National Security Brief: July 20, 2011

— Taliban spokespeople denied that the group’s leader Mullah Omar had died of a heart attack, claiming their communications were hacked after messages from their email and phone accounts to media claimed he died of a heart attack in Afghanistan.

— In an indictment of two Pakistani-Americans, the F.B.I. alleged that Pakistan’s shadowy Inter Services Intelligence agency reimbursed a network of donors and officials from an advocacy group in order to move U.S. policy into a posture more friendly to Pakistani aspirations for control of its contested Kashmir border region with India.

— U.S. officials in Pakistan, under pressure from Washington to increase the visibility of U.S. aid and counter anti-American sentiment, are requiring aid organizations operating in the Afghan border region to advertise they receive American assistance. Aid groups expressed concern that the new requirements may put aid workers in danger if they advertise their U.S. connections.

— NATO yesterday handed over responsibility for the security in the city of Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province, in eastern Afghanistan.

— Indicating that U.S. troops may be in Iraq past 2011, a former defense official involved with the 2008 U.S. Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq said, “At the time of the negotiations it was made clear that it would not be the last agreement, it would be the first.”

— Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) Homeland Security committee will hold a third hearing on the controversial topic of radicalized American Muslims at the end of July despite objections that the focus singles out the Islamic faith.

— Veterans with PTSD are facing obstacles to proper care because when they “seek therapy, they want a professional who can relate to soldiers in combat, and that usually means a therapist who has military experience.” But “most psychologists and mental health care professionals don’t have a military background, there’s a void in the safety net for vets.”

— France’s foreign minister reports that scenarios exist where Moammar Gadhafi could be allowed to stay in Libya if he “clearly steps aside from Libya’s political life.”

— Iran claims it has shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane over the Fordu nuclear site following Iranian announcements that a new generation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges were installed at the facility.