The Soufan Group Morning Brief


FRIDAY MAY 6, 2016

Donald Trump will begin receiving U.S. intelligence briefings as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, after candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich recently dropped out of the race. President Obama will have the final decision about what information is included in the briefings, which typically do not include information at the highest classification levels. Some former intelligence officials expressed concern that Trump may inadvertently leak classified information. Washington Post, New York Times

Daily Beast: Spies Worry Candidate Trump Will Spill Secrets
The Hill: Dem senator: Trump would leak classified information
New York Times: In Donald Trump’s Rise, Allies See New American Approach

Americans’ perceptions of the military effort against ISIS are becoming more positive, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The poll found that 45 percent of Americans believe the military operations against ISIS are going well, up from only 38 percent in December. 54 percent of Americans still said the military efforts are going “badly.” However, the percentage of Americans who thought they were going “very badly” dropped to 19 percent from a high of 31 percent in October. CNN

Atlantic: After ISIS, Americans Fear Cyberattacks Most
Associated Press: "All they leave is rubble:" Shocking images of post-ISIS Ramadi
The Hill: Poll: Most Americans skeptical of US involvement overseas

FBI informants: Manhattan U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a government motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former FBI informant claiming the government had maliciously exposed his identity and unfairly prosecuted him for refusing to follow orders. Joseph Barone, a long time mob informant, claims the FBI deliberately exposed his identity and then prosecuted him after he refused an assignment he believed to be too dangerous. Newsday

Minnesota ISIS case: The attorney for three men charged with planning to provide material support to ISIS asked to be dismissed from the case on Thursday, just three days before their federal trial is set to begin. The attorney, Murad Mohammad, had previously urged defendant Mohammed Farah to plead guilty to to conspiracy to commit murder abroad, which carries a possible life sentence. Minneapolis Star Tribune, CBS

Bin Laden Raid: Two months after the raid against Osama bin Laden, the CIA’s top operative in Pakistan returned home to the United States after becoming seriously ill, leading some to suspect he may have been poisoned. Agency officials think it is plausible that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, may have had a role in former CIA station chief Mark Kelton’s sudden illness. Washington Post, Daily Beast

At least 30 people were killed in airstrikes against a camp for displaced Syrians near the Turkish border in the northeastern province of Idlib on Thursday, just hours after a new ceasefire agreement began. The Syrian government or Russia are believed to have carried out the strikes against the Kamuna camp in Idlib. New York Times, Reuters

Syria: A U.S. airstrike killed an ISIS fighter who had been planning attacks against the West, Pentagon officials confirmed Thursday. Abu Sa'ad al-Sudani, a Sudanese national, and his wife, Australian Shadi Jabar Khalil Mohammad were reportedly killed in an airstrike on April 22 in  Al Bab, Syria. A Pentagon spokesperson said “both al-Sudani and his wife were active in recruiting foreign fighters and efforts to inspire attacks against western interests.” CNN

Afghanistan: The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued an emergency warning to Americans on Thursday, after an attempted kidnapping targeting foreigners in the capital earlier this week. The embassy warned of an increased threat of kidnappings and urged U.S. citizens to take precautions, including avoiding “predictable travel patterns” within the country. New York Times, CNN, Reuters

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian security forces raided an ISIS cell on the outskirts of Mecca on Thursday. Four of the five suspected ISIS members were killed during the operations, with two committing suicide. Officials claimed that group was preparing to attack an emergency force base near the Wadi Numan area of Jeddah. International Business Times

Israel: Israeli forces clashed with Hamas militants on Thursday in direct fire for the first time since fighting during 2014. Israeli fighter jets carried out airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas continued to fire mortar shells at Israeli forces along the border. One Palestinian woman was reportedly killed by Israeli tank fire in the Khan Yunis area in southern Gaza. BBC News, Wall Street Journal
Obama’s drone war is a shameful part of his legacy: “Although drones may be quite good at killing people (even if not always the intended targets), it’s not clear that they are an effective tool in the war on terrorism. Obama’s embrace of drones has led to a preference for killing rather than capturing terrorists,” writes James Downie in The Washington Post. “...[D]ocuments include a study from the Defense Department’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force, which concluded that “‘kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available from detainees and captured material.’ ”

Trump vs. Hillary Is Nationalism vs. Globalism, 2016: “Any true understanding of this election requires an appreciation of the one huge political fault line that is driving America into a period of serious political tremors, certain to jolt the political Richter scale. It is nationalists vs. globalists,” writes Robert W. Merry in The National Interest. “Globalists captured much of American society long ago by capturing the bulk of the nation’s elite institutions...Then along comes Donald Trump and upends the whole thing. Just about every major issue that this super-rich political neophyte has thrown at the elites turns out to be anti-globalist and pro-nationalist. And that is the single most significant factor in his unprecedented and totally unanticipated rise.”

The Only Way to Solve Iraq’s Political Crisis: “The cause of Iraq’s political paralysis is neither ideological nor sectarian. In fact, most of the main actors in the continuing dispute are Shiite Islamists,” writes Zaid al-Ali in The New York Times. “The disagreement is instead based on mutual distrust, which is fueled by the incompetence and corruption that have formed the basis of Iraq’s political system since 2003”

Spycast: Playing to the Edge: An Interview with Gen. Michael Hayden

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Turkey’s Authoritarian Descent

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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