The Pentagon has permitted its employees to “get their hands on” Mark Owen’s book, but can’t discuss, blog or tweet about “potentially classified or sensitive contents of NED”. Here’s Carlo Munoz’s story on the memo, and you can read the memo for yourself.
The BBC has apologized to Queen Elizabeth II for disclosing that she was displeased over the inability to arrest Abu Hamza al-Masri, writes NPR’s the Two-Way news blog. And by the way, a UK court blocked the extradition, and will be holding a hearing next week, says the AP.
Here’s the latest in the Washington Post’s Zero Day investigation analyzing the challenges facing government and business in defending against cyber attacks. This one is about social engineering, where people are tricked into subverting security procedures for a network. It looks at spear phishing, phony web pages, and other scams.
The AP reports that U.S. Bank and PNC added their names to the list of banks reporting problems with customer websites. Bank officials and others believe that the problems stem from cyber attacks.
The Economist writes in its print edition this week about the Mali branch of Al Qaeda:
The northern Malian branch is busy setting up its own power structure. The ethnic Tuareg rebels who initially led the conquest have been sidelined. Two local al-Qaeda fronts have carved out separate fiefs. Ansar al-Dine, which controls Timbuktu, is more moderate and has tried to co-operate with local leaders, though it has failed to create a working civil administration. The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), which controls the town of Gao, eyes commercial and criminal opportunities, while getting its funds from AQIM. Abdou Abdoulaye Sidibe, a member of parliament for Gao, says, “It is AQIM who have the money and the guns.”
The new rulers are settling in for the long term. Beyond Mopti, the government’s most northerly outpost 450km (280 miles) from Bamako, a harsh version of sharia law reigns. Robbers have had hands and feet cut off. Hassan Ag Diallo, a refugee from the north, says Islamists sliced off the top of his ear for smoking. “For drinking, they cut off your head.”
New businesses are emerging. After the financial system fell apart when they took over, the Islamists let merchants create new links with Bamako, the capital in the south. Tamba Doucouré runs buses to Timbuktu, moving both passengers and cash. He charges $10 to send $2,000 and has set up a partnership with MoneyGram, an American firm. Businessmen think the new status quo will last a while; hopes of soon ejecting the Islamists look slim.
Secretary Clinton has come out publicly making a connection between the Bengazi attack and Al Qaeda, writes the New York Times. And the FBI has still not been given permission to go to Bengazi to begin its investigation of the attacks, writes Jeremy Herb of The Hill.
Secretary Clinton also said yesterday that the U.S. is increasing its counterterrorism efforts in Mali and the rest of the Magreb. Julian Pecquet of The Hill wrote on her comments.
Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times writes on the FAA’s (lack of) progress on establishing test sites for commercial and personal use of drones. And here’s stories from Wired as well as from U.S. News on the GAO report we noted last week on FAA progress toward integrating drones into domestic airspace.
Here’s an interesting story over at Foreign Policy about the establishment of a new “strategic land power cell” which includes the Army, the Marines, and Special Operations Command. Here’s the blurb about it in the article:
The brand-new initiative, known only to a small group of planners thus far, is the brainchild of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and will take shape over the next few months. The group, which will also include the Marines, is designed to fuse the military’s land cultures, from the conventional land power of “Big Army” to the people-oriented skills of Special Forces to technology and cyber efforts. Ultimately, the planning cell could include general officers from each of the major land components
Conor Friedersdorf and Joshua Foust both write about a new report from Stanford Law & NYU Law on the drone campaign in Pakistan, and the New York Times‘ Room for Debate this week asks whether damage from these attacks on Al Qaeda is worth the cost. Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First also writes in the Huffington Post on the report, saying that the Obama administration needs to be more up front about why its drone strategy is necessary. Political scientist Eric Voeten writes over at the Monkey Cage Blog that the flaw he sees in both sides’ arguments is that “neither proponents nor critics accurately characterize the strategic trade-off.”
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