadership does not affect Putin’s approval ratings, which remain above 85 percent, but it is uncertain whether he is actually concerned with the situation in the country (, July 23).
President Putin is clearly unhappy about Moscow’s sharply diminished international profile, but the attempt to boost it by hosting the back-to-back BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summits in Ufa, two weeks ago, yielded few dividends (Kommersant, July 9; see EDM, July 14). Putin may fancy himself a leader of an anti-American world, but India or Brazil have little time for such fantasies, while China is deeply worried about the health of its economy and has barely noticed that its trade with Russia decreased by about a third since last year (Novye Izvestiya, July 14). Russia used to be an important player in the convoluted mismanagement of the Syrian conflict, but presently Turkey is turning to military means without asking the Kremlin’s opinion, despite the allegedly cordial personal relations between Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (, July 25). Previously, Russian energy sales never failed to boost Moscow’s regional importance, particularly in the European energy market. But now the European Union firmly opposes plans for new “corridors” for Russian natural gas, and China also shows scant interest in constructing the long-discussed pipelines (Kommersant-FM, July 16; Vedomosti, July 22).
Putin cannot fail to see that Russia’s stagnant economy undercuts his ambitions for a place of prominence among the “emerging powers”—which may be prone to entertaining ideas about dismantling US “hegemony,” but always prioritize the goal of achieving investment-driven economic dynamism. Few investors are convinced by Putin’s denials of a Russian crisis and promises of inevitable return to strong growth. Nonetheless, the government has to stick to these guidelines and so keeps trimming budget expenditures while lacking any coherent anti-crisis policy (, July 22). Official statistics, meanwhile, have registered a 4.7 percent decline in GDP in the second quarter, compared with the same period in 2014; and the gentle slide in the oil price pushes the Russian currency down toward 60 rubles per US dollar (RBC, July 22). External borrowing remains severely restricted, and that converts capital flight—amounting to $52.5 billion since the start of the year—into an even larger disaster for domestic investment (Novaya Gazeta, July 20). The accumulating fall in real incomes combines with cuts in social programs, while Finance Minister Anton Siluanov estimates that although inflation will reach 15–16 percent this year, pensions can only be indexed by 5 percent (, July 25).
The Kremlin cannot really know when this squeeze on the middle class and the impoverishment of pensioners may reach a critical mass of discontent. Seeking to prevent an explosion of protests, Putin’s political “technologists” have moved up the date for State Duma elections to September 2016, which should provide a distraction from the sinking feeling of recession (, July 18). The liberal opposition is seeking to take advantage of that small opening of political space for launching several regional campaigns, for instance in Novosibirsk; while well-known Russian blogger Alexei Navalny stays relentlessly on his message of exposing high-level corruption (, July 25). Putin’s subordinates respond with the usual combination of suppression and fraud, but they also see the need to shut down the few remaining channels connecting Russia’s civil society with the West, including the work of the MacArthur Foundation (Moscow Echo, July 22). They may succeed in silencing liberal voices but cannot extinguish the discontent among the elites, who encounter both the over-concentration of decision making at the highest levels and the diminishing rationality of these decisions as President Putin, in the words of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has lost control over even himself and departed to an alternate and religiously ego-centric reality (Sobesednik, July 23).
The army, an institution that is supposed to be a rock-solid pillar of Putin’s power, is showing dangerous cracks. Its exercises are meant to discourage European states from following the United States’ lead in deterring Russia. But a series of military plane crashes has underscored the wear and tear in the Air Force (, July 8). Sustained investments in rearmament should have proven Russia’s commitment to building up its military might, but the defense industry fails to deliver due to the combined impact of degradation, corruption and sanctions (Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, July 24). The deployment of a 50,000-strong grouping of ground forces on the border with Ukraine is aimed at upholding the threat of invasion. However, these tired troops are growing demoralized by the official denials of the existence of Russian battalions inside the war zone (, July 22). The pause in hostilities may appear to be a smart political game, granting Putin an opportunity to hold regular telephone conferences with French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the Russian army cannot maintain this high-readiness and offensively oriented posture through the entire summer (, July 23).
Putin has always preferred to postpone decisions until the last possible moment and to keep his lieutenants and international counterparts in the dark about his intentions. This summer, however, he is arguably wasting time and maneuvering himself into a corner, from which the only escape will be jumping into another spasm of hostilities in eastern Ukraine with the hope that a victory can cancel all other problems. The risks are frighteningly high, and Putin has avoided them for yet another week. But now August is approaching—a month that has traditionally brought Russia multiple disasters (see EDM, August 2, 2010; September 4, 2013).
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Blackjacks, Hypersonic Aerial Vehicles and the Defense of Crimea: Russia’s Futuristic Challenge to the West?

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Russian military media coverage across a range of modernization and strategic-level issues inadvertently reveals planning weaknesses within the defense establishment. Plans to modernize part of the strategic bomber fleet, develop high-tech hypersonic strike capabilities, and consolidate Crimea’s defense conceal Moscow’s deeper uncertainty about the nature of countering future threats to the Russian state, stressing missile defense as a threat, and building a defense of Crimea that currently seems potentially inadequate; such initiatives are taking place in the context of the domestic defense industry failing to meet modernization targets (RIA Novosti, July 16).
Moscow has thus played its “Blackjack” card—the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) classification for the Tu-160 strategic bomber. In the spring of this year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that serial production of this platform would resume, repackaged as a new aircraft with modern equipment—with an old-style airframe. On July 16, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov, who oversees arms procurement, said an industry and trade and defense ministry working group will draft such work and enlist partners to modernize and produce Tu-160 M2s. Borisov explained that the fuselage and aircraft performance will be maintained, though the avionics and armament system will change, promising a “150 percent” increase in combat efficiency. The initiative itself appears almost symbolic. The Tu-160 went into production in 1984 and was suspended in 1992—the same year that strategic bomber flights to remote regions were also abandoned. In August 2007, President Vladimir Putin ordered the resumption of these flights, which have, among other Russian Air Force activity, intensified around NATO’s airspace during the past 18 months (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 17).
The strategic bomber motif resurfaced in the guise of “protecting” Crimea, after much defense ministry–fueled speculation concerning deploying strategic assets to defend the peninsula culminated in an official announcement on July 22. As expected, a squadron of Tu-22M3 strategic bombers will deploy to protect Crimea “in the nearest future.” However, this is sold as a response to the United States’ deployment of missile defense components in Romania. A Russian Ministry of Defense source stated, “At this stage, it is seen as sufficient to deploy a squadron of Tu-22M3s on an aerodrome in Crimea. Its combat capabilities sufficiently strengthen aviation cover in the waters of the Black Sea,” adding, “It cannot be ruled out that in the future, the Tu-22M3 group in Crimea could be increased to a regiment.” The move is justified as a countermeasure against the US move in Romania. On July 21, the defense ministry said that the US missile defense base in Romania would become a high-level target for Russian strikes in an escalating future crisis (Interfax, July 21-22).
Indeed Russia’s strategic bombers in general and the Tu-22M3 especially have been the subject of lavish domestic praise, with Russian articles reminding readers of achievements in the late Cold War period, including penetrating NATO airspace and gathering as yet unreleased aerial photographs (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 24). Despite this, quite apart from the costs of renovating runways in Crimea, the move to locate strategic bombers there makes little military sense; in theory, it actually renders such assets vulnerable to enemy attack and would make more sense to base them deeper inside Russian territory.
It seems the defense ministry information machinery wants to emphasize the modernization narrative, even if against all economic odds, while attacking missile defense and demonizing the United States. A remarkable illustration of this came on July 22, with official comment on the secretive “Object 4202” project, which reportedly seeks to develop a hypersonic aerial vehicle capable of overcoming missile defense. According to a defense industry source cited by Interfax, successful completion of the project in the future will see Russia possessing a hypersonic aerial vehicle capable of overcoming any antimissile defense system. Russia has test-launched this experimental asset from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in February 2015, and the platform will reportedly be nuclear capable (Interfax, July 22; EngineeringRussia, June 30).
The narrative is interrupted by two disturbing factors: the grand-scale military modernization is failing to yield its targets, and the aging bomber forces show severe signs of deterioration under the strain of upping the tempo of testing NATO responses. On July 16, Deputy Defense Minister Borisov told President Putin during a video conference that the modernization targets are not being achieved. He said defense contracts fell behind schedule, including in the areas of producing navy guard vessels, amphibious aircraft, components for surface-to-air missiles (SAM), as well as weapon launch systems for the Tu-160 strategic bomber. Borisov attributed this to Western sanctions and the poor condition of the domestic defense industry; the government response to create an overseeing committee to investigate the issues fails to address underlying problems of corruption and lack of pricing transparency (The Moscow Times, July 19). By July 24, Shoigu ordered an investigation into a wave of Russian Air Force crashes involving seven assets in as many weeks, including strategic bombers.
As far as defense planning for the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula is concerned, the official line is that the creation of a number of “force groupings” is sufficient to ensure the protection of this newly acquired part of Russian territory. Yet, the need for Tu-22M3s seems inconsistent with this message. Although the top brass remains largely silent on the sensitive issue of creating long-term defense plans for Crimea, other Russian military specialists question whether the forces on the ground could withstand a modern enemy attack. Lieutenant-General (retired) Alexander G. Luzan, a former deputy chief of the Soviet Army Air Defense and a doctor of technical sciences, strongly advocates an integrated air-naval defense that would facilitate a C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) defense of the peninsula, even against a network-centric adversary (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 24).
Luzan has in mind the eventual creation of a complex automated system of air-naval defense (Kompleksnaya Avtomatizirovannaya Sistema Vozdushno-Morskoy Oborony—KAS VMO). The KAS VMO would unite all forces and resources into a single information space. The objective of the KAS VMO would be to repel a high-tech enemy. Luzan’s thinking relates to how to repel assaults (like the ones over Kosovo in 1999 or against Libya in 2011) on Russian forces, and it raises questions on Moscow’s evaluation of its future potential enemy (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 24). In the absence of this system, Moscow will utilize strategic messaging to convey to other actors that Crimea is considered part of sovereign Russian territory. Meanwhile, the high-tech aspirations of military modernization will need an eventual easing of Western sanctions.
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North Caucasians Have Reportedly Been Called Back From Eastern Ukraine Battlefield

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New reports are surfacing about another influx of North Caucasian fighters arriving in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014. In particular, Chechens fighting on the side of the pro-Russia separatists have received substantial media attention. In 2015, however, the Moscow-backed separatist leadership in eastern Ukraine said that all North Caucasians had left their territory. Nonetheless, Lifenews, a Russian news agency with ties to the country’s security services, recently reported that Muslims from the North Caucasus remain in the Donbas region and that the Muslim contingent inside the separatist forces is becoming more ethnically diverse. Lifenews claimed that up to 10,000 Muslims are living in the separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province. Separatist authorities reportedly even made a curfew exemption for Muslims in the city of Donetsk during Ramadan. However, of the four separatist fighters featured in the Lifenews article, only one was local—an ethnic Lezgin who originally came from Dagestan but spent nearly three decades in Ukraine. The other three were another ethnic Dagestani—a Lak nicknamed Kuba; an ethnic Uzbek named Bakhadirchon; and an ethnic Bashkir named Khazar. Kuba reportedly worked as a contractor in Russia’s Far North, where people normally go to earn quick cash. Bakhadirchon used to be a guest worker in Russia, but preferred to fight for the “Russian World,” according to Lifenews. None of the mercenaries voiced a coherent ideological motive for why they went to fight in eastern Ukraine. The Muslims from Russia and Uzbekistan were apparently lured to eastern Ukraine by the chance to earn money; indeed, their expected pay is probably higher than they would receive as guest workers in Russia (Lifenews, July 21).
In an earlier interview for the Russian edition of Forbes, a well-known separatist commander, Alexander Khadakovsky, said that “the Chechens in Donbas are more a [recognizable] brand than a real force. Most of the time, locals mistake volunteer Ossetians for being Chechens. Ossetians do not mind be mistaken for Chechens, since the Chechens are a well-known brand.” According to Khadakovsky, compared to the involvement of hundreds of Ossetians on the separatist side, the participation of Chechens in the conflict in eastern Ukraine was relatively insignificant. At the same time, Khadakovsky admitted that the Chechens suffered serious losses during the fight for the Donetsk airport in May 2014. The Russian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) launched a special recruiting campaign among Chechen veterans in June 2014, but the campaign failed miserably to recruit Chechens for the conflict in Ukraine. Yet, some separatist groups in eastern Ukraine continued to pretend to be Muslim to use the Chechen brand to scare off Ukrainian government forces. Reportedly, the end of the Chechen presence in Donbas came when they snatched and tried to bury alive a separatist leader, Pavel Gubarev, who they suspected of denigrating Chechnya’s governor, Ramzan Kadyrov. In turn, Kadyrov said his countrymen did not receive proper care in eastern Ukraine and were thrown into the areas of the worst fighting, like the Donetsk airport, where many of them died in an aerial bombing (, April 6).
Kadyrov has repeatedly said that he was prepared to travel to Ukraine to fight, but he apparently refused to supply his men as cannon fodder for the Russian army in eastern Ukraine. Moscow would have gladly expended Kadyrov’s forces in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, but Chechnya’s leader apparently saw through this trick and made sure that large-scale recruitment of Chechens stopped. An ideal situation for the Russian commanders in eastern Ukraine would have been to have North Caucasians and other unorganized ethnic minorities fight in the region. However, in most instances, the North Caucasians fight together, and they quickly become too influential and uncontrollable.
Khadakovsky said the North Caucasians “grew up under the conditions of nearly unending conflict and with a fairly overwhelmed psyche. Their special background made them a mass that is fairly hard to govern. Eventually, we reached the conclusion that it is hard to use them under the conditions of our war and they have to leave our territory for the time being. Practically all the Ossetians have left and, as far as I know, the same decision has been taken in regard to the Chechens” (, July 23).
A recent report by The Guardian newspaper (July 24) suggested that about 300 Chechens fought in eastern Ukraine on the side of the pro-Russian separatists earlier in 2015, but that most have left, for reasons that remain unclear. One reason for the withdrawal of large ethnic groups from eastern Ukraine might be Moscow’s wish to make its involvement in Ukraine somewhat less visible. Apparently, it is easier for the Russian government to cover up the citizenship of anonymous Russian military forces fighting in Ukraine than the nationality of other recruits.
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Georgia Establishes New State Security Service

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In early July, the parliament of Georgia passed a law on establishing the State Security Service (Civil Georgia, July 4). The new body will decouple the intelligence and security agencies from Georgia’s Ministry of Interior. Among its roles, it is tasked with investigating anti-Georgian espionage and sabotage activities. Prior to 2004, the Ministry of State Security existed specifically to deal with such counterintelligence work, but that year it was merged with the interior ministry.
Arguably, Georgia’s Ministry of Interior had not been ineffective to date. On the contrary, during the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, all state agencies responsible for state security and combating terrorism showed a high degree of efficiency and success. They uncovered several spy rings (, November 30, 2010), as well as arrested organizers and executors of a number of notorious terrorist attacks, including the terrorist attack in Gori on February 1, 2005 (, July 27, 2005). In a few cases, despite the inherent risks, the Georgian security services even managed to arrest criminals on the territories of the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (The Messenger, December 10, 2010).
Nevertheless, the opposition Georgian Dream coalition, which later came to power in parliamentary elections in October 2012, accused Saakashvili and the interior ministry of human rights violations. In particular, Georgian Dream claimed the government was using the security services for illegal surveillance of the opposition. To guarantee the de-politicization of the State Security Service, the newly passed legislation envisages the abolishment of the so-called “Officers of the Acting Reserve,” as a vestige of the Soviet era. In Georgia, an Officer of the Acting Reserve was an intelligence officer secretly implanted in an organization in order to supply the government with “special information.” The former head of Georgia’s State Chancellery, Petre Mamradze, told Jamestown that “the tradition of implanting Officers of the Acting Reserve is so strong that neither President [Eduard] Shevardnadze nor President Saakashvili managed to banish it from the security services’ practices.” Mamradze expressed his doubts about the new law’s ability to resolve the problem of the secret services and surveillance. “This sits too deeply in the fabric of our society, which still remains essentially Soviet in its mentality,” Mamradze noted (Author’s interview, July 26).
In addition to fully abolishing the Officers of the Acting Reserve system, the new law on state security will require the government to make public a list of the most sensitive government institutions necessitating special attention from a security perspective.
The second step toward greater transparency and the de-politicization of the State Security Service is a six-year appointment term for the head of the agency. In contrast, the president of Georgia is elected for five years and the prime minister is elected for four. Moreover, the prime minister can appoint the head of the security agency only with the consent of the parliament, while the parliament may legally dismiss the head of the agency even without the consent of the head of government. Lawmakers thus hope that this arrangement will compel all the political forces of the country to seek consensus when appointing the head of the state security agency, whose term can theoretically outlast any single government or presidential administration but is essentially vulnerable to a parliamentary vote of no confidence (Civil Georgia, July 8).
Vakhtang Gomelauri, a former interior minister, will be the first person to head the State Security Service (Civil Georgia, July 22). Gomelauri has a background in the police forces. In 1994–2003, he worked in the Special State Protection Service of Georgia, and in 2003–2013, he served in the Security Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. During those years, he was simultaneously one of the most influential officers in the personal protection service of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. When Ivanishvili became the prime minister of Georgia in 2012, Gomelauri first became the deputy interior minister and later, in January 2015, the interior minister of the country (, January 26).
The opposition regards Gomelauri’s ties to Ivanishvili as a red flag. “I have doubts about Gomelauri’s ability to cope with the serious risks that the country is facing. The worst part of his background is his work with Ivanishvili,” United National Movement party parliamentarian David Darchiashvili told Jamestown on July 26. However, some independent experts disagree. Analyst Nika Imnaishvili pointed out: “The background of former interior minister Vano Merabishvili had no initial connections to the interior ministry, but was limited only to close ties to President Saakashvili. Still, Merabishvili turned out to be a highly effective minister and resolved many complicated problems in the process of fighting crime, including terrorism and espionage” (Author’s interview, July 26).
Gomelauri takes the helm of the new Georgian security service at a time when Georgian statehood again faces existential threats. The Russian Federation is continuing to wage a type of “hybrid war” against Georgia, which is reflected in “borderization”—a creeping capture of new territories around the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (see EDM, July 24). The borders of the occupied territories with the rest of Georgia are pretty much entirely open, and there are no guarantees that Moscow will not use Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a springboard for dispatching its agents to Tbilisi and other cities. Furthermore, Russia has ramped up its “soft power.” The latest research by a group of Georgian non-governmental organizations confirms that Russia uses subtle and sophisticated methods to increase its influence in the Georgian media and among non-profit organizations. Moscow allots huge amounts of resources for these activities (,July 2224). The primary difficulty for the State Security Service will be to draw and be cognizant of the fine line between the protection of state interests and respect for civil rights. As the events in Ukraine show, Russian security services tend to use democratic institutions and values, such as freedom of speech, against democracy itself and the sovereignty of neighboring states.
Vakhtang Gomelauri enjoys a positive public image in the Georgian media as a calm and non-aggressive professional. He has never been involved in any scandal, and his name has not emerged in connection to any corruption case. Gomelauri repeatedly stressed his willingness to cooperate with the security services of friendly foreign states during his hearings in the parliament. But it remains to be seen whether the new organization Gomelauri now heads will be able to counter the huge machine that has been crafted by Vladimir Putin on the foundations of the KGB for the past 15 years. Developments around Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be indicative of this struggle.
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RAF personnel assigned to US unit carrying out drone strikes against

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  • Following calls for government to come clean over role in US air force unit, MoD says such UK personnel are ‘effectively operating as foreign troops’
    RAF personnel assigned to US unit carrying out drone strikes against Isis
  • Leader of Khorasan group was subject of $7m reward in US and had been falsely reported as being killed in 2014
  • All-party parliamentary group on drones to hold inquiry after defence secretary says ‘up to 80’ personnel have served with US, Canadian and French services
  • Italian police investigate six Hacking Team employees over possibility of inside job after previous accusations over the leaking of company secrets
        About 768 results for Drones (military)

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        McCain Weighing Cyber Select Committee

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        The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is considering setting up a select committee on cyber issues.

        US State Dept. OKs PAC-3 Sale to Saudi

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        ABU DHABI — The US State Department gave its approval on Wednesday for a possible foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles and equipment, worth $5.4 billion.

        DoD to Congress: Iran Deal or No, Military Options Open

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        Defense Secretary Ash Carter continued the administration's defense of the Iran nuclear deal, telling lawmakers Wednesday that while a pact with Iran carries risks, it is better than the alternative: an inevitable military confrontation.

        Ex-CIA director: Let Pollard move to Israel -

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        Ex-CIA director: Let Pollard move to Israel
        The material includes the victim-impact statement and a recently declassified 1987 CIA damage assessment of the case along with the new declassification of the Weinberger document itself. Since his formal sentencing in 1987, the U.S. government has ...

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        Page 7

        Judge: CIA, Pentagon May Still Neither Confirm Nor Deny Records ... 

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        A federal judge has ruled the CIA and Defense Department (DOD) do not have to confirm or deny whether they have records on the “factual basis for the killing” of either Samir Khan or Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who were killed ...

        Ex-CIA chief: 'Iran won the negotiations' 

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        The former CIA chief predicted the deal will do “absolutely nothing” to curtail the Iranian support for terrorism. In fact, he said, “it will substantially enhance it,” because Iran will get something on the order of $150 billion in ...

        Former CIA Official: Islamic State Could Become Functional State ... 

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        Experts, including one former CIA official, are acknowledging that the Islamic State could transform itself from a terrorist organization to an actual state.

        Racism, Bigotry Forces Gay CIA Contractor, Former Navy SEAL Out ... 

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        Brett Jones, former SEAL and the only openly gay contractor with the CIA's GRS, reveals the bigotry he experienced during his time with that organization.

        Former Navy Seal says CIA operatives turned on him because he is ... 

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        Brett Jones, a former Navy Seal and an openly gay member of the CIA's paramilitary Global Response Staff (GRS), told ABC News that other staff members harassed him so much that he feared for his life. According to Jones ...

        Chinese hack on United Airlines affects the CIA - Business Insider 

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        "The combination of information [the hackers] obtained from OPM with the travel information they now have from United is hugely powerful" for the Chinese, Aitel said, "and it will make the kind of work the CIA does much more ...
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        Page 8

        France to probe "major lead" in MH370 hunt

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        Investigators say "high degree of certainty" aircraft wreckage found on island in Indian Ocean is from same kind of plane as missing Malaysia air flight


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        A United States Congressional review into last month’s cyber theft of millions of government personnel records has concluded that its impact will go far “beyond mere theft of classified information”.

        Marine, NATO, Georgian forces unite during command post exercise - Camp Lejeune Globe

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