1:10 PM 9/29/2017 – Divisions Within the Global Jihad: A Primer by Daniel Byman | Kazakh clan had deep ties to Trump orbit

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Divisions Within the Global Jihad: A Primer 

Kazakh clan had deep ties to Trump orbit

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A powerful Kazakh family and a developer linked to Donald Trump enlisted the law firm of a high-profile Trump confidante to create a web of offshore companies designed to minimize taxes.

The firm: Bracewell & Giuliani, which carried the name of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani was a frequent surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign and was considered for a position in his Cabinet.

Bracewell & Giuliani had an office in Kazakhstan, and Giuliani even raised funds from expatriates there for his failed 2008 presidential bid.

An ongoing investigation by McClatchy and its reporting partners has shown that the developer, Bayrock Group, which partnered with the Trump Organization on at least three projects in the mid-2000s, was in business with the Khrapunov family.

Bayrock is believed to be under the microscope of Justice Department and congressional investigators looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in part because of its foreign investors and buyers and in part because Bayrock’s Russian-born then-managing director Felix Sater, who served time in prison in the U.S. in the mid-1990s, became an adviser to Trump’s company.

Sater and Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen were seeking a hotel deal in Moscow even during the election, according to emails that recently surfaced and are now in the hands of investigators. The emails undercut Trump’s post-election claim that he had no business in Russia, showing he was actively trying to develop a luxury tower.

Kazakh connections

Documents obtained by McClatchy, Dutch broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project show that the Khrapunovs — former Kazakh politician Viktor, his anchorwoman wife Leila and Geneva-based son Ilyas — joined forces with Bayrock and Sater during a period that Bayrock was developing the famed Trump Soho project in Manhattan, which Trump touted often on NBC’s hit show The Apprentice.

Together, the Khrapunovs and Bayrock Group created KazBay B.V. in the Netherlands in 2007, with the legal advice of Bracewell & Giuliani.

The Khrapunovs, with the help of a partner of Sater’s, later purchased and quickly flipped three condos in the Trump Soho hotel and condo complex. They are accused in Kazakhstan of embezzlement and money laundering. The Khrapunovs face civil lawsuits in New York and Los Angeles that seek to claw back what the Kazakh government says is stolen money. Some of the cash allegedly washed through U.S. real estate, including the Trump properties.

When Zembla readied to air a documentary this week (Sept. 27) about the relationship between the Khrapunovs and Sater, the Khrapunovs sued in the Netherlands to block it, accusing the Kazakh government of defamation.

Dutch courts rejected the argument and the program, which featured prior reporting by McClatchy, aired as scheduled. An English language version was shared widely on the Internet.

Internal records show KazBay B.V. was 50 percent owned by Bayrock B.V. and its owner Tevfik Arif, and 50 percent owned by Helvetic Capital S.A., a Swiss company whose true owner, according to the documents, was Leila Khrapunova. She’s the former TV anchor and back in 2007 was the wife of Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and an ex-energy minister.

This snippet of a document from September 2007 obtained by McClatchy and reporting partners shows the ownership structure of the joint venture KazBay B.V. between a now-fugitive Kazakh family and Trump-linked developer Bayrock Group.

Wieder, Ben

People familiar with KazBay describe the joint venture as a company operating on multiple tracks. Some documents show the ventures oil-drilling business, but it also planned open-mouth coal mining, where extracted coal would go to a nearby power plant.

How long the venture lasted and why it ended are unclear.

KazBay wasn’t the only project involving the Khrapunovs and Bayrock. They partnered on a luxury condominium project overlooking Lake Geneva, and established a Swiss corporation in early 2008 called Swiss Capital IB SA that listed two addresses on its website: Bayrock’s New York offices in Trump Tower, two floors down from Trump, and a Switzerland address used by Helvetic Capital.

A series of investigative reports by McClatchy earlier this year showed how Sater maintained a business relationship with Khrapunovs, including investing together in a shopping mall debt deal in Ohio that ended in litigation and a sealed settlement. They also worked together in Syracuse, N.Y, to purchase a former state institution, another deal mired in lawsuits.

Multiple people with knowledge of the KazBay deal describe Bracewell & Giuliani’s work as limited to creating a tax structure that worked to reduce tax exposure and benefit investors in Switzerland, the United States and Kazakhstan. It’s why Holland was chosen as the home base, on paper, for KazBay.

Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani was one of the few prominent U.S. firms in 2007 with an office in Kazakhstan, at once both a land of promise because of its rich natural resources and a “kleptocracy” run by President Nursultan Nazerbayev since 1989.

Giuliani joined the law firm as a partner in 2005, staying until 2016. It’s unclear how involved he was in Kazakhstan, but the head of the law firm’s Kazakh office at the time, Gregory Vojack, raised money there for Giuliani’s failed presidential bid in 2008.

Federal records show that Vojack and his wife donated about $4,400 in early 2007 to the campaign. Months later, a Wall Street Journal story spotlighted attempts to raise campaign money from Americans working there.

That was not illegal but raised eyebrows. Giuliani greeted the guests via video conference at a fundraiser held at Vojack’s home in Almaty.

Reached in China, Vojack declined comment, saying that although he no longer works for Bracewell (which last year parted ways with Giuliani), he is bound by rules that prevent him from discussing work for private clients.

Vojack’s bio shows he has worked in Kazakhstan since 1994, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In early 2007, Bracewell & Giuliani issued a news release, in which Vojack touted the law firm’s role as international counsel for the offering of $1 billion in corporate debt for Bank TuranAlem, or BTA.

“We are in the best position now that we’ve ever been,” he said at the time. “This is an exciting time for Kazakhstan, and we are thrilled to be a part of its expansion and wealth consolidation.”

But soon afterwards, the Nazerbayev government sought to claw back ownership of the fast-growing bank. BTA Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov refused, and a power struggle came to a head early in 2009 when Ablyazov fled to London and Kazakhstan seized the bank, alleging widespread embezzlement.

Bracewell & Giuliani was not accused of impropriety. However, the BTA debt issuance intersects with the KazBay venture in a curious way.

Numerous people familiar with the KazBay deal describe it as driven by Sater and Ilyas Khrapunov, who is married to Ablyazov’s daughter Madina.

The Kazakh government has accused Ablyazov of hiding massive theft through a complex web of offshore shell companies. U.S. lawyers representing the city of Almaty in civil lawsuits in Los Angeles and New York against the Khrapunovs allege that they comingled funds stolen by Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Attorneys for the Khrapunovs and Ablyazov have repeatedly countered that they are the targets of political persecution. President Nazerbayev and members of his extended family have also been accused of hiding fortunes in offshore havens.

This portion of a document from September 2007 obtained by McClatchy and reporting partners shows the true owners of Dutch companies created as a joint venture between a now-fugitive Kazakh family and Trump-linked developer Bayrock Group.

Wieder, Ben

Reasons for KazBay’s collapse vary based on who tells the story. Some blame a New York Times story in late 2007 that revealed the Russian-born Sater had a criminal past, forcing him to step down from his public role at Bayrock, later becoming a senior advisor to the Trump Organization. Others involved in KazBay assert the Khrapunovs were to blame.

None of the actors involved have publicly commented since initial reports earlier this year.

Numerous former Bayrock employees, now spread across the globe, declined to comment on the record for the story, wanting nothing to do with a company under scrutiny by investigators probing Trump’s businesses.

Bayrock spokeswoman Angela Pruitt declined to comment Thursday, providing a statement given earlier this month to partner Zembla.

“Bayrock B.V. and KazBay B.V. were entities formed with the advice of outside legal counsel as part of the structuring of an investment by Bayrock,” it read. “The investment was not successful, and the structure subsequently was abandoned.”

There’s no evidence that Trump or Giuliani participated in KazBay, or even knew of it.

Yet because the Khrapunovs worked with Sater over the course of a decade, were buyers in Trump Soho in 2013 and are involved in numerous legal disputes playing out in U.S. courts, investigators probing Russia’s 2016 election meddling may well consider the Khrapunovs and Sater as persons of interest.

This story involved collaboration between McClatchy , Dutch public broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a global journalism network that investigates transnational corruption

SANDER RIETVELD OF ZEMBLA CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE, AS DID OCCRP’S AUBREY BELFORD, CHRIS BENEVENTO, LEJLA SARCEVIC AND BERMET TALANT.

PALUCH IS A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

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8:47 AM 9/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier | Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials – Reuters 

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Fugitive Kazakh clan has deep ties to Trump associates – McClatchy Washington Bureau

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McClatchy Washington Bureau
Fugitive Kazakh clan has deep ties to Trump associates
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Documents obtained by McClatchy, Dutch broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project show that the Khrapunovs — former Kazakh politician Viktor, his anchorwoman wife Leila and Geneva-based son Ilyas — joined forces with 

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Divisions Within the Global Jihad: A Primer 

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Every unhappy terrorist movement is unhappy in its own way, and the global jihadist movement is no exception. Disagreements over targeting, tactics, organization and the fundamental question of what it means to be a good Muslim have plagued the movement since its inception and remain a source of weakness.

As the Islamic State declines, these differences become even more important. The Islamic State has lost the bulk of its territory in Iraq and Syria, but it is likely to endure there as some form of insurgency and, beyond that, as a terrorist movement. Still, playing the leadership role the movement claimed when it declared the Caliphate in 2014 will be harder. Al-Qaeda, for its part, has tried to play a longer game, but it too remains weak and may not be able to reclaim the leadership standard. Yet even as there is no clear leader, the broader movement remains robust. Jihadist groups, some of which have ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, are active in Yemen, the Maghreb, India, the Philippines and of course Syria, among many other locations. In Europe, the jihadist movement enjoys support from too many Muslims, enabling it to attract fighters and inspire terrorist attacks.

This broad movement, however, is divided over several key questions. A very basic one concerns who is a “true” Muslim. Every religion, even the most accepting, has a line that separates believers from non-believers. Islam is no exception: It would be hard to claim to be a Muslim if one did not believe in God and did not consider Mohammad his prophet. Jihadists are often much stricter. Although jihad is generally justified as defending Muslims or reclaiming Muslim land from unbelievers, in practice many jihadists condemn whole groups of nominally fellow Muslims to the status of unbeliever (kafir). This goes against the approach most Muslim scholars have historically taken with this issue, as they’ve heeded the Prophet Mohammad’s warning that being quick to accuse others of unbelief can lead to debilitating divisions among the faithful. Some jihadists contend that only observant Muslims truly are Muslims and that all others are apostates. Many would also say that only Sunni Muslims count: Shiite Muslims are the majority in Iraq, Bahrain and Iran, but under jihadists’ strict interpretation of monotheism, Shiites are not true Muslims because their veneration of Ali, the fourth caliph and the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, gives him semi-divine status. Alawites, who control the Syrian government; Houthis, Yemenis who follow a different form of Shiism; and other religious minorities such as the Ahmadis, Druze and Yazidis are also beyond the pale. Others would go further and draw the line between Salafis—a puritanical form of Sunnism that rejects traditional politics, man-made laws and anything that smacks of human innovation—and all others, rejecting non-Salafi Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood as insufficiently pure. Still, others would draw the line between those Salafis who embrace jihad and those who don’t—you’re either with us or against us.

Having drawn the line between true believers and others, the next question is what to do about those who fall short. The Islamic State and, before that, al-Qaeda in Iraq made their names targeting Shiites and Sunni Muslims who cooperated with enemy governments, arguing that both deserved death for their impious allegiances. In Algeria in the 1990s, some jihadist groups went so far as to slaughter ordinary Muslims who tried to stay out of the fray, arguing that their non-cooperation was tantamount to rejecting the faith. Al-Qaeda, by contrast, has usually called on its followers to ignore these groups and, ideally, proselytize to put them on the true path.

The movement is also divided over who is a legitimate target. More broadly, there are divisions over the concept of tatarrusor the killing of innocents as part of military operations (what the Pentagon would call collateral damage). Muslim scholars, like their Christian counterparts, have wrestled with how to balance the reality of war and its needs with their faith’s call to protect the innocent. Many jihadist groups have lost popular support when they killed innocents, especially innocent Muslims, in their operations. Two al-Qaeda attacks against residential compounds in Riyadh in 2003 killed almost 20 Saudis—far more than the number of Americans—and drew widespread condemnation among ordinary Saudis.The May 2003 bombings killed nearly as many Muslims as infidel Westerners; the attack that followed in November—during the holy month of Ramadan, as it happened—killed and injured almost exclusively Muslims. Some 36 children were wounded. Ordinary Saudis turned sharply against al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s decision to target hotels frequented by Westerners in Jordan, one of which was hosting a local couple’s wedding, had a similar effect there. Al-Qaeda has tried to learn its lesson from this. Especially with regard to Muslims, the group is far more discriminating in its targeting than it was 15 years ago. When the Islamic State captured and murdered Western aid workers in Syria, for example, al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra decried this as “wrong under Islamic law” and “counter-productive.” Abu Omar Aqidi, a senior Nusra militant, even tweeted to publicly call on ISIS to release Peter Kassig, an American aid worker (and convert to Islam) who had “performed a successful [medical] operation under bombardment by the regime” on Aqidi himself and treated other jihadists. After the infamous immolation of a Jordanian (Muslim) fighter pilot, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula denounced the video as “conclusive proof of ISIS deviance.”

These differences are obscure to many, but the movement also has a basic question regarding organization: Should it be strictly hierarchical or far more decentralized? Al-Qaeda in the 1990s and later the Islamic State along with its predecessor organizations usually pushed hierarchy: They have a top leader, senior lieutenants, committees to handle key issues such as security and media, and so on. The Islamic State also tried to replicate this at a local level to ensure order and control. The relentless counterterrorism campaigns of the United States and its allies, however, made hierarchies dangerous. The killing or capturing of key leaders could bring a group to a temporary halt or at least severely limit operations. In addition, the constant communication needed to run a large insurgency or global terrorist movement risked revealing the whereabouts of key figures. The Islamic State still favors some degree of hierarchy, but other groups have called for far more decentralized operations. These are harder to disrupt, but they run the risk of fragmentation. Even if the organization does set out clear instructions regarding tatarrus and other targeting concerns, it is hard to enforce order, running the risk that unauthorized actions of a local cell or foreign affiliate could discredit the broader group.

The jihadist movement is also profoundly divided on the question of the caliphate. The Islamic State has made its reputation in part on declaring its return. Al-Qaeda, however, has waffled in many public statements because of the concept’s popularity and the group’s long-term goal of establishing an Islamic state of its own. In private, though, it has often been scathing, arguing that the jihadist movement as a whole does not enjoy the popular support necessary for a caliphate to survive and that establishing state structures in a given area simply tells the United States and its allies where to bomb.

Even below the level of the caliphate, the groups disagree on whether to impose Islamic law in areas they control. The Islamic State contends that it is its religious duty to do so, and of course, a caliphate would not be a true caliphate if it did not govern according to Islamic law. In areas where al-Qaeda-linked groups have controlled territory, however, they have vacillated between strictly imposing Islamic law and taking a more lenient approach of educating the locals or even leaving it to local leaders to settle disputes and otherwise rule.

In general, al-Qaeda and associated groups favor a more “hearts and minds” approach of providing services, working with local leaders and partnering with other rebel groups. The Islamic State, however, wants to crush necks and spines, displacing local leaders, and ensuring its own power. It often puts foreigners in control of areas it conquers, while al-Qaeda groups prefer local leaders. In Syria and other places with many jihadist groups, the Islamic State demands their loyalty while al-Qaeda has called for partnering with, and often taking a back seat to, other Syrian rebel groups.

The movement also differs as to how much to focus locally and regionally vs. those who want to focus on the United States or other Western countries. Most groups try a mix of both: Al-Qaeda at the time of 9/11, for example, spent the bulk of its money and forces helping the Taliban and used its camps in Afghanistan to train fighters focused on fomenting insurgencies in the Muslim world; at the same time, it engineered a massive terrorist attack on the United States. Similarly, the Islamic State mostly pursued the consolidation and expansion of its caliphate, but it has also tried to encourage attacks on the West and used operatives to carry out bloody strikes such as the 2015 Paris attacks. Having it both ways, however, makes it harder for the groups to concentrate their resources and risks attracting new enemies, which more local rebel groups understandably hate. Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, for example, has declared that it will not attack the West and ostensibly separated from the al-Qaeda mothership to demonstrate to local allies that it would not stand in the way of their receiving military aid from the United States and its partners.

An important question is whether these are differences in objectives or simply differences in priorities. If jihadists disagree on fundamental outcomes, then any unity of purpose or organization will be much harder to achieve. If the question is simply one of priorities, then changes in circumstances can bring different factions together in the name of expediency.

Questions of tatarrus or the precise line where apostasy begins and ends mean little to most foot soldiers. Data from captured Islamic State records showed that 70 percent of recruits claimed they had only a basic knowledge of Islam. But some of these questions have a tremendous impact on the appeal of different groups. The revival of the caliphate, for example, proved compelling to many recruits and, regardless of its perceived legitimacy among purists, the temptation to play this popular card will be there in the future.

It’s always tempting to urge the United States to try to play up these divisions, and I’ve done so myself at times. The U.S. track record of influencing the jihadist dialogue, however, ranges from poor to nonexistent, and deliberately trying to generate ever more extreme factions isn’t wise. But these internal fissures do hamper U.S. enemies and do some of the work for us. At the very least, they expend precious time and energy trying to one-up rival groups in their propaganda. At most, the differences lead to actual shots fired or recruits and donors being turned off by infighting.

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Last Updated Sep 29, 2017 9:13 AM EDT

Lisa Page, an attorney who was part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, has left, the special counsel’s office confirmed.

Page, who was an attorney with the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel, returned to the FBI in mid-July, special counsel spokesman Peter Carr confirmed to CBS News’ Andres Triay.

The news of Page’s depature was first reported by ABC News.

Page was one of nearly two dozen high-profile attorneys and investigators who Mueller assembled.

Prior to her position with the FBI, Page worked as a trial attorney in the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Page has prosecuted a number cases involving eastern European organized crime. In one case, she partnered with an FBI task force in Budapest that investigated a money-laundering case against Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s one-time business partner, Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch.

age is the second person to depart the team so far. Peter Strzok, who was chief of the FBI counterespionage unit that was involved in overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server last year, departed the team in August. It’s unclear why Strzok left.

The scope of Mueller’s investigation, individuals familiar with the matter have told CBS News, includes Russian interference in the election, Russian hacking, any other Russian influence and possible financial wrongdoing.

CBS News reported in August that Mueller is using a grand jury in the probe, which is an indication the probe is intensifying. The impaneling of a grand jury means Mueller’s team has the ability to seek indictments and subpoena records, although the special counsel already had broad investigative authority when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced he was naming Mueller special counsel. Shortly before the appointment, Mr. Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey. And Rosenstein was given oversight of the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Mueller’s team recently obtained records from Facebook regarding $100,000 in ad buys Russians made during and immediately after the 2016 presidential election. Between June 2015 and May of this year, about 3,000 ads connected with 470 “inauthentic accounts” were posted on Facebook, according to the social media giant.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Special counsel attorney departs for FBI – CBS News

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Special counsel attorney departs for FBI
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Page has prosecuted a number cases involving eastern European organized crime. In one case, she partnered with an FBI task force in Budapest that investigated a money-laundering case … The scope of Mueller’s investigation, individuals familiar with 

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The ‘White Rat’ – The Weekly Standard

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The ‘White Rat’
The Weekly Standard
Landesman had been aided by the late Craig L. Dotlo, an influential figure in the Society ofFormer Special Agents of the FBI. The society’s cooperation is not easy to come by because it carefully vets requests from authors and filmmakers, and it was 

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Senator Slams Twitter’s Disclosure On Russian Meddling As ‘Inadequate On Every Level’ – Forbes

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Forbes
Senator Slams Twitter’s Disclosure On Russian Meddling As ‘Inadequate On Every Level’
Forbes
Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia said in a tweet Thursday. Warner is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and had just finished a closed-door hearing where Twitter revealed information about Russian meddling in the election on its 

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White House to Review Trump Aides’ Use of Private Email – Bloomberg

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White House to Review Trump Aides’ Use of Private Email
Bloomberg
The review is intended to ensure that any information in private emails responsive to congressional probes of Russia’s interference in the election is turned over to appropriate committees, the person said, adding that it should not be considered a 
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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Private Email Domains Under Investigation: Report – Newsweek

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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Private Email Domains Under Investigation: Report
Newsweek
After reports that Jared Kushner and other senior members have used private accounts to carry out government business, the investigation pays special attention to Kushner and Ivanka Trump’sprivate email domain since they still work in the White House, …
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White House launches probe of private email accountsPolitico
White House starts probe of private email use by senior aides: PoliticoReuters
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Trump administration lawyers demand Facebook account info of anti-Trump activists – New York Post

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Trump administration lawyers demand Facebook account info of anti-Trump activists
New York Post
The Trump administration has reportedly obtained search warrants that would allow them access the Facebook pages of thousands of anti-Trump protesters. The requested data — which targets all the information in three accounts — would include …

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Racism … Nazism … Trumpism … the Historical Role of Myths – City Watch

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Racism … Nazism … Trumpism … the Historical Role of Myths
City Watch
CORRUPTION WATCH-As one of my favorite actors-celebrities, the former Marky Mark, says, “Food, water, Internet, we need it to live.” Ah, yes, the Internet. In addition to streaming porn, it constantly feeds us our national myths. Indeed, man does not 

Trump’s Tax Plan Is An Act Of Political Domination By The Rich

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But at least we don’t have to pretend it isn’t.

North Korean companies ordered to close in China – Financial Times

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North Korean companies ordered to close in China
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One Chinese businessman who runs a joint venture in Pyongyang told the Financial Times he would wait out the 120 days to see what the “specific situation” was before restructuring his company, hoping for a “glimmer of light”. 60 per cent of China-North 

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US election: Twitter blasted for inaction over Russia-linked accounts – FRANCE 24

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US election: Twitter blasted for inaction over Russia-linked accounts
FRANCE 24
The company said in a blog post that it found 22 accounts corresponding to about 450 Facebook accounts that were likely operated out of Russia and pushed divisive social and political issues during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook has said …
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Twitter believes it was manipulated by Russian agents interfering in US electionsSiliconrepublic.com
Twitter bans 200 accounts, identified RT’s role in US electionsThe Hindu
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‘Blacktivist’ social media accounts linked to Russian efforts to sow divisions in US – New York Daily News

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Fortune
‘Blacktivist’ social media accounts linked to Russian efforts to sow divisions in US
New York Daily News
The Russian government was linked to a “Blacktivist” account on both Twitter and Facebook that was intended to stoke racial tensions in the U.S. during the presidential elections. Fake accounts and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of social media 
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Trump Lies About Taxes, Health Care Amid Cabinet Scandals: A Closer Look

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Former CIA station chief warns of ‘authoritarian internet’

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Trump White House feels heat on Puerto Rico

CNN2 hours ago
Washington (CNN) Puerto Rico and Washington seem farther than 1,500 miles apart right now — in fact they’re experiencing a different version of reality.

The Trump White House is a really, really strange place

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But after eight months in office, that pledge has become a favorite punchline on the web. Rather than a home to efficient, skilled operators, the Trump White House has been marked by an eccentric swirl of office politics run amok and off-hours fits of pique.

Here’s a quick skip through the profound — and very real — weirdness that has colored much of the current administration.

close dialog

No one hides from the press (or the President) better than Trump’s people.

First there was former FBI director James Comey. Trump initially decided to keep Comey on in his job and, during a post-inaugural reception at the White House, singled him out for a handshake and slap on the back. But as Comey confidante Ben Wittes

told it on the Lawfare blog

, the lanky lawman tried to avoid the awkward interaction by blending in with the drapes, which matched his blazer.

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“So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes,” Wittes wrote, “hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall.”

Alas, the President caught a glimpse. “Oh, and there’s Jim,” Trump said. “He’s become more famous than me!”

That relationship would sour a bit, and on the occasion of Comey’s firing, in early May, Trump communications staffers tried to steer clear of the media. Most notable was Sean Spicer, the dissembling former press secretary, who hid in —

correction: among 

— some bushes on the White House grounds rather than confront a hungry pack of reporters.

Former chief of staff Reince Priebus’s departure from his job, ditched on the tarmac after a ride on Air Force One, was an uncomfortable affair. Perhaps it would have been less so if there was a large trash can there to obscure reporters’ view.

And then there is the curious case of Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and their vacation schedule. The couple and their children

often seem to be away

 when the President starts lighting fires. Is it a coincidence? Are they keeping a lid on Oval Office shenanigans — only to see it pop off when they leave?

Or is it — as the critics have increasingly suggested — that they are actively trying to stay out of the less flattering headlines?

Starman Trump

To Trump, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the

“Rocket Man.”

 That song, by Elton John, is from 1972. Another famous tune, from the same year, could be applied to Trump: David Bowie’s

“Starman.”

Trump has repeatedly found himself in odd situations with the biggest star of all: the sun.

He most recently took on a solar eclipse — training the presidential retinas directly on it.

According to the press pool on hand that afternoon, “White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted ‘don’t look'” as Trump, well, looked.

President Donald Trump looks up toward the Solar Eclipse while joined by his wife first lady Melania Trump on the Truman Balcony at the White House on August 21, 2017.

President Donald Trump looks up toward the Solar Eclipse while joined by his wife first lady Melania Trump on the Truman Balcony at the White House on August 21, 2017.

Before that, there was the famous “orb.” During his first visit to the Gulf as President, Trump gathered with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to paw an odd-looking, glowing sphere.

As it turns out, this was less a star than some kind of incandescent globe, meant to signify, as noted in the Saudi embassy tweet, some kind of new joint effort to combat terrorism.

But Trump’s

most studied

 grappling with solar power came during a pair of visits to Europe earlier this year, when he repeatedly engaged in prolonged handshakes with French President Emmanuel Macron. The young leader has an appreciation for both clean energy and

the power exercised by the Sun King, Louis XIV

.

Does it please the President?

If we know one thing about Trump, it’s that he prizes loyalty —

to Trump

. He tells us constantly. His subordinates know it and have, on occasion, gone to outsize lengths to prove their own.

One memorable example: Before his own wings were clipped,

The Washington Post reported

, Priebus was called on to ground a fly that infiltrated an Oval Office meeting. It had been buzzing, and annoying Trump, who duly “summoned his chief of staff and tasked him with killing the insect.”

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Doing Trump’s bidding, however ridiculous, is a core competency in this White House. Spicer’s thirst for the job was tested on his first weekend, when he declared the audience for the previous day’s festivities the largest “to ever witness an inauguration, period.”

Spicer’s rant was a signal of things to come. The next day. Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway went on NBC to defend her colleague’s assertions, up to a point.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood,” she told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts.”

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But there was no alternative, only love, when Trump formally introduced his Cabinet in June. As the group went up and down a long conference table, they hand-bathed the President in praise.

Here’s a taste:

  • Vice President Mike Pence: “Greatest privilege of my life to serve as your vice president.”
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “We are receiving, as you know — I’m not sure the rest of you fully understand — the support of law enforcement all over America.”
  • Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta: “I want to thank you for keeping your commitment to the American workers.”
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry: My hat’s off to you for taking that stand (on the Paris climate deal), for sending a clear message around the world that America is gonna continue to lead in the area of energy.
  • UN envoy Nikki Haley: “It’s a new day at the United Nations. We now have a very strong voice. People know what the US is for, they know what we’re against, and they see us leading across the board.
  • White House budget director Mick Mulvaney: “With your direction we were able to also focus on the forgotten man and woman who are the folks who are paying those taxes, so I appreciate your support and your direction in pulling that budget together.”
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price: “I can’t thank you enough for the privilege that you’ve given me and the leadership that you’ve shown.”
  • Transportation secretary Elaine Chao: “I want to thank you for getting this country moving again and also working again.”
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “I want to congratulate you on the men and women you’ve placed around this table. The holistic team of working for America is making results in each and every area.”

And then came Priebus for the topper:

“On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.”

Business dinners

Do a deal. Have a meal.

Trump has brought with him to the presidency some of the vestiges of the New York City real estate life. Among them, a desire to combine food with business.

Earlier this month, that meant dinner with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi included Chinese food, but no Republicans. They walked out of the meeting with some conflicting reviews, though not of the cuisine. The questions centered on whether Trump had agreed to a deal that would protect DACA recipients in exchange for a bump in border security (but no money for the wall).

That last bit is still a mystery. What’s not is the President’s preference for a chocolate dessert. At the Pelosi-Schumer get-together, it was pie. But back in April, there was a different order. Two of them, actually. First for cake, then for airstrikes on Syria.

How do we know — and why do we care — what Trump had for dessert before making the decision? Because he told us. In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, the President turned his recollection of the strikes into an advertisement for his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“We had finished dinner,” he said of himself and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We’re now having dessert — and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen, and President Xi was enjoying it — and I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded.”

And then?

“We made a determination to do it, so the missiles were on the way.”

It wasn’t the first time the President put on a show for the paying customers at Mar-a-Lago. In February, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were tucking into iceberg wedge salads when word came down that North Koreans had launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

The leaders got down to business in full view of gawking guests. Some aides even

illuminated potentially sensitive briefing papers

 with the flashlights on their phones, which might or might not have been secure. (Spicer later told reporters the leaders had been “reviewing the logistics for the press conference,” not scouring classified documents.)

Waiters stayed on the scene too, swapping out the salads for a main course. But Trump and Abe soon moved to another room. It’s unclear if they ever made it to dessert.

Loose lips sink…

The Trump administration is still short of the quarter pole and it’s already staked a claim to being the leakiest in American history.

How bad is it? Well, when national security adviser H.R. McMaster authored a memo warning against the “unauthorized disclosure of classified information or controlled unclassified United States Government information,” it was promptly

shared with Buzzfeed

.

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Audio of Scaramucci's vulgar call released

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And while it’s not usually considered a leak when it comes from the President’s mouth, The Washington Post in May reported that Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during an Oval Office meeting.

The list goes on. Short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci sealed his own fate when, in his zest for pursuing leakers, he called up the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza to chat — on the record — about his colleagues. Warning,

this link

 contains lots of graphic language.

And then there is new Trump lawyer Ty Cobb. He recently

gave The New York Times 

a look at the inner workings of a White House increasingly at odds with itself over how to manage special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

How so? By conducting the conversation, with a colleague, over lunch at a popular Washington steakhouse in the immediate vicinity of both the White House and the Times’ DC bureau.

How did the reporter spot him? Well, here’s a picture of Cobb.

Ty Cobb, the Trump lawyer and flamboyant mustache wearer.

Ty Cobb, the Trump lawyer and flamboyant mustache wearer.

And here’s what he looked like on that afternoon, dining and prattling on about all manner of internal intrigue.

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Trump’s Deadly Narcissism – The New York Times

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So have we seen the kind of full-court, all-out relief effort such a catastrophe demands? No.

Admittedly, it’s hard to quantify the federal response. But none of the extraordinary measures you’d expect to see have materialized.

The deployment of military resources seems to have been smaller and slower than it was in Texas after Harvey or Florida after Irma, even though Puerto Rico’s condition is far more dire. Until Thursday the Trump administration had refused to lift restrictions on foreign shipping to Puerto Rico, even though it had waived those rules for Texas and Florida.

Why? According to the president, “people who work in the shipping industry” don’t like the idea.

Furthermore, although it’s more than a week since Maria made landfall, the Trump administration has yet to submit a request for aid to Congress.

And where’s the leadership? There’s a reason we expect visible focus by the president on major national disasters, including a visit to the affected area as soon as possible (Trump doesn’t plan to visit Puerto Rico until next week). It’s not just theater; it’s a signal about urgent priorities to the rest of the government, and to some extent to the nation at large.

But Trump spent days after Maria’s strike tweeting about football players. When he finally got around to saying something about Puerto Rico, it was to blame the territory for its own problems.

The impression one gets is of a massively self-centered individual who can’t bring himself to focus on other people’s needs, even when that’s the core of his job.

And then there’s health care.

Obamacare repeal has failed again, for the simple reason that Graham-Cassidy, like all the other G.O.P. proposals, was a piece of meanspirited junk. But while the Affordable Care Act survives, the Trump administration is openly trying to sabotage the law’s functioning.

This sabotage is taking place on multiple levels. The administration has refused to confirm whether it will pay crucial subsidies to insurers that cover low-income customers. It has refused to clarify whether the requirement that healthy people buy insurance will be enforced. It has canceled or suspended outreach designed to get more people to sign up.

These actions translate directly into much higher premiums: Insurers don’t know if they’ll be compensated for major costs, and they have every reason to expect a smaller, sicker risk pool than before. And it’s too late to reverse the damage: Insurers are finalizing their 2018 rates as you read this.

Why are the Trumpists doing this? Is it a cynical calculation — make the A.C.A. fail, then claim that it was already doomed? I doubt it. For one thing, we’re not talking about people known for deep strategic calculations. For another, the A.C.A. won’t actually collapse; it will just become a program more focused on sicker, poorer Americans — and the political opposition to repeal won’t go away. Finally, when the bad news comes in, everyone will know whom to blame.

No, A.C.A. sabotage is best seen not as a strategy, but as a tantrum. We can’t repeal Obamacare? Well, then, we’ll screw it up. It’s not about achieving any clear goal, but about salving the president’s damaged self-esteem.

In short, Trump truly is unfit for this or any high office. And the damage caused by his unfitness will just keep growing.

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Trump’s Deadly Narcissism – New York Times

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Trump’s Deadly Narcissism
New York Times
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, a majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. That’s pretty remarkable. But you have to wonder how much higher the number would be if people really knew what’s going on. For the trouble 

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Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier 

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peter strzok – Google Search Thursday September 28th, 2017 at 7:53 PM Peter Strzok – Google News 1 Share Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran ABC News–1 hour ago Peter Strzok had been tapped by Mueller just weeks earlier to help lead … It’s unclear why Strzok stepped away from Mueller’s team of nearly … Special … Continue reading “Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier”
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Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials – Reuters

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Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI are resisting demands from a Republican lawmaker to hand over documents about a former British spy’s dossier on purported Russian support for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, because 

The Republican Casualties of Trumpism – The New Yorker

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The Republican Casualties of Trumpism
The New Yorker
Why is Trump so hostile to the leaders of his own party? Ryan Lizza joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have become among the most reviled figures in Washington, and what the war on the Republican establishment …

Rudy Giuliani – Google News: I’m a Female Pornographer and I’m Sad Hugh Hefner Is Dead – VICE en_us

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After Mayor Rudy Giuliani dug up the ancient decree in the 90s to coincide with his “Broken Windows” policing, some clubs were so scared that bouncers would walk over and stop patrons from breaking into any motion that resembled dancing. I was blown …

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 Rudy Giuliani – Google News

Jared Kushner’s Lawyer Forwarded An Email From The Senate Intelligence Committee To An Internet Prankster – BuzzFeed News

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Jared Kushner’s Lawyer Forwarded An Email From The Senate Intelligence Committee To An Internet Prankster
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Jared Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell appears to have inadvertently sent a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee meant for his client to a fake email account set up by a prankster who tricked Lowell earlier this week. CNN first reported that 
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Is This The Man The World Wants Solving Middle East Peace?

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He accidentally listed himself as a woman on his voter registration form.

The Trump-Russia Probe Made Things A Bit Awkward As The FBI Welcomed The New Boss

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, who replaced fired former Director James Comey, said the bureau must embrace change.

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The Trump-Russia Probe Made Things A Bit Awkward As The FBI Welcomed The New Boss – HuffPost

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The Trump-Russia Probe Made Things A Bit Awkward As The FBI Welcomed The New Boss
HuffPost
President Donald Trump unceremoniously fired Comey in May, about two months after the former FBI chief confirmed that the bureau was investigating ties between Russia and the Trumpcampaign, and a few days after Comey said the idea he swayed the …
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Senate approves Huntsman as Russia ambassador – The Hill (blog)

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Senate approves Huntsman as Russia ambassador
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Huntsman, a former presidential candidate, also won praise from Democrats, including Sen. Ben Cardin · Benjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTrump officials brief lawmakers on North Korea Blackwater founder calls for … Moscow expelled more than 700 diplomats 
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Clapper: When I briefed Trump, he accepted DNC hacker wasn’t 400-pound man – The Hill

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The Hill
Clapper: When I briefed Trump, he accepted DNC hacker wasn’t 400-pound man
The Hill
Clapper was referring to comments about election hacking made by Trump during a July press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “I think it very well could be Russia, but I think it could very well have been other countries,” Trump said of 

Twitter finds 201 accounts linked to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election – Los Angeles Times

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Twitter finds 201 accounts linked to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election
Los Angeles Times
Like Facebook, Twitter has given its information to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is leading a criminal investigation into whether any of Trump’s aides coordinated with Russian authorities during or after the campaign. Trump has denied any …

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Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran – ABC News

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Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran
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Special counsel Robert Mueller has now lost a second official that he brought in from the FBI to help investigate Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election, ABC News has learned. The latest FBI veteran to leave, Lisa Page, was 
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6:41 PM 9/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters | Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal 

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters Today’s Headlines and Commentary Our System Is Rigged – HuffPost Wray installed as … Continue reading“6:41 PM 9/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters | Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal”

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4:23 PM 9/24/2017 – House panel wants to overhaul Defense Intelligence Agency

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ANALYSIS

House panel wants to overhaul Defense Intelligence Agency

An aerial view of the Pentagon as seen from a Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter on July 8, 2011.

TIA DUFOUR/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By GOPAL RATNAM | CQ-Roll Call | Published: September 23, 2017

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency is in the crosshairs of the House Intelligence Committee, which is aiming for a radical overhaul of the military’s spy arm.

The committee sees it as bloated and ineffective. But how far such an effort would go remains to be seen as several other congressional oversight panels that would have a say are waiting for a fuller assessment to emerge before they sign off on major changes.

The House Intelligence Committee’s report accompanying the fiscal 2018 intelligence authorization bill takes aim at the DIA by calling for the elimination of a handful of missions that are “tangential to the DIA’s core missions and responsibilities” or are “duplicative of functions conducted elsewhere.”

The report lists a handful of offices and missions targeted for elimination, including the Information Review Task Force, the Identity Intelligence Project Office, the Watchlisting Branch, the Counter Threat Finance Branch and the National Intelligence University. Many of those functions would be transferred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other federal agencies such as the Treasury Department, according to the report.

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This year’s recommendations are only the first step in a much broader change being contemplated, said a congressional official familiar with the committee’s work.

The committee is undertaking a comprehensive assessment, asking the DIA and the consumers of its intelligence to conduct self-evaluations and reviews, the official said. Based on those evaluations, the committee expects by next year to overhaul the DIA along the lines of what the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act did to reorganize the Pentagon, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the proposals are still under discussion among the various congressional committees.

The DIA has been assigned missions, by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the Pentagon’s undersecretary for intelligence, “that don’t necessarily fit anywhere else,” the official said. On its website, the agency says it has 87 distinctive missions.

Since DIA was established in 1961, its missions have grown in unhealthy ways, said David Shedd, who served as a former deputy director of DIA for four years until 2014; he also briefly served as the acting director of the agency.

DIA is one of the three elements of the intelligence community — the CIA and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research are the other two — that are all-source agencies, meaning they use all varieties of intelligence — whether collected by satellites, humans, or cyber — in making its analyses.

After the review, lawmakers “should really strip away things that are ancillary and that have grown on like barnacles on the hull of a ship over time,” said Shedd, who is now a member of the advisory board at Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic consulting company.

Over the course of DIA’s history, it has been given numerous responsibilities outside its core mission of providing intelligence to U.S. warfighters, missions that may be better accomplished by other U.S. government agencies, another congressional aide said.

The House Intelligence Committee, along with its Senate counterpart, as well as the House and Senate Armed Services committees and Appropriations committees, are studying whether the DIA is the right place for such missions, congressional officials said.

The House Armed Services Committee is aware of the work being done by House Intelligence and is awaiting results of the review, reserving judgment of the effort until the assessment is complete, a committee aide said.

To take effect, the House Intelligence Committee’s recommendations would have to be echoed in a conference report produced jointly with its Senate counterpart and then signed into law by the president.

DIA has the most diverse mission set and the largest customer base in the intelligence community, according to James Kudla, a spokesman for the agency.

Congress already directed the U.S. undersecretary of Defense for intelligence to undertake a study of the DIA’s roles and missions in the fiscal 2017 intelligence authorization bill, Kudla said. And that review is under way and is due to Congress in early 2018, he said.

DIA employs 16,500 people and has a presence in 140 countries, primarily through the defense attaché service. The agency is responsible for defense intelligence studies of foreign militaries and their operations, equipment, systems, and “our customer base includes everybody from the president to the individual soldiers on the battlefield,” Kudla said.

The agency provides all-source foundational intelligence that “provides detailed answers to how high, how fast, how many, how organized, and how capable the military threat is that the United States faces,” Kudla said.

From visits with U.S. troops, classified briefings and reports, the House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has determined that the defense intelligence apparatus is not meeting the operational needs of frontline troops, the congressional official said.

A fuller picture of the scope of DIA’s reorganization is likely to emerge by this time next year, the official said.

The congressional review should determine what exactly the warfighter needs from the DIA and use that to refocus the agency’s efforts in support of the nine U.S. combatant commands, Shedd said.

Lawmakers already have identified a handful of DIA missions that can be moved out of its lane. The agency’s Information Review Task Force is one of the ones that would be shifted to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The task force was formed in August 2010 in the aftermath of Chelsea Manning’s leaks of classified information to WikiLeaks, when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the DIA to set up a panel to assess the effect of the disclosures. In July 2013, the then-head of the DIA, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, created another task force to assess the damage from the Edward Snowden leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

The DIA task forces are examples of a mission assigned to the DIA but not backed up by sufficient money, the congressional official said.

“If you’re going to stand up a task force to operate as a warning device and a force protection element to really help the Pentagon assess the full impact of these leaks, but you’re not going to resource it effectively, that’s not something from a congressional perspective we are going to support,” the official said.

Another example is tracking the sources of financing for the Islamic State and other terror groups, done by DIA’s Counter Threat Finance Branch, the second congressional aide said. That job is better done by the Treasury Department, which already has extensive expertise in the area, the aide said.

The DIA was created in 1961 by bringing under one umbrella the intelligence activities of the different military services. Planning U-2 reconnaissance flights over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the agency’s earliest missions.

The agency then helped plan rescues of prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. In 1986 the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reorganized the Pentagon, designated the DIA as a combat support agency, putting it in charge of battlefield intelligence, but also placing it under the supervision of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The agency’s missions and scope have expanded since then. In its 2016 annual strategy document, the agency says its work “supports a wide customer base, ranging from the forward-deployed warfighter to the national policy maker and the weapons acquisition community.”

Another example of mission creep for the DIA is that in 2008, it was asked to take on the DoD Embassy and Consulate Services tasks. The work involves being a liaison between the Pentagon and the State Department, and managing the common administrative support at more than 250 diplomatic posts around the world.

The congressional and Pentagon review should turn DIA into an agency that is more relevant to frontline military units, Shedd said.

———

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Kurdish Independence Referendum: Why the US chose to oppose?

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Image result for Kurdish Independence Referendum

Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Kurdish Independence Referendum – Google Search

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Story image for Kurdish Independence Referendum from The Jerusalem Post

Why the US chose to oppose the Kurdish independence referendum

The Jerusalem Post11 hours ago
KURDISH PEOPLE attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq.. (photo … 
Regional implications of the Kurdish independence vote
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Kurds defiant as Iraq says no to independence vote
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Kurdish Independence Referendum

Kurdish Independence Referendum Draws Criticism and Threats, Saudi Arabia’s “Authoritarian Upgrading” Strategy, and the Gulf’s New Outreach to Israel 

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Iraq Braces for Kurdish Independence Referendum

As world leaders gather in New York this week, Iraqi President Fuad Masum, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly, will be conspicuously absent. He decided at the last minute to cancel his trip as Iraq prepares for a Kurdish referendum on independence. The vote is scheduled for September 25 and is approaching fast, despite months of efforts by Iraqi and international diplomats to convince Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to delay the referendum.

Attempts to reach a compromise have failed so far, and Baghdad has started taking legal and political action. The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution last week rejecting the referendum and authorizing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “take all measures” to preserve the unity of the country. The parliament also voted to remove Najmaddin Kareem, the governor of Kirkuk, a contested oil-rich province, from office in response to his support for the referendum; Kareem told Reuters he will not abide by the parliamentary order. The Iraqi Supreme Court intervened as well, ordering the vote be postponed while its constitutionality is reviewed. If it proceeds, Arab officials in Kirkuk say they will request federal protection—which could mean a military occupation of the contested city.

Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

The United States has repeatedly warned Kurdish officials not to go through with the planned referendum and tried to broker some face-saving measures to facilitate a delay. “The United States does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters last week. “The United States has repeatedly emphasized to the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government that the referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat [the Islamic State] and stabilize the liberated areas.” The U.S. Congress, which includes many outspoken supporters of Kurdish interests, has been quiet on the issue; a Kurdish diplomat told Politico that State and Defense Department officials have been advising members of Congress not to weigh in. Iraqi Kurdistan’s neighbors in Turkey and Iran have also been urging Barzani to call the referendum off, and factions within Iraq, including Iranian-backed militias, are issuing saber-rattling threats of reprisals if the vote is held. A spokesman for one Shia militia left Al-Monitor with the impression that Tehran has “given the unit the green light to attack Kirkuk if it decides to secede from Iraq.” The violence may have already started—on Monday, two men were killed in a shootout outside a Turkmen party office in Kirkuk, which the Washington Post reports may have been tied to the referendum.

As the vote has drawn near, Kurdish officials have increasingly tried to downplay its significance. “We are pledging dialogue and a peaceful solution,” one told the Post. As noted in a previous Ticker, the vote is subject to some ambiguities under Kurdish law and is designed to be a signal of intent, rather than a decisive rupture. Barzani and the Kurdish leadership are taking on a large risk for a mostly symbolic gesture, but they may be in too deep to back out now.

 

This Is What Authoritarian Upgrading Looks Like

Saudi Arabia’s economic reform project, Saudi Vision 2030, is reaching a critical juncture. Previous Saudi attempts to buck the country’s dependency on oil have faltered at early signs of economic trouble or the first hint of rebounding petrol prices. Now foreign lenders are feeling increasingly anxious about the Kingdom and two major European banks are looking to sell off their branches there, Bloomberg reports. That’s not a vote of confidence in the long-term promise of the reform plan.

Saudi Vision 2030 is hitting delays—the much-touted IPO for state oil giant Saudi Aramco will now likely be pushed until 2019, a separate Bloomberg article reported last week. That’s “a reflection of the deep discomfort with the need to expose the state to the scrutiny of open markets,” Karen Young, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, wrote recently for the Institute’s Market Watch blog. She also notes spending that has dried up a third of Saudi Arabia’s total reserve assets since 2014. This could force spending cuts in the next three years. “[T]here will be moments of reckoning, especially in debt management,” she warns.

With the economic challenges will come political challenges as well. Economic reforms also invite political turmoil. Saudi Arabia has tried to preempt and manage some shocks with a few reforms—municipal elections and women’s suffrage, for instance—but it is also cracking down hard. While the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been a worldwide charm offensive promoting a more cosmopolitan vision for the future of the Kingdom, authorities have been arresting dozens of political dissenters for such mild offenses as being reluctant to support Riyadh’s flailing feud with Qatar. More than 30 people have been arrested so far, including several prominent clerics. “In the starkest terms, Saudi Arabia is trying to moderate the extreme viewpoints of both liberal reformers and conservative clerics. And the arrests span that spectrum,” Saudi political analyst Jamal Kashoggi writes; his column in Al-Hayat was recently canceled due to government pressure, so his assessment appeared in the Washington Post.

The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy.

A decade ago, Steven Heydemann identified this mix of economic reform, palliative political changes, and ruthless crackdowns as a strategy for regime maintenance. “Authoritarian upgrading consists … not in shutting down and closing off Arab societies from globalization and other forces of political, economic, and social change. Nor is it based simply on the willingness of Arab governments to repress their opponents,” he wrote in a 2007 Brookings report. “Instead, authoritarian upgrading involves reconfiguring authoritarian governance to accommodate and manage changing political, economic, and social conditions.” The Saudi government’s reform plans may be dramatic, but even if they go through—a big if—the goal is to reinforce the central authority of the monarchy. The recent arrests and suppression of dissent underscore that subtext of Saudi Vision 2030.

Are the Gulf States Sending Up a Trial Balloon with Israel?

The Gulf states have been quietly shifting their position on Israel for years now. They’ve found common cause in their opposition to Iran’s regional policy and, more recently, Qatar’s media empire. That quiet relationship may be coming into open view. It was made public last week that King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa of Bahrain will allow Bahraini citizens to visit Israel and that he opposes boycotts of the Israeli state; his comments were released at an event hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, at which the king was represented by his son, Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa. The announcement follows recent rumors that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a secret visit to Tel Aviv to discuss “regional peace.” There’s no clear indication that this prefigures an public diplomatic opening, but experts like Dennis Ross have speculated that the Trump administration may be trying to nudge the Arab states into the peace process to try to break the diplomatic deadlock.

Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts.

President Donald Trump is expected to discuss the peace process in separate meetings with President Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, but there’s no sign of a shakeup. Palestinian politics are currently subsumed in their own internal conflicts. This past weekend, Hamas announced that it would dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza in an effort to convince Abbas to ease sanctions against the Strip. As Grant Rumley, research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and coauthor of a new biography of Abbas, wrote for The Atlantic, this is likely to fare as well as other reconciliation attempts between the Palestinian factions. “The reality is that Hamas is unlikely to ever truly give up its military control over Gaza,” he writes. “The faction wants Abbas to pay for the costs of governing. Abbas wants total acquiescence and disarmament. Ultimately, there’s no middle ground here.”

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SYRIA – Google Search

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US military closes outpost in southeastern Syria, ceding territory to …

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The U.S. military acknowledged Tuesday it has closed an outpost in southern Syria in recent days amid reports that American forces and their …
Key American base in southern Syria destroyed by retreating US …
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Story image for SYRIA from Washington Post

US and allies won’t rebuild Syria without political process

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NEW YORK — The Islamic State is rapidly losing control of territory in Syria, but donor countries will not reconstruct the war’s damage until a …

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9:35 AM 9/19/2017 – Syrian government forces crossed to the eastern side of the Euphrates river in Deir al-Zour yesterday, and the other interesting stories

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Syrian Civil War in Maps – Edmaps.com

https://www.edmaps.com/html/syrian_civil_war_in_maps.html

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017. Map by Cristian Ionita. MORE MAPS… … and more maps of the Syrian Civil War

SYRIA – Google Search

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Story image for SYRIA from Washington Post

US military closes outpost in southeastern Syria, ceding territory to …

Washington Post3 hours ago
The U.S. military acknowledged Tuesday it has closed an outpost in southern Syria in recent days amid reports that American forces and their …
Key American base in southern Syria destroyed by retreating US …
Highly CitedAMN Al-Masdar News (registration)6 hours ago

Story image for SYRIA from Washington Post

US and allies won’t rebuild Syria without political process

Washington Post11 hours ago
NEW YORK — The Islamic State is rapidly losing control of territory in Syria, but donor countries will not reconstruct the war’s damage until a …

SYRIA

Syrian government forces crossed to the eastern side of the Euphrates river in Deir al-Zour yesterday, bringing the Syrian army closer to the U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.), an S.D.F. commander noting that the forces are ready for a clash with the Syrian army. Al Jazeera reports.

The countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not support reconstruction of the country until there is a “transition away from Assad,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said yesterday. John Irish and Yara Bayoumy report at Reuters.

Syria has been failed by Western democracies who did not intervene to support the Syrian revolution, Fadi Azzam writes at the New York Times.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 35 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on September 17. Separately, partner forces conducted eight strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

IRAQ

The semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdish region intends to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25 despite a ruling by the Iraqi Supreme Court that the referendum should be suspended, Ben Kesling reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Kurdish security and city police have been deployed to the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in an effort to stem a possible eruption of ethnic violence ahead of the independence referendum. Reuters reports.

America Could Be in Afghanistan for Another 16 Years Dave Majumdar

Dave Majumdar

Security, Middle East

Afghan police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan

The country may never become a fully-fledged democracy, but staying the course may be the only option.

American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from now—or even generations from now—under the White House’s current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.

“I think we will be there in sixteen years,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told an audience at the Center for the National Interest during a lunch-time discussion on Sept. 13. “But I don’t think this is a sixteen-year loss on our part.”

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The U.S. will deploy 3,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis confirmed yesterday, the BBC reports.

The Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of a nearly $700bn defense policy bill yesterday, issues still need to be resolved between two versions of the bill. Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.

____________________________

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6:51 AM 9/19/2017 – National Security: U.S. military closes outpost in southeastern Syria, ceding territory to Iranian proxies

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Dave MajumdarSecurity, Middle EastAfghan police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan

The country may never become a fully-fledged democracy, but staying the course may be the only option.

American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from nowor even generations from nowunder the White Houses current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.

I think we will be there in sixteen years, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told an audience at the Center for the National Interest during a lunch-time discussion on Sept. 13. But I dont think this is a sixteen-year loss on our part.

Allen said that American forces in Afghanistan could be holding the line indefinitely into the future under President Donald Trumps new strategy. The United States drew down its forces very quickly during the waning days of the Obama administration, which inevitably led to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. President Trump has removed the end date and has given us an end state, Allen said. With this president committed to an outcome that is whatever he calls winning…then I think we can hold the line at the security level.

Holding the line at the security level would allow the Afghans to develop greater capacity in governance and greater capacity in economic development. If we can get those two goingwhere were holding the line at the security leveland weve got a chance, Allen said. So we may well be there for another sixteen years, weve been in Kosovo for a very long time. Weve had troops in the Sinai for a generation.

Allen also noted that the United States has been in the Republic of Korea and Japan for decades to win the peace. It took decades for South Korea to emerge from military rule and an extreme level of corruption as a fully functional democracy, but it eventually did thanks to the presence of American forces. Afghanistan might never become a fully-fledged democracy, but Allen argues that the only option is to stay the course. The alternative is to see the collapse of the Afghan government and the reemergence of an Islamic fundamentalist state. I think the alternatives are just obvious in this regard, Allen said.

Read full article

The National Interest

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Definition of energy security

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What ‘Energy Security’ Looks Like in the 21st Century

Stratfor Worldview (press release) (subscription) (blog) 

To make matters worse, most Central and Eastern European nations lack the physical infrastructure that would be needed to bring in supplies from non-Russian producers — a shortcoming made painfully clear in the 2000s, when Russia twice cut off natural …

definition of energy security – Google Search

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What ‘Energy Security‘ Looks Like in the 21st Century

Stratfor Worldview (press release) (subscription) (blog)1 hour ago
At least, it is based on some definitions of energy security, of which there are many. To the International Energy Agency, the term refers to “the …

Story image for definition of energy security from Cordis News

“Democratic” supergrids

Cordis NewsSep 15, 2017
… electric lines, such as improved energy security and less emissions. … The definition of “projects of common interest” relates to projects that …

Story image for definition of energy security from Genetic Literacy Project

Left and right share anti-science instincts, rooted in fears of …

Genetic Literacy Project22 hours ago
… genetic modification and energy security, anti-science is used as a critical … If there is no one definition of anti-science that works across all …

Story image for definition of energy security from Newsmax

Newsmax

Daily on Energy: Confusion reigns over Trump leaving the climate deal

Washington Examiner19 hours ago
That forced H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, … He anticipates the EPA issuing a new definition of waterways under the rule …
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energy security – Google Search

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What ‘Energy Security‘ Looks Like in the 21st Century

Stratfor Worldview (press release) (subscription) (blog)1 hour ago
For nearly a decade, lobbyists, academics and politicians alike have hailed the shale revolution as the guarantor of U.S. energy security.

Story image for energy security from The Guardian

For energy security, the failing Liddell coal plant is the last thing we …

The GuardianSep 11, 2017
But the good news is that Australia does not have to wait until after 2022 to put in place an energy security solution. Consumers can pay less, …

Energy security: Renewables the savior?

The Sentinel14 hours ago
I t is well known a fact now that previously energy security was mainly associated with oil supply. But while oil supply remains a key issue, the …

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The US and Europe demonstrating unity on energy security

The HillSep 13, 2017
His aim: to link Europe and the U.S. in a pragmatic formula to secure energy independence in Ukraine and provide economic opportunities for …

What ‘Energy Security’ Looks Like in the 21st Century

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For nearly a decade, lobbyists, academics and politicians alike have hailed the shale revolution as the guarantor of U.S. energy security. U.S. President Donald Trump has even taken their expectations a step further, envisioning a world of American “energy dominance,” where the country’s oil exports would fortify the supplies of its closest allies. But as the severe fuel shortages that swept across Texas and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have shown, America still heavily relies on those states’ Gulf coasts to refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. True energy security, then, still seems to be just out of the United States’ reach.

At least, it is based on some definitions of energy security, of which there are many. To the International Energy Agency, the term refers to “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.” But even this simple explanation raises more questions than it answers: What is an affordable price, and what’s the tradeoff between the affordability and reliability of supplies? Faced with unique challenges in the energy sector, every nation would respond to these questions in a slightly different way based on their own priorities. And as technological progress reshapes the structure of global energy markets in the 21st century, the priorities of producers and consumers around the world will doubtless change.

U.S.: Steadying Prices and Loosening Up Logistics

For its part, the United States has traditionally centered its energy policy on the goal of self-sufficiency. Driven by fears of the price shocks that OPEC’s 1973 oil embargo triggered, American politicians have long touted the idea of reducing the country’s dependence on Middle Eastern producers. In doing so, they hoped, U.S. interests in the region would decline by default, creating room for the United States to someday withdraw from it entirely.

That belief, though certainly applicable in the 1970s, is now largely outdated. In a physical sense, U.S. energy supplies are quite secure: The country is already a net exporter of coal, and it is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas by the end of the year. Meanwhile, though the United States still imports about 8 million barrels per day of oil, the international oil market has become so flexible — and oil so fungible — that the United States could counter any shortfalls in supplies from one producer with output from another. Even in the worst-case scenario, in which oil trade through the all-important Strait of Hormuz ceases, Washington could mitigate oil shortages for some time by tapping into its strategic petroleum reserve.

Rather than preserving its access to oil, then, the United States is more interested in protecting itself from price changes in the market at large. After all, sharp dips in Middle Eastern oil production would push energy prices upward worldwide — including in the United States. A lengthy shipping shutdown in the Strait of Hormuz, moreover, would wreak havoc among Asian economies by restricting their energy supplies, carrying consequences that would ripple throughout the global economy as well. In light of these concerns, it is no surprise that the United States and Saudi Arabia remain such close allies: Riyadh has a long-standing policy of maintaining enough spare capacity to quickly ramp up its production in order to stabilize oil-starved markets.

The United States’ energy strategy abroad, therefore, is simply an extension of its broader imperative to keep global sea lanes open. But as hurricanes Katrina and Harvey have made clear, the greatest threats can come from within. The United States’ rigid distribution systems have opened the door to short-term supply crises, and though the country is unlikely to move its refining centers away from the coast, it may seek to build more flexibility into supply lines at home in order to mitigate the risk of severe shortages in petroleum products down the road.

Europe: Weaning Off Russian Supplies

Across the Atlantic, Europe is coming to grips with a problem of its own: For the Continent, there is no real substitute for Russian natural gas. Last year, European countries imported 190 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas via pipeline, a volume equal to more than half the amount of liquefied natural gas traded by sea each year. To make matters worse, most Central and Eastern European nations lack the physical infrastructure that would be needed to bring in supplies from non-Russian producers — a shortcoming made painfully clear in the 2000s, when Russia twice cut off natural gas flows to Europe as a means to political ends. Consequently, Europe’s energy policy revolves around Russia’s ability to use energy supplies as a political weapon, and the Continent’s inability to stop it.

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Here’s the buried bombshell: “White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.”

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Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia … New York Times–Sep 17, 2017 The debate in Mr. Trump’s West Wing has pitted Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, against Ty Cobb, a lawyer brought in to … Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 4:50 AM 1 Share ty cobb trump – Google Search Tuesday September 19th, 2017 at 5:05 AM … Continue reading “Here’s the buried bombshell: “White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.””

Don McGahn Trump – Google Search

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Trump’s lawyers are clashing over how to handle the Russia probe

Business Insider15 hours ago
President Donald Trump’s personal defense attorneys are … team, had sparred with the White House counsel, Don McGahn, over how much to …
What’s the matter with Trump’s lawyers in Russia probe? | Opinion
Opinion<a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a>7 hours ago

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ty cobb trump – Google Search

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Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client

CNN9 hours ago
Washington (CNN) Ty Cobb and other lawyers were supposed to impose discipline on an unruly White House as it confronted the investigation …
Why Is Trump’s Legal Team So Messy?
In-DepthThe Atlantic16 hours ago
What’s the matter with Trump’s lawyers in Russia probe? | Opinion
Opinion<a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a>7 hours ago
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Don McGahn Trump – Google Search

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Manafort FISA – Google Search

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Story image for Manafort FISA from CNN

Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign …

CNN2 hours ago
A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of …
Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report
TPM (blog)38 minutes ago

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<a href=”https://twitter.com/search/Manafort+FISA” rel=”nofollow”>https://twitter.com/search/Manafort+FISA</a>

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Trump campaign adviser was wiretapped under secret court orders …

Reuters36 minutes ago
Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager in June 2016 but was forced to … FISA warrants require the approval of top FBI and Justice …

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Analysis: Paul Manafort Wiretapping Raises New Questions About …

Breitbart News2 minutes ago
CNN did not report on the contents of the government basis for obtaining the FISA warrant against Manafort, whose name repeatedly appears …
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Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report – TPM (blog)

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Making Sense of the Manafort FISA Report
TPM (blog)
Let’s also remember that letter former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote to James Comey after he appeared to reopen the Clinton emails investigation at the end of October. Quoting Reid:”In my communications with you and other top officials in the … 

Donald Trump may have incriminated himself on tape on Paul Manafort’s FISA wiretap 

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Earlier this year, Donald Trump asserted that the federal government had wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign. This was a wildly incorrect false claim. But while Trump himself never was wiretapped, his reckless behavior after the election appears to have gotten him tied up in a wiretap after all – and in the process, he may have incriminated himself on tape.

This evening, CNN reported that there was a FISA wiretap warrant on Paul Manafort both before and after the election (link). It’s confirmed that the first warrant covered the period of the election after Manafort had departed the Trump campaign, when they continued to communicate by phone. The second warrant covered the period of time after Trump took office and continued to speak with Manafort by phone. This means that the Feds all but certainly have tapes of the conversations between Trump and Manafort. Those tapes are now in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hands.

Now it comes down to what the two men discussed during these wiretapped conversations. It’s known, for instance, that Manafort told Trump near the end of the election that he should head to Michigan, a state which is widely suspected of having been targeted by the Russians. If Manafort’s advice to Trump included an admission that Russia had paved the way for Trump’s surprise upset in the state, then Trump is on the hook for election collusion or worse. But the wiretapped conversations after the election may be more damning.

By the time Donald Trump and Paul Manafort were communicating in 2017, Trump was the president and Manafort was known to be under federal investigation. Their mutual decision to continue communicating suggests that they were conspiring to try to get themselves and each other off the hook. If so, Trump has nailed himself on obstruction and other charges.

The post Donald Trump may have incriminated himself on tape on Paul Manafort’s FISA wiretapappeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client – CNN

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CNN
Trump legal team reflects their chaotic client
CNN
Washington (CNN) Ty Cobb and other lawyers were supposed to impose discipline on an unruly White House as it confronted the investigation into President Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russians in the 2016 election. It appears the opposite has …
Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe.Washington Post
Mueller is homing in on a key White House player as he examines whether Trump obstructed justiceBusiness Insider
Can White House counsel McGahn claim client privilege in Mueller probe?Reuters
The Daily Caller –POLITICO Magazine
all 88 news articles »
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The 2016 election was not a fluke – Washington Post

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Washington Post
The 2016 election was not a fluke
Washington Post
It is understandable that she would blame James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and the media for damaging her prospects — and that she would play down her own strategic and tactical missteps. But take … The election never should have been close enough for 
Dissecting the election, Hillary Clinton sees dangers for democracyPBS NewsHourall 660 news articles »

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tone – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation sets a tough tone
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The tactics reflect some of the hard-charging — and polarizing — personalities of Mueller’s team, seasoned prosecutors with experience investigating financial fraud, money laundering andorganized crime. Admirers of Andrew Weissmann, one of the team and more »

FBI wire tapped Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: Report – Washington Examiner

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FBI wire tapped Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: Report
Washington Examiner
The U.S. government wiretapped President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a part of an investigation into work done by Washington consulting firms for Ukrainian politicians. CNN reported Monday multiple intelligence community officials …and more »

‪Paul Manafort was under FISA surveillance the entire time, and now Robert Mueller is about to indict him‬ 

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It turns out Paul Manafort has been under FISA surveillance the entire time. The Feds are now confirmed to have had a FISA warrant on Paul Manafort both during and after the election, monitoring his phone calls and communications. This includes Manafort’s calls to Donald Trump since he took office. It also includes potentially incriminating conversations between Manafort and Russia.

This bombshell comes by way of CNN, which is revealing this evening that the Feds have been targeting Paul Manafort since 2014 in relation to his involvement in the election of a Russian puppet in Ukraine (link). Some of the intercepted phone conversations took place between Manafort and Trump – meaning that the person occupying the office of President of the United States is associating with shady individuals so closely that he’s now been picked up on a wiretap. This is an incredible revelation. But there’s much more.

Here’s the part that’s about to put Paul Manafort’s back firmly against the wall. CNN is reporting that “Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign.” Not shockingly, the New York Times is reporting this evening that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to indict Paul Manafort (link), which confirms just how far along his probe is progressing.

For what it’s worth, Palmer Report deduced four days ago that Robert Mueller was on the verge of indicting Paul Manafort (link). These new developments this evening serve to confirm that Mueller is indeed willing to back Manafort up firmly against a wall in order to get him to flip on Donald Trump. As has previously been widely reported, Mueller is working with the New York Attorney General to bring parallel state-level charges against Manafort that can’t be pardoned by Trump – meaning Manafort’s only way out is to give Trump up.

The post ‪Paul Manafort was under FISA surveillance the entire time, and now Robert Mueller is about to indict him‬ appeared first on Palmer Report.

Paul Manafort Reportedly Wiretapped By Feds

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The FBI is investigating Trump’s former campaign manager.

Man sentenced for trying to sell satellite secrets to Russia

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A California engineer who worked for a defense contractor has been sentenced to five years in prison for selling sensitive satellite information to an undercover FBI employee he thought was a Russian agent
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Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor

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Forces from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were struck by Russian air assets near the Deir Ezzor frontline on September 16th, this according to a statement made by the Combined Joint Task Force –…

The post Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor appeared first on Lima Charlie News.

Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 … – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 …
Washington Post
An aspiring hacker who harassed the CIA director and the national intelligence director, among others, in 2015 was sentenced Friday to five years in federal …and more »

Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure
Washington Post
A pair of political science professors are out with a seemingly significant study: Despite Hillary Clinton saying she would be president if not for James BComey — and FiveThirtyEight, among others, lending credence to that claim — “We don’t think  

Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe. – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe.
Washington Post
… in that conversation indeed exist, they could well provide special counsel Robert S. Mueller III with crucial evidence about Trump’s thinking as Mueller investigates whether the president obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James BComey.and more »

Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers” near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, causing injuries to U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated S.D.F. fighters, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve on Saturday. | Global Security News

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SYRIA

Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers” near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, causing injuries to U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated S.D.F. fighters, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve on Saturday.

US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA

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US troops in SyriaAmerican troops deployed in Syria have exchanged fire with rebels that were until recently supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In 2013, soon after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the then-US President Barack Obama instructed the Central Intelligence Agency to provide covert support to fighters in Syria. Acting on the president’s directive, the CIA promptly joined forces with spy agencies from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to assist fighters affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. At that time, Washington saw the Free Syrian Army and forces affiliated with it as ideologically moderate. It also agreed with the group’s main aim, which was to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Under the project, which was codenamed TIMBER SYCAMORE, CIA personnel trained Free Syrian Army fighters in irregular warfare, while also providing them with light weaponry including machine guns, sniper rifles and off-road vehicles. But on July 19 of this year, US President Donald Trump abruptly ended the CIA program, which he called “dangerous and wasteful”. It soon became apparent that many Free Syrian Army soldiers approached Turkey, seeking financial income and protection. By early August, there were reports from Syria that large groups of former Free Syrian Army troops were conducting raids in northern Syria in coordination with the Turkish military.

Early on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Combined Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told reporters that US troops in Syria had come under fire by Turkish-commanded former Free Syrian Army units. The spokesman told reporters in Kuwait City that the rebels shot at US troops in the outskirts of Manbij, a northern Syrian city of about 70,000, located a few miles from the Turkish border. The American soldiers reportedly returned fire before seeking shelter from the assault. According to the US Pentagon, the Turkish government was promptly contacted by Inherent Resolve commanders, who described the incident as “not acceptable”. Washington alleges that its troops have come under fire “multiple times” in the past month. Some of the culprits are believed to be Turkish-controlled Syrian insurgents, including former members of the Free Syrian Army.

Turkey and the US are member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But the two countries do not follow a common policy on Syria. The US Pentagon supports Kurdish insurgents in Syria, which Turkey claims are connected with Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. Washington’s official position on Kurdish separatists is that they engage in terrorism against the Turkish state.

► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 30 August 2017 | Permalink

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The FBI “sting operation”: A California engineer who worked for a defense contractor was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, he “received $3,500 during a series of meetings and sent most of that money and thousands more to an “online paramour” he never met, the documents said.”

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California engineer who worked for a defense contractor was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for selling sensitive satellite information to an undercover FBI employee he thought was a Russian intelligence agent.

U.S. District Judge George H. Wu handed down the term for 50-year-old Gregory Allen Justice of Culver City, an engineer on military and commercial satellite programs.

Justice pleaded guilty in May to trying to commit economic espionage and attempting to send restricted information out of the United States in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Justice “understood that the information he provided would be sent ‘back to Moscow and they will review this,'” according to court documents.

Justice received $3,500 during a series of meetings and sent most of that money and thousands more to an “online paramour” he never met, the documents said.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office said that during one of those meetings Justice and the undercover agent talked about developing a relationship like one in the FX television series “The Americans,” which depicted two Soviet secret agents living in the guise of an American couple in the U.S.

In a final meeting, Justice offered to take the undercover FBI operative on a tour of the defense contractor’s production facility where he could wear special glasses that would allow him to make photographs.

Danny Kennedy, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said in a statement that unlike a TV series, “selling secrets to a foreign government is not entertaining, but in the wrong hands, threatens national security and puts American lives at risk.”

Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown said the defendant’s actions posed a threat to national security but in the end there was no damage to U.S. security interests.

Man sentenced for trying to sell satellite secrets to Russia

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A California engineer who worked for a defense contractor has been sentenced to five years in prison for selling sensitive satellite information to an undercover FBI employee he thought was a Russian agent

Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor

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Forces from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were struck by Russian air assets near the Deir Ezzor frontline on September 16th, this according to a statement made by the Combined Joint Task Force –…

The post Russia strikes Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir Ezzor appeared first on Lima Charlie News.

Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 … – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Hacker who harassed leaders from CIA and FBI is sentenced to 5 …
Washington Post
An aspiring hacker who harassed the CIA director and the national intelligence director, among others, in 2015 was sentenced Friday to five years in federal …and more »

Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Yes, James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — but we’ll never know for sure
Washington Post
A pair of political science professors are out with a seemingly significant study: Despite Hillary Clinton saying she would be president if not for James BComey — and FiveThirtyEight, among others, lending credence to that claim — “We don’t think  

Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe. – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump’s lawyer has a big mouth. Here’s what that tells us about Mueller’s probe.
Washington Post
… in that conversation indeed exist, they could well provide special counsel Robert S. Mueller III with crucial evidence about Trump’s thinking as Mueller investigates whether the president obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James BComey.and more »


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6:09 PM 9/18/2017 – Intelligence, Politicization, and the Russia Probe – by Joshua Rovner | Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces… | US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA

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Intelligence, Politicization, and the Russia Probe – 

SYRIA

Russian forces struck a location “known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers” near the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, causing injuries to U.S.-backed Kurdish-dominated S.D.F. fighters, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve on Saturday.

The communications line between the U.S. and Russia was apparently not used in this instance, and a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that such an incident wasn’t possible but didn’t add any details. Ben Kesling, Nathan Hodge and Felicia Schwartz report at the Wall Street Journal.

The chief of Russia’s general staff and the chairman of U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the allegations by phone for an hour, a Russian newspaper reported yesterday. Reuters reporting.

Turkey deployed military convoys and vehicles to its southern border with Syria, the Turkish state Anadolu news agency reported yesterday, with Syrian opposition officials and activists expecting the Turkish troops to advance into Syria as part of the agreement for de-escalation zones brokered at talks last week in the Kazakh capital of Astana. Al Jazeera reports.

The battlefield in the oil-rich Deir al-Zour province has become increasingly congested and complicated, with tensions now heightened following the U.S.-led coalition’s accusation that Russia attacked S.D.F. forces. Louisa Loveluck explains at the Washington Post.

As the Islamic State group nears defeat, regional and world powers scramble for power in Syria, in a bid that is likely to “get messy” as the various parties pursue their competing interests. Liz Sly provides an analysis of the endgame in Syria at the Washington Post.

A stranded convoy containing Islamic State fighters was allowed to continue its journey to Deir al-Zour following a Russian request for the U.S. to stop monitoring the convoy in the desert as part of “deconfliction” efforts. Rod Nordland and Eric Schmitt explain the circumstances surrounding the request at the New York Times.

US troops in Syria battle anti-Assad rebels once funded by the CIA

8.30.17

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US troops in SyriaAmerican troops deployed in Syria have exchanged fire with rebels that were until recently supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In 2013, soon after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the then-US President Barack Obama instructed the Central Intelligence Agency to provide covert support to fighters in Syria. Acting on the president’s directive, the CIA promptly joined forces with spy agencies from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to assist fighters affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. At that time, Washington saw the Free Syrian Army and forces affiliated with it as ideologically moderate. It also agreed with the group’s main aim, which was to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Under the project, which was codenamed TIMBER SYCAMORE, CIA personnel trained Free Syrian Army fighters in irregular warfare, while also providing them with light weaponry including machine guns, sniper rifles and off-road vehicles. But on July 19 of this year, US President Donald Trump abruptly ended the CIA program, which he called “dangerous and wasteful”. It soon became apparent that many Free Syrian Army soldiers approached Turkey, seeking financial income and protection. By early August, there were reports from Syria that large groups of former Free Syrian Army troops were conducting raids in northern Syria in coordination with the Turkish military.

Early on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Combined Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told reporters that US troops in Syria had come under fire by Turkish-commanded former Free Syrian Army units. The spokesman told reporters in Kuwait City that the rebels shot at US troops in the outskirts of Manbij, a northern Syrian city of about 70,000, located a few miles from the Turkish border. The American soldiers reportedly returned fire before seeking shelter from the assault. According to the US Pentagon, the Turkish government was promptly contacted by Inherent Resolve commanders, who described the incident as “not acceptable”. Washington alleges that its troops have come under fire “multiple times” in the past month. Some of the culprits are believed to be Turkish-controlled Syrian insurgents, including former members of the Free Syrian Army.

Turkey and the US are member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But the two countries do not follow a common policy on Syria. The US Pentagon supports Kurdish insurgents in Syria, which Turkey claims are connected with Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. Washington’s official position on Kurdish separatists is that they engage in terrorism against the Turkish state.

► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 30 August 2017 | Permalink

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Russian Strike Wounds Syrian Democratic Forces Troops > Operation Inherent Resolve > News Releases

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By CJTF-OIR | September 16, 2017

SOUTHWEST ASIA – At approximately 12:30 a.m. GMT Sept. 16, Russian forces struck a target east of the Euphrates River in Syria near Dayr Az Zawr, causing injuries to Coalition partner forces.

Russian munitions impacted a location known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisors. Several SDF fighters were wounded and received medical care as a result of the strike.

Multinational Coalition troops advising and assisting the SDF were present but not wounded as a result of the Russian strike. “Coalition officials are available and the de-confliction line with Russia is open 24 hours per day,” said Coalition commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II. “We put our full efforts into preventing unnecessary escalation among forces that share ISIS as our common enemy,” said Funk.

The Coalition and its partners remain committed to the defeat of ISIS and continued de-confliction with Russian officials. Coalition forces and partners always retain the right of self-defense.

Intelligence, Politicization, and the Russia Probe – 

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Editor’s Note: The incoming administration’s scorn for intelligence professionals is a matter of grave concern to many of us at LawfareI, for one, worry that the administration will conduct its foreign policy without understanding the dynamics of foreign governments, their attempts to mislead us, and emerging threats like cyber subversion. Joshua Rovner, a scholar of intelligence at American University, makes me even more concerned. He takes the long view, going beyond the potential for short-term policy catastrophe to explain the long tradition of policymaker suspicion of intelligence and the many potential negative consequences for the intelligence community.

***

In August, the Washington Post reported that intelligence officials are concerned about their new boss, given CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s political background and staunch support of Trump during the campaign. As a Republican representative from Kansas, Pompeo stood out in Congress for his relentless pressure to find a scandal in the Benghazi tragedy and to connect it with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not satisfied with the House Benghazi Committee’s final report, he attached an addendum declaring that Clinton “misled the public” about the affair and “failed to lead.” Meanwhile he threw his support behind Trump, “a commander in chief who fearlessly puts America out in front.”

Pompeo is not the first politician to lead the CIA, but his relentless brand of politics and close ties to Trump have led to fears that he cannot remain impartial about the Russia probe. In particular, critics worry that he will inhibit the work of the Agency’s Mission Center for Counterintelligence, which may possess damaging information about Russia’s role in last year’s election. The Center is the Agency’s hub for tracking foreign intelligence efforts in the United States, and according to the Post, a conduit to the FBI. Pompeo reportedly ordered the Center to report to him directly, which makes sense given his commitment to track down leakers and the sensitivity of the issue. But some within the Agency worry that he could use his position to discourage it from pursuing the investigation at all.

[Pompeo’s] relentless brand of politics and close ties to Trump have led to fears that he cannot remain impartial about the Russia probe.

Concerns about Pompeo are not new. In February, the Post reported that he was asked to call reporters in an effort to dispute stories about connections between Trump associates and Russian intelligence operatives. While Pompeo never acknowledged doing so, his public comments about broader Russian influence operations are mild compared to releases from U.S. agencies. Before the election, a joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security concluded that Russia had hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee in an effort to sway the outcome, and that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” This January, a second assessment explained why the election was a serious escalation in Russia’s long-term effort to influence U.S. politics.

Pompeo agreed with these findings in his confirmation hearings, but more recently he has argued that Russia’s so-called “active measures” are nothing new. He turned heads at the Aspen Security Forumwhen asked whether Russia had interfered in the election. “Yeah, of course,” he said. “And the one before that, and the one before that, they have been at this a hell of a long time.” Some fear that this formulation is too dismissive. While Soviet active measures in the Cold War were mostly dismal failures, this episode appears to have been much more successful, and Russia’s technical sophistication in cyber-espionage means that old analogies are not really relevant to understanding the present threat.

To be fair, Pompeo’s comments have gone far beyond what Trump has been willing to acknowledge about Russian activities. At various times, the president has pinned the blame for the DNC hacks on Russia, China, and the DNC itself. His only consistent theme is that the problem of attribution is too hard to make a firm judgment. Pompeo has been much more critical of Russia, but his caveats, especially the repeated suggestion that last year’s events were nothing new, have some worried that he will lean in Trump’s direction as the investigation intensifies. In other areas he has willingly assumed the role of a policy advocate, rather than an impartial intelligence official. This is in keeping with his embrace of Trump during the election season.

All presidents have incentives to politicize intelligence. Intelligence agencies are particularly effective public-relations vehicles because they control secret information, and individuals tend to believe in secrets. In this case, Trump has obvious reason to use intelligence leaders to muddy the waters about what happened during the campaign, and to create distance between the actions of the Russian government and his own staff. One reason why the Russia investigation is so explosive is that the intelligence community takes it so seriously. The president would surely love to see it downplay the results.

There are many ways to get intelligence to toe the policy line. Direct politicization occurs when they lean on intelligence leaders directly, cajoling them to shape intelligence conclusions in ways that are politically convenient. Indirect politicization, by contrast, occurs when policymakers send subtle signals about what they expect to see and hear. In this case, concerned intelligence officers seem to accuse Trump of what I call “manipulation by appointment.” Rather than twisting the elbows of intelligence chiefs, the idea is to put reliable friends in high places. Critics accused President Reagan of this tactic, for instance, when he appointed his campaign manager William Casey to lead the intelligence community. While pressuring senior officials can lead to political scandal, manipulation by appointment helps avoid that risk.

We can expect to see a few things if Pompeo turns out to be susceptible to White House pressure.

It is unclear that Trump chose Pompeo because he wanted a pliant leader at the CIA. We will not have the whole story for a long time, and episodes of politicization are extremely difficult to categorize. We can expect to see a few things if Pompeo turns out to be susceptible to White House pressure. Most importantly, he will temper his previous assertions about Russian responsibility for the election hack, even if the underlying intelligence remains the same. We will also see efforts to skirt organizational best practices in the CIA. Finally, we will probably see more CIA officials providing specific corroboration about how Pompeo interfered with their work. On the other hand, if Pompeo maintains his integrity, then the investigation will go by the book, and criticisms of the director will be rare and vague.

Nonetheless, there are reasons to be very concerned. Politicization is most likely when the political stakes are very high, and when leaders make public statements on controversial issues that are out of step with intelligence judgments. We are seeing this play out now. Trump’s cavalier attitude about Russian meddling stands in sharp contrast with the intelligence community, and his political future would be in serious doubt if the Russia investigation concludes that there was meaningful collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. In this hothouse environment, he has every reason to hope that special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions point in the other direction.

Mueller’s work depends on support from intelligence and law enforcement. Intercepted communications provided by the National Security Agency and investigative leads from the FBI will surely be central to the case, one way or the other. This is why Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was so troubling to observers, some of whom accused the president of obstructing the investigation by removing an official who was insufficiently loyal. Trump may believe that the new director, Christopher Wray, may be easier to manage. Similarly, he may be confident that his long-time political ally Pompeo will help him ride out the Russia probe.

If this is true, the implications are profound and disturbing. Politicization has many negative effects on the quality of intelligence: It can skew findings, inhibit later reassessments, and poison intelligence-policy relations over the long-term.

In this case there is another possible danger. It is obvious that Trump has critics inside the CIA, judging by what anonymous sources have told the press. But there are surely others within the Agency who view him favorably, not least because of his aggressive approach to counterterrorism. Trump seems to favor more aggressive collection, regardless of questions of ethics and effectiveness. He came out in favor of waterboarding, for example, arguing that it is necessary to “fight fire with fire.” Pompeo shares his inclinations. Last year he offered a strong defense of intelligence personnel against accusations that they had gone too far. “These men and women are not torturers,” he said, “they are patriots.” Pompeo’s comments suggest he will err on the side of being more aggressive, a mindset that probably resonates with some officers in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. The CIA is not a monolith.

The result might be a fracture between the Agency’s collectors and analysts. If many of the former are excited about working under Pompeo, and many of the latter believe he is a mouthpiece for the administration, then the prospects for effective collaboration are slim. The relationship between collection and analysis has always been complicated, and the Agency has invested a great deal of effort in bringing the two disciplines closer together. Most recently, it has reorganized around regional and topical mission centers in part to enhance collaboration. While this initiative is not without critics, there are good reasons to make such interactions routine. Among other things, collectors may overestimate the usefulness of their sources if they lack ready access to analysts who make sense of new information. Conversely, analysts’ work may be incomplete or outdated if they don’t have access to ongoing collection efforts. The same is true regarding covert operations: Plans that sound good in theory but are not backstopped by solid analysis may prove disastrous. Effective intelligence collection relies on a healthy working relationship with analysts. If a split develops as a result of Pompeo and the Russia probe, that working relationship may suffer.

For this reason, among others, we should be very concerned about politicization. Pompeo has a politician’s instincts and close ties to the president. This does not mean he will be politicized, of course, but it has raised suspicions within the CIA. “People have to watch him,” said one official to the Post. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.” To overcome these suspicions, and to protect the institutional integrity of the Agency, he should try.

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Report: Russia probe creates strife between WH counsel, Trump attorneys – CBS News

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CBS News
Report: Russia probe creates strife between WH counsel, Trump attorneys
CBS News
The White House counsel and Trump attorneys are reportedly struggling to determine the extent of their cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion on the part of …
Trump lawyer talked loudly about Russia probe at DC restaurant with reporter nearbyVox
In Russia scandal, Trump’s legal team isn’t a fine-tuned machineMSNBC
Trump’s lawyers are clashing over how to handle the Russia probeBusiness Insider
New York Daily News –AOL –Slate Magazine (blog)
all 73 news articles »

Hillary Clinton might challenge President Trump’s win if more evidence emerges of Russian meddling – New York Daily News

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New York Daily News
Hillary Clinton might challenge President Trump’s win if more evidence emerges of Russian meddling
New York Daily News
Hillary Clinton suggested in an interview Monday that she might challenge the legitimacy of President Trump’s victory if more evidence emerges of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. On NPR’s “Fresh Air,” host Terry Gross pressed Clinton on 
Clinton opens door to questioning legitimacy of 2016 electionCNN
John Podesta meets Senate investigators involved in Russia probePolitico
Hillary Clinton Won’t Rule Out ‘Questioning’ Results Of 2016 Election Due To Russian Meddling In Trump’s FavorThe Inquisitr
Daily Beast
all 34 news articles »

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The U.S. and Global Security News Review In Brief – Link

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The U.S. and Global Security News Review In Brief


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7:35 PM 9/17/2017 – US considering closing its embassy in Cuba – Washington Post | What Are Juggalos and Why Are They Marching Against the FBI?

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Why America’s Missile Defenses Might Not Work Against North Korea 

Review of media reports, editor selected reading lists of important articles, news digests and summaries on the US and Global Security 

Current News In Brief

1. US Security from mikenova (77 sites)
Eurasia Review: Cooperation, Not Sanctions, Will Make America Great Again OpEd
Eurasia Review: What Does Irans Changing Foreign Policy Mean For India? Analysis
Eurasia Review: American Tourists Doused With Acid In Marseilles, One Suspect Arrested
Cyber Warfare – Google News: Superpower India to Replace China as Growth Engine – Bloomberg
National Security: As Persian Gulf crisis persists, alarm in Washington deepens
Eurasia Review: How Stable Is North Ossetia? Analysis
Eurasia Review: Pakistan And Qatar: Constraints And Dilemmas Analysis
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: ISIS fight will raise civilian casualties, rights groups fear
Eurasia Review: Should Aung San Suu Kyi Be Blamed For Rohingya Crisis? OpEd
Eurasia Review: ICC Declines To Protect Stateless Rohingya From Genocide And Crimes Against Humanity OpEd
Eurasia Review: Hindus Urge Alibaba To Apologize, Withdraw Krishna-Ganesha Doormats
Eurasia Review: Russias Position On CPEC OpEd
Cyber Warfare – Google News: Why China Is So Confident – Bloomberg
Stars and Stripes: US-North Korean tensions prompt delay in Guam-Japan flights
Lima Charlie News: Middle East North Africa News Brief
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: New South Bend-area VA clinic set for opening
Cyber Warfare – Google News: Your child could be eligible for the 2018 Military Child of the Year Award – wtkr.com

Selected Articles In Brief

Saved Stories – 1. US Security
Superpower India to Replace China as Growth Engine – Bloomberg
12:51 PM 9/17/2017
Air National Guard heads to St. Thomas for Irma recovery
Tillerson says military option will be “only one left” if diplomacy fails on North Korea – CBS News
What Are ‘Juggalos’ and Why Are They Marching Against the FBI? – Lawfare (blog)
U.S. considering closing its embassy in Cuba
McCain Laments ‘Accident After Accident’ After Military Cuts – Bloomberg
In Irma-devastated US Virgin Islands, resolve blends with worry of being forgotten
In wake of airstrike, U.S. military moves to establish closer communication with Russian forces in Syria
3:17 PM 9/17/2017
Trump and the United Nations: Reform or Die?
The FBI Is Now On The Hunt For Kevin Hart’s Extortionist – Essence.com
The Early Edition: September 15, 2017
Today’s Headlines and Commentary

The U.S. and Global Security News Review | See also the blog “The U.S. and Global Security Review” for the Archive of the posts and reviews published prior to this blog. 

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