The Soufan Group Morning Brief



The CIA released 50 previously classified documents on Tuesday that include new details of the agency’s harsh post-9/11 interrogation program for terror suspects. The files include detailed descriptions of the inner workings of CIA “black sites,” as well as memos that indicate some personnel within the agency were concerned about the legality of the interrogation program. One memo strongly urged “that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, or more precisely, judgment calls as their legality vis-a-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (e-mail or cable traffic).” Washington Post, Politico

VICE News: Barbaric Conditions that Led to a Detainee’s Death Are Laid Bare in CIA Reports
Guardian: Declassified CIA file: detainee would probably have cooperated before torture
The Hill: CIA considered requesting advance immunity for enhanced interrogations

The Senate passed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday with a 85-13 vote. The annual defense bill includes measures that would prevent the Obama administration from closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The bill would also require women turning 18 on or after January 1, 2018, to register for the draft. New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters

Human Rights First: Obama Should Veto NDAA that Limits Ability to Close Guantanamo

Gitmo: Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi man suspected of planning to participate in the 9/11 attacks as the 20th hijacker, will appear before the Periodic Review Board at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday. Qahtani’s lawyers are expected to cite their client’s preexisting mental illness, the abuse he experienced at Guantanamo, and the military prison’s inability to provide him with adequate medical care as justification for his release. Washington Post

Orlando shooting: The wife of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen is facing intense scrutiny, as the FBI investigates whether she had advance knowledge of the attack, according to officials. The FBI has learned that Noor Salman accompanied Mateen on at least one trip to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando prior to Sunday’s attack. Washington Post

Washington Post: FBI comes under scrutiny again after dropping investigation of Orlando shooter
CNN: ISIS rides wave of attacks as its core territory shrinks
Huffington Post: How ISIS Used The Orlando Shooting To Feed Its Propaganda Machine
CNN: Omar Mateen scouted Disney complex and Pulse, official says

President Obama denounced Donald Trump on Tuesday for his comments following the massacre in Orlando. President Obama sharply criticised the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, saying Trump has a “dangerous mindset.” Obama added that “we hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence...Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?” New York Times, Guardian, CNN

New York Times: Donald Trump Responds to Orlando Attack by Exploiting Fear, Not Easing It
CNN: Trump's fatuous terrorism plan

U.S.-backed Arab and Kurdish forces appealed for international humanitarian assistance for civilians fleeing fighting around the ISIS-held city of Manbij in northern Syria on Tuesday. The Syria Democratic Forces began an offensive against ISIS in northern Syria two weeks ago in an effort to cut off the group’s access to the Turkish border. Reuters

Afghanistan: One Afghan soldier and a Pakistani army major were killed in a skirmish between border security forces along the Pakistan border on Tuesday. At least 22 others were wounded in fighting at the Torkham border crossing located on the route between Jalalabad and Peshawar. Al Jazeera

Nigeria: Boko Haram militants killed at least four people and kidnapped three women on Tuesday near the northeastern town of Chibook. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Chibook in April 2014. The Telegraph

NATO: NATO defense ministers approved the deployment of 4,000 additional troops to Poland and the Baltic States in an effort to deter Russian aggression in the region. As NATO announced the decision on Tuesday, Russia was set to begin a week-long series of military readiness drills. Washington Post, Reuters

China: The U.S. Navy is preparing to send more ships to East Asia to bolster the Japan-based Seventh Fleet, according to a U.S. official. The U.S. Navy Third Fleet’s Surface Action Group, which includes guided-missile destroyers will operate outside their normal theater during a time of heightened tensions with China. Reuters

European Union: On Tuesday, the European Commission unveiled plans to help EU member states tackle extremism and radicalization. The measures focus mainly on education, employment, and coordination between countries. It also emphasizes the importance of online activities to counter extremism. Politico, AP
Why Do Terrorists Commit Terrorism?: “The easy explanation—that jihadist terrorists in the United States are ‘mad’ or ‘bad’—proved simply wrong. Around one in 10 had mental health problems, below the incidence in the general population. Nor were they typically career criminals,” writes Peter Bergen in The New York Times. “I found that the perpetrators were generally motivated by a mix of factors, including militant Islamist ideology; dislike of American foreign policy in the Muslim world; a need to attach themselves to an ideology or organization that gave them a sense of purpose; and a “cognitive opening” to militant Islam that often was precipitated by personal disappointment, like the death of a parent.”

Donald Trump’s Response to Orlando Plays Directly into the Hands of Terrorists: “Donald Trump is the presidential candidate Osama bin Laden made. Nothing demonstrates that like Trump’s performance in the wake of the shooting that took place in Orlando on Sunday,” writes David Rothkopf on Foreign Policy. “If the goal of a terrorist is to spread terror, then his most potent weapon is not a gun or an explosive vest, but the fear-mongers within a targeted society—especially those who embody or inflame the impulses that support the terrorist’s narrative about his enemies.”

Trump’s Bluster About Radical Islam Helps Radical Islam: “Now Trump is crowing. His tweets and interviews since the shooting are a series of told-ya-so’s. He is quite pleased with himself for observing that President Barack Obama doesn’t call these mass shootings ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ ” writes Eli Lake on Bloomberg View. “There are good reasons why Obama -- and President George W. Bush before him -- did not describe jihadists in explicitly Islamic terms. It was not because they are cowed by political correctness. Rather it was because the wider war on radical Islamic terrorism requires the tacit and at times active support of many radical Muslims.”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Answering the Islamic State’s Call to Terror

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