INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 5 2017

Belgium formally charges man in connection with Paris attacks — James Comey Senate testimony: America braces for a historic political moment — CIA Agent Ayatollah Mike’s Face Revealed: Iran’s View — Synthetic Biology and the Chem/Bio Threat

 Belgium formally charges man in connection with Paris attacks  — BBC

A man has been formally charged in Belgium in connection with the deadly attacks in Paris of November 2015, the federal prosecutor says.

The suspect has not been fully identified but is believed to be 30-year-old Yassine Atar.

He was arrested in March 2016, five days after the attacks in Brussels.

His brother Oussama, who remains at large, is suspected of co-ordinating both attacks. In Paris, 130 people were killed while 32 more died in Brussels.

There is an international warrant out for the arrest Oussama Atar, who is also known as Abu Ahmad.

James Comey Senate testimony: America braces for a historic political moment — Guardian

When James Comey, the former FBI director, stands before a Senate committee on Thursday to give evidence about the president who fired him, it will be one of the most dramatic moments in US political history.

The stakes will be as high as they have ever been at a congressional hearing. The questions Comey will be asked by the Senate intelligence committee include whether Donald Trump tried to persuade him to stop an investigation into improper contacts between a top adviser and Russian officials, whether Trump sought to extract a vow of personal loyalty, and whether Comey was fired because he did not comply.

Trump has denied trying to make Comey drop the case, but if Comey contradicts him and is supported by other evidence, it would represent potential obstruction of justice by the president and mark a long leap down the road towards impeachment.

CIA Agent Ayatollah Mike’s Face Revealed — Iran’s View

Michael D’Andrea also known as the Dark Prince, Ayatollah Mike born to a North Virginia family whose links to the CIA stretch back two decades recently appointed to the head of CIA’s Iran Covert Operations. He was a major figure in the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as the American drone strike targeted killing campaign.

According to a 2012 Washington Post article, D’Andrea’s colleagues described him as a collection of contradictions. A chain-smoker who spends countless hours on a treadmill. Notoriously surly yet able to win over enough support from subordinates and bosses to hold on to his job. He presides over a campaign that has killed thousands of Islamist militants and angered millions of Muslims, but he is himself a convert to Islam.

His first overseas assignments were in east Africa, where he met his wife and converted to Islam in order to marry her. Faridah Currimjee D’Andrea, almost 10 years older than her husband is daughter of a wealthy family from the Mauritius with Gujarati origins.

Synthetic Biology and the Chem/Bio Threat — Secrecy News

Synthetic biology, a set of technologies related to the design and fabrication of biological systems, poses an emerging hazard but also provides the tools to mitigate that hazard, according to a new DoD report to Congress on defense against chemical and biological (CB) weapons.

The new report “assesses DoD’s overall readiness to fight and win in a CB warfare environment.”

“Rapid advancements in technology are making it easier for an adversary, whether State or non-State, to develop chemical and biological weapons. This includes threats from non-State actor groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and emerging threats like the misuse of synthetic biology.”

Although the technologies that comprise synthetic biology represent a growing threat, “we cannot look to constrain the technologies themselves as a means of risk mitigation, or we risk stalling our own research and development (R&D) programs that use those technologies to develop life-saving countermeasures.”

“Synthetic biology is critically important to the development of medical countermeasures (MCMs), detection technologies, materials for protective equipment, and other technologies with applicability to CBR [chemical / biological / radiological] defense,” the report said.

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 5 2017

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