Monday, May 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s Warning to Paul Ryan Signals Further G.O.P. Discord – The New York Times

Donald Trump’s Warning to Paul Ryan Signals Further G.O.P. Discord – The New York Times 

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Mr. Trump’s refusal to rule out removing Mr. Ryan as the chairman of the party’s convention threatened to upset an event that is normally a display of unity.

Hillary Clinton Targets Republicans Turned Off by Donald Trump – The New York Times 

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Mrs. Clinton has broadened her economic message, sought endorsements from G.O.P. influencers and pledged that her husband, popular with blue-collar voters, will work to create jobs.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Dictatorship’ – Washington Times 

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A few pages into David Satter’s truly terrifying book, one realizes that his title is smack-on accurate: modern Russia is a frightening member of the world community to an extent of which most persons

Ohio Shootings: 2 Weeks Gone, No Arrests, Few Answers

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Two weeks after eight family members were found dead at four different homes in Ohio, no arrests have been made, and a motive remains unclear.

US Army Special Operations Has Big Appetite For ISR

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US Army Special Operations has a big appetite for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and is just scratching the surface on what is possible, according to Maj. Gen. Clayton Hutmacher, its deputy commander.

FBI raids homes of two Cuomo cronies amid corruption probe | New York Post 

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The FBI raided the homes of two men close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the widening federal probe into Albany corruption, The Post has learned.Agents carted off evidence from the Westchester home
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Dem: FBI strong-armed former senator on 9/11 pages | TheHill

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Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) is criticizing the Obama administration as having tried to strong-arm a former senator who is pushing to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 report dealing with Saudi Arabia.

Russia’s Gloomy Prospects by Anders Åslund and Simon Commander – Project Syndicate 

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Over the past decade, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime has degraded the institutions that are essential to the functioning of a modern economy. And yet, even as crony capitalism cripples GDP growth and undermines real wages, Putin has given no sign that he intends to change course.

Russia marks victory day with Moscow parade 

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From: CNN
Duration: 02:22

CNN's Matthew Chance attends Russia's Victory Day parade, where the country's military might and patriotism are on full display.

Turkey Border Closure Divides Syrian Refugee Families

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From: VOAvideo
Duration: 02:10

In recent months, Turkey has tightened its border with Syria to stem the flow of refugees. Local officials say those carrying the right papers, and those who are injured, are allowed through — but Ankara says it is under pressure to tighten controls following the recent migrant deal with Europe. As Henry Ridgwell reports, the restrictions have divided families trying to flee the civil war in Syria.
Originally published at - http://www.voanews.com/media/video/turkey-border-closure-divides-syrian-refugee-families/3322345.html

Does the outsider need to become an insider to win?

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 03:45

Political Insiders sound off

Should Trump apologize to POWs? 

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 01:34

Political Insiders share their final thoughts
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How Trump vs. Clinton will shape up 

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 07:50

Political Insiders make their predictions about the general election

Can Trump make this a referendum on economic system?

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 05:01

Political Insiders: The issue is jobs

News Wrap: The Philippines elects its own ‘Donald Trump’

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 04:23

In our news wrap Monday, voters in the Philippines have elected Rodrigo Duterte, whose brash style and frank talk have drawn comparisons to Donald Trump, their new president. Also, Canadian officials toured the fire-ravaged town of Fort McMurray after cooler temperatures and light rain slowed a massive wildfire that has forced more than 80,000 people from their homes.

How Trump stumped the GOP elite 

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 06:37

Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest in politics, including why Hillary Clinton’s appeal to women voters is getting mixed results, how Clinton and Donald Trump can build their stock among women and whether Trump can bridge the deepening divides within the Republican party.

Oil-reliant Saudi Arabia envisions a new economic path

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 06:21

As global oil prices drop, Saudi Arabia is struggling against its reliance on oil export revenues. Over the weekend, the first signs emerged of an ambitious new plan to diversify the Saudi economy while maintaining power in the Middle East. Hari Sreenivasan talks to Sarah Ladislaw of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Simon Henderson of The Washington Institute for more.

Mideast Commanders Conference Underscores Mutating Friends, Foes

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For nearly two decades, warriors, commanders and dignitaries have gathered here in the Jordanian capital every two years for the region’s sole conference devoted to special operations forces.
       
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The IC Thinks Harvard Is Wrong About Encryption

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One of the important recent contributions to the encryption debate was a report from the Berkman Center at Harvard, "Don't Panic."  It is fair to say that the report's title captures its view of the encryption problem -- it asserts that the prevalence of strong encryption will not be a significant impediment to law enforcement or intelligence collection.
The Director of National Intelligence thinks that's wrong.  In a letter to Senator Wyden, they took issue with the Berkman Center: "The important public debate about the appropriate scope of lawful access to encrypted communications .... must be informed by recognition that the increased use of encryption by those targets represents a significant impediment to our efforts to protect the nation ... an impediment that cannot be fully mitigated by alternative means."

Putin's Pullout: A Failing Public Relations Campaign

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Editor's Note: Russia won in Syria – or so Putin would like us to believe. The Russian intervention seemed to tip the balance of forces in Assad's favor, and Russia announced a pullout with its mission accomplished. Carol Saivetz of MIT, a regular Lawfare contributor, makes the case for skepticism. She points out Moscow is far more involved in Syria than it likes to admit and still runs many risks from its intervention.
***
On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised observers by ordering the withdrawal of the “main part” of Russia’s forces from Syria.  In a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, he said, “the task which was given to the Defense Ministry and the armed forces has overall been fulfilled.” A month later, in his annual call-in program, Primaya Liniya, Putin claimed that the Syrian army was capable of “serious offensive operations” even after the supposed withdrawal. Indeed, he noted the recapture of Palmyra from the Islamic State. These pronouncements were part of a well-orchestrated public relations campaign targeting both domestic and international audiences.
Russia has indeed accomplished many of what most observers presumed were its goals. First, President Assad will remain in power for the foreseeable future. Indeed, an Assad spokesman firmly stated that Assad’s future is not up for discussion. Second, Moscow has clearly made itself central, if not indispensable, to any resolution of the Syria crisis.  In the words of noted commentator Dmitri Trenin:  “the Middle East [Syria] has become a key testing ground for Russia’s attempt to return to the global stage.” Third, the Russian military has not only demonstrated new weapons, such as long-range cruise missiles, and has actually tested new fighter jets in battle. And finally, Russia publicly announced that it had killed 2,000 Russian jihadis before they could return to their homeland.
These successes go a long way toward explaining the timing of the announced withdrawal. With the February 22 Cessation of Hostility agreement and the start of negotiations in Geneva, Russia could claim that its intervention had moved the Syria crisis closer to resolution. Moreover, Putin clearly hoped that tamping down hostilities would demonstrate his cooperation with the international community.  Diplomacy, in effect, allowed Moscow to reduce its risks of getting caught in the quagmire that U.S. President Barak Obama predicted would befall Russian forces.
But, the optics of success belie the reality of the military situation and mask the dangers remaining for Russia. Putin’s announcement and subsequent Russian statements indicated that Moscow was not abandoning its naval base at Tartus, on the Mediterranean coast; nor was it closing its new airbase at Hmeinim. Russia withdrew some fixed-wing aircraft but left in place combat helicopters and air defense systems, including S-400 missiles. All reports indicate that the so-called “Syrian express” (the transport of men and arms to Syria) is continuing.  Heavily laden ships have exited the Black Sea through the Bosphorus Straits and returned riding much higher on the water. And Russiantelevision footage reveals the deployment of at least one Iskander missile launcher.
But, the optics of success belie the reality of the military situation and mask the dangers remaining for Russia.
In terms of Russian manpower, Russian spokesmen have announced that the Spetznaz, Russian special operations forces, participated in the fight for Palmyra alongside Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah troops. Additionally, there is increasing evidence that Russian mercenaries are in combat as well. According to Mark Galeotti, Russian contractors appear to be driving T-90 tanks and have been central to the retaking of Palmyra.
So Russia did not fully quit the game, instead positioning itself so that it could easily resume combat operations. And it now looks as if that time is at hand. As of this writing, Russia has built up its military forces near Aleppo, and on April 28, Syrian jets bombed a civilian hospital in the rebel-held section of the city. Russia denied responsibility, but the episode raises the question of whether or not Russian military action in support of Assad has emboldened the regime. 
Moscow, it seems, is now following Assad’s lead. Initially, Russia refused to include Aleppo in the renewed calls for a ceasefire, but then on May 1, announced that it was in talks with the Assad regime to include Aleppo in the “regime of calm.” On May 4, the United States and Russia agreed to extend the ceasefire to Aleppo and the Syrian military, according to the BBC, confirmed a two-day halt in military operations. But, whether or not the truce lasts for more than 48 hours remains to be seen. And barring a return to negotiations, Russia is stuck in Syria.
Six months ago, I wrote on this blog about the dangers to Russia from its Syrian intervention. Those dangers included: becoming embroiled in a sectarian conflict that could have repercussions at home; roiling relations with outside powers; the impact of Syria’s costs on an already enfeebled economy; and the difficulties of the diplomatic process.
If Putin hoped to convince the domestic audience and the international community that its intervention was a great success, the outlook is bleak.
None of these dangers has receded. Despite the claims of killing 2,000 jihadis, there is continuing turmoil in the North Caucasus. And, academics continue to track Chechens who have traveled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State. It is not just Chechens: there is evidence of over 5,000 jihadisentering the fray from the Central Asian states—an area where Russia has concerns about stability.
The Russian economy has stagnated since the Ukraine crisis. The combination of falling global energy prices and the sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed after Ukraine have caused the Russian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to decline 3.9 percent in 2015. Inflation is high, and last year wages dropped 10 percent. Predictions for 2016 are equally grim, with GDP poised to lose another 1.9 percent. Nonetheless, the war in Syria is still popular at home; but how long will citizens be distracted by foreign adventures? 
Diplomatically, the biggest casualty has been the bilateral Turkish-Russian relationship. When Turkey downed a Russian fighter in November 2015, there were fears of a wider clash between Russia and NATO. Thus far, direct military confrontation has been avoided, but the economic costs are great.  Russia retaliated by banning Turkish goods and significantly raising the price of natural gas. Moreover, the proposed Turkish Stream Pipeline is dead. So Russia is, for now, dependent on Ukraine to transport of much of its energy to western Europe.
Given the dangers of Russia’s continuing intervention in Syria, one question remains: Can Putin afford his seemingly open-ended commitment to Assad? Moscow desperately needs a diplomatic solution to achieve its goals, but Assad is not cooperating. If Putin hoped to convince the domestic audience and the international community that its intervention was a great success, the outlook is bleak. Ultimately, though the “success campaign” has been short-lived at best, the alternative is worse. Abandoning Assad and Putin’s last foothold in the Middle East would be a dramatic failure.
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Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twenty-First Century 

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Zachary Goldman and Samuel Rascoff recently released Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twenty-First Century. The edited volume “is a comparative investigation of intelligence oversight systems in democratic countries, which focuses on some of the new dynamics shaping and constraining intelligence services, and the range of purposes a holistic approach to oversight should serve.” This week, Lawfare is hosting a mini-forum where contributing authors discuss their chapters.
***
The last several years have seen the most robust public debate about the oversight of intelligence agencies in decades. This discussion was triggered most immediately by Edward Snowden’s massive leak of documents describing American and allied surveillance programs. But motivating the discussions more broadly is the growth and global diffusion of sophisticated communications technologies and the reliance of the United States and its close allies on them in the name of counterterrorism. Because these programs inevitably require secrecy, the normal mechanisms of democratic control over government activity give out, and the need for specially designed oversight structures that serve as a proxy for democratic populations kicks in.
In this context Global Intelligence Oversight: Governing Security in the Twenty-First Century focuses on two main themes with respect to intelligence oversight. First, we illuminate the new institutions and dynamics playing a novel part in shaping and constraining the operations of intelligence agencies. Second, we focus on the roles that particular types of oversight bodies (e.g. courts, independent agencies) serve by evaluating their operations in liberal democracies around the world.
With respect to this latter objective, we aim to move beyond superficial debates about whether particular institutions are “effective” and ask more nuanced questions about the links between the capabilities of particular institutions and the oversight function that democratic societies wish them to serve. The chapters of Global Intelligence Oversight focus on countries that have both robust democratic traditions and large well-resourced intelligence services with global mandates. The list of such countries is not large.  
Below, we describe some of the actors newly prominent in the intelligence oversight discussion and the ways in which those actors enable us to think more broadly about the purposes a comprehensive intelligence oversight architecture ought to serve. In the coming days, you will hear from some of the volume’s other contributors. All of them—Jane Harman, Ashley Deeks, Richard Morgan, Iain Cameron, Chris Kojm, Daphna Renan, Raphael Bitton, Kent Roach, Russell Miller, Jon Moran, Clive Walker, Keiran Hardy, and George Williams—made important contributions to the global conversation about intelligence oversight.
Two of the most notable trends in the new landscape of intelligence governance are the transnationalization of oversight, and the increasing role played by courts of general jurisdiction in the supervision of intelligence services. Most prominent among the transnational actors shaping intelligence are global technology and telecommunications firms (many of them headquartered in the U.S.) and peer intelligence services, whose influence is magnified by the importance of intelligence liaison relationships in an era of threats that are themselves global in scope. Ashley Deeks’s post later this week will address the role that peer intelligence services are playing in influencing their partner services. We pause here to reflect on the ways that companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are affecting the ability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to collect information. These companies are doing so by encrypting user data and litigating the terms of government access to data in new ways. They are also publishing transparency reports that inform their users in general terms about the frequency with which they disclose data to governments. Foreign governments also have a pressing need to access data stored by U.S. internet companies for their own law enforcement and national security purposes, which may prompt reforms to laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the United States. Indeed, the U.S. and the U.K. are reportedly negotiating an agreement that would allow British government agencies easier access to data stored by American technology companies for investigations that do not implicate U.S. citizens.
Lawsuits by technology and telecommunications companies are only one way in which courts are becoming increasingly involved in the intelligence oversight process. In recent years the judiciary has become directly engaged in governing the conduct of intelligence agencies in a range of circumstances. Courts in Canada and the U.K., for example, have weighed in on the permissible metes and bounds of intelligence liaison relationships, and in Israel judges have adjudicated contract disputes between intelligence agents (or their estates) and their handlers. The European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights have expressed views on detention, surveillance, and other intelligence operations. And in the U.S., intelligence activities are increasingly tested in litigation in Article III courts, while specialized courts like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the U.K. are coming to play important roles in the intelligence oversight ecosystem. Indeed intelligence reform proposals in the U.K. and New Zealand have suggested greater involvement for courts in authorizing certain surveillance activities.
The expanded involvement of these actors—in addition to the agency general counsels, parliamentary committees, and inspectors general that figured prominently in earlier eras of intelligence reform—raises new questions about the purposes that a modern intelligence oversight system ought to serve. Ensuring that intelligence agencies follow the law is necessary but not sufficient. The new intelligence oversight must be able to integrate the disparate national interests increasingly implicated in intelligence programs and foster public trust in agencies that inescapably conduct most of their work in secret. 
An understanding of the purposes of intelligence oversight systems broadened along these lines also helps us focus on the link between particular institutions and the roles they can play in a comprehensive oversight architecture. Courts, therefore, might be well-suited to reinforce the public legitimacy of intelligence programs as the judiciary reviews and approves or modifies them. But they are probably less well equipped to balance among potentially incommensurable national interests—such as the impact of a particular intelligence program on a country’s commercial interests—a task better suited to legislatures or executive branch oversight mechanisms.
***
Moving forward, one of the critical questions will be about the relationship between oversight structures and the underlying statutory authorities governing the intelligence community, particularly with respect to foreign intelligence surveillance. Indeed, it appears we are at an inflection point in the debate about the scope of permissible intelligence activities, driven in large measure by the interests of global technology companies. It is almost universally true that governments afford greater protections against surveillance to their own citizens at home than to foreigners abroad.  And that is of course true of the United States as well. But the foreign nationals who enjoy fewer protections vis-à-vis U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are simultaneously the customers (or potential customers) of large U.S.-based technology providers. As American companies continue to look abroad for growth they will be incentivized to put digital distance between themselves and the U.S. government—a dynamic that only increases the friction between public and private actors.
It is our hope that comprehensive oversight systems can ultimately produce intelligence activities that are more effective, legitimate, and sustainable and that can navigate among the competing interests that currently dominate the discourse on intelligence. The chapters in this volume—and the contributions to this forum—help illustrate how this vision of twenty-first century intelligence might come about.
Read the whole story
 
· · · · ·

Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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The United States’ war against the Islamic State is facing hurdles on and off the battlefield. TheWashington Post reports that “chaos in Baghdad, the fraying of the ceasefire in Syria and political turmoil in Turkey are among some of the potential obstacles that have emerged in recent weeks to complicate the prospects for progress. Others include small setbacks for U.S.-allied forces in front lines in Northern Iraq and Syria, which have come as a reminder that strategy heavily reliant on local armed groups of varying proficiency who are often at odds with one another won’t always work.” The upside? Even facing all these hurdles, according to one U.S. official, "we're actually a little bit ahead of where we wanted to be," which if you're on the ground in Iraq or Syria, is a phrase that might give you pause. 
Why? 
At least 15 people were killed and scores more wounded in multiple attacks throughout Baghdad yesterday. The Wall Street Journal calls the attacks a “stark reminder of Iraq’s continuing instability amid a political crisis that is heaping pressure on Prime Minister Haider al Abadi." The Journal tells us that “a suicide bombing outside a funeral home in Abu Ghraib on the outskirts of the capital killed five people including two policemen” and “a further 10 people were killed and 35 were wounded by improvised explosive devices across the city.” There has been no claim of responsibility.
Amid the chaos unfolding in Iraq, the State Department requested an additional 25 heavily armed U.S. Marines for the U.S. embassy in BaghdadCNN tells us that “concerns have risen since demonstrations occurred there last week in Baghdad’s ‘Green Zone,’ where the embassy is located.”CNN also shares that more demonstrations were expected for last Friday, but U.S. officials indicate that the area has remained peaceful.
The United States is struggling to convince some Iraqis that it is, indeed, not in secret cahoots with the Islamic State. The Associated Press writes that “despite spending more than $10 million on public outreach in Iraq last year, the U.S. government appears to have made little headway in dispelling such rumors.” Read more here.
The extended ceasefire around Aleppo has not stopped insurgents from fighting government forces in the area. Reuters reports that “Syrian government forces and their allies fought insurgents near Aleppo on Monday and jets carried out raids around a nearby town seized by Islamist rebels.” The news comes as the United States and Russia attempt to revive an almost-defunct peace process.Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris today to participate in talks on the violent conflict in Syria. Secretary Kerry is set to meet with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault alongside of representatives from Britain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, and the European Union.
Turkey has once again upped the ante in its offensive against the Islamic State. The Associated Press shares that “Turkish artillery has fired at the Islamic State group across the border in Syria, killing 55 militants and destroying three rocket launchers and three vehicles.” Turkey also struck PKK  positions in northern Iraq, “hitting rebels’ shelters, ammunition depots, and weapons emplacements.” The AP writes that “the Turkish military strikes come as Turkey is facing twin threats from the PKK and IS, which have carried out six major suicide attacks in Turkey since July, killing some 200 people.”
An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt claimed credit for a drive-by shooting attack that killed eight police officers in a Cairo suburb. The Wall Street Journal reports that “four masked gunmen in a pickup truck blocked the path of a minibus carrying plainclothes officers as they patrolled the south Cairo suburb of Helwan” and then the gunmen “jumped off the truck and sprayed the minibus with bullets, killing all aboard including a ranking supervising officer before driving away.”
Meanwhile, the Islamic State threatened the lives of 11 Muslim imams and scholars in the West. TheNew York Times tells us that “the recent issue of the Islamic State’s online propaganda magazine , Dabiq, called them ‘obligatory targets,’ and it said that supporters should use any weapons on hand to ‘make an example of them.’” The threat has been deemed dangerous enough to prompt the FBI to contact those named in Dabiq to “assist them in taking proper steps to ensure their safety.” Read how Muslim scholars and imams in the West are fighting another front against the Islamic State through theology from the Times here.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri has urged rebels in Syria to unite or risk death. In an audio recording released online yesterday, Zawahiri told fighters in Syria, “We have to want the unity of the Mujahideen in Sham [Syria] so it will be liberated from the Russians and Western Crusaders. My brothers...the matter of unity is a matter of life or death of you.” According to Al Jazeera, Zawahiri “criticized the U.N.-backed political process to find a solution in Syria and praised al Nusra Front, an al Qaeda offshoot which controls most of Idlib province.” The Long War Journal has more on Zawahiri’s latest address here.
U.S. forces are now on the ground in Yemen supporting Arab forces that are battling al Qaeda. The Washington Post reports that “Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. personnel had been in the country for about two weeks, supporting Yemeni and Emirati forces that are fighting a pitched battle against militants near the southeastern port city of Mukalla.” The Pentagon said the deployment would be a short term affair. The Post also tells us that the U.S. military is providing “Emirati forces with medical, intelligence, and maritime support, and is flying surveillance and aerial refueling missions.” The small number of U.S. advisors on the ground in Yemen demonstrate a new American role in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.
Matthew Rosenberg and Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times analyze how the U.S. role in Afghanistan has turned into combat once again, but this time with a tragic error. They observe that the offensive to retake the city of Kunduz offers “the starkest example to date of a blurry line in Afghanistan and Iraq between the missions that American forces are supposed to be fulfilling - military training and advising -  and combat. Mr. Obama has portrayed that combat role as over. But as the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in Iraq have threatened the delicate stability he hoped to leave behind, American forces are increasingly being called on to fight.” Read more here.
Relatedly, some U.S. troops in Afghanistan seem to be confused of their mission. Reuters reports that “amid fierce fighting after the Taliban captured the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last year, U.S. special forces advisers repeatedly asked their commanders how far they were allowed to go to help local troops retake the city.” Apparently, they never received an answer. Reuters has more.
The Taliban attacked two police checkpoints on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province yesterday. Reuters shares that “the attack in the Babaji area of Lashkar Gah, during the early hours of the morning, set off a three-hour gun battle during which the Taliban said they overran two checkpoints, destroyed an armored personnel carrier and captured a large amount of equipment.” There were conflicting reports of casualties, with the Helmand police counting 14 Taliban fighters dead and another 22 wounded. The Taliban claimed that 15 police and a police commander were killed.
The Times reports that Afghan and American officials are seeing signs of a closer integration of the Haqqani Network and the leadership of the Taliban, a shift that is “changing the flow of the Afghan insurgency this year.” According to the officials, the Haqqanis are “calling the shots in the Taliban’s offensive,” including orchestrating a truck bomb attack in Kabul last month that killed 64 people. The Haqqani’s “signature brand of urban terrorist attacks” and “sophisticated international fund-raising networks” could herald an even deadlier year ahead. The integration of senior Haqqani fighters into the Taliban’s leadership may also complicate peace talks, as the United States considers the group a terrorist organization, while also raising tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, who American and Afghan officials accuse of sheltering the group.
The insurgent group publicly executed two women in northern Afghanistan, one of them in an apparent honor killing. The New York Times tells us that “the killings, which were thought to be unrelated, took place in recent months in northern Jowzjan Province, in predominantly Uzbek areas where Taliban presence has traditionally been weak except among ethnic Pashtuns.” Additionally, theTimes shares that “in one of the cases, a pregnant 22-year-old woman named Rabia, a mother of two young children, was accused by her husband of adultery, tried and convicted by the Taliban on the spot, and then publicly shot three times.” Read more on the killings here.
Afghan officials hanged six Taliban prisoners over the weekend. The Washington Post writes that the execution “makes good on President Ashraf Ghani’s recent promise to deal harshly with insurgents, now that hopes for peace negotiations have evaporated.” According to the Post, “the six hanged were found guilty of crimes against ‘civilian national security’” and President Ghani “signed the order of execution in response to ‘repeated demands of the families of victims of terrorist attacks.’”
In Pakistan, a prominent journalist and human rights activist was murdered in Karachi. The BBC tells us that Khurram Zaki, editor “Let Us Build Pakistan,” a site that condemns sectarianism and is seen as promoting democratic and progressive ideas, was shot dead in a restaurant when suspects opened fire from motorbikes. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban claimed credit for the murder.
A Sufi Muslim leader in northern Bangladesh is the latest hacking attack victim in the country. TheNew York Times reports that Mohammad Shahidullah’s body was found in a pond about 25 miles away from his home with two deep wounds in his neck and throat. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for Shahidullah’s death, but the Times shares that “several of the assaults have been claimed by the Islamic State or by a branch of al Qaeda.”
Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile two weeks ago and didn’t tell anybody. According toReuters, “Iran successfully tested a precision-guided medium-range ballistic missile two weeks ago, a military official said on Monday, as Tehran continues to bolster what it insists is a purely defensive arsenal.” The move comes despite new sanctions against Iran over other recent missile tests.
Some American foreign policy experts are suggesting that “Russia has delivered its response to President Obama’s decision this year to increase the deployment of heavy weapons, armored vehicles, and other equipment to NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe.” According to theNew York Times, “by sharply ramping up so-called intercepts of American ships and planes in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia is demonstrating its anger over the increased American military presence in a region it considers part of its backyard.”
Speaking of Russia, Middle Eastern leaders are turning their backs on President Obama and instead, talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Why you ask? Because the Russian military is seen “as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region,” and the United States is not. Check out that story from Politico here.
The DPRK had a grand show over the weekend with the main event featuring a thrilling three-hour speech by the Supreme Leader. In his remarks, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un stated that his country would only use nuclear weapons if North Korea’s sovereignty was infringed by others with nuclear arms. During the country's rare Congress of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday, Kim said that the North “will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for global denuclearization.” Perhaps more significantly, Kim also announced a new five-year economic plan—a step that his father never took. While relatively light on specifics, the plan calls for more technological innovation in agriculture and factory production, as well as higher coal output.  
Earlier today however, North Korea indicated that it would strengthen its defensive nuclear weapons capability. Reuters reports that the country’s ruling Workers’ Party adopted the new decision in defiance of U.N. resolutions. North Korea’s official state-run news agency KCNA cited the congress and said that “we will consistently take hold on the strategic line of simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of nuclear force and boost self-defensive nuclear force both in quality and quantity as long as the imperialists persist in their nuclear threat and arbitrary practices.” Satellite images of North Korea indicate that the country is preparing for another nuclear test. Read more on that report here
Don’t miss the Times’ Saturday profile of Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Seven people have gone on trial in Belgium for suspicion of being linked to the Islamic State operatives who attacked Paris and Brussels. The BBC reports that “police broke up the cell when they raided a house in Verviers in eastern Belgium in January 2015. Although 16 suspects have been charged in connection with the cell, nine of them are on the run.” The trials began this morning in Brussels.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is debating whether to stay within the European Union. Earlier today, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that a U.K. exit from the E.U. could put peace in Europe at risk. Britain’s spy chiefs agree and are also warning that leaving the E.U. would be a security risk. Politico reports that “former heads of MI5 and MI6 have warned that leaving the EU would undermine Britain’s ability to protect itself from terrorist threats.”
France plans to establish a dozen deradicalization centers across the country in an attempt to identify potential extremists and prevent them from joining jihadist organization. In the Journal, Nicole Hong outlines a new program in Minnesota—the first of its kind in the United Statesthat will attempt to understand why members of the Somali-American community in the state “became radicalized and propose a plan to turn each away from violent extremism.”
In Somalia, al Shabaab claimed credit for a suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu that killed at least two police officers. Reuters tells us that the car bomb exploded just outside of Mogadishu’s traffic police headquarters and wounded three other police officers.
Twitter has barred intelligence agencies from utilizing Dataminr, a tool used to filter the social media platform’s postings. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the move, which hasn’t been publicly announced, was confirmed by a senior U.S. intelligence official and other people familiar with the matter. The service - which sends out alerts of unfolding terror attacks, political unrest, and other potentially important events - isn’t directly provided by Twitter, but instead by Dataminr Inc., a private company that mines public Twitter feeds for clients.” The barring represents that latest tension point between Silicon Valley and the federal government over privacy and security.
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) will introduce the Cyber Act of War Act of 2016 today, which will require the administration to adequately define what would constitute an act of war in cyberspace. In his piece in the Wall Street Journal, Senator Rounds writes, “America needs a clear and concise definition of when an attack in cyberspace constitutes an act of war.” You can read his full argument in the Journal here.
Parting Shot: The Washington Post’s Andrew Roth received a three-day press tour to travel with the Russian army in Syria. He went, despite a threat that it will be his last trip if he wrote poorly about Russia’s military, and shared his story of the 56 hours he spent with them. Check his piece out here.
ICYMI: This Weekend, on Lawfare
Alex McQuade shared The Week That Was, rounding up all of Lawfare’s content from last week.
Cody Poplin released the latest Lawfare Podcast featuring Juliette Kayyem on her new book Security Mom.
John Bellinger commented on the proposed legislation to micromanage the National Security Council and indicated that it raises constitutional and political concerns.
Paul Rosenzweig told us that the Intelligence Community thinks Harvard is wrong about encryption.
In Sunday’s Foreign Policy Essay, Carol Saivetz analyzed Russia’s pullout from Syria and pointed out that Moscow is more involved in Syria than it likes to admit.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board
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VIDEO: BBC team expelled from North Korea

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John Sudworth reports on the North Korean Congress - and his colleagues' expulsion from the country.

World Digest: May 9, 2016 - Washington Post

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Washington Post

World Digest: May 9, 2016
Washington Post
The Syrian military on Monday extended a fragile cease-fire that had broken down in the northern city of Aleppo, as the United States and Russia worked together to try to get peace talks back on track. Shortly before the cease-fire was due to expire ...

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Erdogan, Turkish President, Seeks to Gag German Media Boss

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A lawyer for Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is seeking a court injunction against the head of Axel Springer, one of Germany's biggest publishing houses, in an row over a satirical poem.

Pentagon: Senior IS Militant Killed in Iraq's Anbar Province

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The Pentagon says the notorious leader of Islamic State extremists in Iraq's Anbar province has been killed in a coalition airstrike, along with three other jihadists. Spokesman Peter Cook, speaking Monday, said the May 6 strike near the town of Rutba targeted militant Abu Wahib and his cohorts, who were traveling in a vehicle when hit.   Cook linked Abu Wahib to widely circulated execution videos, and described the militant's killing as "a significant step...

VIDEO: 'I was bitten by religious police'

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Saudi Arabian authorities have moved to curb the powers of the religious police, after a spate of amateur videos claiming to show them abusing their powers.

China's Xi congratulates North Korea's Kim on party promotion

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SEOUL (Reuters) - The president of China, which has grown increasingly frustrated over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons, sent a congratulatory message to the North's leader Kim Jong Un on his promotion to chairman of the country's ruling party, North Korean state media said on Tuesday.
  

Puerto Rico Senate Hands off Probe of Power Authority to FBI - ABC News

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Puerto Rico Senate Hands off Probe of Power Authority to FBI
ABC News
A special commission looking into fuel purchases by the financially troubled electric utility in Puerto Rico has turned over its findings to U.S. federal authorities for further investigation, the majority leader of the island's Senate said Monday ...

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Stingray Memo From FBI To Oklahoma Law Enforcement Tells PD To Engage In Parallel Construction - Techdirt

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Stingray Memo From FBI To Oklahoma Law Enforcement Tells PD To Engage In Parallel Construction
Techdirt
The concept of "checks and balances" kind of takes a beating when one branch of the government says it's ok to lie to another branch. We've already seen the FBI tell law enforcement agencies -- through extensive NDAs it makes them sign before they can ...

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Syrian hacking suspect extradited to US from Germany

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An alleged hacker with the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that supports the Syrian government, has been extradited to the United States from Germany on charges of conspiracy linked to a hacking-related extortion scheme, U.S. officials said Monday.
     

Did China Just Steal $360 Billion From America?

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The FBI has obtained information regarding multiple malicious cyber actor groups in China that have compromised sensitive business information from U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage.

Disfigured Yazidi Woman to Get Needed Surgery After VOA Details Plight 

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A Yazidi woman disfigured by a mine blast while escaping enslavement by Islamic State militants will get needed surgery in Germany after a VOA article detailed her plight and a lack of medical help. Lamiya Hachi Bashar, 18, lost her sight and was severely disfigured last month. Doctors said her complex injuries required treatment that was not available in Iraq. They said Bashar needed to be sent abroad for plastic surgery before it became impossible for her face to be surgically repaired. A German aid agency said it was willing to help. However, Bashar faced weeks of waiting in order to get an entry visa to Germany, and there was uncertainty about who was going to pay for the medical procedures. Following the VOA report, several organizations and individuals reached out to help. Bashar will be flown to Germany this week and receive surgery to repair one damaged eye, Bashar's uncle told VOA. WATCH: Yazidi Woman Seeks Aid for Disfigured Face The VOA report "helped her story to be heard everywhere," Bashar's uncle, Idris Kojo, said Monday by telephone from northern Iraq. The director of the German-based Air Bridge Iraq, Mirza Dinnayi, said the publicity will accelerate Bashar's medical care. "I am now confident there won't be any problem collecting funds for her," Dinnayi said. "Many people are contacting me offering to do everything to help." Dinnayi said his organization will pay for the operation for her left eye, which will cost $11,000. "Other organizations will help us pay for her plastic surgery after the eye operation is done and we have an estimate of the costs," he said. Bashar is one of thousands of Yazidis who have suffered under systematic violence by IS. While in IS captivity, Bashar said she was sold five times as a sex slave and faced mental and physical abuse. One IS leader in Mosul allegedly forced her to make suicide belts and prepare car bombs.

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Turkey Border Closure Divides Syrian Refugee Families

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In recent months, Turkey has tightened its border with Syria to stem the flow of refugees. Local officials say those carrying the right papers, and those who are injured, are allowed through — but Ankara says it is under pressure to tighten controls following the recent migrant deal with Europe. As Henry Ridgwell reports, the restrictions have divided families trying to flee the civil war in Syria.

Police: Chicago cop fatally shoots bank robbery suspect on Southwest Side - Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune

Police: Chicago cop fatally shoots bank robbery suspect on Southwest Side
Chicago Tribune
Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson describes the fatal police-involved shooting of a robbery suspect May 9, 2016. (WGN-TV / Chicago Tribune). Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson describes the fatal police-involved shooting of a ...

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