INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 12 2017

Gaddafi’s son Saif freed in Libya — Comey hearing: Sessions to testify in response — Can Theresa May use tech to stop terror attacks? — Qatar, accused of supporting terrorism, hires ex-U.S. attorney general

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Gaddafi’s son Saif freed in Libya — BBC

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, second son of the late deposed Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, is said to have been freed under an amnesty, in a move which could fuel further instability.

His father’s preferred successor, he had been held by a militia in the town of Zintan for the past six years.

The Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion said he had been released on Friday but he has not been shown in public.

A source has told the BBC he is in the Tobruk area of eastern Libya.

His lawyer, Khaled al-Zaidi, also said he had been released but would not say which city Saif al-Islam had travelled to for security reasons.

Comey hearing: Sessions to testify in response — BBC

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will appear before a Senate panel in response to James Comey’s testimony.

He will appear before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, he announced in a letter.

He said the decision had been made “in light of Mr Comey’s recent testimony”.

Former FBI director Mr Comey told the panel this week that he had asked Mr Sessions to “prevent any future direct communication between the president and me”.

The testimony made headlines around the world, as it was the first time Mr Comey had publicly given his side of the apparent fall-out between himself and US President Donald Trump in the run-up to his being fired in May.

In his letter on Saturday, Mr Sessions said, “It is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum” which he said he believed to be the Senate intelligence committee.

Can Theresa May use tech to stop terror attacks?  — CNN

“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree.”

That defiant statement was included in the platform of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party ahead of Thursday’s general election. In the wake of a terror attack that killed at least seven people in London, the pledge has taken on added significance.

 May has long been a stalwart for tighter control and surveillance of internet communications, citing public safety concerns.

On Sunday, as Britain assessed the damage caused by three terror attacks in just three months, May reiterated her pledge to combat terrorism by denying extremists digital tools used to communicate and plan attacks.

“We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning,” she said in a speech. “We need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.”

The prime minister said internet companies provide extremist ideology “the safe space it needs to breed.” Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and many other services have created encrypted channels that may shield communications from law enforcement.

May already scored one major, hard-fought victory against internet companies in November 2016, with the passage of a law that she championed called The Investigatory Powers Bill.

Qatar, accused of supporting terrorism, hires ex-U.S. attorney general — Reuters

The government of Qatar has hired John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general during the Sept. 11 attacks, as it seeks to rebut accusations from U.S. President Donald Trump and its Arab neighbors that it supports terrorism.

Qatar will pay the Ashcroft Law Firm $2.5 million for a 90-day period as the country seeks to confirm its efforts to fight global terrorism and comply with financial regulations including U.S. Treasury rules, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, filing on Friday with the Justice Department.

“The firm’s work will include crisis response and management, program and system analysis, media outreach, education and advocacy regarding the client’s historical, current and future efforts to combat global terror and its compliance goals and accomplishments,” according to a letter by Ashcroft firm partner Michael Sullivan included in the filing.

Qatar faces isolation by fellow Arab countries after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt severed ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their adversary Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The crisis is a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is a close ally of countries on both sides but has given mixed signals on whether to isolate Qatar or bring it into talks with other Gulf countries. [nL8N1J61K3]

Trump on Friday accused Qatar of being a “high level” sponsor of terrorism in remarks made shortly after his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, pushed Qatar’s Arab neighbors to “immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation.”

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 12 2017

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