Here’s what caught our eye in the week of intelligence this week:
The CIA is preparing to release around 2,500 “President’s Daily Briefs” it gave to President Kennedy and Johnson during the 1960’s. The briefs will show what the CIA was telling the President about the Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam, and probably much more.
It remains unknown if any of the briefs will contain information about the Kennedy assassination and what the CIA may have told Lyndon Johnson afterwards. The papers will be released on September 16th at a public event held at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Museum in Austin, Texas and CIA Director John Brennan will deliver the keynote speech.
A federal court upheld the NSA’s bulk collection program. The decision overruled a previous 2013 decision that deemed the program “almost Orwellian” and “likely unconstitutional.” It was ruled that the plaintiff did not demonstrate “concrete and particularized” injury required in order to sue because they could not prove that their metadata had been collected through the program.
Different courts have ruled the program legal, while other have ruled it illegal; however neither decision is likely to matter much longer. On November 29th 2015 the “transition period” between the Patriot Act and the USA Freedom Act will end.
A U.S. District Court ordered CIA to release more records involving the killing of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Nine years ago the agency was sued by The Institute for Policy Studies for missing a FOIA request deadline. The Institute had asked for material about Escobar’s death and the death of the death squad Los Pepes, which is a Spanish acronym meaning “People persecuted by Pablo Escobar.”
According to the Institute, the CIA has documents containing information about a U.S. Embassy Joint Task Force that worked with a Colombian Search Bloc the killed Escobar.
A drone strike is said to have killed Junaid Hussain, a high-value ISIS recruiter and “top cyber jihadist.” Hussain was a key member of the Islamic State Hacking Division and responsible for releasing a “hit list” containing photos and addresses of American military personnel and calling for lone-wolf attacks on them.
He is also believed to have inspired one of the gunman involved in the shooting that took place at a drawing contest of the prophet Mohammed in Garland, TX.
photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with CIA Director Richard Helms (LBJ Library)