Mark's Feed
May 8, 2015

Deadline may force compromise on U.S. surveillance law

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republican leaders
insist that spy agencies continue to have access to data on
Americans’ telephone calls despite a court ruling that the
practice is illegal, but aides said on Friday they may have to
compromise on proposed reforms of the program before it expires
on June 1.

Senate aides said the deadline could force supporters and
opponents of the bulk data collection program to work out a deal
before May ends. In practice the date may be even earlier as
Congress leaves Washington on May 22 for a Memorial Day recess.

May 6, 2015

Texas attack shows evolution of ‘lone wolf’ militants -U.S. officials

WASHINGTON/AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – U.S. investigators believe two men killed after opening fire on a Texas event that offered a prize for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad represent an evolving model of “lone wolf” militants who are radicalized partly by themselves and partly through long-distance engagement with organized militants.

Although the Islamic State movement claimed credit for the Texas shooting, several U.S. officials said investigators have no evidence that either of the men shot dead by security personnel after they opened fire at the Garland, Texas, event traveled to Syria or Iraq. U.S. court documents do show that one of the men, Elton Simpson, once tried to travel to Somalia.

May 6, 2015

U.S. probing Islamic State claims it was behind Texas cartoon attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. investigators were looking into claims by the Islamic State that it was behind a failed attack on a Texas exhibit of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in which two gunmen were killed, but officials said on Tuesday they doubted the militant group’s direct involvement.

The Syria- and Iraq-based Islamic State (IS) said on its official online radio station that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack on Sunday in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.

May 6, 2015

U.S. investigates claim Islamic State behind Texas attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. investigators were investigating a claim by Islamic State that it was behind a failed attack on a Texas exhibit of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in which two gunmen were killed, but officials said on Tuesday they doubted the militant group’s direct involvement.

The Syria- and Iraq-based Islamic State said on its official online radio station that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack on Sunday in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.

May 5, 2015

Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas cartoon exhibit attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamic State militant group took responsibility on Tuesday for a failed attack on a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in which two gunmen were killed, with U.S. investigators probing the veracity of the claim.

The Syria- and Iraq-based Islamic State (IS) said on its official online radio station that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack on Sunday in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.

Apr 30, 2015

FBI has exemption to arrange payments to hostage-takers: U.S. sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While U.S. policy bans federal officials from doing business with kidnappers, the FBI for years has used a secret exemption to government rules to communicate with hostage-takers and sometimes send money to them, U.S. government sources said.

Under a directive issued by President George W. Bush in 2002, the FBI can engage with suspected kidnappers, including on financial transactions, when the bureau has reason to believe it would be useful for an investigation or intelligence gathering.

Apr 30, 2015

American charged with Islamic State ties contacted Jamaica cleric: U.S. official

WASHINGTON/KINGSTON (Reuters) – An American woman arrested last month for trying to travel to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State was in touch with an Islamist preacher in Jamaica, a federal law enforcement official said.

The woman, Keonna Thomas from Philadelphia, was charged in early April with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group after she bought a ticket to Europe to travel to Syria.

Apr 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails contain few revelations: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cache of Hillary Clinton emails expected to be made public soon contains no support for Republican accusations that Clinton was involved in efforts to downplay the role of Islamic militants in the deadly 2012 attacks on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya, people familiar with the emails said.

Two people familiar with the material said this week that the 300 emails do not demonstrate that Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, was personally involved in decisions that resulted in weak security at the Benghazi outposts.

Apr 24, 2015

Several U.S. probes likely of drone strikes that killed hostages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Central Intelligence Agency’s Inspector General will conduct what could be the first of several investigations into the CIA drone strikes that killed American and Italian hostages and two U.S.-born al Qaeda militants, U.S. government sources said on Friday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also is reviewing the attacks, a Congressional source said.

Apr 24, 2015

Hostage locations difficult to track – and may be getting harder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. drone strike that accidentally killed two hostages in Pakistan exposes intelligence shortfalls that former and current U.S. officials say appear to be growing more frequent as militants expand their safe havens and as Washington gathers less on-the-ground human intelligence.

Obtaining timely intelligence on hostages has always been difficult, especially in volatile regions where the United States has limited access and where militants have well-established operations.