The Soufan Group Morning Brief



ISIS militants killed a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs on Tuesday in fighting in northern Iraq. Charlie Keating IV was killed by a “coordinated and complex attack” of about 100 ISIS fighters that penetrated Kurdish Peshmerga lines about 100 miles north of Mosul. He is the third U.S. service member to die in combat since the U.S.-led military coalition against ISIS began in 2014. Speaking before a coalition meeting in Germany, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, said the fight against ISIS “is far from over.” New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, CNN, Reuters

BBC: US Navy Seal killed in Iraq as IS breaches Peshmerga lines
Slate: Navy SEAL Becomes Third U.S. Combat Casualty in Iraq Since America Returned
The Hill: White House: Troops in Iraq doing 'dangerous work'

The NSA and CIA doubled the number of warrantless searches of U.S. citizens’ data collected for foreign intelligence purposes, according to a new U.S. intelligence transparency report. The estimated number of search terms on the NSA’s massive “Section 702” database “concerning a known U.S. person” increased to 4,672 last year, more than double the amount from 2013. The Intercept

Government leakers: The Obama administration has aggressively pursued administrative punishments rather than criminal indictments against government leakers in an effort to more swiftly punish offenders, according to a newly published document on Tuesday. During President Obama’s first term, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper ordered federal agencies to “pursue administrative investigations and sanctions against identified leakers wherever appropriate,” rather than going through a drawn-out criminal court proceeding. The Hill

Gitmo: The Defense Department reportedly hired the same contractor to staff both the prosecution and defense teams in legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. SRA, a Virginia-based security logistics contracting firm, has provided approximately 45 investigators, intelligence analysts, and other staff to both the prosecution and defense teams at the Guantanamo military commissions, according to a document obtained by BuzzFeed News. BuzzFeed News

Miami Herald: Navy reinstates nurse who refused to force-feed at Guantánamo
The Hill: Administration speeds up review boards for Guantánamo detainees

On Tuesday, the Afghan Taliban denied reports from the Afghan Interior Ministry that security forces had killed Haji Lala, its ‘shadow governor’ in Kandahar province. Afghan security forces claimed to have killed Lala, his deputy, and 43 other Taliban fighters during an operation in Shah Wali Kot district. Long War Journal

Syria: A maternity hospital in a government-held area of Aleppo was struck by rebel-fired rockets on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Syrian government airstrikes destroyed a pediatric hospital and a clinic in the rebel-held area of the city. Both sides have been accused of attacking civilian targets, as the two- month-old ceasefire continues to unravel. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday condemning all attacks against health workers in war zones. New York Times, Reuters, Wall Street Journal

Spain: Spanish police arrested three Moroccans and one Spanish national suspected of promoting Islamist militancy and recruiting followers. The suspects allegedly targeted hundreds of potential recruits via instant messaging and other social media sites. Reuters

Singapore: The Singapore government arrested eight Bangladeshi immigrants over the past month for allegedly planning terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, according to government officials. One of the suspects had reportedly established a group called “the Islamic State in Bangladesh” aiming to violently overthrow the Bangladeshi government. TIME

Kenya: Kenyan police reportedly thwarted a potential biological attack by a cell of extremists linked to ISIS on Tuesday. The suspects, all medical students or interns, were “planning large scale attacks akin to the Westgate Mall attack,” according to Kenya’s police chief. Associated Press
Why America Needs Iran in Iraq: “The chaos in Baghdad, culminating in the temporary occupation of the parliament by followers of Shiite Islamist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is undermining the war against the Islamic State, weakening Iraq’s economy, and accelerating the country’s disintegration,” writes Zalmay Khalilzad on Politico. “Without cooperation between the United States, Iran and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Sistani, the crisis could very well lead to the collapse of the entire political system set up in Iraq during the temporary U.S. occupation.”

A Looming Crisis in Lebanon: “The regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has found a new focal point in Lebanon with its uneasy equilibrium,” writes Hussein Ibish in The New York Times. “At the center of the crisis is the growing role of Hezbollah, the Shiite political party and militia. Beyond its Lebanese strongholds, the group has also become one of Iran’s main strategic assets in the region.”

‘It could get a lot worse for Muslims in America’: “At the core of Trump’s candidacy so far has been his disparagement of women, immigrants, Latinos and African Americans, his mockery of the disabled, his play with Jewish stereotypes and his demonizing of Muslims. They all should be taken into account, but for now let’s focus on the last,” writes Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. “Trump can’t be blamed for everything his followers do. But his ascent has coincided with a rise in the number of anti-Muslim incidents to the highest level the Council on American-Islamic Relations has ever found.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Blurred Combat Lines in Iraq

Join the Center on National Security on Wednesday, June 1 for a discussion with Director Karen J. Greenberg, author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. To RSVP click here

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