The Soufan Group Morning Brief

email : Webview : Morning Brief: U.S. Intelligence Officials Warn Congress Of “Homegrown” Threats, Expect ISIS To Attack Homeland
If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
Speaking in front of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees on Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned of the most imminent national security threats facing the United States in 2016. In his annual assessment to Congress, Clapper highlighted a wide range of threats including “homegrown” attacks by violent extremists, cybersecurity threats, Russian aggression, and the ongoing fight against ISIS. He noted that “the perceived success” of attacks such as San Bernardino “might motivate others to replicate opportunistic attacks with little or no warning.” Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart added that ISIS will probably “attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.” CIA Director John Brennan also remarked on North Korea’s recent expansion of its nuclear program. Reuters, Associated Press, CNN, Los Angeles Times

Buzzfeed News: ISIS Is “Determined” To Attack U.S. Soil, Top Intelligence Official Warns
NPR: Key Moments From The U.S. Spy Chief's Annual 'Litany Of Doom'
Business Insider: US intelligence chief: These are the main global threats for 2016
The Hill: Intel chiefs: Saudi, UAE ground troops unlikely to help against ISIS
Guardian: US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you
Legal proceedings in the case against U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl were put on hold on Tuesday, due to a dispute over 300,000 pages of classified documents. The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of proceedings after a request by government prosecutors. This comes after Judge Col. Jeffery Nance ordered prosecutors last week to hand over classified documents, with constraints, to the defense team for pretrial review. Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy last March. He has yet to make a plea in the case. Reuters, ABC News

San Bernardino: FBI Director James Comey told Congress on Tuesday that information on one of the phones used by the San Bernardino attackers remains inaccessible to investigators due to encryption technology. Speaking in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey cited this as an example of how encryption and the “going dark” phenomena are “overwhelmingly affecting" counterterrorism investigations. Washington Post, Reuters, BBC News

Buzzfeed News: The FBI Still Can’t Open San Bernardino Terrorist’s Cell Phone
TIME: FBI Still Can’t Unlock San Bernardino Shooter’s Encrypted Cellphone

Defense Budget: On Tuesday, the Pentagon officially unveiled its 2016 defense budget request totaling $582.7 billion. The budget calls for increased force readiness to address a myriad of threats in an increasingly “unpredictable” environment. The request includes $59 billion for war and other contingency funding, used for military operations in Afghanistan and against ISIS, on top of $524 billion for the base defense budget. The Hill, CNN

Reuters: Concerned by cyber threat, Obama seeks big increase in funding
Newsweek: Republicans Say $583 Billion For Pentagon Isn’t Enough
Washington Post: In the Pentagon’s new budget, the Air Force won and the Navy and Army lost
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won convincingly in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Trump led the Republican field with over 35 percent of the vote. John Kasich came in second place with almost 16 percent. Despite his victory in Iowa last week, Ted Cruz came in third with 11.6 percent of the vote. Two other Republican candidates broke 10 percent of the vote, with Jeb Bush earning 11.1 percent and Marco Rubio with 10.6 percent. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders was victorious by a wide margin with 60.0 percent of the vote beating Hillary Clinton who had 38.4 percent. The next contests in the presidential nomination race, the Nevada Democratic Caucus and the South Carolina primary, will be held on February 20. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Guardian

Politico: 5 takeaways from New Hampshire
The Atlantic: Trump and Sanders Prevail in New Hampshire
The Hill: NH primary winners and losers
The Taliban announced the death of a senior member of its leadership council, on Tuesday. Mullah Muhammad Hassan Rah­mani, believed to be in his mid-fifties, died of cancer according to the group’s statement. However, no further details were provided by the Taliban. Rahmani is believed to have been a close advisor to former Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He was among the group’s leaders included in peace talk plans scheduled to take place with the Afghan government later this month. The Nation, The Long War Journal

Syria: The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in Damascus on Tuesday. The suicide attack, which left at least ten people dead, was the first ISIS-led attack inside the country’s capital. The target, a police officers’ club, was popular among government troops as well as Hezbollah fighters. New York Times, Al-Jazeera

New York Times: Syrian Opposition Groups Sense U.S. Support Fading
Washington Post: U.S. officials: Russian airstrikes have changed ‘calculus completely’ in Syria
United Kingdom: A British appeals court upheld a decision to keep the details of the terrorism trial of Erol Incedal secret on Tuesday over national security concerns. The 28-year-old law student from South London was found not guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism last March, but the reasons for the court’s decision remain undisclosed. Only 10 of the 70 hours of the case were publicly heard. Out of the small amount of evidence heard in public, Incedal was allegedly in contact with a British jihadist in Syria and held details of an address linked to Tony Blair. He was previously convicted and jailed for 42 months on a related charge of possessing a bomb-making manual. BBC News, The Telegraph, Guardian

The Independent: Media groups lose right to report on why terror suspect was acquitted over ‘Tony Blair assassination plot’

France: An amendment to the French constitution, which would strip citizens convicted of terrorism of their passports, passed the lower house of French parliament on Tuesday. The amendment was proposed by President Francois Hollande in the wake of the Paris attacks last November. Critics argue that the law unfairly targets French citizens with dual nationality. The lower house of parliament is scheduled to vote on the matter today. Reuters
Surveillance Is Still About Power: “Using the words ‘surveillance’ and ‘power’ in close proximity tends to make people uncomfortable, as it can inspire dark images of dystopias, real and imagined,” writes Jeffrey Vagle on Just Security. “Post-Snowden, this aversion has been weakening, however, as our general awareness of sweeping government surveillance programs--particularly those that exploit technologies that we increasingly rely upon--grows.”

John Kerry’s Desperate Push On Syria: “Kerry’s problem, skeptics would argue, is that his strategy has the same logical flaws that have scuttled three years of Syria diplomacy,” writes David Ignatius in The Washington Post. But Kerry presses on, doggedly and, some critics would say, unrealistically.

North Korea’s Rocket Launch Shows That Mr. Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ has failed: “The policy has mostly consisted of ignoring North Korea while mildly cajoling China to pressure the regime,” writes the Editorial Board of The Washington Post. “What is needed is a return to the only non-military strategy that brought results: sanctions that strike at the regime’s inner circle.”
Follow us:
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Insider Terror Threat

The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host “A Discussion with Peter Bergen, Author of United States of Jihad” on February 12, 2016. To RSVP, click here.

The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host “Iran in Context” with Laura Secor, Hooman Majd, and others on February 23, 2016. To RSVP, click here.
150 W. 62nd St. 7th Floor | New York, NY 10023 US