Mark's Feed
Feb 26, 2015

‘Jihadi John’ from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The masked “Jihadi John” killer who fronted Islamic State beheading videos has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a British computer programming graduate from a well-to-do London family.

The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

Feb 24, 2015

U.S. offers highest-ever reward for Russian hacker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department and FBI on Tuesday announced a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev, the highest bounty U.S. authorities have ever offered in a cyber case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also issued a “Wanted” poster for Bogachev, who is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.

Feb 19, 2015

Obama rejects as ‘ugly lie’ notion that West is at war with Islam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged countries to tackle violent Islamist militancy around the world and rejected as “an ugly lie” suggestions that the West was at war with Islam.

Obama said there was a complicated history between the Middle East and the West and no one should be immune from criticism over specific policies.

Feb 6, 2015

Nigeria’s Boko Haram has up to 6,000 hardcore militants: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, which is fighting a violent insurgency in northeast Nigeria, has about 4,000-6,000 “hardcore” fighters, U.S. intelligence officials said on Friday.

In an assessment of the group, whose five-year uprising has included massacres and kidnappings and spread from Nigeria into neighboring states, the officials said they did not believe it posed a major threat to Nigeria’s oilfields in the south.

Feb 6, 2015

Exclusive – U.S. pressing Cuba to restore diplomatic ties before April – officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is pressing Cuba to allow the opening of its embassy in Havana by April, U.S. officials told Reuters, despite the Communist island’s demand that it first be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

A refusal by Cuba to allow the United States to quickly establish an official embassy for the first time in half a century could complicate talks between the Cold War foes, reflecting enduring mistrust as they move to end decades of confrontation.

Feb 5, 2015

U.S. considers declassifying report on Saudi funding of al Qaeda

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is considering whether to declassify still-secret sections of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks which examined Saudi Arabian support for Islamist militants, the White House said on Thursday.

Interest in the 28-page section of the report was raised after an imprisoned former al Qaeda operative, Zacarias Moussaoui, said in deposition transcripts filed this week that more than a dozen prominent Saudi figures donated to his group in the late 1990s. Saudi officials have denied this.

Feb 3, 2015

Obama reform of spy agency access to phone metadata in question

WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
pledge to reform the way U.S. spy agencies access vast amounts
of metadata on Americans’ telephone calls is facing increasing
obstacles, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Obama promised to act after revelations by former National
Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had been
collecting and storing the data, including numbers called and
the time and length of calls but not their content.

Jan 30, 2015

Exclusive: U.S. armed drone program in Yemen facing intelligence gaps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is facing increasing difficulty acquiring intelligence needed to run its stealth drone program in Yemen, undermining a campaign against the most lethal branch of al Qaeda after Houthi rebels seized control of parts of the country’s security apparatus, U.S. officials say.

Gaps in on-the-ground intelligence could slow America’s fight against a resurgent al Qaeda in Yemen and heighten the risk of errant strikes that kill the wrong people and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment, potentially making the militants even stronger in areas where al Qaeda is already growing.

Jan 29, 2015

US armed drone program in Yemen facing intelligence gaps

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The United States is facing
increasing difficulty acquiring intelligence needed to run its
stealth drone program in Yemen, undermining a campaign against
the most lethal branch of al Qaeda after Houthi rebels seized
control of parts of the country’s security apparatus, U.S.
officials say.

Gaps in on-the-ground intelligence could slow America’s
fight against a resurgent al Qaeda in Yemen and heighten the
risk of errant strikes that kill the wrong people and stoke
anti-U.S. sentiment, potentially making the militants even
stronger in areas where al Qaeda is already growing.

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.