Your Morning Brief for June 5, 2015.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

FBI Wants Phone Records

According to ABC News, the FBI is calling for Congress to help battle possible recruitment of American citizens by ISIS.

The man leading FBI efforts to stop ISIS-inspired attacks in the United States is “imploring” Congress to help give authorities access to some of Americans’ private communications, noting there are perhaps thousands of people in the country secretly feeding on ISIS propaganda each day.

In certain cases, the FBI has no way of monitoring, or even knowing about, conversations among ISIS followers, and that “is troubling,” FBI counterterrorism chief Mike Steinbach told lawmakers today.

“With its widespread distribution model and encrypted communications, [ISIS] is afforded a ‘free zone’ by which to recruit, radicalize, plot and plan,” he said.

For the potential radicals the FBI does know about, authorities are taking no chances, Steinbach said, referring to the incident a day earlier that left a Massachusetts terror suspect dead.

In that case, an FBI agent and Boston police officer approached 26-year-old Usaama Rahim in a parking lot early Tuesday morning. But when Rahim allegedly pulled a large knife on them and wouldn’t drop it, they opened fire.

Rahim had expressed a desire to attack law enforcement officials, and he was placed under 24-hour surveillance by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, sources told ABC News. An associate was arrested overnight.

“The [terror suspects] that are out there … we are monitoring them very closely for any type of action, any type of overt steps,” Steinbach said. “And when we see those, we’re not taking the chance.”

But it’s becoming increasingly “problematic” for authorities to see such action and those kinds of steps, Steinbach indicated.

“We’re past going dark in certain instances,” Steinbach warned. “We are dark.”

At issue is the public’s growing desire to keep personal communications private, especially in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. government surveillance programs.

Responding to market demands, companies are building mobile devices and software that encrypt communications so deeply that the companies themselves can’t access a person’s communications, even when a federal judge orders it, authorities have warned.

“I think it’s a tremendous threat to the homeland,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, which was hearing testimony today from Steinbach and other U.S. counterterrorism officials.

Steinbach said the U.S. public needs to have “an honest conversation” – without “the rhetoric” – about how far technology companies should go with their encryption software.

“This is not a conversation about national security at the expense of privacy,” Steinbach insisted. “We’re not talking about large-scale surveillance techniques. We’re talking about going before the court … [suggesting] there’s a terrorist, and showing that burden of proof.”

Going on a case by case basis makes sense to me and is something we should be doing. We don't need to collect data on a large swath of the public. Remember, the NSA bulk collection of data never stopped an act of terrorism.

If lawmakers are that concerned about Americans turning to ISIS, why don't they ban people from re-entering the country if they have traveled to train with ISIS?

Rick Perry's Speech

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry launched his Presidential bid yesterday with a speech that impressed many. In his speech Perry took numerous shots at President Obama according to the Washington Post.

More so than any presidential contender, Perry focused on the failure of President Obama as commander in chief, leading up to events this week:

Weakness at home has led to weakness abroad. The world has descended into a chaos of this president’s own making, while his White House loyalists construct an alternative universe where ISIS is contained and Ramadi is merely a “setback” – where the nature of the enemy can’t be acknowledged for fear of causing offense, where the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, can be trusted to live up to a nuclear agreement.

No decision has done more harm than the president’s withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Let no one be mistaken, leaders of both parties have made grave mistakes in Iraq. But in January, 2009 – when Barack Obama became Commander-in-Chief – Iraq had been largely pacified. America had won the war. But our president failed to secure the peace. How callous it seems now as cities once secured with American blood are now being taken by America’s enemies, all because of a campaign slogan.

Perry, in essence, is accepting Sen. Marco Rubio’s premise that this will be a foreign policy election — but making the case that a governor, one tested under fire and with actual military experience, is the best bet for commander in chief.

It was an impressive speech by Perry and one that should bump him up in the polls. The reaction from Republicans on social media was also impressive and should mean good news for Perry in the future.

As I said yesterday on the show, don't count Rick Perry out. He can connect with voters and can give one hell of a speech.

Other Must Read Links:

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