Fdd's overnight brief

July 8, 2019

In The News


Iran said it was taking steps to increase uranium enrichment that would break limits set in a 2015 nuclear deal by Monday morning, violating for the second time elements of the multiparty accord and putting it at risk of collapse. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. called for a special session of the United Nations atomic agency board, increasing the pressure on Europe and others to take a stand against Iran after Tehran said it breached the 2015 nuclear treaty. – Wall Street Journal

Iran threatened Thursday to retaliate against British shipping after the British navy’s seizure in the Mediterranean of a tanker transporting Iranian oil to Syria, drawing Europe deeper into the escalating tensions that risk war between the United States and Iran. – Washington Post

President Donald Trump wants to sit down with Iranian leaders — but they don’t share his eagerness to talk, revealing the limits of the president’s personal diplomatic overtures. – Politico

France and Iran agreed to seek conditions by mid-July for the resumption of nuclear talks, presenting a potential diplomatic opening a day before the Islamic Republic was due to announce an acceleration in enrichment activities restricted under the landmark 2015 deal. – Bloomberg

European powers urged Iran to reverse its latest decision to breach the levels of uranium enrichment under the 2015 nuclear accord but stopped short of threatening sanctions. – Bloomberg

Iran is not looking for war with any country, Iranian army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Monday, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency. – Reuters

The United States conveyed a message to Iran warning of a limited strike against the country after its unmanned drone was shot down in the Gulf, Iran’s civil defense agency chief was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency on Sunday. – Reuters

An Iranian tanker captured by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar was not headed to Syria, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi claimed on Sunday in a press conference broadcast live on state TV. – Reuters

Controversy over operating vast computer networks using subsidized cheap electricity in Iran to mine bitcoins shows no sign of abetting. – Radio Farda

The Islamic Republic has executed at least 110 people between January 1 and June 30, 2019, in prisons or in public, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO) reports. The number shows a rise compared with the same period last year. – Radio Farda

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called Iran’s decision to upgrade its uranium enrichment beyond the limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal a “dangerous step,” likening it to the “small steps” the Nazis took in the 1930s that the world did not respond to, and which only whet their appetite for more. – Jerusalem Post

Gando, a new series on Iranian state TV, portrays Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers as MI6-style secret agents who weed out spies and jail corrupt officials in an attempt to cast new light on the much feared intelligence branch of the corps, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). – Jerusalem Post


A U.S. envoy asked Germany to consider sending ground troops to Syria, putting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on the spot. – Bloomberg

Qusayr, a once bustling commercial hub in western Syria, has not seen any fighting since government troops, with the help of Lebanon’s powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah group, drove out Sunni Muslim rebels six years ago. – Reuters

At least 544 civilians have been killed and over 2,000 people injured since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began two months ago, rights groups and rescuers said on Saturday. – Reuters

Kanj is among thousands of Syrian refugees who will be left stranded by a government decision to dismantle “semi-permanent structures” in eastern Lebanon, aid agencies say. – Reuters

Julian Lee writes: The noose strangling the flow of oil to Syria tightened a notch last week, when British Royal Marines boarded a tanker carrying Iranian crude into the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar. With Syria’s Iranian supplies halted, the flow will have to come from somewhere else, and the alternative is troubling. – Bloomberg


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the governor of Turkey’s central bank, sparking fresh investor concerns over the independence of an institution that has strained to combat runaway inflation. – Wall Street Journal

Turkey’s support for Libya’s internationally-backed government aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict and secure more leverage in the scramble for oil and gas in the Mediterranean, according to two Turkish officials. – Bloomberg

Turkey’s high court overruled life sentences against three journalists, who were sentenced over alleged links to the network of U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gulen, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. – Reuters

Anti-smuggling and organized crime police in Turkey have arrested five people after 18.1 grams (0.64 oz.) of the highly radioactive element californium, were found hidden in a car.  – Jerusalem Post


As the Trump administration lays the groundwork for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, neighboring Jordan has been thrust into the awkward position of opposing many of Washington’s policies while depending on its support. – Wall Street Journal

MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) publicly called for a boycott of Israel in remarks he gave at the anti-Israel Palestine Expo event taking place in London, Kan 11 News reported Sunday. – Arutz Sheva

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday morning to hold a special Knesset meeting on the subject of a Palestinian takeover of Area C, an area controlled by the Israeli government and housing many Israeli settlements. – Jerusalem Post

Some 7,500 Palestinians violently demonstrated along the Gaza border on Friday. At least 41 protesters were injured by IDF troops, who used riot dispersal means including live fire. Palestinian media reported that 22 protesters were injured by live bullets and another 19 by rubber-coated rounds. – Jerusalem Post

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz voiced frustration on Friday with what he called Lebanon’s failure to agree to US-mediated talks on setting their maritime border, suggesting Iran-backed Hezbollah was applying pressure on Beirut. – Reuters

About five years ago, Israeli government lawyers imagined that their greatest fear was finally going to come to pass.  Yes, Israel had succeeded at fending off the 2009 UN Human Rights Council Goldstone Report and an initial attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join the International Criminal Court so it could go after Israelis for alleged war crimes. – Jerusalem Post

Five years after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas remains as defiant as ever, and there are no signs that its rule over the Gaza Strip is facing any real challenges. – Jerusalem Post

It’s been five years since the last IDF soldier left the Gaza Strip after the end of Operation Protective Edge. There hasn’t been any fullblown military confrontation between Israel and Hamas since. […] But five years later, the situation on the southern front is anything but peaceful. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli soldiers shot down a drone they identified crossing over from the Gaza Strip on Monday, according to a statement by the Israeli army. – Haaretz

Security forces arrested a suspect overnight Saturday after five Israeli soldiers were wounded by a car at the Hizma checkpoint in northern Jerusalem in what the military says was a deliberate attack.  – Haaretz

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi dissident and political activist Saeed bin Nasser al-Qamedi recently warned via social media that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been tracking down and detaining Palestinian expatriates living in the country, after the Kingdom launched a new arrest campaign again to track down these Palestinian targets. – Jerusalem Post

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) is navigating a political tightrope as he tries to craft legislation on Saudi Arabia despite deep divisions between the Trump administration and Congress. – The Hill

Jackson Diehl writes: Like Saddam Hussein before him, Mohammed bin Salman has concluded that he is immune. Women he ordered tortured are still in prison. His planes are still bombing Yemen. And he is taking the first steps toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Because Western governments do not stop him now, they will have to do it later — when the cost is likely to be far higher. – Washington Post

David Andrew Weinberg writes: Qatar’s ruler Emir Tamim is scheduled to visit President Trump on Tuesday and will also be meeting with senior Members of Congress in Washington. According to the White House, the two leaders are expected to discuss regional developments, bilateral security cooperation, and counterterrorism issues, but U.S. officials would be well-advised to also bring up tolerance and incitement issues with the Qatari Emir, which is an area where his government has chronically fallen short. – AntiDefamation League


Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels said they have new types of locally made ballistic missiles that they will use in the conflict with the Saudi-led coalition. – Bloomberg

A Saudi-led military coalition said on Saturday it had intercepted and destroyed drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi group at targets in the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. – Reuters

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Saturday that it carried out drone attacks on military sites at Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV reported. – Reuters

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Saturday that it carried out drone attacks on warplane hangars and other military sites in Jizan airport in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV reported. – Reuters


Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar commented on his offensive to capture the capital, the future of oil exports and attempts to end the nation’s crisis peacefully in written answers to questions sent by Bloomberg News. – Bloomberg

Libyan security forces have arrested two men accused of working for a Russian troll farm seeking to influence elections in the oil exporter and other African countries. – Bloomberg

Air space re-opened at the Libyan capital’s only functioning airport, Mitiga, on Sunday after it was halted following a fall of missiles, according to a post on the Mitiga airport authority’s Facebook page. – Reuters

The UN Security Council called Friday for a ceasefire in Libya as the death toll from a three-month offensive on Tripoli reached 1,000, including scores killed in an air strike that hit a detention centre for migrants. – Agence FrancePresse

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia has banned the niqab in public institutions after two suicide bombings rocked the capital last week, becoming the latest country to outlaw the orthodox religious garment in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. – Washington Post

Iraq’s security and paramilitary forces began Sunday a military operation along the border with Syria aimed at clearing the area of Islamic State group militants, the military said in a statement. – Associated Press

A senior commander in the Iraqi army disclosed information on military bases along the Iraq-Syria border to a CIA agent, according to audio files and WhatsApp chats released by the Iraqi Hezbollah terror group, the Iranian Fars news agency reported. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

Otto Warmbier’s parents have filed a claim for a North Korean cargo ship in an attempt to force the country to pay part of a $500 million court judgment in the death of their son. – Washington Post

North Korea accused an Australian student of engaging in “spying acts” that led to his expulsion after nine days in detention, the country’s state media said Saturday. – Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s blitz meeting with Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone between the Korean nations on June 30 was planned ahead by the two sides, the Asahi reported, citing unnamed U.S. and North Korean diplomats. – Bloomberg

Alek Sigley, a 29-year-old Australian Master’s student at Kim Il Sung University in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang, was released from detention in North Korea on July 4. – Business Insider

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has urged Japan to withdraw export controls on high-tech materials bound for South Korea as a row over forced wartime labor threatened to disrupt global supplies of South Korean memory chips and smartphones. – Reuters

China has received a briefing from the United States on the latest meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, in a call between two senior diplomats. – Reuters.

Abraham Denmark writes: Diplomacy with North Korea should certainly be supported, and a realistic initiative managed by professionals will give the United States the best chance of success. However, those diplomats face significant headwinds from Pyongyang and from their own government. While the “fire and fury” tensions that Trump stoked two years ago seem like a distant memory today, the underlying dynamics of those tensions have not disappeared. Yet, that same context also makes diplomacy more important than ever. – The Hill


In recent months, a wave of Islamic countries stood up to China over its oppression of the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority before backing down again, largely due to fear of Beijing’s economic vengeance. – Business Insider

China’s military said its recent “live-fire drill” in the South China Sea didn’t target any country and wasn’t held to achieve specific objectives, after the U.S. denounced the missile tests as “coercive acts.” – Bloomberg

China and the rest of the world must co-exist, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said on Monday, in an indirect jab at the United States with which Beijing is currently trying to resolve a bitter trade war. – Reuters

Australian defense officials said on Monday they were tracking a Chinese surveillance ship that is expected to position itself just outside of its territorial waters to monitor military exercises between Australia and the United States. – Reuters

The wife of the former head of Interpol, who was detained in his native China, said on Sunday she had sued the global police cooperation agency for failing to protect his family and complicity in what she called China’s “wrongful acts”. – Reuters

Children of parents detained in China’s vast system of “re-education camps” in the far west region of Xinjiang are being separated from their families and placed in huge, purpose-built boarding schools as part of a “coordinated state campaign” to provide “full-time or near full-time care for all children from a very young age,” new research has found. – CNN

Susan Thornton writes: China’s rise does pose serious challenges to the U.S. and the global order, which need to be addressed. And many of these complaints are longstanding, so naturally it feels good to hit back. […]The U.S. must band together with partners, double down on coaxing China into the global community and strengthen international structures against new pressures. It’s called diplomacy and the U.S. used to be darn good at it. – Bloomberg


But as the seventh round of talks in the Gulf state of Qatar between the U.S. and Taliban negotiators recessed over the weekend to make way for two days of discussion between the insurgents and a delegation of prominent Afghan political and civic figures flown in from Kabul, Mr. Khalilzad suggested the plates would soon be spinning faster and the risks of a stumble rising. – Wall Street Journal

For the second time in a week, Taliban insurgents Sunday greeted the opening of new peace discussions in Qatar with a deadly suicide bombing at home, this time killing 12 people and wounding at least 179 in an attack in conflicted Ghazni province. – Washington Post

When the Taliban met Sunday for the first time with Afghan officials, the delegates they faced formed a moving tableau of a new Afghanistan that has taken shape since the movement was toppled 18 years ago. – New York Times

Islamic State fighters claimed responsibility on Saturday for a deadly overnight attack in a mosque in central province of Ghazni in Afghanistan. – Reuters


In the wake of the devastating April attacks — carried out by local Islamist extremists — the entire community braced itself for retaliation. Now those reprisals have arrived. Muslim-owned businesses are facing informal boycotts. ­Anti-Muslim riots broke out in two provinces in May, damaging hundreds of businesses, homes and mosques and leaving one person dead. Nine Muslim ministers resigned in June, partly because they feared that if they did not, more violence was imminent. – Washington Post

Another massive march in Hong Kong, this time held in an enclave frequented by Chinese tourists and connected by high-speed railway to the mainland, turned chaotic Sunday night after a smaller group of protesters occupied a major shopping road and was forcibly cleared by police. – Washington Post

Fresh political violence broke out in Hong Kong on Sunday night as riot police baton-charged anti-government protesters seeking to keep the pressure up on the city’s pro-Beijing leaders, after a mass rally outside a train station linking the finance hub to mainland China. – Agence FrancePresse

Amnesty International urgently called for international pressure and an immediate U.N. investigation to help end what it says are possible crimes against humanity in the Philippine president’s bloody anti-drug crackdown. – Associated Press

Police arrested six people during a demonstration in one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist areas on Sunday, where thousands of protesters sought to raise awareness among mainland Chinese visitors about the political crisis that has rocked the city. – ReutersA wave of mostly peaceful protests against the bill garnered massive public support in Hong Kong. But as young protesters adopted ever more radical tactics — including a sit-in that shut down Hong Kong’s tax department on June 24 followed by the brief occupation and vandalisation of the territory’s legislature last week — Mr Lim says they went too far. – Financial Times

Chris Horton writes: As Taiwan prepares for presidential and legislative elections in January—amid concerns over an intense Chinese influence campaign—expect members of Congress and Trump administration officials who see Tsai as a safe pair of hands and view the China-friendly Kuomintang warily to pursue a relationship with Taiwan that is more like one between official diplomatic allies. Tsai’s two “transit” stops in the US in the coming days will last two nights—previous protocol had limited Taiwanese presidents to one-night stopovers. – The Atlantic

Ben Bland writes: Despite Beijing’s standard complaints about biased international press coverage and interference by “foreign forces,” the gaze of the world’s media and the interest of foreign governments will inevitably wane in the coming weeks and months. But the commitment of young Hong Kongers to protect their city and their identity will not. The Communist Party will no doubt try to deter opposition by hitting back harder, demanding a tougher stance from Lam’s government. That will only guarantee that last week’s protests, both peaceful and not, will not be the last. – Bloomberg


Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he is “confident” that when Attorney General Bill Barr concludes his investigation of the origins of the investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign, the American people will learn that the FBI and CIA under the Obama administration engaged in foul play. […]Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. – Fox News

The Russian government’s ban on direct flights between Russia and Georgia has come into effect, affecting thousands of travelers. – Associated Press

NATO and Russia did not make significant progress on saving the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in talks at the alliance headquarters on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. – Reuters

Journalists on Russian state-owned media were underwhelmed by President Trump’s Independence Day parade. – TIME


The U.K. Foreign Office defended its ambassador to the U.S. after a British newspaper published what it said were leaked diplomatic cables to London critical of President Trump. – Wall Street Journal

Investigations surrounding Deutsche Bank’s more than decade-long relationship with President Trump and his business have created a crisis for the German financial giant. – Washington Post

The British ambassador to the United States described the White House as “uniquely dysfunctional,” told his counterparts back home that President Trump was “inept” and “insecure,” and warned that his administration could collapse in “disgrace.” – Washington Post

Nearly half of young Jewish Europeans have considered moving away from their home countries out of fear for their safety amid a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on the continent, according to a new report issued by the European Union. – Washington Post

President Trump criticized the U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Kim Darroch after Darroch called the president “inept” and “incompetent” in leaked messages. – Washington Examiner

Britain is having a political nervous breakdown and is taking a huge risk as it prepares to leave the European Union after a divisive referendum, a former senior UK intelligence official said on Saturday. – Reuters

It is rare for any leader to emerge jubilant from a gruelling three-day international summit. But French president Emmanuel Macron could not hide his satisfaction after this week’s marathon meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. – Financial Times

The 160,000 Conservative party members who are about to pick the United Kingdom’s next next prime minister, would back US President Donald Trump for the job, according to a new poll. – Business Insider

A London court on Friday ordered a man to be hospitalized indefinitely after he attempted to burn down the 18th-century Exeter Synagogue on the Jewish mourning day of Tisha B’Av last year. – Times of Israel

Former prime minister and Labour leader Gordon Brown said on Sunday evening that “the Labour party owes the Jewish community an unqualified apology,” and “that is only a starting point in rebuilding trust.” – Arutz Sheva

Chairman of the Labour party John Cryer said while he feels there has been improvements within the political party, not all antisemites have been kicked out, The Standard reported on Monday.  – Jerusalem Post

Asa Kasher writes: I can understand Israelis defending the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Germany’s decision to define it as anti-Semitic. They remind me of Palestinians in Gaza, defending the terrorists of Hamas in the face of Israeli aggression. Though the two cases differ, there is also much in common. […]They are not trying to discriminate against Jews in Europe or in the United States. They are merely expressing their complete support of an organization plagued by anti-Semitism, that uses despicable anti-Semitic means, and by standing by it, and interfering in the fight against it, enhance it and become complicit in the dangers it presents to Jews in every aspect of their lives. – Ynet


In a landmark agreement reached on Friday, Sudan’s opposition and military leaders tentatively pledged to hold new elections in just over three years. After months of protests and violence, the announcement was greeted with tepid optimism. – Washington Post

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou called for greater U.S. involvement in the fight against mushrooming Islamist insurgencies in West Africa — at a time when President Donald Trump is scaling back America’s military presence on the continent. – Bloomberg

African superpower Nigeria has signed an agreement which aims to increase trade between African countries. This leaves Eritrea as the only African country not to be part of the trading bloc. – BBC

The Americas

D.C.’s newest foreign policy think tank, funded by libertarian Charles Koch and left-wing George Soros, was co-founded by a nonprofit leader who was integral to the passage of the controversial Iran nuclear deal. – Washington Examiner

Ecuador will likely become a member of the market-friendly regional trade bloc the Pacific Alliance next year, the president of Peru said on Saturday, the latest sign of the South American country’s rightward shift under President Lenin Moreno. – Reuters

Negotiations are set to resume Monday between the Venezuelan government and the opposition group calling for its ouster in a bid to end months of political instability, the two sides announced. – CNN

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo writes: Oppressive regimes like Iran and Cuba have taken advantage of this cacophonous call for “rights,” even pretending to be avatars of freedom. No one believed the Soviet call for collective economic and civil rights was really about freedom. But after the Cold War ended, many human-rights advocates adopted the same approach, appealing to contrived rights for political advantage. […]My hope is that the Commission on Unalienable Rights will ground our understanding of human rights in a manner that will both inform and better protect essential freedoms—and underscore how central these ideas are not only to Americans, but to all of humanity. – Wall Street Journal


The Pentagon plans to award a long-awaited cloud-computing contract next month, but the huge program—expected to cost up to $10 billion—faces mounting complications from congressional scrutiny and a court challenge. – Wall Street Journal

Iran says it has broken the “monopoly” of world powers on electronic warfare and advanced communications technologies. Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami said that a new unit called Sepehr 110 had been established that would help Iran cope with electronic warfare attacks. – Jerusalem Post

General Dynamics Information Technology will provide the Air Force’s 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing with network technology through a contract worth up to $217 million, according to a June 26 news release from the company. – C4ISRNET


A four-star admiral due to take over as the Navy’s top officer on Aug. 1 will instead retire, the service announced Sunday night, citing his interactions with a subordinate accused of acting inappropriately toward female officers. – Washington Post

Conceding not all Advanced Weapons Elevators will be operational before USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) leaves an extended post-shakedown availability, the Navy is pressing to fix as many of the systems as possible. – USNI News

The Columbia (SSBN-826) class program is a program to design and build a class of 12 new ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 aging Ohio-class SSBNs. – USNI News

Two Norwegian satellites will host the core components of the U.S. Air Force’s next generation satellite communications system for the arctic, Northrop Grumman announced July 3. – C4ISRNET

Daniel S. Morgan writes: Just over halfway through the Trump administration’s first term, the military is getting its third secretary of Defense in Mark Esper. […]Fortunately, the Department of Defense (DOD) is receiving a great leader in Esper. He is superbly qualified, by experience and temperament — a family man, combat veteran infantry officer, West Point graduate, defense industry and policy expert, and an intellectual with high-level Pentagon civilian leadership experience. – The Hill

Long War

Thousands of terrorist attacks take place each year, most in regions suffering from broader patterns of political violence such as the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. Assaults in the U.S. and Europe comprise a small percentage. However, data show that the number, prevalence and lethality of terrorist incidents has decreased significantly around the world since a recent near-term peak in 2014. – USA Today

Kathy Gilsinan writes: Some 2,000 suspected fighters from dozens of countries, including hundreds from Europe, languish in Kurdish detention in northeastern Syria, and the Trump administration has been pushing its democratic allies to bring them home to face justice. […]The irony is that some western European countries, whose representatives were appalled by America’s indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay after September 11, are now by default accepting a sprawling Guantánamo in the desert. – The Atlantic

Etai Handman writes: On June 9, it was reported that the BBC (The British Broadcasting Corporation), the world’s largest broadcast news operation, would stop using the word “terror” in its reporting of events of terrorism. This is an egregious move that has the ability to legitimize terrorists and their actions, sterilize the public from the psychological effects of terrorism, and shield the BBC from potential backlash about “biased” reporting. While the BBC claims to do this to reduce bias, in actuality, it shows bias and contempt toward the innocent victims and society affected by terrorism. – Jerusalem Post

Dr. Marc Siegel writes: But the greatest concern when it comes to potential bioweapons involves not naturally occurring viruses or bacteria but today’s advances in bioengineering. The Department of Defense has a growing interest in this area and last year authorized an extensive report by the National Academy of Sciences. […]Despite billions of dollars spent on Bio Watch and Bio Shield — programs put in place by the U.S. government after the 9/11 attacks — there is no assurance that a biological attack isn’t feasible or portentous, especially with the development of new technologies.  – The Hill