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.

“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.

Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States (NYT)

map

“WASHINGTON — To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.”

See the full NYT article.

The Bureaucracy of Terror New Secret Documents Reveal al Qaeda’s Real Challenges (Foreign Affairs)

Osama

“A new trove of documents that were among those seized in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, were presented recently during the trial of Abid Naseer at the Brooklyn federal district court.

The documents—which consist of correspondence between Osama bin Laden and senior al Qaeda leaders—reveal the state of the global terror operation in the months leading up to bin Laden’s death. They paint a picture of an organization crippled by the U.S. drone campaign, blindsided by the Arab Spring, and struggling to maintain control over its affiliates—and yet still chillingly resolute in its mission to strike inside the United States.

The documents offer some insight into the effectiveness of U.S. counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda. They also, believe it or not, provide a few laughs.”

Read the full article by Jennifer R. Williams

To Catch a Spy (Foreign Policy)

John Brennan CIA

“In the age of iris scans and facial recognition software, biometrics experts like to point out: The eyes don’t lie. And that has made tradecraft all the more difficult for U.S. spies.”

Read the full article here.

“US Army Eyes Ukraine Conflict for Intel on Russian Military Technology” (DoD Buzz)

Still image taken from handout aerial footage shot by drone shows outline o airplane in the snow at the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport damaged by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces, in Donetsk

“The U.S. Army is working to glean intelligence on Russian military technology from the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces, American generals said.

The Moscow-backed rebels are waging a hybrid war that includes the use of soft power such as disinformation and cyberattacks to hard power such as truck-mounted Grad rocket launchers, according to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe.”

See the full article here.

AQ vs. IS and the battle for the soul of jihad (Brookings)

Centcom Hack

Almost overnight, the Islamic State sent its enemies reeling—and turned U.S. policy in the Middle East upside down. As troubling as the Islamic State’s successes are for U.S. officials, there is one person for whom they are even more troubling: Ayman al-Zawahiri. Although the Al Qaeda leader might be expected to rejoice at the emergence of a strong jihadist group that delights in beheading Americans (among other horrors), in reality the Islamic State’s rise risks Al Qaeda’s demise. When Islamic State leader

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rejected Al Qaeda’s authority and later declared a ca­liphate, he split the fractious jihadist move­ment.

The two are now competing for more than the leadership of the jihadist move­ment: they are competing for its soul.”

Read the full article here by