Government

  • African securityNigeria's army rescues 178 people captured and held captive by Boko Haram

    Nigeria’s army said on Sunday that it had rescued 178 people held by Islamist group Boko Haram in Borno state in Nigeria’s north-east. Under the sustained attacks of the armies of four of Nigeria’s neighbors — Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin — Boko Haram was pushed out of most of the vast swathes of Nigerian territory it had come to control at the start of the year. The Islamists, who a year ago appeared to be on the verge of establishing their own state-within-a-state in north-east Nigeria, have since dispersed, and have returned to their earlier guerrilla approach of hitting soft targets with bombs and raiding towns.

  • TerrorismIsrael mulls designating Jewish extremists as “terrorists”

    The State of Israel has been struggling with profound questions about terrorism these past three days – Jewish terrorism, that is. On Friday, Jewish extremists went a step-further: they threw Molotov cocktails into the home of a family of four in the Palestinian village of Duma, killing a toddler and severely injuring the toddler’s sister and her father and mother. All three are in critical condition in an Israeli hospital. To make sure the family would be killed in the attack, the Jewish terrorists blocked the doors to the house from the outside, so the family would not be able to escape and instead burn alive inside. The right-wing coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu may be especially uncomfortable making this decision because it may alienate the many settlers who are not violent – and who support the government — but who would not like to see fellow settlers designated as terrorists. The extremists, however, may be forcing the Israeli government’s hand.

  • DronesDHS warns local law enforcement to watch for drones used by terrorists, criminals

    DHS has circulated an intelligence assessment to police agencies across the United States warning about drones being used as weapons in an attack. The bulletin went out Friday and warned state and municipal law enforcement agencies that terrorist and criminals may begin to use drones to advance their goals. “Emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] present detection and disruption challenges,” the intelligence bulletin warns.

  • TerrorismU.S. judge: Guantánamo detention is legal even if U.S. winds down Afghanistan involvement

    U.S. district judge Royce Lamberth on Thursday rejected a Guantánamo Bay detainee’s legal challenge, which claimed that his imprisonment was unlawful because President Barack Obama has declared an end to hostilities in Afghanistan. In January 2015 President Obama declared that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” Muktar Yahya Najee Al-Warafi’s lawyers argued that since the United States was no longer involved in the war in Afghanistan, his detention was now unlawful under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which was the legal basis for the imprisonment of foreign fighters captured on overseas battlefields.

  • SurveillanceGerman prosecutors charge news Web site with treason over leaks of surveillance plan

    German authorities have launched a treason investigation into a news Web site which had reported on government plans to broaden state surveillance of online communications. This is the first time in more than fifty years that German journalists are facing treason charges for publishing leaked documents.

  • CybersecurityShoring up Tor

    By Larry Hardesty

    With 2.5 million daily users, the Tor network is the world’s most popular system for protecting Internet users’ anonymity. For more than a decade, people living under repressive regimes have used Tor to conceal their Web-browsing habits from electronic surveillance, and Web sites hosting content that’s been deemed subversive have used it to hide the locations of their servers. Researchers have now demonstrated a vulnerability in Tor’s design, mounting successful attacks against popular anonymity network — and show how to prevent them.

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  • WaterIsrael shares its approach, solutions to drought with California

    Israel has developed expertise in coping with droughts, and a delegation from Israeli water companies recently visited California, meeting with state officials and corporations to propose solutions to the drought, now in its fourth year. It was the latest in a series of consultations and symposiums highlighting Israeli water expertise and its potential to help California.

  • SurveillanceNSA to destroy millions of American call records collected under controversial program

    The director of national intelligence said on Monday that the NSA would no longer examine call records collected by the NSA in its controversial bulk collection program before the June reauthorization of the Patriot Act which prohibits such collection. Bulk records are typically kept for five years, but the director said that although the records in the NSA database were collected lawfully, they would not be examined, and would soon be destroyed.

  • Iran dealThe Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action “kicks the can down the road”: How to prepare for the day when the can finally lands

    The Institute for Science and International Security has published a series of briefs analyzing different aspects of the agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. One brief deals with what the United States and the other world powers need to do now to prepare for what may happen in Iran in ten to fifteen years when many of the limits the agreement imposes on Iran’s nuclear activities will expire. The agreement does not prohibit Iran from building a large uranium enrichment capability and even a reprocessing, or a plutonium separation, capability. The agreement essentially delays the day when Iran reestablishes a nuclear weapons capability and possibly builds nuclear weapons, that is, the agreement essentially “kicks the can down the road.” Prudent planning requires careful efforts now to prepare for the day when the can lands.

  • Iran dealInspection regime in Iran informed by lessons from Iraq experience

    Many critics of the agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program are especially concerned with the inspection regime negotiated in Geneva. The initial goal of the world powers was, in President Barack Obama’s words, an “Anywhere, anytime” inspections, but the deal finally reached saw the two sides agree to inspection procedures which fall short of that goal.

  • ISISTurkey, U.S. to create “ISIS-free zone” along Syria-Turkey border

    In what should be regarded as a significant victory for Turkey’s approach to the conflict in Syria, Turkey and the United States have agreed on a plan create an “ISIS free” strip inside Syria along the Turkey-Syria border. The deal will see Turkey drawn more deeply into Syria’s civil war and increase the intensity of the U.S. air strikes against ISIS. American officials told the New York Times that the United States would work with Turkey and Syrian rebel fighters to clear a 25-mile-deep strip of land near the border, which would constitute an ISIS-free zone and a safe haven for Syrian refugees.

  • ISISMore evidence emerges of ISIS’s use of chemical weapons

    A joint investigation by two independent organizations has found that ISIS has begun to use weapons filled with chemicals against Kurdish forces and civilians in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS is notorious for its skill in creating and adapting weapons and experts are concerned with the group’s access to chemical agents and its experiments with and the use of these agents as weapons.

  • ISISGame changer: Turkey allows U.S. to use of Incirlik air base for attacks on ISIS

    In a dramatic policy change, Turkey has agreed to allow the U.S. military to launch strikes against the Islamic State from the Incirlik air base near the Syrian border. The move — one senior U.S. official described it as a “game changer” — will make coalition airstrikes more effective because jets would reach their targets in Syria more quickly upon receiving actionable intelligence. The move will also draw Turkey deeper into the war in Syria. Turkey appears to have abandoned its studied ambivalence toward IS. Until this week, Turkey prioritized the removal of Bashar al-Assad and its own volatile relations with the Kurds, rather than join in the effort to defeat ISIS, but the Incirlik agreement indicates a significant change in Turkish priorities.

  • CybersecurityProposed bill would formalize DHS role in securing government networks

    The hacking of the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which resulted in the theft of records of twenty-two million federal employees and their families, has prompted a Senate response. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced a bill on the heels of that event, updating the original Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and formalizing the role of DHS in securing government networks and Web sites.

  • CybersecurityJournalists’ computer security tools lacking in a post-Snowden world

    Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents to journalists around the world about massive government surveillance programs and threats to personal privacy ultimately resulted in a Pulitzer Prize for public service. Though Snowden had no intention of hiding his identity, the disclosures also raised new questions about how effectively news organizations can protect anonymous sources and sensitive information in an era of constant data collection and tracking. Researchers found a number of security weaknesses in journalists’ and news organizations’ technological tools and ad-hoc workarounds.