Miscues at U.S. counterterrorism base put aircraft in danger, documents show (WaPo)

Djibouti

“The skies above the U.S. military’s counterterrorism hub on the Horn of Africa have become chronically dangerous, with pilots forced to rely on local air-traffic controllers who fall asleep on the job, commit errors at astronomical rates and are hostile to Americans, documents show.

Conditions at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the base for U.S. pilots flying sensitive missions over Yemen and Somalia, have become so dire that American warplanes and civilian airliners alike are routinely placed in jeopardy, according to federal aviation experts and documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Read the full article here.

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“Did the New Spooks on the Block Really Fix U.S Intelligence?” (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“For decades intelligence reformers sought to centralize the U.S. intelligence community in a single office with real power over budgets, personnel, and operations. Ten years ago they finally got their wish. Following an intense congressional fight, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set up shop in April 2005 with high expectations. The office was supposed to ensure the kind of inter-agency coordination that was supposedly missing before the 9/11 attacks. It was to be the fulcrum of sharing and collaboration among agencies with long histories of mutual suspicion and occasional disdain. Ultimately it sought to unify a sprawling constellation of civilian and military agencies into “fully integrated intelligence community” that would “inform decisions made from the White House to the foxhole.”

See the article here.

New Russian heavy armour breaks cover (IHS Jane’s 360)

Armata MBT

The Russian Ground Forces’ new suite of armoured vehicles have been officially revealed for the first time by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), ahead of their formal debut at the 9 May Moscow Victory Day Parade.

The new vehicles are principally clean-slate designs and represent the biggest change in Russia’s armoured fighting vehicle families since the 1960s and 1970s.”

These vehicles include the Armata MBT, the Coaliation-SV AV, the Kurganets-25 IFV, and the 8×8 Bumerang IFV.

Read the full article here.

The Untouchable John Brennan (Buzzfeed)

John Brennan CIA

How did the candidate of hope and change turn into the president of secret kill lists, drone strikes hitting civilians, and immunity for torturers? The answer may lie in his relationship with the CIA director, a career bureaucrat turned quiet architect of a morally murky national security policy who isn’t going to let a little thing like getting caught spying on the Senate bring him down.”

See the full article here.

US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’ (Al-Jazeera)

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“The recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.

The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS).

“These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference.

But the case relies partly on a confidential human source (CHS), who had been a part of the group seeking to join ISIL before he began cooperating with the FBI.”

Read the full article here.

The Office of the DNI’s Greatest Hits (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“The DNI post was the centerpiece of landmark legislation enacted in 2004, informed by the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Presidential, legislative, and bureaucratic politics all contributed to a compromise law that sought to improve information sharing and strengthen central leadership of our sprawling intelligence enterprise without infringing upon existing military and departmental chains of command. Ten years of experience offers an opportunity to take stock and ask whether the government is smarter and the country is safer as a result of these changes.”

See the full debate here.