Sisi, the IMF,
and Egypt's Crumbling Economy | Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief
Today, the government of President Abdel Fattah al Sisi faces a
similar problem. Egypt has now received the first tranche of a $12
billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the
country still teeters near the brink of an economic, and possibly
Egypt's IMF Deal Dodges Crisis—For Now| Allison McManus, Research Director, Tahrir
Institute for Middle East Studies
If the jailing of dissidents, constriction of civil society, and
rampant instances of torture and police brutality did not bring
Egyptians to confront the government, dissatisfaction with economic
Egypt's Economy: Not Out of the Woods Yet|Eric Trager, Fellow, Washington Institute for Near
Stabilizing Egypt’s currency reserves and ensuring its ability to
continue subsidizing food requires broader economic reform and
security improvements – and it will be especially difficult to enact
further economic reform so long as Egyptians are already coping with
the pain of less wealth, higher fuel prices, and new consumption
Column: State of Play
Are Humans Planting the Seeds of Their
Former Deputy Director of Intelligence, CIA
"I've been reading Sapiens:
A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Hariri, a
tenured professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In this ambitious book, Hariri documents how humans came to dominate
Planet Earth. Unlike world histories, Sapiens is
not the story of the rise and fall of nations. For that reason, it
probably has not attracted the attention of many national security
professionals, even though luminaries, such as President Barack Obama
and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, have praised it."
15 Minutes is a weekly interview podcast with the biggest names in
the global security space.
This week, The
Cipher Brief’s CEO and Publisher Suzanne Kelly speaks
to Dr. Jason Matheny, Director of IARPA -- the Intelligence
Advanced Research Projects Activity. Dr. Matheny discusses his
agency's wide array of research to assist the intelligence community,
including how to accurately forecast the future. Listen now
Miss On The Cipher Brief
U.S. Top Spy Clapper "Rolling Out the
Door" | Mackenzie Weinger, The Cipher Brief
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced on Thursday
he has submitted his resignation letter, a long-expected move that
paves the way for the next administration to name its pick for the
United States’ top spy.
Syria: Options Remain If America is Willing to
Take Them | Tony Badran, Research Fellow,
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Moscow is fully aware that, for the next few months, it all but has a
carte blanche to increase its presence in the eastern Mediterranean
and escalate at will in Syria without concern for any repercussion or
pushback from the United States.
Dead Drop: November 18 | Anonymous FIREHOSE
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: According to The Verge.com –
Dataminr, a Twitter analytics company that previously revoked CIA
access to its information, has signed a contract to help the FBI know
“…about breaking news quickly…ensuring public safety and the fastest
emergency response.” The bureau awarded a sole-source contract to
Dataminr, a company that allows customers to churn through Twitter's
"firehose," which includes more than 500 million
140-character messages posted daily. The company says, however, that
“Dataminr is not a product that enables surveillance."
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President-elect Trump Names Retired General Michael
Flynn National Security Advisor Donald Trump has reportedly offered Retired Army
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn the position of National Security
Advisor. Flynn has been a supporter of Trump since early in his
campaign. During his time in uniform, LTG (ret.) Flynn served as the
senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command
and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Take: The position of
National Security Advisor requires deep trust by the President and
will have close communications with and access to him in the White
House. This will be critical for the Trump campaign as national
security is an area where the President-elect and his closest
advisors have very little to no experience. The position does not
require Senate confirmation, and Flynn is not without controversy –
he is known for his aggressive stance toward “radical Islamic
extremism” and his consulting firm reportedly has ties to foreign
governments. While this is not a surprising choice by the Trump team,
it will undoubtedly shape the President-elect’s approach to the first
major national security issues he will face: namely, Syria, Russia
and the battle against ISIS.
Trump Meets Japanese Prime Minister, Discusses Trade,
Security and "a Relationship of Trust" In a meeting at Trump Tower in New York,
President-elect Donald Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe and had, in Abe’s words, a “very candid discussion.” The time and
place of Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with a head of state were
left in the air until the last minute, and the meeting was described
as an informal session only. Speaking after the meeting, Abe said he
was “convinced that Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have
President-elect’s team reportedly did not have any contact with the
State Department or Department of Defense to prepare for the meeting.
Regardless, it appears to have gone well; Trump advisors indicated
that tough campaign rhetoric suggesting the Japanese pay for their
own defense and obtain their own nuclear weapons should not be taken
literally, and that Trump was likely to reaffirm America’s commitment
to the alliance. These are the type of things the Japanese want to
hear security-wise. However, there is still no word on the Trans
Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement vital to the Japanese economy.
TPP passed in the Lower House of Japan’s Legislature last week, but
its future in the U.S. Congress is far less certain.
North Korea Envoy: We Could Renew Ties with U.S. Under
Trump - If All U.S. Troops Leave In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, one of
Pyongyang’s envoys to the UN stated that North Korea would consider
normalizing relations with the U.S. if – and only if - Washington
withdraws all troops and equipment. The U.S. currently has
approximately 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. Having never
formally signed a peace treaty after the Korean War (1950-1953), the
U.S. and North Korea have never had normalized relations.
Take: Whether Pyongyang
is serious about making such a deal is moot. The value of normalized
relations with North Korea because of troop removal would pale in
comparison to the damage done to U.S. relations with South Korea and
Japan. And, despite early campaign promises suggesting these allies
should take care of themselves, President-elect Trump has signaled
his reassurances to South Korea and Japan. Moreover, normalizing
relations would mean undermining the diplomatic standards the U.S.
has held itself to for decades by overlooking North Korea’s nuclear
and missile programs and an abysmal human rights record.
German Finance Minister Warns Britain on Brexit German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble warned
Britain on Thursday that the country will not be able to choose “a la
carte” from European Union requirements if it remains in the EU.
Schauble went on to say that Britain should prepare itself for the
euro-clearing operations of financial firms to leave London for
Frankfurt, and warned that the country may be liable for exit
payments to the EU until as late as 2030. These grim words follow
statements from Angela Merkel that Germany is not willing to
compromise on the issue of immigration, which some in the UK had
hoped to restrict while remaining a member of the EU common market.
comments represent both a general European dissatisfaction with
members of Teresa May’s Government, specifically Foreign Minister
Boris Johnson, as well as the growing belief that the EU must take a
hard line with British negotiators to deter other EU members from
leaving. According to the FT, EU negotiators plan to push for a clean
separation, downplaying the possibility of compromise on British
access to the common market, and even demanding an exit bill up to
€60 billion. If the May government goes ahead with its plan to
trigger article 50 separation in March 2017, London will likely face
a bitter fight ahead.
Iran and U.S. Face Off at IAEA Representatives from Iran and the United States
clashed at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over Iran’s
adherence to heavy water stockpile restrictions in the JCPOA. Iran’s
nuclear agreement with the P5+1 states that Iran must limit its stockpile
of heavy water to roughly 130 metric tons, but the IAEA reports that
Iran has failed to comply.
Take: Iran claims it is
working to meet this requirement by listing the excess heavy water
reserves for international sale, but in the eyes of the IAEA, Iran
will not be compliant until the heavy water has been physically
shipped from the country. As the Trump administration prepares to
take power in Washington, this most recent crack in the landmark
nuclear deal with Iran may be a portent of things to come. Trump has
called the deal a disaster and promised to rescind it upon taking
office. Given the multilateral nature of the JCPOA, this will be
difficult to do but it is likely the Trump administration will place
heavy focus on alleged Iranian noncompliance.
East Libyan Army Advances in Benghazi The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar,
has taken control of a key district in Benghazi that served as one
the last holdouts of Islamist-led militias in the city. Haftar, a
figurehead for factions aligned with the eastern-based government in
Tobruk, has been involved in fighting in Libya, along with Islamist
militants and other militias in Benghazi, for more than two years.
Take: Since 2014, two
rival Libyan governments - one in Tripoli in western Libya and one in
Tobruk in eastern Libya – have been competing for power. The eastern
government, supported by the LNA, is opposed to a UN-backed
government established this past March in Tripoli which currently
serves as Libya’s internationally recognized government. Despite this
divide, Libyan forces have focused on pushing ISIS out from its former stronghold in Sirte, and have made
substantial progress in weakening ISIS throughout the country.
Apple Reportedly Maintaining Users' Call History Apple iPhones automatically send a user’s call history
to the company’s servers if the cloud-based storage, iCloud, is
enabled, according to Elcomsoft, a phone forensics firm. Without
notifying users or providing an opt-out, all calls—including through
FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber—made and received from the iOS
device are sent to Apple servers. This metadata - including phone
numbers, dates, times, and call durations — is allegedly retained for
up to four months.
Take: While the content
of iPhones is encrypted, as in the case of the San Bernardino
attacker, this metadata is accessible even without the physical phone
itself. By examining the metadata of calls and iMessages from
iPhones, law enforcement would be able to extract useful information
from users if iCloud is enabled. Apple’s reported collection of call
logs also potentially puts sensitive information within reach of
people other than U.S. law enforcement, as anyone who can obtain a
user’s iCloud credentials could potentially get access to the call
logs as well.
SpaceX Applies to Triple Active Satellites - for
Global Wi-Fi Aerospace company SpaceX filed an application with the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to nearly triple the number
of active satellites orbiting Earth in order to provide global
high-speed internet coverage. Both Facebook and Google also have
individual plans to spread internet access to remote parts of the
Take: The current global
average for internet speed per user is about five megabytes per
second—or one-200th of SpaceX’s target speed. Currently 4.2 billion
people—57 percent of the world’s population—do not have access to the
internet. The internet has assisted developed economies far more than
developing ones, but simultaneously enabled the people of developing
countries to witness stark contrasts in quality of life—potentially
creating grievances but not the tools to address them. With the rise
of cyber warfare, autonomous weapons, and social media, global internet
access will have lasting effects on the future of statecraft.
Cipher Security Briefings
The Chertoff Group Security Series -
"Focusing on the Future: Prioritizing Security in the Digital
Economy" | Friday, November 18, Washington,
We're keeping digital security squarely in view this month as a proud
media sponsor with The Chertoff Group. We hope to see you next
Friday, November 18th at the Willard Hotel for their Security Series:
'Focusing on the Future: Prioritizing Security in the Digital
Economy.’ Because Cipher Brief readers are an important part of
the conversation, use code CIPHERTCG for a 25%
discount when you register here. Limited space available.