Contracting the Taliban, NSA Data Demand, a New Era in Iran – Daily Intelligence


U.S. Army Sgt. Oscar Ramos from El Paso, Texas, assigned to Alpha Company, BSTB, 3/10 Mountain Division, provides security in Logar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 14, 2009. U.S. Army photo.

Annoy your colleagues, then show them how smart you are.


1.  Put your resume on steroids.  Want to be sorta-like A-Rod? Have you leveraged ClearanceJobs.Com’s resume builder yet?  If not, take a look, and take the time to work it: “The new candidate resume profile on the ClearanceJobs Cleared Network provides a full 360° view of you, your skills, and your personality, making it easier for employers to identify, contact, and hire the perfect fit for their company’s unique culture.”  And just in case you cannot remember 1974, It’s Alive.

2.  Thanks, Brad.  Always one to find a glimmer of sunshine in the most deplorable conditions, Editor Lindy Kyzer says a very subtle but implicit “thank you” to Bradley Manning while she leverages some of ClearanceJobs.Com’s most insightful reporting:  “The sentencing phase of the Bradley Manning court-martial trial has begun, the same week leaker Edward Snowden was granted asylum in Russia. To say the spotlight is on leaking classified information might be an understatement. As we’ve covered in the past, there is a difference between leakers and whistleblowers, and the U.S. government is of the strong opinion that Snowden falls under the ‘leaker’ category. A court has now ruled the same for Bradley Manning, and his upcoming sentencing will dictate just how harsh his punishment will be.”


1.  Iran’s new era promises Hassan RouhaniThe Telegraph covers the inauguration of Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani: “In his first speech he promised to lead a government of righteousness, honesty and trustworthiness.  He said Iranians had rejected extremism in the June presidential election.  The Iranian people had smiled at the world by electing him, he said. ‘The people voted for moderation . . . the people want to live better, to have dignity, and enjoy a stable life.  They want to recapture their deserving position among nations,’ he said.  The new president called for better relations with the world and the demise of international sanctions. ‘The only path to interact with Iran is through negotiations on equal grounds, reciprocal trust-building, mutual respect and reducing hostilities . . . .’ His first staff appointment, the nomination as chief of staff of Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mohammad Nahavandian, who holds a doctorate in economics from George Washington University and a US Green Card, was seen as a statement of his priorities.”  See related, “New Iranian president sworn in.”

2.  Contracting out to the Taliban – $150 millionKhaama.Com reviews SIGAR’s report: “John F Sopko, head of the SIGAR said, ‘Dating back to 2008, SIGAR has identified more than $150m in reconstruction contracts and sub-contracts that have been awarded to companies known to be providing material support to insurgent and terrorist organisations in Afghanistan.’ . . . Pentagon spokesman, Matthew Bourke quoted by The Independent said: ‘The Army Procurement Fraud Branch did receive and review the 43 recommendations late last year, but the report did not include enough supporting evidence to initiate suspension and debarment under Federal Acquisition Regulations.’  Despite warnings about this last year from both SIGAR and General James Mattis, the former commander of US Central Command, the army has failed to act.”  See also, The Independent’s report, “Afghanistan: Taliban backers win £100m in US contracts.”

3.  Haqqani attack foiled in KabulKhaama.Com’s Ghanizada reports, “National Directorate of Security (NDS) on Sunday announced, at least seven suspected suicide bombers and militants were arrested in capital Kabul.  The National Directorate of Security following a statement said the suicide bombers were arrested during an operation in Chel Setun area of Kabul city on Saturday.”  See related, “Bomber in Afghan police uniform shot dead” and

4.  In AFRICOM’s AOR, multitudes support Islamist-led government in TunisiaReuters reports that “Tens of thousands of Tunisians came out in a show of force for the country’s Islamist-led government on Saturday, in one of the largest demonstrations since the 2011 revolution. Supporters of the ruling Ennahda party crowded into Kasbah Square next to the prime minister’s office in the capital, Tunis. Ennahda officials said more than 150,000 attended. ‘No to coups, yes to elections,’ the crowd shouted, in a reference to the army-backed ouster of Egypt’s elected Islamist president last month. The secular opposition is stepping up efforts to oust the transition government in the North African country.  At the same time, security forces are struggling to fight off a spike in attacks by radical Islamist militants, whom the moderate Islamist Ennahda has condemned as terrorists.”

5.  Egyptian Army Chief meets with Islamists, but not the BrotherhoodAlJazeera.Com reports that on Saturday night, “Egyptian Army chief Abdel Fatah El Sisi met overnight with leaders from the different Islamist movements to try and resolve the crisis pitting supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi against the country’s new rulers. Sisi ‘met with several representatives of the Islamist movements . . . . and stressed that there are opportunities for a peaceful solution to the crisis provided all sides reject violence,’ army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Aly said in a statement on Sunday, without specifying who his interlocutors were.  Al Jazeera‘s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Cairo, said the Muslim Brotherhood was not at the meeting, but other Islamist movements were.”

6.  Sequestration’s demise?  Perhaps. Don’t get too excited, but, DefenseNews.Com’s John Bennett surmises, “Senate Republicans and senior White House officials have quietly begun talks about the kind of sweeping fiscal legislation needed to lessen or void sequestration, raising hopes of a deal from miniscule to slight.”


1.  Raytheon hoping for congressional inaction – they’re probably in luckDefenseIndustryDaily.Com reports that the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced to Congress “Qatar’s request for 1 AN/FPS-132 Block 5 Early Warning Radar (EWR), along with a build-out of associated technical and support facilities, communication equipment, encryption devices, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, and other forms of US Government and contractor support. . . . While the DSCA statement says that the proposed sale won’t alter the basic military balance in the region, the FPS-132 will be, by far, the longest ranged radar in the Middle East. To give you an idea of just how long, the most distant location in Iran is around 1,200 miles from the least advantageous position in Qatar – less than half of the FPS-132′s maximum range.”  The official request explains that “The principal contractor will be Raytheon Company in Woburn, Massachusetts.”    [Note: if Congress doesn’t act on the announcement, that inaction represents implicit approval.]

2.  Carrier Onboard Deliver – Running the GreyhoundsDefenseMediaNetwork.Com contributor Edward Lundquist on Northrop Grumman’s C2A Greyhound:  “Northrop Grumman is proposing a modernization approach that would give the C-2 the same wings, glass cockpit and engines as the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.”  See Part I of Lundquist’s study, “The Future COD Aircraft Contenders: The Bell Boeing V-22.”


1.  We want it all, and we want it now – NSA data in demandNYTimes.Com contributors Eric Lichtblau and Mike Schmidt report, “Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.  Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use of the security agency’s troves of data and eavesdropping spyware for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans’ privacy rights.”

2.  NSA debacle updateGovExec.Com covers National Journal’s Michael Hirsh on where the NSA debates stand, and what they all mean:  “A groundswell of congressional support for major new restrictions on the NSA, combined with pressure from the nation’s most powerful tech companies, is almost certain to force some of those changes into being.  And the battle lines are already being formed between the judiciary and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate. Firebrand defenders of privacy rights on the judiciary committees are seeking to shut down or fundamentally overhaul surveillance, while Intelligence committee members who tend to stand behind the NSA are trying to preserve as much as they can of what they consider an essential program.”  See also, Calls to disclose NSA collection.

3.  Minority Report – It’s not about CongressThe Independent contributor Paul Peachey reports that algorithms may help predict crime: “Computer mapping is nothing new, but the program being used in Kent introduces the variable of human behaviour to give an indication of where the career burglar will strike next. The algorithm includes the burglar’s inclination not to stray too far from home and, once he has identified rich pickings, to return in anticipation of similar success.  Early results are encouraging.”


1.  Just throw all that Constitution crap right out the window.  The NSA’s arrogance is only a symptom of a larger problem.  Reuters’ reports, “federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses. . . . Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.”

2.  Breaking the law! Breaking the law!  According to USAToday.Com, the FBI has turned its head to thousands of crimes for the sake of informants’ loyalty:  “The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.  The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.”


1.  Reach out to IranAljazeera.Com contributor Tara Miller argues, “The lack of official diplomatic channels between the US and Iran, along with the lack of an embassy in Tehran, means that the United States is not only inhibiting its diplomatic ability to work with the Iranians, but it is limiting its ability to put pressure on the regime, monitor on-the-ground dynamics, gauge the population’s sentiments, and directly observe the impact of sanctions.”

2.  States need to butt-out when it comes to UAS regulation, argues Allan Frazier, an assistant professor in the University of North Dakota’s aerospace department: “I think it’s a federal issue and I think it’s preempted by federal statutes . . . . The states, quite frankly, have little business dealing with something that occupies our airspace.’”

3.  Nobel Peace Prize for Manning and Snowden?  Salon.Com contributor Andrew O’Hehir argues, “If the Nobel committee weren’t so cautious and lily-livered – and were actually interested in furthering the cause of peace – it might actually happen. . . . The Nobel committee could undo years of boring and/or insulting choices, just like that. Give the Nobel Peace Prize to Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.”


1.  Snooping on the EU.

2.  Not the Tour.

3.  School’s coming.

4.  Contradiction.

Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.

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