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Saved Stories – 1. US Security
11:34 AM 11/2/2017 Recent Posts
Hillary Clinton says FBI investigation into Trump, Russia ‘should have come out’ before election – EW.com (blog)
Video – Two Minute Brief: Combat History of the U.S. National Guard
Trump will instead be visiting Camp Humphreys.
Two Navy destroyer collisions in the Pacific this summer that claimed the lives of 17 sailors were preventable and resulted from multiple failures on the part of senior officers and sailors standing watch to avert disaster, according to a new investigation released Wednesday.
More than 300 recruits at the Marines’ boot camp in San Diego are suffering from diarrheal symptoms from an bacterial outbreak.
The Uzbek immigrant accused of mowing down people along a bike path near the World Trade Center left a handwritten note referring to the Islamic State group and had been radicalized in the U.S.
Lima Charlie NewsAn examination of worldwide trends in vehicular terrorist attac…
MikeWith their level of expertise in all areas of earthly and heavenly, human, s…
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Ash Carter: Behind the Plan to Defeat ISIS
Amid Federal Finger-Pointing, FEMA Takes Stock of Puerto Rico Effort
A Former CIA Director Describes the Dangers of ‘Trump Unleashed’
DIA bids farewell to Lt. Gen. Stewart, welcomes 21st director Lt. Gen. Ashley
The Early Edition: November 2, 2017
Russian hackers targeted hundreds of US Gmail accounts, new ‘hit list’ shows – Fox News
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s attorneys prepare for closing arguments
Former NJ police chief arrested by FBI – WFMZ Allentown
Ex-CIA officer: Mueller also needs to investigate US intel’s attempts to damage Trump – Fox News
Tantalizing mystery of missing JFK assassination file solved 23 years ago – Washington Post
Child sex offenders to be named as such in U.S. passports
Child sex offenders to be named as such in US passports

 

Saved Stories – 1. US Security
The Early Edition: November 3, 2017
 

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

SYRIA

Pro-Syrian government forces have completely liberated the city of Deir al-Zour from terrorism, Syrian state television reported today, the city in the eastern part of the country was the last remaining stronghold of Islamic State militants and was the headquarters of the terrorist groups self-styled caliphate. The BBC reports.

The city was taken after a two-month campaign with the support of Russian air power, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the AFP reports.

The armed forces, in cooperation with allied forces, liberated the city, a military source said today, Al Jazeera reports.

A Nusra Front car bomb killed at least nine and wounded 23 in a Syrian government-held village close to the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Reuters reports.

The U.S. and Russia have drafted rival U.N. Security Council resolutions in relation to the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (J.I.M.) and its work to determine responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Russia recently blocked a resolution extending J.I.M.s mandate through its veto power, Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

Civilians in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta have suffered as a consequence of a years-long government blockade and the humanitarian situation is desperate. Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria report at the Washington Post.

IRAQ

Iraqi forces have entered one of the last remaining Islamic State strongholds in the country, Iraqs Joint Operations command said today, the offensive is taking place at al-Qaim near the border with Syria. Raya Jalabi reports at Reuters.

Iraqi troops have reached the border with Syria, according to an Iraqi officer, making the advance as part of the effort to recapture al-Qaim. The AP reports.

At least 741 civilians were executed by Islamic State militants during the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul, the U.N. said in a report yesterday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said that the Mosul operations subjected thousands of civilians to human rights abuses and clear violations of international humanitarian law, adding that those responsible must answer for their heinous crimes. Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.

The Kurds influence across Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran has diminished in light of the impending defeat of the Islamic State group and the aims of the four countries to stop any kind of independence movement. Yaroslav Trofimov explains at the Wall Street Journal.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out five airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 1. Separately, partner forces conducted six strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

TRUMP-RUSSIA

  • Unsealed court documents appear to reveal that Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions knew that Trump campaign associates had contacts with Russians during the 2016 election, a campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, spoke to Sessions and Trump in March 2016 about setting up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin an idea that Trump listened to with interest but Sessions was strongly opposed to. Michael S. Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo and Scott Shane report at the New York Times.

The revelations from the court documents have led to demands by Senate Democrats that Sessions explain why he did not disclose the March 2016 meeting when testifying before congressional hearings, some Senators calling for the Attorney General to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify his testimony. Karoun Demirjian, Sari Horwitz and Adam Entous report at the Washington Post.

The Trump campaigns former foreign policy adviser Carter Page testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a private session yesterday and claimed that he had informed Sessions about his planned trip to Russia in July 2016, raising further questions about Sessions testimony and the extent of his knowledge about connections between Trump campaign officials and Russia. Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report at CNN.

Page invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when asked why he had withheld documents from the committee relating to Russian interference, according to lawmakers. Following the testimony, Page was asked by reporters whether he had a relationship with Papadopoulos, to which he replied that he had nothing to do with any of that. Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.

Sam Clovis, Trumps pick for the Agriculture Departments chief scientist, has withdrawn has nomination amid the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia and the revelation that he was the campaign supervisor to Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty of lying to the F.B.I.. Jordan Fabian, Timothy Cama and Brett Samuels report at the Hill.

  • The presidents son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has turned over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller in relation to any contacts with Russia, according to sources familiar with the matter, two separate sources have said that investigators have asked other witnesses about Kushners role in the firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey. Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz report at CNN.
  • Trumps former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been ordered by a U.S. judge to remain under house arrest and wear an electronic monitoring device as he awaits trial date for money-laundering and other offences, Manaforts associate and Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates also remains under house arrest and the charges against him include money-laundering and conspiracy against the U.S.. The charges were made as part of Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Sarah N. Lynch and Warren Strobel report at Reuters.

 

  • The Mueller indictment of Manafort reveals a connection with a notorious Russian organized crime leader, Betsy Woodruff reports at The Daily Beast.

Its a disgrace, Trump said in an interview yesterday, saying that the investigations into Russian interference were bad for our country and that Congress has found no collusion so far, the president also dismissed the use of social media by Russian operatives to spread disinformation.  John Bowden reports at the Hill.

  • Were not a social network, was the repeated reply of Googles general counsel during this weeks congressional hearings about Russian election interference and use of online platforms to spread propaganda, the response highlighting the attempts by tech giants to distance themselves from being labeled as social because of the associated problems. Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Isaac explain at the New York Times.
  • The Trump-Russia investigations are unveiling Trumps strange obsession with Russia and the latest news from Muellers investigation suggests that what has long been opaque will soon be clear. Joe Scarborough writes at the Washington Post.
  • The Mueller indictments have shone a spotlight on the poor caliber of advisers surrounding Trump during the election and the inability of the campaign to properly vet individuals who sought to support the campaign. Scott Jennings writes at CNN.

NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK

The Islamic State group yesterday claimed responsibility for Tuesdays terror attack in New York, calling the suspected attacker, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, a soldier of the caliphate, but provided no evidence that they had prior knowledge of the attack being planned. Nicole Chavez and Hamdi Alkashali report at CNN.

President Trump repeated calls for Saipov to face the death penalty in a tweet last night, his remarks potentially jeopardizing a fair trial. The BBC reports.

  • An analysis of the clues left by Saipov and his connections with the Islamic State group is provided by Rukmini Callimachi at the New York Times.
  • The U.S. should be prepared for a new type of Islamist extremism in the wake of the New York terror attack, and the U.S. must focus on defeating radical Islamist ideology, Husain Haqqani writes at the Wall Street Journal.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S., Japan and South Korea flew bombers and jet fighters near North Korea yesterday, according to the U.S. Pacific Command the drill was planned in advance, but North Korea state media said it was a stealth mission demonstrating that the U.S. was aggravating the situation of the Korean Peninsula and seeking to ignite a nuclear war. Jonathan Cheng reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The joint exercises simulated attacks on land targets but did not involve live weapons, according to an anonymous South Korean military official, Kim Tong-Hyung reports at the AP.

The drills took place before Trumps trip to Asia beginning on Sunday, and the North Korean threat is set to feature prominently in discussions with Asian leaders. Soyoung Kim and Phil Stewart report at Reuters.

The U.S. Treasury severed ties with a small Chinese bank on the border with North Korea yesterday, accusing the bank of acting as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity. Don Weinland reports at the Financial Times.

TRUMP ASIA TRIP

The world is running out of time to deal with the threat posed by North Korea, Trump is set to tell leaders on his Asia trip, the national security adviser H.R. McMaster said yesterday, Ali Vitali reporting at NBC News.

Putin and Trump may meet at the A.P.E.C. summit in Vietnam next week, Russias Kremlin said today, Reuters reporting.

Trump plans to draw attention to Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea during his trip, an issue that has a deep emotional resonance in Japan. Motoko Rich explains at the New York Times.

Trumps Asia trip will begin in Japan on Sunday and the tour will continue to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Ishaan Tharoor sets out what to look for during the visit at the Washington Post.

Trumps erratic statecraft and the specter of the Russia investigations have the potential to undermine the presidents agenda during his Asia trip, in addition, the intense schedule and the problem of promoting new initiatives in the region add further complications. Mark Landler explains at the New York Times.

Trumps America First policy undermines the U.S.s ability to make an impact on human rights in Asia as the Trump administration has deployed differing human rights narratives based on a nations relationship with the U.S., in contrast to the Obama administration which responded quickly to abuses and political strife. Matt Spetalnick and Prak Chan Thul write at Reuters.

GUANTÁNAMO BAY

A federal judge in Washington may intervene in the case of defense chief Brig. Gen. John Baker who has been confined to his quarters in Guantánamo Bay for contempt of court for defying his orders and refusing to testify in the U.S.S. Cole case. Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.

The three civilian defense lawyers who left the U.S.S. Cole case are set to defy the military judges orders again and refuse to appear in court at Guantánamo due to a secret ethical dilemma. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Russian hackers targeted Putins detractors and those of interest to the Kremlin, a digital hit list reveals. Raphael Satter, Jeff Donn and Justin Myers report at the AP.

 

  • Attorney General Jeff Session yesterday castigated technology companies for stopping investigators from accessing encrypted information for ongoing terror investigations, Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

Well see, Trump replied when asked by an interviewer yesterday whether Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would remain in the administration for the duration of the presidents term, once again throwing doubt on the future of Tillersons position. Cristiano Lima reports at POLITICO.

The Trump administration asked the French President Emmanuel Macron to set up a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly in September, Iran replied unequivocally that they would not meet with President Trump. Karen DeYoung reports at the Washington Post.

Tillerson is scheduled to visit Myanmar this month to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, the State Department announced yesterday, referring to the human rights abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Laura Koran reports at CNN.

  • Russia has been taking advantage of the lack of U.S. policy in the Middle East to increase its influence, Zeina Karam writes at the AP.
  • Key positions in the Pentagon will finally be filled, the vacancies, which have lasted 10 months, have had an impact on U.S. operations, including in Afghanistan. Paul McLeary explains at Foreign Policy.

The U.S. pledge for $60m for a U.N.-backed counterterrorism force in Africas Sahel region comes following increased extremist activity. Azad Essa explains the details of the new force at Al Jazeera.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The U.S. has been deliberately lying about the mysterious sonic attacks the U.S. has alleged Cuba has been carrying out against its diplomats in Havana, the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said yesterday, Luis Alonso Lugo reporting at the AP.

We hope that as an external party, the United States can plant more flowers and fewer thorns, Chinas Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said today in relation to the dispute over the South China Sea, making the comments ahead of Trumps visit to Beijing next week. Michael Martina reports at Reuters.

Serbia rejected calls from the U.S. to choose between the West or Russia, the Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic saying that what is important is to see what is in our own best interests. Aleksandar Vasovic reports at Reuters.

Read on Just Security »

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

President Donald Trump leaves for Asia on Friday; he will visit Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines, the New York Times reported. Trump will address the North Korean missile crisis in meetings with Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders. In a speech in Vietnam, Trump will build on the Japanese idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific to articulate a containment strategy against China. In advance of Trumps departure, two U.S. bombers flew close by North Korean airspace and conducted a bombing drill in South Korea, according to the Wall Street Journal. North Korean state media said the exercise was meant to simulate a nuclear strike. The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercise was not planned in response to any current event.

  • The Islamic State said Sayfullo Saipov, the man who killed eight people in New York using a truck on Oct. 31, was one of its soldiers but did not provide evidence he had coordinated with other Islamic State fighters, CNN reported. In its weekly newspaper, the militant organization did not say it had any prior knowledge of the attack. Federal investigators found that Saipov had about 90 videos and 3,800 images related to the Islamic State on his phone.
  • Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be dishonorably discharged for deserting his base in Afghanistan but will not serve any prison time, the Times reported. Bergdahl walked off his base in 2009 and shortly after, the Taliban captured and held him for five years.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under scrutiny for his statements to Congress regarding the extent of his knowledge of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, CNN reported. Sessions failed to disclose to lawmakers at his confirmation hearing that he had rejected a proposal from Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos for the candidate to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carter Page, another former Trump foreign policy adviser, testified before the House intelligence committee that he had told Sessions about a trip Page planned to take to Russia during the campaign, also according to CNN. Democrats on the Senate judiciary and intelligence committees want Sessions to clarify his prior testimony on the matter.
  • The White House was unaware that Sam Clovisthe former Trump campaign co-chair, and laternominee for USDA chief scientist, testified before a grand jury in the special counsel investigation, ABC News reported. Administration staffers learned that Clovis had come under scrutiny in the Russia investigation from media reports. Clovis was the campaign supervisor cited in the charges against George Papadopoulos who appeared to encourage Papadopoulos to cultivate ties with Russia. Separately, in recent weeks, Jared Kushner has turned over documents to the special counsel probe related to his role in the campaign, the transition and any contacts with Russians, CNN reported. On Thursday, Trump said he wished he could redirect the Justice Department to focus its efforts on Hillary Clinton, also according to CNN. He said, A lot of people are unhappy with the Justice Department, including me.

Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militias have completely retaken the city of Deir al-Zour, the Islamic States last major stronghold in Syria, the Times reported. Russia air strikes aided the capture of the last remaining neighborhoods where militants held out against the Syrian advance. In Iraq, the town of Al-Qaim fell to the Iraqi Army and its allied militias, clearing the Islamic State from one of its last remaining territories in the country, Reuters reported. Separately, a U.N. report said the Islamic State executed hundreds of civilians during the siege of Mosul and used civilians as human shields in the course of the nine-month battle, the Times reported. The U.N.s top human rights official recommended that Iraq amend its criminal code to allow its courts to try the Islamic States offenses, which he described as war crimes, or that Iraq bring the crimes to the International Criminal Courts jurisdiction.

Three civilian defense attorneys again defied an order from a Guantanamo Bay military judge to continue representing Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of plotting the USS Cole bombing, the Miami Herald reported. The attorneys said they would not appear at a Virginia teleconferencing facility to participate in a hearing on Friday morning. A federal district court judge in Washington D.C. refused to halt the hearing because of its lack of counsel. The D.C. judge may also rule on Friday afternoon about the detention of the Marine Corps brigadier general who assented to the attorneys resignation.

The U.S. and Russia put forward conflicting U.N. resolutions about extending the mandate of the body investigating uses of chemical weapons in Syria, the AP reported. Last week, Russia vetoed an extension of the Joint Investigative Mechanisms (JIM) mandate for another year. The Russian resolution only renews the JIMs mandate for six months while the U.S. resolution would extend the bodys authority for two years. Last week, the latest JIM report blamed the Syrian government for the April sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

The International Criminal Courts prosecutor will seek to open an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. Fatou Bensouda said she had a reasonable basis to believe war crimes and crimes against humanity occurred in the course of the sixteen-year long war in Afghanistan.

Defense News Matt Bodner and Aaron Mehta explained how a minor Pentagon research project led Vladimir Putin to warn the U.S. was planning biological warfare.

Politicos Josh Meyer wrote about how Carter Page and George Papadopoulos interactions with Russians linked to the Kremlin exemplifies Moscows use of cut-outs.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Harry Larson explained what immigration detainers are and the legal challenges they face.

Robert Chesney, Sabrina McCubbin and Benjamin Wittes analyzed President Trumps suggestion that the New York attacker be held as an enemy combatant in the context of the chaotic developments in the military detention system.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman and Benjamin Wittes shared the October 2017 data from the Confidence in Government on National Security Matters project. They also discussed data that supported a troubling conclusion: Republican attacks on the special counsel are affecting public confidence in Muellers inquiry.

Sarah Grant summarized Wednesdays contempt hearing for in the al-Nashiri case at the military commissions..

Vanessa Sauter posted the habeas petition of Brig. Gen. John Baker, the chief defense counsel at the military commissions.

Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Rep. Tom Graves, co-sponsor of the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act.

Benjamin Wittes posted the Million Dollars in Rugs edition of Rational Security.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

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Mike

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The Early Edition: November 2, 2017
 

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK

Federal prosecutors have filed charges against 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov who is suspected of carrying out Tuesdays attack in New York. The charges accuse the driver, who killed eight people and injured 12, of aiding the Islamic State group and working with others known and unknown. Melanie Grayce West, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Rebecca Davis OBrien report at the Wall Street Journal.

The F.B.I. are no longer seeking information about a second individual in connection with the attack, the Assistant F.B.I. Director Bill Sweeney announced yesterday, adding that we have found him. Ill leave it at that. Josh Delk reports at the Hill.

The charges against Saipov were filed in civilian court and not the military system, following comments by the president that the U.S. criminal justice system was a laughingstock and that he would consider trying Saipov at the military court in Guantánamo Bay. Benjamin Mueller, William K. Rashbaum, Al Baker and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.

Saipov said he was proud of what he had done, he requested that the Islamic State flag be displayed in his hospital room and told the F.B.I. that he was inspired after watching a video of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Mark Brennan report at the Washington Post.

Trump used the terrorist attack to promote hardline policies, saying yesterday that he would take action to remove the diversity lottery program for foreigners seeking U.S. visas and step up extreme vetting of immigrants, also taking aim at Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) for helping to create the lottery program and stating that the U.S. needs a system of punishment thats far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. David Nakamura and Ed OKeefe report at the Washington Post.

Saipov killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENTALTY! Trump tweeted last night, his comments potentially causing problems when the criminal case comes to be heard as defense lawyers could argue that their client cannot get a fair trial. Cristiano Lima reports at POLITICO.

The New York attack has shone the spotlight on Uzbekistan and Central Asias problems with terrorism, the region consists of five predominantly Muslim Soviet republics that have struggled with poverty and have served as recruitment ground for the Islamic State group. Sajjan Gohel explains at CNN.

Sending Saipov to Guantánamo would be unprecedented, likely drawing the ire of the F.B.I. and career national security professionals, and raising complex legal questions as the suspect is a lawful permanent U.S. resident. Charlie Savage explains at the New York Times.

Its hard to imagine a worse idea than sending Saipov to Guantánamo Bay, the co-editor of Just SecurityStephen I. Vladeck writes at the Washington Post, setting out the legal obstacles, arguing that the U.S. criminal justice system is well-equipped to handle such cases, and highlighting that Guantánamo proceedings have been dysfunctional.

The Islamic State group tends to keep quiet when a recruit is apprehended and there may be a number of reasons that they do not claim responsibility in such scenarios, Rukmini Callimachi explains at the New York Times.

Most of the Uzbek and Tajik Islamic State group recruits have been radicalized in Russia, demonstrating the power of the terrorist groups Russian-language propaganda, Amie Ferris-Rotma writes at Foreign Policy.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Federal prosecutors and agents have gathered evidence to charge more than six members of the Russian government who were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committees (D.N.C.) computer system during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to sources familiar with the matter. Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilbur report at the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s my THREAD from Sunday eve of #IndictmentDay explaining why indicting Russians would be a game changer https://t.co/5nOjC3ssGl

Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 2, 2017

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Im not under investigation as you know, Trump said yesterday in a phone call about the investigations between the Trump campaign and Russia, saying that he was not angry at anybody and that the indictment of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has nothing to do with us. Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker report at the New York Times.

No I dont believe he does, the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded yesterday when asked whether the president recalled the suggestion by his former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in March 2016 that he arrange a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters reporting.

Manafort and former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates pose a significant flight risk according to federal prosecutors, due to their substantial ties abroad and Manafort currently holds three U.S. passports. The two men were charged earlier this week as part of special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Reuters reports.

A sampling of political ads purchased by Russian operatives on Facebook and Twitter around the 2016 U.S. election were disclosed by lawmakers yesterday during the second day of congressional hearings with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google; the disclosures revealing the extent of Russias online campaign to spread disinformation and sow discord. Cecilia King, Nicholas Fandos and Mike Isaac report at the New York Times.

Examples of Russian-bought ads on Facebook and Instagram are provided at POLITICO.

An analysis of Russian-bought Facebook ads and how they made an impact is provided by Leslie Shapiro at the Washington Post.

The former national security adviser Michael Flynn followed five Russia-backed Twitter accounts and promoted their messages, Ben Collins and Kevin Poulsen report at The Daily Beast.

The opposition research firm Fusion GPS paid former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele $168,000 to compile the dossier alleging links between Russia and the Trump campaign, the firm said in a statement yesterday. Mark Hosenball reports at Reuters.

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended the decision to pay for part of the Steele dossier in an interview yesterday, also expressing frustration that voters were not made aware before election day that the Trump campaign was under investigation by the F.B.I.. Henry C. Jackson reports at POLITICO.

NORTH KOREA

Armed conflict must be avoided under any circumstance, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a speech yesterday ahead of Trumps 12-day visit to Asia, vowing to maintain South Koreas overwhelming military superiority but emphasizing that military action on the Peninsula could not be taken without prior consent of Seoul. Jonathan Cheng reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday called for more pressure to be exerted on North Korea to bring about negotiations, Abe also reiterating his support for Trumps policy that all options are on the table to deal with the nuclear threat. Mari Yamaguchi reports at the AP.

North Korea is developing an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.), according to an anonymous U.S. official, and the missile could potentially strike the U.S. mainland. Barbara Starr reports at CNN.

A bipartisan bill providing for sanctions on North Korea was agreed yesterday and the Senate Banking Committee would act on the bill next week, Patricia Zengerle reports at Reuters.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) yesterday called on Trump to release an assessment of the potential casualties and costs that would come as a consequence of a war with North Korea. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

Trump will seek to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to rein in North Korea when Trump visits Beijing next week, according to senior administration officials. Steve Holland and John Walcott report at Reuters.

China hopes to work with North Korea to make a positive contribution to defending regional peace and stability, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a message replying to North Koreas congratulatory message on Chinas Communist Party Congress. Soyoung Kim and Ken Blanchard report at Reuters.

The recent normalization of relations between China and South Korea could change the dynamics of Trumps Asia trip and how his administration intends to deal with North Korea and its allies in the region. Jane Perlez, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun explain at the New York Times.

We can educated [the] North Korean population to stand up by disseminating outside information, a high-ranking official who defected from North Korea told U.S. lawmakers yesterday, also urging officials to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to convince him to abandon his nuclear program. The BBC reports.

A U.N. resolution drafted by the European Union and Japan would condemn the gross violations of human rights in North Korea, the U.N. General Assemblys human rights committee is expected to vote on the draft this month. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

IRAN

Russia opposes any unilateral change to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday during a meeting with Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, making the comments following Trumps decision in October to de- certify Irans compliance with the nuclear agreement and adding that Russia opposes linking Irans nuclear program with other issues including defensive issues. Nasser Karimi reports at the AP.

The U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Washington next week to convince senators not to abandon the nuclear deal or impose sanctions against Iran, saying that the 80 million Iranians deserve and need to feel the benefits of both the deal and engagement, but adding that the world should not be blind to the disruptive behavior of Iran. Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.

SYRIA

We count on the cooperation of Iran and other partners to end the war in Syria, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday following discussions with Iranian leaders, saying that the latest round of Syria talks currently being held in Kazakhstans capital of Astana were advancing well. Aresu Eqbali and Asa Fitch report at the Wall Street Journal.

The official Syrian opposition said that it would not attend Russia-brokered Syrian peace talks planned for this month, Turkey has also expressed opposition to an invitation extended to the Syrian Kurds and rejected negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assads regime outside the U.N.s Geneva process or without U.N. sponsorship. Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.

Russias veto of the investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria shows a callous disregard for the suffering and loss of life, the White House said in a statement yesterday, referring to Russias vote eight days ago at the U.N. Security Council which prevented the renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanisms (J.I.M.) mandate. Brendan OBrien reports at Reuters.

A suspected Israeli airstrike hit a target in Syrias Homs province yesterday, and the Syrian army responded by firing surface-to-air missile at the aircraft. Israel has declined to comment on the reports, but the Intelligence Minister reiterated that smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes. Ori Lewis reports at Reuters.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out eight airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 31. Separately, partner forces conducted five strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

IRAQ

Negotiations between Iraqs central government and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region over border controls have failed, according to Iraqi officials. Tensions between Baghdad and Iraq Kurdistan have been high since Septembers controversial independence referendum. The AP reports.

Iraqi federal forces threatened yesterday to resume military operations against Kurdish-held territory following the dispute over border controls, Reuters reporting.

NIGER

Niger would be open to allowing U.S. for investigation, reconnaissance and combat, Nigers Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said yesterday, adding that there would be an inquest into the ambush of U.S. and Nigerian forces on Oct. 4. Vipal Monga and Joe Parkinson report at the Wall Street Journal.

Niger asked the U.S. some weeks ago to arm drones and use them as needed, Nigers Defense Minister Kalla Mountari said yesterday. Tim Cocks and Absoulave Massalatchi reporting at Reuters.

BIN LADEN RAID DOCUMENTS

A series of documents collected from the raid of Osama Bin Ladens Pakistani hideout were released by the C.I.A. yesterday, the documents revealing that Bin Laden was involved in al-Qaeda operations while in hiding. Nancy A. Youssef reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The documents reveal information about Bin Ladens son, Hamza, and according to analysts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (F.D.D.) reveal a relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran. The BBC reports.

GUANTÁNAMO BAY

The head of the war court defense team Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker was yesterday sentenced to 21 days confinement by the military judge presiding over the trial of the suspected U.S.S. Cole bombing at Guantánamo Bay, due to Bakers refusal to follow his orders. Ellen Mitchell reports at the Hill.

The judge also declared Bakers decision to release three civilian lawyers from the defense team null and void, Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

The context behind Bakers confinement is provided by Spencer Ackerman at The Daily Beast.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

Asian nations are bracing themselves for Trumps visit to Asia which begins later this week, Foster Klug describes the mood at the AP.

An associate of Vice President Mike Pence has been nominated to be director general of the foreign service, causing concern that diplomacy would be further politicized by the Trump administration. Robbie Gramer explains at Foreign Policy.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The U.S. yesterday defended its decision to vote against the U.N. resolution calling for a repeal of the embargo imposed on Cuba, Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.

The House passed legislation allowing the State Department to revoke the passports of individuals suspected to be foreign terrorists, Cristina Marcos reports at the Hill.

The two fatal U.S. Navy collisions during the summer were avoidable, according to a report released by the U.S. Navy. Barbara Starr, Jamie Crawford and Brad Lendon report at the CNN.

An airstrike in Yemen killed at least 25 civilians and wounded at least nine, according to health officials, a statement carried by Saudi Arabias officials news agency said that the Arab coalition would investigate the attack. Shuaib Almosawa and Nour Youssef report at the New York Times.

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