Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Tuesday, 16 November 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Russia shoots down satellite, sends U.S. warning
- Bannon surrenders to Justice Dept.
- China’s doublespeak on display in Biden summit.
- Hacker feud highlights FBI cyber vulnerability
SPACE: Russia successfully destroyed the COSMOS 1408, an old intelligence satellite abandoned in space since 1984. A direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile hit the COSMOS 1408, generating “hundreds of thousands of pieces” of space debris, according to NASA. U.S. officials accused Russia of pursuing space weapon systems that “undermine [U.S.] strategic stability.” (Analyst Comment: The message is that Russia is prepared to end America’s GPS access. The U.S. doesn’t acknowledge its own ASAT capabilities, but this is a preview of the potential chaos unleashed in near-earth orbit should a shooting war erupt. – D.M.)
An example of the Tselina-D ELINT satellite, destroyed in-orbit by Russia. Credit: Anatoly Zak
BANNON: Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon turned himself in to federal authorities on Monday. He’s charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for not appearing before a committee hearing. The maximum sentence for the charges carries a $200,000 fine and 60 days in jail. “I don’t want anybody to take their eye off the ball of what we do every day. We got the Hispanics coming on our side, African Americans coming on our side. We’re taking down the Biden regime,” he told supporters outside a federal courthouse. (AC: The relatively minor sentences available to the Justice Department indicate this is more politics than pursuit of justice. Bannon left the White House in 2017 and remained far removed from the inner workings of the Trump administration. Lawfare will remain a recurring tactic in our low intensity conflict. – T.W.)
CHINA: Last night, President Biden met virtually with China’s Xi. U.S. readouts of the call portray Biden as bringing up every hot-button topic, including Taiwan, the Uighers, unfair trade practices, and the climate crisis. Chinese media focused on a “fast track” proposal for U.S. businesses and executives moving into China. (AC: The White House readout was sparse, indicating it was not a productive conversation. China has no interest in abiding by any agreement with the U.S. unless China can exploit it to their advantage. The duplicitous nature of U.S.-Sino relations is a strategic benefit to China, not the U.S. – D.M.)
The virtual meeting between Biden and Xi did little to address the growing diplomatic rift. Source: Xinhua
FBI: Over the weekend, FBI email accounts appeared to be compromised by cyber actors. Thousands of emails appeared to come from FBI officials, warning of a cybercrime investigation. The individual claiming responsibility said, “I could’ve 1000% used this to send more legit looking emails, trick companies into handing over data etc… And this would’ve never been found by anyone who would responsibly disclose, due to the notice the feds have on their website.” Flaws in the construction of the FBI’s website are blamed for the breach and embarrassment. (AC: Several federal law enforcement agencies are failing to maintain basic cybersecurity. While this “attack” could have been much worse, it’s a stark reminder that government systems containing sensitive information about American citizens are prone to exploitation. The individual credited with the operation has a reputation for feuding with cybersecurity researchers. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Nothing significant to report
In today’s Early Warning, Mike examines the Far Left’s emphasis on the importance of soft power and parallels to the Algerian insurgency. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe