Mark's Feed
Jan 24, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Some counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen frozen for now – U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has halted some counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda militants in Yemen following a takeover of the country by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The collapse of the U.S.-backed government of Yemen on Thursday has left America’s counter-terrorism campaign “paralyzed”, two U.S. security officials said, dealing a major setback to Washington’s fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a potent wing of the militant network.

Jan 23, 2015

Security high as Phoenix prepares for Super Bowl

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Elaborate security measures
are being prepared for next month’s Super Bowl, the biggest
annual U.S. sports event, and for two other upcoming major
events in the Phoenix area, federal officials said on Friday.

But they said the designated threat level for the Feb. 1
Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots
was the same as in previous years, except for the year after the
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when a higher level was declared.

Jan 22, 2015

Obama abandons telephone data spying reform proposal -U.S. officials

WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
administration has quietly abandoned a proposal it had been
considering to put raw U.S. telephone call data collected by the
National Security Agency under non-governmental control, several
U.S. security officials said.

Obama promised changes in the government’s handling of such
data in a speech a year ago after revelations by former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden about the extent of the agency’s
electronic surveillance of Americans’ communications.

Jan 15, 2015

U.S. report finds no substitute to gathering bulk intel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – No existing technology can fully replace collecting data in bulk to obtain electronic intelligence, but some methods could be developed to improve how information is gathered and used, the U.S. National Research Council said in a report on Thursday.

The report, sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was in response to President Barack Obama’s call last year for a review of potential software-based alternatives to the controversial program.

Jan 14, 2015

British hacker linked to attack on Pentagon Twitter feed -sources

WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The “CyberCaliphate” hacking
group that attacked a Twitter account belonging to the Pentagon
on Monday was founded by a Briton who was once jailed for
hacking the personal address book of former British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, according to government sources and private
sector security experts.

U.S. and European government sources said investigators
strongly believe that Junaid Hussain, 20, was the leader of
CyberCaliphate, though they do not know if he was personally
involved in hacking the Twitter and YouTube
accounts of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military
operations in the Middle East.

Jan 10, 2015

Paris shooting cases demonstrate spy agencies’ limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This week’s deadly attacks in France by Islamist gunmen showed the limits of spy and anti-terrorist agencies, which often have information about perpetrators in advance but are only able to assemble all the clues after the bloodletting has taken place.

From the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 through a series of outrages in Europe and other parts of the world, U.S. and European security and intelligence officials say a key problem has been making connections from a mass of data.

Jan 8, 2015

Suspect sought in Paris attack had trained in Yemen: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of two brothers suspected of carrying out the deadly shooting at a French satirical weekly visited Yemen in 2011 to train with al Qaeda-affiliated militants, U.S. and European sources close to the investigation said on Thursday.

    The sources said Said Kouachi, 34, was in Yemen for a number of months training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group’s most active affiliates.

Jan 7, 2015

FBI says Sony hackers ‘got sloppy,’ posted from N.Korea addresses

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – FBI Director James
Comey said on Wednesday that hackers behind the cyberattack on
Sony Pictures Entertainment provided key clues to their
identity by sometimes posting material from IP addresses used
exclusively by the North Korean government.

The hackers, who called themselves “Guardians of Peace,”
sometimes “got sloppy” and failed to use proxy servers that
would hide their identity, Comey said at the International
Conference on Cyber Security in New York.

Jan 7, 2015

FBI questions U.S.-based Gambian civil society leader over coup plot

DAKAR/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Gambian civil society leader based in the United States said on Wednesday he had been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a failed coup plot allegedly planned on U.S. soil.

Federal prosecutors have already charged a Texas businessman and a former U.S. Army sergeant over the failed Dec. 30 plot to oust President Yahya Jammeh while he was away from the tiny West African nation.

Jan 5, 2015

U.S. charges two men in connection with failed Gambia coup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Americans with ties to Gambia were part of a failed effort last week to overthrow the tiny West African nation’s government, the U.S. Justice Department charged on Monday.

Cherno Njie, 57, and Papa Faal, 46, a former U.S. Army sergeant, will appear in federal courts in Baltimore and Minneapolis on Monday, the department said. The two men have been charged with conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, it added.