5:10 PM 10/29/2017 – Cyber Warfare – Google News: 2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali – New York Times

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Saved Stories – 1. US Security

1. US Security from mikenova (80 sites)
United States Defense and Military Forces: 2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali
Stars and Stripes: How trickery led to the fall of a famed Portsmouth shipyard and a longer Civil War
National Security: Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes U.S.
us national security – Google News: Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes US – Washington Post
Stars and Stripes: The sacrifice at home: Military spouses bear economic burden in service to their country
RSS for National Security: Report: Los Alamos lab comes up short on emergency drills
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Somali police, intelligence chiefs fired after deadly attack
Washington Free Beacon: De Blasio Calls Donor a Liar After He Accused Mayors Office of Corruption
Saved Stories – 1. US Security: Melissa Hathaway on The Future of Cybersecurity
National Security: A convicted murderer attended the Bergdahl trial and said ‘I got my firing squad standing by’

 

1. US Security from mikenova (80 sites)
United States Defense and Military Forces: 2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali

Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, 34, a veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan, was found dead on June 4, and his superiors almost immediately suspected foul play.United States Defense and Military Forces
Cyber Warfare – Google News: 2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali – New York Times
 

2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali
New York Times
WASHINGTON Navy criminal authorities are investigating whether two members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 strangled to death an Army Green Beret on assignment in Mali in June, military officials say. Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, a 34-year-old and more »

Cyber Warfare – Google News

fbi – Google News: New FBI chief says he’s already losing sleep over Chicago violence – Chicago Sun-Times
 


Chicago Sun-Times
New FBI chief says he’s already losing sleep over Chicago violence
Chicago Sun-Times
But as he prepares to take the helm of the FBI’s field office in Chicago, Sallet said there is one issue already keeping him up at night: This city’s ongoing struggle with gun violence. I’m doing my homework and making sure that I am engaged on that  

fbi – Google News

FBI News Review: 3:02 PM 10/29/2017 Russian Propaganda on Social Media: Our pain for their gain: the American activists manipulated by Russian trolls The Guardian | The History of Russian Involvement in Americas Race Wars The Atlantic | Exclusive: Russian Propaganda Traced Back to Staten Island, New York Daily Beast

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 18:19:45 +0100 29.10.2017 18:19   Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (18 sites) Palmer Report: Donald Trump yells DO SOMETHING! in desperate cry for help as Robert Mueller moves in We’ve all been awaiting Donald Trump’s inevitable response to the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller … Continue reading“3:02 PM 10/29/2017 – Russian Propaganda on Social Media: ‘Our pain for their gain’: the American activists manipulated by Russian trolls – The Guardian | The History of Russian Involvement in America’s Race Wars – The Atlantic | Exclusive: Russian Propaganda Traced Back to Staten Island, New York – Daily Beast”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/10/28/20171028-120000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/10/28/20171028-130000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

FBI News Review

Stars and Stripes: How trickery led to the fall of a famed Portsmouth shipyard and a longer Civil War

The USS Merrimack was once considered the most important ship at Gosport what is today known as Norfolk Naval Shipyard. In April 1861, the month that included the bombardment of Fort Sumter, setting the Civil War in motion, shipyard commander Charles McCauley had been ordered to get the Merrimack out of the port to prevent its capture.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes US

Justice Department officials don’t believe they have enough evidence to bring charges against an American citizen and suspected member of the Islamic State who was captured in Syria last month, but the U.S. faces immediate legal challenges if he is not released and is detained without trial.

Stars and Stripes

RSS for National Security: Trump again calls Russia probe ‘witch hunt’ as possible 1st indictment looms

nullRSS for National Security
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Marine sergeant’s trial over Muslim recruit’s death to start

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) – A court-martial is due to start this week for a Marine Corps drill instructor charged with abusing two Muslim recruits, one of whom leaped to his death last year after a reported altercation.The trial of Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix could begin as early as …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Washington Free Beacon: Twitter Suspends Roger Stone After He Unleashes on CNNs Don Lemon

Roger Stone, a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, pushed back against Twitter on Saturday after the social media site suspended his account for slamming CNN primetime host Don Lemon.Stone, a self-proclaimed political provocateur, unleashed on Lemon for his reporting on the Uranium One investigation, attacking the CNN host’s credibility and reporting style. Stone’s tweets became personal when he said that Lemon is “dumber than dog shit” and accused him of “lying constantly.”

CNN political commentator Keith Boykin took a screenshot of Stone’s tweets, which are no longer accessible until his account is reinstated, and tweeted from his account Saturday morning.

“I wonder if these angry, racist Roger Stone tweets violate the @Twitter terms of service agreement,” Boykin wrote.

Stone responded to his suspension from Twitter by threatening to file a lawsuit against the social media site for infringing on his First Amendment rights, Politico reported.

“This is a strange way to do business and part and parcel of the systematic effort by the tech left to censor and silence conservative voices,” Stone said Sunday in an email to Politico.

Stone said that he decided to bring a lawsuit against Twitter after communicating with “prominent telecommunication attorneys.”

Stone also told Politico that he, his family, and even his dog have received death threats on Twitter.

“I have been inundated on Twitter with death threats, threats to kill my wife, my family, my children, and even my dogs yet Twitter seems unconcerned with these bloggers,” Stone wrote.

While Stone’s main verified account is still suspended, he now appears to be using the Twitter account of his documentary, Get Me Roger Stone, to push back against critics.

“I get vicious death threats EVERY DAY on twitter, and they do nothing. Do NOT get in my face when I call a cunt a cunt [sic],” Stone tweeted.

I get vicious death threats EVERY DAY on twitter, and they do nothing. Do NOT get in my face when I call a cunt a cunt.

He also tweeted a screenshot of several tweets from former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann that are laced with profanity aimed at Trump.

Stone could face a permanent suspension from Twitter based on the the social media platform’s guidelines.

The post Twitter Suspends Roger Stone After He Unleashes on CNN’s Don Lemon appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

National Security: Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes U.S.

The suspect, now held in Iraq, has refused to talk and demanded a lawyer.

National Security

fbi – Google News: JFK Files: The Unexpected Details Revealed from the FBI Investigation – Vanity Fair
 


Vanity Fair
JFK Files: The Unexpected Details Revealed from the FBI Investigation
Vanity Fair
One cable now available to the public, sent from the F.B.I., includes a Cuban intelligence officer saying that he knew Oswald was a good shot. When asked how he knew that, he answered, I knew him. Another document shows a conversation withF.B.I. …
Kennedy files show FBI, CIA trawled through every rumor, checked out oddballsThe Japan Timesall 119 news articles »

fbi – Google News

us national security – Google News: Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes US – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
Case of suspected American ISIS fighter captured in Syria vexes US
Washington Post
It would open the door to legal challenges the government just doesn’t want to face, said Stephen Vladeck, a professor ofnational security law at the University of Texas. The DOJ and DOD would be very nervous because of the precedent [a legaland more »

us national security – Google News

Stars and Stripes: The sacrifice at home: Military spouses bear economic burden in service to their country

After her husband was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2015, Patricia Ochan set aside her career as a lawyer with a cybersecurity degree to become a full-time caregiver to her husband while raising their young child.

Stars and Stripes

RSS for National Security: Report: Los Alamos lab comes up short on emergency drills

A federal nuclear safety panel says Los Alamos National Laboratory has come up short during drills intended to show how the New Mexico lab would respond to potential emergencies such as radioactive leaks or earthquakesRSS for National Security
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Somali police, intelligence chiefs fired after deadly attack

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Security forces ended an overnight siege by militants Sunday at a hotel in Somalia’s capital after a bombing and shootout that killed 23 people, and the government fired its police and intelligence chiefs amid the continuing extremist attacks.The Cabinet action followed a recommendation by Security …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Stars and Stripes: Convicted murderer attends the Bergdahl trial, says ‘I got my firing squad standing by’

An apparent security lapse enabled a convicted murderer to access Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing hearing last week, where the individual made threatening remarks about the former Taliban prisoner, who has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Stars and Stripes

Saved Stories – 1. US Security: Mueller Has Authority to Name President Trump as an Unindicted Coconspirator
 

Imagine if Special Counsel Robert Mueller finds sufficient evidence to charge President Donald Trump, but his hands are tied because he or the Department of Justice concludes that they cannot indict a sitting President? Could Mueller instead identify President Trump by name as an unindicted coconspirator when bringing charges against other individuals? The stakes are enormously high. Such action would have some of the same reverberations across the country as a criminal indictment of the President.

A facile answer would rely simply on the fact that the Special Prosecutor in Watergate did just that. The Watergate grand jury named President Richard M. Nixon as an unindicted coconspirator when it issued indictments of others.

Since Watergate, however, the Department of Justice has developed guidance for criminal prosecutions that places a presumption against naming individuals as unindicted coconspirators. TheU.S. Attorneys Office Manual states:

In the absence of some significant justification, federal prosecutors generally should not identify unindicted coconspirators in conspiracy indictments. The practice of naming individuals as unindicted coconspirators in an indictment charging a criminal conspiracy has been severely criticized in United States v. Briggs, 514 F.2d 794 (5th Cir. 1975).

The rationale behind this rule is that it is generally unfair for the government to tag people with the marker of criminality without an opportunity to defend themselves in court.

That said, the prohibition expressed in the US Attorneys Manual is not categorical. The Manual says it applies in the absence of some significant justification and that federal prosecutors generally should not identify unindicted conspirators in the indictment. And later the Manual says Ordinarily, there is no need to name a person as an unindicted coconspirator in an indictment.

These are no ordinary times, and the question here is whether the case of Donald Trump could provide a significant justification for naming him in the indictment, just as the Watergate grand jury did in the case of Nixon.

The norm about not naming unindicted coconspirators is sufficiently strong that one has to fully acknowledge the rationale and attendant difficulties. With that in mind, the case of the President is an occasion that could be narrowly cabined and where naming may be most appropriate.

At bottom, this is an area controlled not by categorical rules. Instead, it involves different risks and factors that must be weighed at different stages of the criminal process. Before trial, for example, the Attorneys Manual recognizes that the prosecution may identify unindicted coconspirators in a bill of particulars if requested by the defense. In that event, the Manual says prosecutors should generally (read: not always) try to file such documents under seal, and should not appeal any court order directing them to file publicly. At trial, a specificexception to hearsay allows prosecutors to identify and enter statements by named unindicted coconspirators. At these junctures before and during trial, the interests of defendants to know the details of the governments case against them and the interest of the government to prove its case can outweigh an unindicted coconspirators reputational interests in keeping her identity secret. The balance of equities also includes the press and publics interest in knowledge about the case. Federal courts, for example, have held that the public interest in disclosureoutweighs the privacy interests of the coconspirators in such instances. At least until 2013, the Justice Departments Antitrust Division named unindicted coconspirators in plea agreements and justified those actions as necessary to inform the public. The question then boils down to whether the balance of factors supports Muellers having this option at his disposal in this case. It does. Lets see why.

I. Deciding when its appropriate to exercise the option 

If there were ever a need to make an exception to the presumption against identifying an unindicted coconspirator, Muellers investigation could be it. Simply put, a case in which two conditions exista person is immune from prosecution but theres a strong public interest in knowing about their actionscan provide ample justification.

Inability to indict Recall that the U.S. Attorneys Office Manual refers to the federal court decision  United States v. Briggs (5th Cir. 1975) for having severely criticized the governments identifying unindicted coconspirators in that case. The Fifth Circuit judges, however, rested their opinion, in significant part, on the idea that the government had the option of simply indicting such individualsand the failure to do so thus appeared unfair. The Briggs court said, the indictment may make such additional persons defendants if there is probable cause to believe that they participated in the alleged conspiracy. We have been tendered no reason why in this case, if there was probable cause, the appellants were not included among those made defendants. The Briggs holding was based on the fact that the government did not have a good replywhy couldnt the government just indict the conconspirators too?

Take the option of indictment awayif the person is immunewhat do you have left? Following Briggs, a federal court allowed the government to name a coconspirator on the theory that the government could not actually indict the person. He was dead. Thats a bit of an extreme case, but like a hypothetical in a law school classroom it helps illustrate the point. And, indeed, the federal judge in that case explained that the situation stood for a broader principle where the person named as an unindicted coconspirator simply cannot be indicted and tried. More to the point, the court explained other specific cases in which there would be good reason to name the person in an indictment including when an unindicted coconspirator enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Strong public interest Another factor that distinguishes the Briggs ruling and the potential case of President Trump involves the governments interest in naming him. In Briggs, the court found nosubstantial government justification, a veritable empty set to weigh against the unindicted individuals interests. The Fifth Circuit court said:

The Department of Justice suggests nothing that rises to the dignity of a substantial interest. The Department does state in conclusory terms that the interest of justice may on occasion require that (unindicted conspirators) be named in the indictment. These interests of justice are not identified.

In a later case, the Fifth Circuit would later say that, in addressing the merits in Briggs, this Court made absolutely clear that that no legitimate function was served by naming and accusing an individual of a crime without indicting that individual as a defendant.

In Muellers case of naming the President there are substantial, easily articulable functions and intereststhe general one of the publics right to know is at its maximum here and Congress is waiting to know what Mueller thinks about Trumps involvement. Indeed, it would be mighty difficult to square Muellers assignment with the idea that he cannot say whether the President committed a crime. The provisions for the Special Counsel, for example, give Mueller jurisdiction to investigate obstruction of justice and the public understanding is that he is, indeed, charged to investigate that matter and the matter of potential criminal wrongdoing in the Trump campaign no matter how high up it leads. In short, Muellers responsibility, best understood, includes determining whether Trump is guilty. And even the Presidents own lawyers effectively acknowledged this fact, for example, in their efforts to clear the President by trying to set up an interview with Mueller. Having entrusted the Special Counsel with this solemn responsibility, it would make sense why Mueller should not have to wait for a defendant to request a bill of particulars or some opportunity like entering hearsay evidence if and when it finally comes to trial. At the very least it is safe to say that Mueller can clearly present a public interest that rises to the dignity of a substantial interest, far above what the court ask for in Briggs.

Finally, what about the general concern of naming someone in an indictment without their having a proper forum to respond? This is a valid and important issue, which lies at the heart of the general presumption against this sort of action. However, the President has a powerful platform unlike any other to respond to reputational concerns and defend his name. Whats more, a lack of forum cant be a decisive factor since individuals can be unmasked at trial (for example, under the hearsay exception) where they still where they would not have the ability to vindicate themselves. And before a trial starts, even the Briggs court recognized that [a]n unindicted conspirator anonymously designated as an other person or as John Doe may be unmasked in a bill of particulars or at trial. That said, Briggs thought it was less injurious to be named in a bill of particulars or as a witness:

The bill of particulars is, however, the statement of the prosecutor and does not carry the imprimatur of credibility that official grand jury action does. When a witness testifies at trial he does so as a private individual and makes no formal adjudication regarding criminality.

But we should not elevate form over substance. Any such differences should be acknowledged in the balance of factors. One could cogently argue that the publics interest in knowing that a federal grand jury has amassed evidence of criminal conduct by the President outweighs any reputational risk that the President might suffer from the disclosure of his role.

More broadly, we should not lose sight of how the balance of equities will shift in different cases. Recall that even a sitting President may be named in a bill of particulars before trial and as a coconspirator or as part of other criminal activity at trial. In other words, the marginal benefit to the prosecution, to the defense, or the publics right to know in such cases can override a sitting Presidents interest in not being publicly namedeven including cases in which there is already overwhelming evidence to find the defendant guilty and the defendant can likely tell the identity of the unnamed person. The point is that our legal system allows tradeoffs at each of these stages, and it is far easier to accept naming a sitting President in an indictment when theres an enormous public interest in knowing.

Objections and some additional complications In addition to the factors we have worked through above, the Presidents lawyers could argue that it is wrong to say he is completely immune from indictment. The Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel accepted in a 2000 opinion that the President at least loses immunity from indictment once he leaves office. So it may be said that one of the conditions that gives rise to the special reason for naming Trump herethat he cant be indictedis weaker. He is not fully immune. He just cant be indicted now. At least thats how this argument would go.

But how much of a salve is it that prosecutors might have an option to indict Trumponly after his presidency is over? If a president could be prosecuted only after leaving office (including the prospect of two four-year terms), that could significantly erode the prospect of an effective trial. In Clinton v. Jones, the Supreme Court held that a civil lawsuit against a sitting President could proceed while he was in office. The Court recognized the significant impairment that can result from delaying a civil case against a president until after his term of office. Justice Stevens wrote for the Court: Such a lengthy and categorical stay takes no account whatever of the respondents interest in bringing the case to trial. delaying trial would increase the danger of prejudice resulting from the loss of evidence, including the inability of witnesses to recall specific facts, or the possible death of a party. These concerns are amplified in criminal trials where the burden is on a prosecutor to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

That said, perhaps Muellers hands are tied in that regard. The Office of Legal Counsel opinion in 2000 also counsels against an indictment of a sitting President that is then held in abeyance. So why wouldnt the reasons for that conclusion dictate the same outcome (temporary immunity) for the question of naming a President as an unindicted coconspirator? The Office of Legal Counsel opinion neither addresses nor excludes the option of naming a sitting president in a bill of particulars or at trial. And the scenarios for doing so far exceed cases of coconspirators or hearsay rules. For example, imagine a bribery case against a sitting President that would implicate her when prosecuting the person making the bribe. The OLC opinion does not foreclose implicating the sitting President in that criminality.

Whats more (and its a lot more) is Muellers solemn responsibility described earlier. It cant be that Mueller has the authority and publicly understood duty to investigate Trump for potential crimes, but not the power to say whether Trump was involved in any offences. Its also worth looking back at the Watergate special prosecutors team, team which wrote a memo to say:

If we conclude that indictment of the President is constitutionally barred or is inappropriate, then we and the Grand Jury can and must fulfill our responsibilities to the public and to the law by recommending a Grand Jury presentment setting out in detail the most important evidence and the Grand Jurys conclusions that the President has violated certain criminal statutes and would have been indicted were he not President. There appears to be no question of the propriety or legality of such a course.

[For more on that topic, please read my piece with Alex Whiting, An Untold Option for Mueller: Grand Jury Presentment as an Alternative to Indicting Trump.]

Finally, recall the federal courts explanation that diplomatic immunity is one of the instances where prosecutors would have reason to name the person as an unindicted coconspirator in an indictment. Like the OLC opinion on the President, diplomatic immunity can be temporary too. The Justice Department saw fit to name a foreign diplomat as an unindicted coconspirator in a grand jury indictment within three years after Briggs.

(Before leaving this space, I should acknowledge my own doubts whether the OLC got it right that a President cannot be indicted while in office. I recently published a piece with the title, When Five Supreme Court Justices Said a President Can Be Indicted, and check out the first question in my Q&A with Cass Sunstein on his new book on impeachment.)

* * *

Having mined through the arguments on different sides of this issue, it seems clear that Mueller would have an open path to name President Trump in an indictmentfor example as an unindicted coconspiratorif theres sufficient evidence of the Presidents involvement in criminal activity within the jurisdiction of the Special Counsel. The Watergate special prosecutors legal team appeared to think there was not just an availability but a profound responsibility to name President Nixon as an unindicted coconspirator if thats where the evidence led them, and that may rightfully be Muellers lodestar.

[Final note: for a perspective that differs from mine, read Professor James Jacobs Just Security article, Naming the President as an Unindicted Co-conspirator?]

Read on Just Security »

Saved Stories – 1. US Security

Washington Free Beacon: De Blasio Calls Donor a Liar After He Accused Mayors Office of Corruption

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) on Saturday called Jona Rechnitz, a former campaign contributor who said he bought access to City Hall through donations, a “liar.”De Blasio said he can not recall any details of any association with Rechnitz and refused to provide an account of their past meetings, phone calls and contacts, the New York Times reported.

Rechnitzs incriminating testimony this past week came at an inconvenient time for the mayor: less than two weeks before the Nov. 7 elections where he is seeking second term reelection. Up until this point, de Blasio has had a commanding lead in the polls and has been favored for reelection.

Although the witness began his testimony in a government case against former head of the correction officers union Norman Seabrook, much of his testimony ended up revealing details of his relationship with de Blasio.

Rechnitz pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, and as part of plea deal, has since been cooperating with federal prosecutors. That includes cooperating in related corruption investigations involving the New York City Police Department and Mayor’s Office.

Rechnitz told prosecutors he and the then-mayoral hopeful were friends and spoke on the phone at least once a week during de Blasios campaign for mayor in 2013. He also admitted to donating money directly to de Blasios campaign, and donating additional funds to a nonprofit started by de Blasio that aimed to get Democrats elected to State Senates.

In exchange for money donated, Rechnitz said he gained access to the mayor and was able to ask for favors. The major disagreed with Rechnitz’s account

“You heard a lot of tales the last few days,” de Blasio said on Saturday at a news conference in response to Rechnitzs testimony. “Jona Rechnitz has had his turn. Now its my turn to tell you the truth. Jona Rechnitz is a liar and a felon. Its as simple as that.”

De Blasio said he met with Rechnitz after he won the Democratic primary in 2013, and the businessman began donating to the candidate’s campaign. The mayor was vague, however, about the details of the meeting and claimed not to remember important interactions that came forward in Rechnitzs testimony.

“I remember a handful of times being in person with him and I remember a handful of times on the phone,” the mayor said. “I really cant give you an exact number, but nothing like once a week.”

De Blasio said Rechnitz is “a horrible human being” and was “not someone that I ever knew well or was close to.”

“He is exaggerating in many, many ways,” de Blasio said.

Rechnitz testified that he had a close relationship with a fundraiser for de Blasios campaign, Ross Offinger, and that Offinger arranged for de Blasio to visit Rechnitzs office in the early stages of their relationship. It was there that Rechnitz was given de Blasios personal email address and cellphone number.

“I dont remember the details but I can remember the broad strokes,” de Blasio said. “At some point, I think it was Ross, said, Heres someone who says they want to help us, and then it proceeded from there. But I dont remember the details.”

De Blasio denied giving any special treatment to donors.

“The fact that a convicted felon is now trying to besmirch me; no ones going to fall for that,” de Blasio said on Saturday.

De Blasio nonetheless refused to provide a full account of his contacts with Rechnitz.

“You always want everything and Im not going to give it to you,” he said.

The post De Blasio Calls Donor a ‘Liar’ After He Accused Mayor’s Office of Corruption appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Saved Stories – 1. US Security: Melissa Hathaway on The Future of Cybersecurity

Melissa Hathaway was a senior cybersecurity adviser to President George W. Bush and led President Barack Obama’s cyberspace policy review.  She always has something intersting to say.  For a slow Sunday as await the start of a busy week, here is a conversation she had a the United Nations University in Japan a few weeks ago: 

Saved Stories – 1. US Security

National Security: A convicted murderer attended the Bergdahl trial and said ‘I got my firing squad standing by’

The decorated Green Beret was imprisoned for killing his wife.

National Security

International Security – Google News: Somalia fires security officials after bomb attack – The Guardian
 


The Guardian
Somalia fires security officials after bomb attack
The Guardian
Ali, the sacked intelligence chief, recently wrote a lengthy article in the New York Times criticising the international community for failing to help Somali security forces. We appealed to our international partners to share all information and 
Somalia fires security chiefs as attack toll hits 27eNCA
23 dead, more than 30 wounded in Mogadishu hotel attackABC Newsall 329 news articles »

International Security – Google News


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Pentagon chief says North Korea engages in ‘outlaw’ behavior

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10:31 AM 10/28/2017 – How social media helped weaponize Donald Trump’s election campaign

How social media helped weaponize Donald Trump’s election campaign

Saved Stories – None
How social media helped weaponize Donald Trump’s election campaign
Дамаск отверг обвинения в химатаке
“Russia-гейт”: первые обвинения
США грозят Северной Корее ударом
UN blames Syrian forces for Khan Sheikhoun sarin attack
Journalist tours ‘other half’ of America neglected by media
US soldier dies in helicopter crash
VOA Newscasts – October 28, 2017
VOA Newscasts – October 28, 2017
Cocaine crisis on British nuclear submarine as nine sailors fired – Business Insider
UK navy discharges 9 nuclear sub crew members for drug use
British navy sacks nuclear submariners over cocaine use
Mueller probe into possible collusion with Russia nets first charges: report
Trumps set to launch two real estate projects in India, despite conflict-of-interest concerns
U.S. Congress Receives List Of Russians Targeted By New Sanctions
Trump withholds some pages of the recently released secret JFK files
Israel Is a Military Superpower for One Simple Reason: ‘Underwater’ Nuclear Weapons
Facebook ads: Social media giant announces new transparency
JFK assassination records: The promise of revelations derailed by CIA and FBI – Washington Post
Audio: Listen as Mandalay Bay security guard reports ‘shots fired’ as Las Vegas massacre begins – Los Angeles Times
PARAMILITARY: Where Have All The Russians Gone
Puerto Rico power contract a local issue: White House
mikenova shared this story from NewsOnABC’s YouTube Videos.

From: NewsOnABC
Duration: 04:08

Planet Americas John Barron explains how Facebook and Twitter helped weaponize the Trump campaign.


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1:11 PM 10/27/2017 – The missing link

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Posts on G+ from mikenova (2 sites)
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 10:43 AM 10/27/2017 Cambridge Five, Cambridge Analytica, Cyberwars, Cyberlinks, and The Cyber-Collusion…

10:43 AM 10/27/2017 Cambridge Five, Cambridge Analytica, Cyberwars, Cyberlinks, and The Cyber-Collusion 2017 | M.N.: The missing link appears to be found: Cambridge Analyticas software system

Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com

Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 27.10.2017 16:20

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 27.10.2017 16:20

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions…

Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions…

Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions

Truth and consequences of Trump Russia dossier are open questions

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 8:18 AM 10/27/2017

8:18 AM 10/27/2017

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 7:25 AM 10/27/2017 News Review: Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination

7:25 AM 10/27/2017 News Review: Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda…

6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda Efforts?

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11:24 AM 10/27/2017 – RECENT POSTS: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks…

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Posts on G+ from mikenova (2 sites)
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…
 

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…
 

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…
 

The reports that the data research firm Cambridge Analytica tried to reach out to WikiLeaks is significant…

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8:18 AM 10/27/2017

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7:55 AM 10/27/2017

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 7:25 AM 10/27/2017 News Review: Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination
 

7:25 AM 10/27/2017 News Review: Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination

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7:10 AM 10/27/2017

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7:10 AM 10/27/2017

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda…
 

6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda Efforts?

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda…
 

6:46 AM 10/27/2017 Addressing Russian Influence: What Can We Learn From U.S. Cold War Counter-Propaganda Efforts?

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 27.10.2017 01:02
 

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 26.10.2017 22:36
 

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: opioids crisis
 

opioids crisis

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: World and Politics News Review
 

World and Politics News Review

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Assange confirmed

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The World News and Times

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The World News and Times

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: http://theworldnewsandtimes.com/
 

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Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 11:25 AM 10/26/2017 The Recruitables: Why Trumps Team Was Easy Prey for Putin
 

11:25 AM 10/26/2017 The Recruitables: Why Trumps Team Was Easy Prey for Putin

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8:23 AM 10/27/2017 – Former CIA chief: Nuclear war with Russia, biological weapons…

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1. US Security from mikenova (80 sites)
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: The Cyberlaw Podcast: Interview with Tom Bossert
The National Interest: China’s Aircraft Carrier: Just an Old Russian Ship That Can’t Fight?
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Uganda charges 2 police over Rwandan refugee’s kidnapping
The National Interest: Why the U.S. Navy So Desperately Needs a New Frigate
Stars and Stripes: Judge bars DOD from blocking citizenship requests from foreign-born military recruits
cia – Google News: The Daily 202: Trump bowing to CIA on JFK files is a reminder of how the presidency changes people – Washington Post
james b. comey – Google News: ‘Who paid for the dossier?’ doesn’t matter; Russian meddling in our elections is what’s important – Los Angeles Times
RSS for National Security: Friday Rewind: Tampa killer
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Punching the Wrong Bag
global security – Google News: BT opens global Security Operations Centre in Germany – BT.com
cia – Google News: Former CIA director to speak at Notre Dame today – WSBT-TV
United States Defense and Military Forces: Mattis Visit to DMZ Highlights the North Korean Threat to Seoul
Stars and Stripes: American who joined, escaped Islamic State faces sentencing
RSS for National Security: 10 Things to Know for Today
Stars and Stripes: Green bids farewell as 82nd Airborne welcomes new commander
RSS for National Security: Under Trump’s new refugee ban, nearly half of refugees still blocked
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: 2 Myanmar pastors sentenced to prison for supporting rebels
Stars and Stripes: From rage to peace: A SEALs view of Bergdahl

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8:11 AM 10/27/2017 – News Review

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7:25 AM 10/27/2017 – News Review: Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination – Trump Investigations Report

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
puerto rico – Google Search
Stars and Stripes: From rage to peace: A SEALs view of Bergdahl
trump and intelligence community – Google News: Deep State Intelligence Threatens Trump, Self-Government – The New American
Putin and American political process – Google News: Despite the conspiracies, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are going backwards fast – ABC Online
trump and putin – Google News: Despite the conspiracies, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are going backwards fast – ABC Online
Expert: Robert Mueller to drop the hammer on Donald Trump within weeks
Donald Trump: Donald Trump Throws U.S. Generals Under The Bus In Regard To Niger Attack
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination – New York Times
mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


New York Times
A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination
New York Times
As a new trove of documents about the killing of President John F. Kennedy is released, the New York Times correspondent Peter Baker walks us through who’s who in this historic American tragedy. By NATALIE RENEAU and PETER BAKER on Publish Date …
JFK files: Trump teases release as deadline arrivesCNN
What Could Be in the New Kennedy Assassination Records?<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>
The JFK Files: More Than 50 Years of Questions, ConspiraciesVoice of America
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette –The Guardian –Philly.com –New York Post
all 138 news articles »
Trump Administration To Declare Opioid Crisis A Public Health Emergency – NPR
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NPR
Trump Administration To Declare Opioid Crisis A Public Health Emergency
NPR
The Trump administration will declare a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease …
Exclusive: Trump to declare public health emergency for opioids, a partial measure to fight drug epidemicUSA TODAY
Trump will stop short of declaring national emergency on opioids: reportsThe Hill
The Note: For conspiracy-loving Trump, JFK files are a big momentABC News
Bloomberg –Quartz –Politico –cleveland.com
all 116 news articles »
Hurricane Maria caused largest-ever US blackout – The Hill
mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


The Hill
Hurricane Maria caused largest-ever US blackout
The Hill
The blackout caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is the United States’ largest in history, according to a new report. Economic consulting firm Rhodium Group determined in a Thursday report that Maria caused 1.25 billion …
Puerto Rico Faces Possible Court Battle Over Agency ControlBloomberg
Whitefish Energy regrets Twitter spat with San Juan mayorBBC News
Powerless Puerto RicoNew York Times
WTOP –BuzzFeed News –Vanity Fair
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puerto rico – Google Search
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· · · · ·

A Half-Century Later, Papers May Shed Light on JFK Assassination – New York Times

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1:51 PM 10/24/2017 – Bill Browder said Russia maliciously placed him on an Interpol list of wanted criminals

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National Security: U.S. lifts travel ban on British businessman targeted by Vladimir Putin

Kremlin critic Bill Browder said Russia maliciously placed him on an Interpol list of wanted criminals.


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10:38 AM 10/24/2017 – Dunford has questions about Niger deaths; Tillerson jets to Iraq, Afghanistan

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1. US Security from mikenova (78 sites)
Washington Free Beacon: Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders Health Care Plan Will Sink the Democrats
Washington Free Beacon: Don Lemon: I Should Be Hysterical About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widow
Just Security: How We Persuaded 122 Countries to Ban Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest: How the U.S. Plans to Terrorize (And Kill) Russia and China’s Most Lethal Submarines
Washington Free Beacon: New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Terror from skies as Mexican cartel attaches bomb to drone
Stars and Stripes: The political party is over. What next?
Stars and Stripes: Trump is right: The US should leave UNESCO
Stars and Stripes: Europe should preserve its cultural heritage, EU’s Tusk says
Stars and Stripes: Those who fight US wars dont write blank checks
RSS for National Security: Trump’s refugee ban ends, new screening rules coming
Washington Free Beacon: Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Tillerson in Pakistan with a tough message on safe havens
Stars and Stripes: Vietnam veterans honored at US base in Germany
In Homeland Security: Coast Guard Seeing Surge in Use of Drug Submarines

 

1. US Security from mikenova (78 sites)
Washington Free Beacon: NATO Plans to Add Two New Commands to Counter Russia Threat

NATO is set to approve the creation of two new commands to strengthen alliance weaknesses in a potential conflict with Russia, according to allied officials.

NATO defense ministers will review a new command structuremeant to improve allied logistics and protect supply linesat their quarterly meeting next month, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The recommendations include one new command to manage NATO logistics, which would focus on moving people and materiel more quickly, and one new command for the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, which would focus on protecting sea lanes, critical for supplying Europe, from submarine threats.

The potential command changes come amid rising tensions between NATO and Russia. Alliance leaders have warned that member countries must be able to move quicker to effectively deter and counter Russian forces.

“The alliance has to move as quick or quicker than Russian Federation forces for our deterrent to be effective,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the top Army commander in Europe, said earlier this month. “Speed is what will give our civilian leaders options other than a liberation campaign.”

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the command structure review is meant to focus on military mobility so the alliance can “deploy forces quickly across the alliance.” She added that NATO members are “adapting national legislation to allow military equipment to transit faster across borders and are working on improving national infrastructure.”

The potential changes are partly in response to calls from some Eastern European alliance members to better prepare for crises.

“We have to revise how fast we make decisions and prepare better,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė told the Journal.

The new commands’ headquarters would be at the same level as NATO’s Joint Forces Commands, located in Brunssom, Netherlands and Naples, Italy.

Plans for a new NATO command structure review come as the United States places more military resources in Europe to deter Russian aggression. This week alone, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade arrived in Belgium with 89 helicopters that will go to Germany, Latvia, Romania, and Poland. Congress is evaluating whether to permanently station a tank brigade along with other units in Europe permanently.

NATO is reviewing a new logistics command partly because of the difficulties NATO faces with moving personnel and equipment across borders. Often a country has to give approval ahead of time for certain weapons and equipment to cross its borders, and many European roads and bridges cannot handle the weight of an American battle tank, the U.S. Army’s five-axle tank transport trailers, or heavy air-defense batteries, further complicating movements.

At sea, Russia has recently invested in newer submarines with more advanced technology, triggering calls for a new Arctic and Atlantic command.

The post NATO Plans to Add Two New Commands to Counter Russia Threat appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

National Security: Pakistan vows cooperation in fight against terror groups

Secretary of State Tillerson stopped in Islamabad to warn the relationship with U.S. is in jeopardy.

National Security

Washington Free Beacon: Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders Health Care Plan Will Sink the Democrats

Former Obama administration advisor Steve Rattner has suggested adopting Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) health care plan would be a disaster for Democrats.

“Why Medicare for All Will Sink the Democrats,” wrote Rattner, former advisor to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and current New York Times contributor, in a Tuesday op-ed.

“Mr. Sanders who, of course, isnt even a registered Democrat is banging on about what he calls ‘Medicare for All,’ a government-run plan that would provide health care coverage for every American,” Rattner argued.

“As a centrist Democrat, Im scared to see my party pulled into positions that are both bad politics and dubious policy. And Im disappointed that few of our partys moderates are willing to resist the freight train coming at us from the left.”

Rattner, who often speaks on economic issues and is also a current economic analyst with MSNBC, noted previous Democratic presidential nominees like George McGovern and Michael Dukakis had championed the same position as Sanders. Both were suddenly defeated come November.

He allowed polls have shown that support for a single-payer system has increased in recent years, but pointed out that support evaporated when respondents where informed implementing single-payer would mean tax hikes or getting rid of Obamacare.

“In Colorado last November, a whopping 80 percent of voters rejected a universal plan, again over taxes and costs. And for similar reasons, California recently shelved a single-payer proposal,” Rattner wrote.

Rattner said that in private, many Democrats facing reelection in 2018 agreed with him, but were too cowed by the Sanders wing of the party to say so publicly. “‘Its radioactive for me,’ one Democrat facing re-election in 2018 told me,” Rattner reported.

The post Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders’ Health Care Plan ‘Will Sink the Democrats’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

The National Interest: Could Iran’s Submarines ‘Sink’ the U.S. Navy in a War?

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Middle East

The answer is…maybe.

Why would Iran invest considerable sums in building its own submarines instead of shelling out for off-the-shelf hardware in Russia or China?

The Iranian military has long planned for a defensive naval war in the Persian Gulf, in which it would leverage its large fleet of fast attack boats toting antiship missiles to launch swarming hit-and-run attacks on adversaries in along Persian Gulf, with the ultimate goal of shutting down passage through the Straits of Hormuz.

Supporting this naval guerilla-warfare strategy are twenty-one indigenously produced Ghadir-class mini submarines, derived from the North Korean Yono class. The 120-ton vessels can poke around at eleven knots (thirteen miles per hour) and each carry two 533-millimeter torpedoes. All in all, shallow littoral waters are very favorable for mini-submarine operations, with interference from rocky shallows and loud surf reducing sonar detection ranges and giving mini submarines abundant opportunities to hide and wait in ambush. On the high end of the capability spectrum, Iran operates three much larger and more capable Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines purchased from Russia in the 1990s. These can comfortably hunt in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

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Four years ago, Iran also launched its own domestically built Fateh-class submarine. The homemade vessel may lack modern features such as antiship missiles or quiet Air Independent Propulsion system, but it does seem to be the genuine articlenot something one should take for granted with reports of new Iranian weapons.

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Why would Iran invest considerable sums in building its own submarines instead of shelling out for off-the-shelf hardware in Russia or China?

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The National Interest

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Iraqis and Kurds Compete for Oil Deals, Gulf States Still Fighting PR War in Washington, Deadly Ambush in Egypt

Iraq and Kurdistan Broker Oil Deals in Contested Regions

The pressure is continuing to mount on Iraqi Kurdistan. After Iraqi forces pressed into Kirkuk last week, Baghdad and its regional partners have cinched their cordon around Kurdish areas tighter. Over the weekend, Iraqi security forces announced that they were in full control of Kirkuk province. Iraqi authorities have ordered the arrest of Kurdistan Regional Government Vice President Kosrat Rasul for allegedly complaining that Iraqi troops in Kirkuk are occupying forces, and Kurdish defense officials warned Monday that Baghdad is massing troops and equipment, potentially for an incursion deeper into the Kurdish region. Kurdish authorities retaliated against the warrant for Rasuls arrest by issuing warrants for 11 Iraqis, including leaders of pro-government militias that participated in the Iraqi advance.

Turkish forces have also been involved in clashes with Kurds in Iraq, operating in the Zap region near the Iraq-Turkey border, where Turkish forces have been fighting militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Turkish military reports that four soldiers were killed in two roadside bomb attacks, setting off clashes and a series of Turkish airstrikes that killed more than a dozen PKK militants. The Turkish intervention targeting PKK militants near the border predates the independence referendum crisis, but the charged situation could affect the ongoing operations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the only regional leader who supported the Kurdish referendum, is reportedly lobbying other countries to support Masoud Barzanis embattled Kurdish faction. President Donald Trump has said that the United States will not take sides in the dispute, but U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did call on the Iraqi government to send home Iranian-backed popular mobilization units and called for a mediated solution to the crisis. However, in a meeting with Tillerson on Monday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the militias as part of the Iraqi institutions and the hope of country and the region.

Despite the turmoil, the Kurdistan Regional Government is looking to expand its oil development.

Baghdads rapid sweep into Kirkuk caught some Kurdish officials off guard, and plans for electing the regions new president and legislature, scheduled for November 1, have been postponed indefinitely. Despite the turmoil, the Kurdistan Regional Government is looking to expand its oil development. Russian oil giant Rosneft said last week that it is implementing existing agreements and launching a new pipeline project with the Kurdish government. But that may not be a sure thing, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is expected to pressure Moscow about the arrangement in meetings in Moscow this week. Baghdad is also interested in new oil projects that could serve to consolidate its control of Kirkuk. Last week, within days of Iraqi forces entering the city, Iraqs oil minister reached out to BP about renewing plans to develop the nearby Havana and Baba Gurgur oil fields.

 

Gulf States Still Sparring in Strange, Manufactured Crisis

The Gulf states feud with Qatar is still going strong. Amid other, more important regional headlines in recent weeksthe crisis in Kurdistan, the Trump administrations decertification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the ouster of the Islamic State from Raqqathe Gulf spat has been a bit forgettable, but both sides are making moves this week to try to remind Washington of their disagreement.

One person who would apparently disagree about the significance of the Qatar crisis is Steve Bannon, President Trumps former chief strategist. I think the single most important thing thats happening in the world is the situation in Qatar, he told a day-long conference hosted by the Hudson Institute yesterday on the theme of Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Bannon seemed to suggest that the United States was supportive of the Saudi and Emirati-led campaign isolating Qatar, saying that it wasnt an accident that the crisis started soon after Trumps visit to Saudi Arabia this spring and that Qatar finally had to be called to account for their continual funding of the Muslim Brotherhood, their continual funding of Hamas. Bannon has reportedly established business ties in the United Arab Emirates since leaving the administration; according to McClatchy, he visited the country last month and the UAE recently signed a $330,000 deal with a company linked to Cambridge Analytica, where Bannon worked as vice president and which placed targeted online ads for the Trump presidential campaign, to participate in its own ongoing messaging campaign targeting Qatar. At the conference yesterday, Bannon denied any involvement with the company.

Other speakers at the conference included former CIA directors Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, who criticized Qatar for providing funds to the Muslim Brotherhood (which the Gulf states have designated a terrorist group, but the United States has not) and hosting Al-Jazeera (a key issue in the Gulfs pressure campaign). Attendees received flash drives with a documentary, titled Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance, narrated by ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and produced by a DC-based lobbying and communications firm.

While Qatar was being raked over the coals at the Hudson Institute conference on Monday, Doha was trying to remind Washington of its military partnership with the United States. A ceremony was held yesterday to inaugurate Qatars new military attache office in Georgetown, which will house emissaries from Qatars army, navy, air force and special forces.

Saudi and Emirati officials think they can circumvent Tillerson and push their preferred policies through other administration advisors.

While both sides wage their public-relations battle in Washington, the U.S. State Department is still trying to resolve the dispute. Secretary Tillerson met with Saudi officials last week, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but said that they werent receptive to opening a dialogue to end the feud. After his meetings in Riyadh, Tillerson traveled to Doha, where he told reporters, There is not a strong indication that the parties are ready to talk yet. So we cannot force talks upon people who arent ready to talk.

As Bruce Riedel told BuzzFeed, Saudi and Emirati officials think they can circumvent Tillerson and push their preferred policies through other administration advisors. The Saudis and their allies believe that they have the inside track to the White House through Kushner and Bannon and they can ignore the State Department on issues like Qatar and Yemen, Riedel said. So far they are right.

 

Deadly Ambush in Egypt

Militants in Egypt staged a ruthless attack on security forces southwest of Cairo over the weekend. The attack occurred on Friday night, as a convoy of Egyptian police was drawn into the desert and ambushed by gunmen. At least eight vehicles were hit by small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire; Egyptian authorities have said officially that 16 police personnel were killed, but sources for the New York Times and Reuters put the number of dead at more than 50. Witnesses who escaped described militants going from car to car after the ambush, executing wounded police officers and seizing weapons.

The attack is unusual for the region. Large, coordinated armed attacks like Fridays ambush are more common in the Sinai Peninsula…

It is still unclear who is responsible for the attack. Hasm Movement, a militant group associated with assassinations targeting judges and police claimed credit, but the Times reports that experts have cast doubt on the Hasms involvement. The attack is unusual for the region. Large, coordinated armed attacks like Fridays ambush are more common in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian authorities have been fighting a franchise of the Islamic State. Earlier this month, approximately 100 militants swarmed and Egyptian outpost near Sheikh Zuweid; six Egyptian troops and 24 Islamic State fighters were killed in the battle.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

The National Interest: Expert: Special Ops Mission in Niger Was Routine and Common (Stop Politicizing It)

Steven P. Bucci

Security, Africa

Having served as an Army Green Beret for 28 years, I cannot let the mischaracterizationsmany by leaders who clearly know bettercontinue without a comment.

The loss of four special operations soldiers in Niger is a tragedy. We grieve as a nation, rightly, whenever we lose any of the brave young men and women who serve in uniform.

That said, politicians and news media are turning the event into a farce.

Having served as an Army Green Beret for 28 years, I cannot let the mischaracterizationsmany by leaders who clearly know bettercontinue without a comment.

The mission in Niger, which began in 2013, was a classic special operations operation. The type of operation is called foreign internal defense.

Thats an old school term for the most fundamental task we give our Green Berets. A small team of them goes into a foreign country to work with that nations military to better prepare it to deal with its own problems.

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This is done during the period the military calls phase zero, which is prior to when a bigger conflict emerges. It is done in coordination with the host nation civilian government, and the entire country team at the U.S. Embassy, which is led by the U.S. ambassador and supported by the intelligence community station chief.

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This is not a clandestine Hollywood commando mission, or a suicide raid. It is overt and open. Its purpose is to build rapport with the host nation military, to improve its capabilities, to gather open source intelligence, and to get to know both the lay of the land and the local players.

The U.S. has conducted these kinds of missions around the world since the 1950s. At times we have had as few as a dozen of these operations, and at others several hundred in as many as 80-plus countries simultaneously.

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These missions are routine and have short-circuited conflicts on nearly every continent in the world at one time or another.

Read full article

The National Interest

Washington Free Beacon: Don Lemon: I Should Be Hysterical About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widow

CNN host Don Lemon got into a heated argument with Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy about the White House’s dispute with a Gold Star widow and her congresswoman, saying Monday he and America should be “hysterical” about what’s happening.

Ruddy, an ally of President Donald Trump, defended Trump’s conduct in disputing the details of a phone call he placed last week to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of slain Sgt. La David Johnson. Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson (Fla.) told the media Trump upset Johnson with how he spoke in the call, and Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly have slammed Wilson for her remarks.

Then, Mrs. Johnson herself told ABC on Monday morning that Wilson’s account of the call was correct and the president had not remembered her husband’s name, leading Trump to quickly tweet that he had in fact spoken his name several times.

Ruddy accused Lemon and the press of wanting to distract from his achievements, leading Lemon to respond they were there to talk about this controversy, Mediaite reported.

“Let’s stick to the topic at hand,” Lemon said.

“Don, I hate to say it, but you’re almost as hysterical as Congresswoman Wilson,” Ruddy said.

“I should be hysterical,” Lemon said. “America should be hysterical. The way this president has treated a Gold Star widow, someone who lost their lives in war fighting for this country, you’re not hysterical about it? He should be hysterical about it as well.”

“He should be hysterically fighting for fairness and to get answers for that woman, instead of pointing to shiny objects, calling a congresswoman whacky, trying to discredit her reputation, and calling the widow a liar, and you’re saying that I’m hysterical?”  he asked. “Man, come on.”

Wilson has been criticized for laughing that she became a “rock star” because of her conflict with the White House last week.

The post Don Lemon: ‘I Should Be Hysterical’ About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widowappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Defense One – All Content: Dunford has questions about Niger deaths; Tillerson jets to Iraq, Afghanistan; USAF sets first F-35 deployment to Japan; ISIS foreign fighters head home; and just a bit more…

Defense One – All Content

Just Security: How We Persuaded 122 Countries to Ban Nuclear Weapons

On Oct. 6, the Geneva office of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received a call from the Norwegian Nobel Committee: We had won the 2017 Peace Prizefor our work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and our ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

Since its founding in 2007, ICAN has sought to reenergize global advocacy for disarmament. We have jolted governments out of a post-Cold War complacency, which has allowed almost 15,000 nuclear weapons to remain a clear and present danger to the world.

While the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and oft-repeated rhetoric has committed nuclear-armed states to a world free of nuclear weapons, progress towards this goal had stalled.

Over the last decade, we have built a global civil society coalition that, in partnership with states, has changed the game, refocusing global policymakers on the humanitarian, human rights and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons, rather than abstract ideas of deterrence. The result was the negotiation of the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Prohibiting nuclear weapons

The TPNWs Preamble declares nuclear weapons abhorrent to the principles of humanity, with catastrophic consequences for people and the environment. It is the first nuclear arms control agreement to frame nuclear weapons as threats to international humanitarian and human rights law. It acknowledges the disproportionate impact of nuclear-weapon activities on indigenous peoples.

The Preamble is also far-reaching in its acknowledgement of the gendered dimensions of nuclear weapons. It calls attention to the disproportionate impact on women and girls, including as a result of ionizing radiation, as well as the crucial importance of womens equal, full and effective participation in nuclear disarmament and the promotion and attainment of sustainable peace and security.

The centerpiece of the TPNW is a categorical ban on nuclear weapons (Article 1), which makes them illegal under the same type of international law covering other inhumane weapons like chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.

The Treatys negotiators were mindful of the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims and the grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and the health of current and future generations. As a result, the TPNW is not only a ban on nuclear weapons. It also addresses the ongoing harms caused by nuclear weapons use and testing. Articles 6 and 7 obligate governments to aid victims, remediate contaminated environments and provide international cooperation and assistance to affected states.

On July 7, 122 governments voted to adopt the TPNW, which opened for signature on Sept. 20. While the nuclear-armed and -alliance states boycotted the negotiations, we are finding that it is already having a political impact because of its stigmatizing power.

Changing the Discourse

ICANs strategy was primarily a discursive one. We aimed to change the way that people talk, think and feel about nuclear weapons, changing their social meaning from symbols of status to outdated, dangerous machines that have repulsive effects.

Representatives of the nuclear-states often marginalize those calling disarmament by dismissing them as deluded. In her protest outside the room where states were negotiating the TPNW, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley chided them, saying we have to be realistic. However, ICAN campaigners called attention to the discrepancies between these claims to realism and the mystification that surrounded these nuclear weapons.

For example, we showed how the claim that nuclear deterrence has prevented war requires ignoring the poor record these weapons have at preventing conflict. We demonstrated the pervasive harm they have caused to to many people living in areas affected by use and testing, undercutting claims that nuclear weapons provide security.

Instead of turning to traditional mechanisms of nuclear arms control, we found a powerful discursive tool in international humanitarian and human rights law. What we sought was less an instrument of surveillance and sanction than a treaty that casts as pariahs those who continue to deploy, stockpile and defend the persistence of nuclear weapons. Building such stigma has been crucial for the process of working towards the elimination other unacceptable weapons.

Drawing out the tensions inherent in states presentation of themselves as responsible actors concerned with the protection of civilians, and their willingness to use the most destructive weapons ever invented on towns and cities, involved opening the conversation about nuclear weapons to voices that have been too often excluded.

Opening the Conversation

To change how nuclear weapons were discussed, we brought nuclear weapons into new arenas where humanitarianism, human rights and environmentalism are regular conversations, and to inject these discourses into traditional nuclear forums.

We demanded from states the meaningful participation of survivors, affected communities, medical professionals, faith leaders, humanitarian agencies, activists and academics in the nuclear conversation. We pointed out when forums and panels excluded women, people from the Global South and those who have experienced nuclear weapons effects.

This forced states to reckon with other forms of knowledge and expertise than nuclear-armed states have used to legitimate their arsenals. ICAN ensured that people affected by nuclear weapons use and testing were able to testify to the negotiating conference. In her statement to the conference, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow reminded delegates that 72 years have passed since my beloved hometown was utterly destroyed by one atomic bomb.  Thurlow said this experience convinced her that no human being should ever have to experience the inhumanity and unspeakable suffering of nuclear weapons.

Sue Coleman, who grew up close to the site of British nuclear testing in South Australia, spoke of devastating humanitarian consequences for Aboriginal people, as well as the environmental impact on animals and plants, which cannot speak for themselves and are ignored.

In her closing comments following the adoption of the TPNW, the conference chair, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica paid tribute to all of the victims who have shared their personal stories with usand have been an ongoing inspiration for our work. She thanked them for not letting us rest.

We disseminated detailed scientific data on the ongoing harm, record of accidents and history of close calls of nuclear weapons at the three international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna from 2013 to 2014. We made it difficult to claim this information was irrelevant to the international nuclear weapons debate. The majority of the worlds states concluded that the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the only morally permissible and legally coherent response to this evidence.

Gumshoe Advocacy

At the core of what we achieved was organizing people and presenting demands to those with the capacity to change law. We cold-called politicians. We pitched stories to journalists. We circulated petitions. We looked at which countries were next on the speakers list at the UN and told them about our talking points. We protested in the streets. There were breakfasts with friendly officials. Lunchtime side event panels. Evening receptions. We argued with our opponents. We argued amongst ourselves.

Our approach to the problem of nuclear weapons was often dismissed but we succeeded in our campaign for a prohibition on nuclear weapons, with or without the initial participation of the nuclear-armed states. Closing a legal loophole (by which nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited), and placing prohibitions (such as on assistance with nuclear weapons production, which would cover financing) and positive obligations on states, the treaty can have a normative and practical impact now.

We built strong partnerships between civil society and the states championing the treaty. We drew upon professional networks that had experience banning landmines and cluster munitions and pushing for the Arms Trade Treaty. We leaned on a tight-knit community of humanitarian disarmament advocates who had long-lasting friendships, strong connections to diplomats and well-practiced advocacy tactics.

Reclaiming Agency

ICANs success in advocacy for the TPNW shows that ordinary people have agency we can address seemingly intractable problems in the midst of a deeply hostile political environment. Now that we can ban nuclear weapons, we listen with skepticism to those who use thatll never work as an excuse for passivity. The world, as we learned, is what we make of it. We humans made nuclear weapons. We assigned meaning to them. We have the power to change that meaning. We believe a world free of nuclear weapons is possible. The nuclear weapons ban is a crucial step toward that goal.

Image: A press conference by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the United Nations on October 9, 2017 in New York City. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to abolish weapons of mass destruction. Photo by: Getty/Kevin Hagen 

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Just Security

The National Interest: How the U.S. Plans to Terrorize (And Kill) Russia and China’s Most Lethal Submarines

Sebastien Roblin

Security,

And its all thanks to one plane.

As trans-Pacific relations assume new prominence in the twenty-first century, the P-8 will remain one of a number of means by which the United States and other operators assert their presence over international waters. In the event of conflict, they would also serve a vital role hunting down marauding submarines and tracking the movements of surface adversaries. These qualities explain why the docile-looking patrol plane is in such heavy demand around the world.

There is a decent chance you have already flown on one of the U.S. Navys key new aircraftor rather, the 737 airliner it is based on. The P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane may not be as sexy as an F-35 stealth fighter, but in some ways it is far closer to the forefront of international flashpoints in the Pacific Ocean. Maritime patrol planes are essential for tracking the movement of ships and especially submarines across vast oceanic watersand potentially sinking them in the event of hostilities.

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Hunting submarines from the air, however, is an airpower-intensive job that requires numerous airframes spending thousands of flight hours flying long-distance patrol patterns over the ocean. Since 1962, the U.S. Navy has operated the P-3 Orion patrol plane, based on the four-engine L-88 Electra airliner. The turboprop-powered aircraft could spend a dozen hours flying low over the ocean to drop sonar buoys, scan the water for metallic hulls of submarines with its Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) and potentially launch torpedoes. After fifty-five years of able service, however, the P-3s have accumulated thousands of service hours and their hulls are growing fatigued.

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In 2004 the U.S. Navy selected the jet-powered Boeing P-8 Poseidon to succeed the aging P-3. Development proceeded relatively smoothly, in part due to the use of a preexisting airframe and the decision to phase in the P-8s advanced systems in a series of increments rather than delivering them all at once. This led the P-8 unit costs to actually come in under budget, at $150 million per aircraft.

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The National Interest

Washington Free Beacon: New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited

It will soon be illegal to use electronic cigarettes, the popular vapor substitute to traditional tobacco cigarettes, in public indoor spaces in New York State.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill to ban vapor substitutes, or e-cigs, anywhere tobacco cigarettes are already prohibited, including workplaces, restaurants, and bars, the New York Times reported.

The State Assembly added the ban on vaping, which will go into effect in 30 days, to New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act this summer, and the Senate approved the measure. New York created the act in 2003, making it one of the country’s first states to ban smoking tobacco products in public indoor areas.

The now-$2.5 billion e-cig industry continues to grow in popularity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that while the negative health consequences of the product are not widely understood, there are reasons for concern, including nicotine addiction.

“These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

A 2016 study by the New York State Department of Health found that 20 percent of children had tried e-cigs, double the number from two years prior. The state in July banned e-cigs from all school grounds.

New York City banned e-cigs back in 2013, including the measure in the city’s Smoke Free Air Act. Manufacturers have fought back against the city, however, mounting several legal challenges that argue e-cigs do not qualify because they do not emit smoke.

The New York State Court of Appeals rejected the most recent challenge to New York City’s ban earlier this year, finding the inclusion of e-cigs in the law was valid.

Jeff Seyler, executive vice president of the American Lung Association’s Northeast region, said the new state law will protect the public’s health and help shield children from the “dangerous and often lifetime addiction to nicotine.”

But proponents of vaping argue that e-cigs are a safer alternative to cigarettes.

“Our customers they know that they can’t be walking through a store vaping, or sitting at a bar vaping,” said Aman Singh, owner of Long Island Vape in Huntington Station, N.Y. “They don’t feel like doing it anyway because it’s obnoxious.”

Singh, who indicated that he believes the new law is unnecessary, said the products he sells may be a health risk but are the lesser of two evils. He added that most of his customers use it as a way to quit tobacco cigarettes.

“We’re out here trying to help people,” Singh said, noting his worries about the impact the ban may have on his customers. “I think people will start smoking cigarettes again.”

The post New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Terror from skies as Mexican cartel attaches bomb to drone

Mexican police discovered four men carting a kamikaze drone equipped with an IED and a remote detonator last week, in what analysts say is an example of cartels figuring out how to weaponizing UAVs.

The disturbing development is a manifestation of something top American security chiefs warned Congress about earlier …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Stars and Stripes: The political party is over. What next?

Voters no longer need nor, in many cases, want a political party to screen their candidates and vet their ideas. They prefer to build their own movements, often with stunning speed.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Trump is right: The US should leave UNESCO

UNESCO has a dismal track record. It has advanced the agendas of numerous dictatorships, indulged in virulent anti-Israel bias and offered textbook lessons in bad management.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Europe should preserve its cultural heritage, EU’s Tusk says

The European Union must do more to defend its external borders against migrants, EU chief Donald Tusk said Tuesday, describing Europe as a “cultural community” whose heritage must be preserved.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Those who fight US wars dont write blank checks

No one signed up to die on that mission in Niger. They signed up for their own reasons. And they stayed for each other.

Stars and Stripes

RSS for National Security: Trump’s refugee ban ends, new screening rules coming

President Donald Trump’s six-month worldwide ban on refugees entering the United States is ending as his administration prepares to unveil new screening procedures

RSS for National Security

Washington Free Beacon: Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao

The Communist Party of China has promoted Xi Jinping to the same level as the country’s first communist leader, Mao Zedong.

Xi’s name and dogma has been added to the party constitution, which could allow the communist leader to take a more authoritarian approach to handling China’s affairs, the Associated Press reports. In his role as leader, Xi serves as Communist Party General Secretary, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The move came during a rare, twice-decade party meeting where the country’s leaders gathered. The decision effectively makes any act of opposing the the communist president, who first assumed office in 2013, tantamount to an attack on the party itself. Following the decision, Xi remarked on China’s future.

“The Chinese people and nation have a great and bright future ahead,” Xi said.

Xi went on to give his vision for the the future where his dogma, “socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era,” is realized.

“Living in such a great era, we are all the more confident and proud, and also feel the heavy weight of responsibility upon us,” Xi said.

Through his vision, China’s president has differentiated himself from his predecessors, according to the AP.

The concept Xi has touted is seen as marking a break from the stage of economic reform ushered in by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and continued under his successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao; Xi has spoken of China emerging into a “new normal” of slower, but higher quality economic growth. The placement of Xis thought among the partys leading guidelines also comes five years into his term earlier than his predecessors.

“In every sense, the Xi Jinping era has begun in earnest,” said Zhang Lifan, an independent political commentator in Beijing. “Only Maos name was enshrined in the party ideology while he was still alive. Were opening something that hasnt been broached before.”

For centuries, Chinese emperors were accorded ritual names that signaled either they were successors in a dynastic line or the founders of an entirely new dynasty. What Xi accomplished this week was a modern equivalent of the latter, Zhang said.

“He wants to join that pantheon of leaders,” he said.

Xi leads China at a time of large growth for the country, which includes its military taking ongoing action in the Pacific to exert its influence. Action has included building islands in the South China Seain an attempt to deter other nations from sailing or flying nearby, the New York Times reported in 2015.

While China has the worlds second-largest economy and legions of newly wealthy urban residents, raising living standards for millions of people continues to be a challenge, according to the AP.

Xi faces his challengers as well. During the party conference, delegates also voted on the new members of the powerful central committee. Despite Xi’s success, not all of those elected are his allies. In fact, some of his closest supporters who were on the central committee are no longer members. The president also lacks the broad popular support of the Chinese public that Mao had enjoyed, according to Zhang Ming, a political analyst and recently retired professor in Beijing.

“This [elevation] is a result of the partys political system and not of the sincere support of the peoples hearts,” Zhang Ming said. “If he can achieve that, he would become Mao.”

The post Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Tillerson in Pakistan with a tough message on safe havens

ISLAMABAD (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Pakistan to deliver a tough message on the importance of fighting extremists and driving them from hideouts on Pakistani territory.

Tillerson arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday, a day after traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan in conditions of strict secrecy. …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Stars and Stripes: Vietnam veterans honored at US base in Germany

More than 30 veterans of the Vietnam War living in Germany were awarded pins Tuesday by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in recognition of their service.

Stars and Stripes

In Homeland Security: Coast Guard Seeing Surge in Use of Drug Submarines

A spike in the use of drug submarines in 2017 is leading the Coast Guard to believe drug traffickers are relying more on these vessels once again.

In Homeland Security


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10:07 AM 10/24/2017 – This is the attempt to control and manage the electoral system, not just to undermine trust in it. – M.N. – 10.24.17

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This is the attempt to control and manage the electoral system, not just to undermine trust in it. – M.N. – 10.24.17

Russian “troll farms” on U.S. soil – Google Search

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Story image for Russian “troll farms” on U.S. soil from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

The Early Edition: October 24, 2017

Just Security1 hour ago
The U.S. military did not call for support from French forces for about an …. Russian “troll farms” were partly located on U.S. soil, Katie Zavadski, …
Story image for Russian “troll farms” on U.S. soil from Daily Beast

Dems to Election Commission: Make Facebook Stop Foreign Trolls

Daily BeastSep 20, 2017
… Congressional Democrats urged the FEC to impose new rules on Facebook to work to stop Russiaand other countries from influencing U.S. …
Story image for Russian “troll farms” on U.S. soil from European Council on Foreign Relations

Controlling Chaos: How Russia manages its political war in Europe

European Council on Foreign RelationsSep 1, 2017
Russia carries out and encourages ‘active measures’ in Europe to destabilise ….. the much-mythologised but nonetheless real ‘troll farms‘ such as the infamous … Putin’s disingenuous claim that the US electoral hack could have been ….. soil and also to arrange the quiet return to Moscow of three Russian …
Story image for Russian “troll farms” on U.S. soil from EW.com

Steve Bannon uses 60 Minutes to declare war on everyone (besides …

<a href=”http://EW.com” rel=”nofollow”>EW.com</a>Sep 11, 2017
Why, Rose inquired, hasn’t Trump been harsher on Russia? … But the view of American history that Bannon espoused on 60 Minutes was …
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Russia’s Cyber Warfare Has Bigger Aims Than Electing Donald Trump

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Russia is meddling in the U.S. presidential election. From the email hack of the Democratic National Convention in July to the cyberattacks on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and recent reports of hacks at The New York Times and other media organizations, evidence is mounting that Moscow has launched a sophisticated effort to interfere with and disrupt the November elections.

But not for the reasons you might think. At first glance, it looks like Russia favors Donald Trump and wants to undermine Clinton. And why not? Trump is certainly the pro-Kremlin candidate. He has nice things to say about Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and even said he would be “looking into” recognizing Crimea as part of Russia. It would be easy to conclude, as some commentators have, that Putin wants to see Trump in the White House.

However, the truth isn’t quite that simple. As tempting as it is to see Russia as a partisan player on Trump’s side, the Kremlin’s goal isn’t to see a particular candidate win. The goal is much more insidious: to undermine American confidence in our political system. That is, the Kremlin’s real target is liberal democracy itself.

Whether Trump realizes it or not, he is nothing to Putin but a useful idiot in this larger effort.

Russian Cyberattacks Follow A Certain Ruthless Logic

To understand Russia’s long game, consider its methods. On Monday, Yahoo News reported the FBI discovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases, in Arizona and Illinois. The hacks prompted the FBI’s Cyber Division to issue a “flash” alert to state election officials across the country, warning them to enhance the security of their computer systems. Federal officials believe hackers managed to download the personal data of some 200,000 Illinois voters and introduce malicious software into Arizona’s voter registration system.

As with other high-profile cyberattacks this summer, this one shows signs of Russian state-sponsorship. According to Yahoo News, the FBI alert included eight IP addresses that were the source of the two attacks, and one of those addresses has surfaced before in Russian criminal underground hacker forums.

Just like the DNC and Clinton hacks, official sources confirmed this latest hack was authentic. Whatever emails or documents the Russians release through Wikileaks or other channels, everyone will know the leaked information is legitimate, not fabricated. The next logical step for Russians, having established the veracity of the information they leak, will be to introduce false and misleading information.

Disinformation Is A Weapon Of War

Injecting disinformation into the news cycle is a well-established tactic of Russian influence operations, hearkening back to Cold War programs the Soviets called “active measures,” in which secret agents would plant false news stories in the Western press. Disinformation of this kind has long been an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, the idea being that it’s easier, and cheaper, to persuade Russia’s enemies than to kill them. The difference now is that technology makes it possible to coordinate false information and flood news cycles and social media networks in ways that were impossible during the Cold War.

On Sunday, The New York Times published a detailed account of Russia’s sprawling and highly sophisticated disinformation campaigns underway across the globe. During recent public debates in Sweden about entering a military partnership with NATO, for example, social media was inundated with false information about what the partnership would entail, including wild claims that NATO would stockpile secret nuclear weapons on Swedish soil and it would have the authority to attack Russia from Sweden without the government’s approval.

None of it was true, but the sheer volume of social media echoing these claims was enough for them to seep into the mainstream news cycle. According to the Times report, when Sweden Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist traveled the country to promote the NATO pact, he repeatedly faced questions about the false claims.

Something similar happened during the recent coup attempt in Turkey, with a flood of Twitter posts claiming the U.S. airbase at Incirlik had been surrounded by thousands of armed police. The story didn’t gain the same traction as the anti-NATO narrative did in Sweden, but it demonstrates the extent to which Moscow is willing to employ Twitter trolls in coordination with official news channels like <a href=”http://RT.com” rel=”nofollow”>RT.com</a> and Sputnik, the two main state-controlled media outlets that publish in English, to advance false storylines and distorted information.

Soviet ‘Active Measures’ Are Back

Here in the United States, something similar has been underway for months, with suspiciously coordinated social media trolls shilling for Trump on Twitter, amplifying his anti-NATO and anti-Ukraine pronouncements. It took the mainstream media a while to catch on to this—conservative writers like Erick Erickson were writing about pro-Trump Russian troll farms back in April—but now it’s undeniable that Moscow is working on multiple fronts to disrupt our elections and give credence to Trump’s repeated claims that the election, like the entire politic system, is “rigged.”

The Russians have chosen their moment well. American confidence in public institutions is languishing at historic lows, while the vast majority of Americans report anger and frustration at the federal government. That lack of trust has helped propel Trump, a political outsider, to the top of the Republican Party ticket. It fueled the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders. Now Moscow is exploiting it in the service of a grand strategy, with far greater implications than a single U.S. presidential election.

After all, if Putin can convince Americans that liberal democracy is nothing but a sham, he will accomplish what no leader of the Soviet Union ever could. Decades after we thought it was over, Russia will have finally won the Cold War.

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Russian Propaganda Traced Back to Staten Island, New York

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Russia’s propaganda campaign targeting Americans was hosted, at least in part, on American soil.

A company owned by a man on Staten Island, New York, provided internet infrastructure services to DoNotShoot.Us, a Kremlin propaganda site that pretended to be a voice for victims of police shootings, a Daily Beast investigation has found.

Every website needs to be “hosted”—given an Internet Protocol address and space on a physical computer—in order to be publicly viewed. DoNotShoot.Us is a website run out of the Kremlin-backed “Russian troll farm,” according to two sources familiar with the website, both of whom independently identified it to The Daily Beast as a Russian propaganda account. It was hosted on a server with the IP address 107.181.161.172.

That IP address was owned by Greenfloid LLC, a company registered to New Yorker Sergey Kashyrin and two others. Other Russian propaganda sites, like BlackMattersUs.com, were also hosted on servers with IP addresses owned by Greenfloid. The company’s ties to Russian propaganda sites were first reported by ThinkProgress.

The web services company owns under 250 IP addresses, some of which resolve to Russian propaganda sites and other fake news operations. Others are sites that could not be hosted at other providers, like “xxxrape.net.” There’s also a Russian trinket site called “soviet-power.com.” (The IP address that pointed to DoNotShoot.Us now resolves to a botnet and phishing operation, and is currently owned by Total Server Solutions LLC.)

The use of a tiny, no-questions-asked hosting company run by a man living in New York shows the Kremlin-backed troll farm’s brazen use of Americans and American companies to conduct its disinformation campaign.

Over the past two months, Russia’s efforts to integrate Americans and U.S. communities into its vast propaganda campaigns has become clearer, as social media companies began shuttering accounts originating from Russia’s Internet Research Agency, or troll farm.

In September, The Daily Beast discovered that one of the troll accounts, “Being Patriotic,” organized 17 in-person rallies for Donald Trump on one day in Florida alone. Last week, BuzzFeed reported that unwitting Americans were used to amplify Russian social media accounts pretending to be a Black Lives Matter offshoot.

Now, it appears Russia’s influence campaign attempted to host that campaign within the United States.

DoNotShoot.Us purported to be a collection of stories about “outrageous police misconducts [sic], really valuable ones, but underrepresented by mass media” in an effort to to “improve the situation in the U.S.”

The site served as a de facto database of shootings by police across the U.S, with each entry accompanied by anti-police invective. (An entry for the assault of a man named Ross Flynn lists the “reported reason” for the incident as “resisting and evading arrest”—and the “real reason” as “cops don’t treat detained people as humans.”)

The site also features a list of petitions (No. 2 on the most popular list: “Stop Police Violence Against Pit Bulls, Justice For Mr. Brown”) and an archive of graphic videos that have since been pulled from the web.

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Greenfloid also hosted BlackMattersUs.com and other sites designed to impersonate African-American activists that have been identified as Russian troll accounts by independent Russian news agency RBC. BlackMattersUs.com claimed it was a “nonprofit news outlet” for the “African-American community in America,” but often used its page to smear Hillary Clinton and push Kremlin talking points.

While hosted in America, content for the sites was generated by paid staffers in St. Petersburg.

Former FBI agent Clint Watts, an expert on Russia’s propaganda campaign, said the Kremlin’s use of an American host is true to form.

“All of these placements are designed to create anonymity around the source and make it look authentic—like there’s real, grassroots support around the world for these interests,” Watts told The Daily Beast.

“You don’t want these to trace back to Russia, so you pick a believable community closest to your target. It’s not necessarily that they’re directed Russian agents, but they can go through Russian communities—witting or unwitting—outside of Russia.”

Quiet Neighborhood, Nasty Material

Sergey Kashyrin now lives in a quiet Staten Island neighborhood of bungalows, semi-detached homes, and cracked sidewalks just a few blocks from Midland beach. It is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. When a reporter visited Monday morning, Kashyrin’s street was blocked off by road work signs and mud-caked tire tracks traced the roads. On nearly every block, construction crews were still at work repairing boarded up homes amid tall marsh grasses towering in overgrown yards.

In business filings, Kashyrin and the two other registrants of Greenfloid LLC all gave their address as a well-kept beige semi-detached house in the middle of a quiet block. It has a lush and green backyard, with a greenhouse and coop, and tall plants that peek out of the front-facing windows. The house, if not the block, seems to have avoided much of the devastation; across the street are wild lots where other homes once stood. Kashyrin wasn’t home, and a woman suggested a reporter call him.

Reached by phone, Kashyrin gave a string of answers, many of them contradictory. He initially said he didn’t want to talk about Greenfloid LLC. Then he said he was available to talk, and said that Greenfloid is part of the fight against Russian propaganda—nevermind the fact that his company hosted it.

Kashyrin next pivoted to say his service didn’t consciously provide hosting to the Russian trolls—despite evidence to the contrary—but instead unknowingly rented them virtual servers that they used to funnel traffic to a different hosting company in Russia. He declined to name the company. “We were not hosting those websites. The guys bought virtual servers, and they put the proxy,” Kashyrin said. “It just redirected to the original site in Russia.”

Such an arrangement would have the same effect as hosting, while slowing the troll websites and consuming needless bandwidth. But it’s conceivable the Russians used such a scheme to make it easier to quickly relocate the sites without having to copy their contents. It’s largely a distinction without a difference—Kashyrin’s firm was still serving the Russian propaganda through its servers and internet, even if the images and text were ultimately held in Russia as Kashyrin claims.

When asked why the company hosts so many fake news sites, often angled toward Russian interests, Kashyrin said that there are likely simply many customers “from there who are doing that.”

‘It’s Funny, Having Russian Propaganda’

One thing that’s clear, however: Greenfloid is more than just a stand-alone firm. Greenfloid is listed on the site of its Kharkiv, Ukraine-based parent company ITL as its North American division, and a number listed for Greenfloid dials into a Russian-language menu for ITL.

This isn’t the first time ITL has been called out over allegations its servers were used to host sites run by the Russian troll factory. It also hosted the website Whoiswhos.me, which revealed the identities and personal information of Russian opposition bloggers.

A number of Russian bloggers and activists had their names, photos, and personal information revealed on WhoisWhos. At least seven of them were physically assaulted, and some had their cars burned, the Russian news site Fontanka said in June 2016.

ITL was alerted and the site was taken offline, Fontanka reported. (Kashyrin said it was around the same time that Greenfloid banned proxies, disassociating itself from the two Russian sites. He declined to provide a link to the proxy ban policy because “it’s too late today.”) ITL also took down a separatenews site, registered at the same time as WhoisWhos, that reported on the Russian-backed war in Ukraine from a pro-Russian perspective. Fontanka said its investigation strongly suggested the sites were linked to the Russian troll factory because of the similarities, in style and content, to sites run by the group.

Russian hackers are also apparently happy with ITL’s service. On one popular Russian crime forum, a user wrote that ITL’s support team “does not ask anything,” and that users can pay in anonymous Bitcoin currency.

All the companies link back to Dmitry Deineka, a Ukrainian national who lives in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t give out information about our clients, that violates the NDA and company rules,” Deineka wrote to The Daily Beast by email. He denied that a “Russian troll factory” was among their clients.

Kashyrin added that intellectuals in Kharkiv, especially the IT crowd, dislike Putin and would not support his agenda.

“We never support Russian propaganda, because the headquarters of our company is in Ukraine,” he added.

But the explanation is hardly iron-clad. Residents of Kharkiv are predominantly Russian-speaking, and the city has been symbolically important to the Russian-backed separatist movement.

So Kashyrin pivoted again.

“It’s fun[ny], having Russian propaganda using Ukrainian company,” Kashyrin said, despite his claim moments earlier that he would never host Moscow’s agitprop. “It might be the reason these guys choose our company as the provider.”

ITL, an acronym that has different meanings including Integrated Technology Laboratory, is also registered as an LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In emails to The Daily Beast, Deineka compared his company’s services to those of Amazon, “only much smaller,” and said he couldn’t confirm whether it was used to host BlackMattersUS or DoNotShoot.Us even if he wanted to.

Deineka reiterated that he does not have the troll factory or its aliases listed among his clients. “If that name was in a client’s profile, we would have immediately denied him services,” Deineka said.

“Let me try to explain the technical question,” Deineka wrote. “We are not hosting providers who put sites up. We provide VDS (virtual dedicated server) services and can’t check, without interrupting our client’s server operations, what the user does.

“The user can host sites, can use the VDS as a proxy-server, and so on,” Deineka added. “We’re like Amazon WS (Web Services), only significantly smaller. We rent servers, we don’t host sites.”

Amazon Web Services does, in fact, allow customers to host websites, and ITL’s website says it offers “convenient and fast hosting for sites.”

‘Now I’ve Got My Face Plastered on the Site!’

BlackMattersUs.com, which was hosted by Greenfloid, was revealed to be a Russian troll site earlier this month by the independent Russian news organization RBC. It sometimes posted content supplied by social media followers like Porsche Kelly, a poet who emailed them her poem after following BlackMattersUS on Instagram.

She was surprised when told by a reporter last week that the site was operated by Russian trolls. An editor had promptly responded to her email, saying the site was always happy to share “thoughtful and powerful messages.”

“And now I’ve got my face plastered on the site!” Kelly said.

Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter have suspended social media pages related to the site.

But Greenfloid’s business continues. The most popular sites hosted by the companies are two MP3 downloading destinations and Bible.ru, which is a link to annotated bibles in Russian.

—with additional reporting by Joseph Cox

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Just Security: The Early Edition: October 24, 2017

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

NIGER

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford provided further details about the Oct. 4 attack in Niger on U.S. Special Forces members yesterday, revising the timeline of the attack and the response, and raising questions about the U.S. operation and its support structures. Ben Kesling reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. military did not call for support from French forces for about an hour after the attack took place and it took the French another hour for their fighter jets to arrive. Dan Lamothe reports at the Washington Post, setting out other issues that have created questions, including the length of time it took to recover the body of Sgt. La David Johnson.

“We owe the families as much information as we can find out about what happened, and we owe the American people an explanation,” Gen. Dunford said yesterday, pledging to be forthcoming about information amid a perception that the Department of Defense needs to do better to inform Congress about the incident. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The soldiers were ambushed by terrorists tipped off by residents sympathetic to local Islamic State affiliates, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter, Gen. Dunford did not address the emerging theory when briefing reporters yesterday. Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee and Ken Dilanian report at NBC News.

Congress must have an updated authorization for the use of military force, Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday, telling reporters that he has been working with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on a proposal, McCain also telling reporters that congress expects “more information” about the Niger attack. Elana Schor and Connor O’Brien report at POLITICO.

The Oct. 4 ambush draws attention to the U.S.’s role in Niger and other African countries, and prompted questions about authorization for military action, the U.S.’s impact in the fight against jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region and the Trump administration’s Africa policy. Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

The potential for the U.S. military to become entrenched in Niger and the Sahel region may mirror U.S. involvement in the Middle East; to help avoid a quagmire the U.S. should devise a strategy that understands the dynamics of power and the grievances that allow terrorist groups to thrive. Max Bearak writes at the Washington Post.

SYRIA

The final phase of the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria is in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour where the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) and Russia- and Iran-backed Syrian government forces are fighting based on competing agendas and civilians are fleeing the city of Deir al-Zour. Nick Paton Walsh, Salma Abdelaziz and Naz Sayed report at the CNN.

The U.S.-led coalition today denied striking Deir al-Zour city after the Syrian army accused the coalition jets of killing civilians yesterday, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 22 people were killed but it was unclear who was responsible. Reuters reports.

A mass killing of civilians in the Syrian town of Qarytayan in Homs province was carried out by retreating Islamic State militants as they were driven out by pro-government forces, Syrian state media reported yesterday, demonstrating the terrorist group’s ability to inflict damage and harm civilians even as it loses most of its territory. Anne Barnard reports at the New York Times.

Less than five percent of Syria remains under the control of the Islamic State group, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said yesterday, the AP reports.

Turkey’s military operation in the northwest Idlib province has largely been completed, the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan said today, Reuters reporting.

The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote today on extending the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (J.I.M.) looking at responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the U.N.-sponsored resolution has the strong support of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, however the Russian ambassador has criticized the investigation. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

The pro-Syrian government forces’ siege of the capital of Damascus and its surrounding suburbs has worsened the humanitarian crisis, leading to children dying of malnourishment. Raja Abdulrahim reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Israel’s military activity in Syria has happened sporadically and is thought to be as a consequence of stray fire landing in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, despite the exchange of fire, the possibility of a major escalation between Israel and Syria is unlikely. Zena Tahhan provides an analysis of Israel’s involvement at Al Jazeera.

The Free Syrian Army rebels have credited Iran for the success of the President Bashar al-Assad’s army, and Iran has been expanding its influence in Syria to serve its socioeconomic ambitions. Ali Younes and Shafik Mandhai explain at Al Jazeera.

What has the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State group accomplished and what does their impending defeat mean for the future? Stephen M. Walt provides an analysis at Foreign Policy.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out seven airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 22. Separately, partner forces conducted three strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

IRAQ

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson received a chilly reception on his visit to Iraq to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi yesterday, Tillerson having made unfortunate comments about Iranian-backed militia members of the Population Mobilization Forces (P.M.F.) on Sunday, mistakenly stating that the militia are Iranian when they are Iraqi. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

The P.M.F. “should be encouraged because they will be the hope of the country and the region,” Abadi’s office said yesterday, the BBC reports.

“We have friends in Baghdad and friends in Erbil and we encourage all parties to enter into discussion,” Tillerson said yesterday, referring to the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (K.R.G.) of Erbil and urging dialogue between the two U.S. allies who have been at loggerheads since last month’s controversial Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum. Jonathan Landay and Maher Chmaytelli report at Reuters.

The K.R.G. accused Iraqi federal forces of launching an attack south of a Kurdish oil export pipeline today toward the border with Turkey, the Baghdad government responded that “there are no clashes” taking place, Reuters reporting.

“We call on the Iraqi government to immediately cease its military aggression and withdraw from all territories,” the Kurdistan Region Security Council said yesterday, expressing concern about the “dangerous deployment” of Iraqi federal forces near the border of the Kurdish region. Al Jazeerareports.

AFGHANISTAN

The U.S. is looking to engage with the more “moderate voices” among the Taliban who “do not want to continue to fight forever,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, stating that the fight against the Taliban must continue but there would be a place for the Taliban in government if they renounce terrorism and violence and commit to a “stable and prosperous Afghanistan.” Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

“If America genuinely wants a peaceful settlement of the crisis then it needs to pull out its troops and end the occupation,” the Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Majid said yesterday in response to Tillerson’s suggestion that some Taliban fighters would be willing to give up fighting. Antonio Olivo and Carole Morello report at the Washington Post.

Pakistan’s cooperation is essential for defeating the Taliban, Tillerson said yesterday, saying that the U.S. has made “some very specific requests to Pakistan” to curb support for the militant group. Paul Sonne and Craig Nelson report at the Wall Street Journal.

A feature on the notorious former al-Qaeda and Taliban ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has returned to Kabul to call for unity, is provided by Sune Engel Rasmussen at the Guardian.

NORTH KOREA

The threat posed by North Korea has reached “an unprecedented, critical and imminent level,” Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told his U.S. and South Korean counterparts yesterday at a tripartite meeting, reiterating Japan’s support for the U.S. position that “all options are on the table” to deal with the Pyongyang regime. Gordon Lubold reports at the Wall Street Journal.

President Trump will urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea when he visits China next month, a senior White House official said yesterday. Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick report at Reuters.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan began a two-day missile tracking drill today off the coasts of South Korea and Japan to prepare for any nuclear or missile threats from North Korea. Reuters reports.

Trump should “lower the volume of rhetoric” on North Korea, the former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday, saying that the administration should “focus on developing both our strength and capacity in the region,” Ellen Mitchell reporting at the Hill.

Trump has been boosted by Abe’s decisive re-election as Abe has been a strong ally of Trump and supports his aggressive approach to North Korea. James Griffiths explains at CNN.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been aided by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the North Korean threat in his mission to change Japan’s pacifist constitution and Abe’s efforts to bolster Japan’s defense capabilities “are moderate and long overdue.” The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

SOUTH SUDAN

The U.S. would continue to send aid to South Sudan despite the civil war and concerns about human rights abuses, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said yesterday, warning that South Sudan could become a breeding ground for extremism. The AP reports.

The Trump administration faces a difficult task dealing with the civil war in South Sudan, Kevin Sieff and Anne Gearan provide context to the conflict and the U.S.’s role at the Washington Post.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

The U.S. would consider imposing targeted sanctions on those responsible for violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, the State Department said yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ trip to the Philippines today comes at an opportune time due to the recent defeat of Islamic State affiliates in the Philippine city of Marawi with the help from the U.S. military, however it also poses challenges as the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has embarked on a campaign to cultivate ties with Russia and China. Phil Stewart and Manuel Mogato explain at Reuters.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Russia’s state R.T. news outlet has utilized social media to distribute content, and the news organization – which has been labeled “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet” by federal intelligence officials – has had an extensive reach and its relationship with YouTube is drawing closer scrutiny as part of the investigation into Russian interference in U.S. politics. Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nicholas Confessore report at the New York Times.

Trump’s personal lawyer and associate Michael Cohen is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee today in a private session as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. NBC News reports.

Russian “troll farms” were partly located on U.S. soil, Katie Zavadski, Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman reveal at The Daily Beast.

The efficacy of Facebook’s fact-checking should be questioned and “we should be cautious about placing too much trust in a private algorithm,” Brendan Nyhan writes at the New York Times.

SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL

Trump’s comments about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his military base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban soon after, has delayed sentencing proceedings, the president having made disparaging remarks about the sergeant. Morgan Radford and Corky Siemaszko report at NBC News.

The military judge presiding over Bergdahl’s sentencing yesterday expressed concern about perception of fairness in light of the president’s comments, Jonathan Drew reports at the AP.

A summary of Bergdahl’s circumstances and the legal battles over his case and sentencing is provided by Richard A. Oppel Jr. at the New York Times.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Several U.S. government employees will be sent back to their posts in Venezuela after they were withdrawn in July amid unrest and anti-government protests, the AP reports.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal would survive in spite of the U.S. decision not to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said yesterday, Reuters reporting.  

The Gulf crisis “could see more complications,” Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabad Al Ahmad Al Sabah warned today, saying that the crisis – which began on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain isolated Qatar due to its alleged support for terrorism and ties to Iran – will have “a negative effect regionally and internationally.” The AP reports.

The founder of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky has ruled out moving the cybersecurity firm away from Russia to temper U.S. concerns about the software being used for Russian espionage, Kaspersky saying yesterday that he could not change his origin or his company’s foundation. Joe Uchill reports at the Hill.

China’s President Xi Jinping has been elevated to the level of Chairman Mao Zedong, representing Xi’s tight grip on power and unassailable position in the Communist Party hierarchy. The BBC reports.

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Trump officials suddenly revoke visa of hero being hunted by Putin


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6:04 PM 10/19/2017 – Russia-sponsored troll networks: U.S. is not the only Russian target. It looks like the worldwide operation. M.N. | Russia-sponsored troll networks still operating, targeting America – Miami Herald

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Russia-sponsored troll networks

U.S. is not the only Russian target. It looks like the worldwide operation. 

M.N. 

Top stories

Ex-Pentagon official says Russia may be operating hundreds of “troll” networks
McClatchy Washington Bureau · 1 hour ago

Russia-sponsored troll networks – Google Search

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Russia-sponsored troll networks still operating, targeting America

McClatchy Washington Bureau1 hour ago
The number of networks of Russian-sponsored trolls spreading propaganda to the United States and Europe may number in the hundreds, …
Story image for Russia-sponsored troll networks from IT PRO

10 million people saw Russia sponsored Facebook ads in the US

IT PROOct 3, 2017
10 million people saw Russia sponsored Facebook ads in the US …. “troll farm” which has published pro-Kremlin propaganda in the past. … data through authentic peer groups and networks was inevitable,” the report read.
Story image for Russia-sponsored troll networks from theTrumpet.com

Russian Twitter Campaign Seeks to Divide America

<a href=”http://theTrumpet.com” rel=”nofollow”>theTrumpet.com</a>Oct 5, 2017
network of Russia- affiliated Twitter accounts attempted to fan the flames of … to the Russian government-affiliated troll farm known as the Internet … Facebook and its Russia-sponsored ads have filled the news for weeks.
Story image for Russia-sponsored troll networks from New York Times

Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100000 in Political Ads

New York TimesSep 6, 2017
The report also found that hundreds of Russian “trolls,” or paid … and Russia is whether Russia-sponsored operators would have needed any …

Russia-sponsored troll networks still operating, targeting America – Miami Herald

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Russia-sponsored troll networks still operating, targeting America
Miami Herald
RBC said the St. Petersburg trolls shaped their content on social issues that meshed withTrump’s rhetoric, quoting them as calling it “correlation rather than direct support” for the Republican nominee. The messages often sought to … In Russia and more »

Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome – Google Search

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Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome – Google Search

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Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from Washington Post

CIA director distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian …

Washington Post2 hours ago
… Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome, … “There are an awful lot of former CIA talking heads on TV,” Pompeo said, …
CIA Director Wrongly Says US Found Russia Didn’t Affect Election …
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>56 minutes ago

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How Russia’s election meddling could spell the end of an era for …

The Independent2 hours ago
One consequence of a bitterly contested presidential election came into clearer … evidence of Russianelection influence are turning their attention to how the … Facebook newsfeeds, Twitter timelines and Google search results. … vehemently rejected the notion of Russian interference – it suggests that at …
Should Political Ads on Facebook Include Disclaimers?
In-DepthSlate MagazineOct 17, 2017

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from snopes.com

Is the Supreme Court Deciding Whether to Nullify the 2016 Election?

<a href=”http://snopes.com” rel=”nofollow”>snopes.com</a>Oct 18, 2017
A petition challenging the 2016 U.S. presidential election results has long … of the 2016 presidential election due to purported Russian interference. … Does this mean the Court will discuss each petition distributed during their conference?

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from CNN

Donald Trump just suggested the FBI, Democrats and Russia might …

CNN6 hours ago
Its broad assertion that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election is now … CNN also reported earlier this year that US investigators have … Russian involvement in the 2016 election have also sat down with Steele to … takes to Twitter to say that the stories over his place of birth are the result of a …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from Newsweek

Putin Says Americans Should Not ‘Disrespect’ Trump, Because He’s …

Newsweek1 hour ago
Putin, who U.S. officials have accused of swaying the 2016 U.S. … claims of Russian interference in last year’s U.S. elections, asserting that Trump … colluded with Russia to discredit and defeat Democratic presidential … President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the their …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from CBS News

Michael Hayden fears Russian meddling “narrative” is being lost

CBS NewsOct 18, 2017
Other nations, including the U.S., have attempted similar tactics but have … more important than the outcome of the investigation may be lost. … the inevitable Clinton presidency,” and later “moved theirefforts to move … While he is “certain” what the Russians did affected the 2016 election, he said therewas …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election and their outcome from Newsweek

Every Excuse Hillary Clinton Has Given for Her 2016 Election Loss

NewsweekOct 16, 2017
Hillary Clinton has blamed her election loss to Donald Trump on … that sexism kept her from shattering America’s ultimate glass ceiling. It’s the latest attempt by the former secretary of state and two-time presidential loser to recast her 2016 … to emphasize the urgency of Russia’s interference in the election.
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Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did alter the outcome – Google Search

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Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did alter the outcome from Washington Post

CIA director distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian …

Washington Post2 hours ago
… that U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome, …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did alter the outcome from The Daily Advertiser (blog)

Don’t make Russian election hack great again

The Daily Advertiser (blog)Oct 15, 2017
Toward the end of the 1996 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Bob … of revelations about Russian interference in the 2016 in presidential election. … Russian actions were an attempt to influence an American election. Whether their efforts altered the outcome does not detract from the fact they …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did alter the outcome from The New Yorker

A Dizzying Week of Trump-Russia Revelations

The New YorkerSep 21, 2017
The possible outcomes of the Russia investigation have always been wildly divergent. … of the 2016 Presidential election in the minds of many Americans, as well … may ensnare officials for wrongdoing unrelated to Russian interference. … be in trouble for work he did before he joined the Trump campaign.

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did alter the outcome from New York Times

German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?

New York TimesSep 21, 2017
“We’re not really expecting any Russian interference. … traditional news media sources and, unlike Americans, tend to be wary … “It would almost make more sense for the C.I.A. to leak fake news to make it seem like the Russians did it. … like the power grid, hospitals or servers that process election results.
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Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome – Google Search

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Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome from Washington Post

CIA director distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian …

Washington Post2 hours ago
… that U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome, …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome from The Daily Advertiser (blog)

Don’t make Russian election hack great again

The Daily Advertiser (blog)Oct 15, 2017
Toward the end of the 1996 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Bob … of revelations about Russian interference in the 2016 in presidential election. … Russian actions were an attempt to influence an American election. Whether their efforts altered the outcome does not detract from the fact they …

Story image for Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome from New York Times

German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?

New York TimesSep 21, 2017
“We’re not really expecting any Russian interference. … traditional news media sources and, unlike Americans, tend to be wary … “It would almost make more sense for the C.I.A. to leak fake news to make it seem like the Russians did it. … like the power grid, hospitals or servers that process election results.
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CIA director distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo declared Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election did not alter the outcome, a statement that distorted spy agency findings.

“The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election,” Pompeo said at a security conference in Washington.

His comment suggested — falsely — that a report released by U.S. intelligence agencies in January had ruled out any impact that could be attributed to a covert Russian interference campaign that involved leaks of tens of thousands of stolen emails, the flooding of social media sites with false claims and the purchase of ads on Facebook.

A report compiled by the CIA and other agencies described that Russian operation as unprecedented in its scale and concluded that Moscow’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process and help elect Donald Trump.

But the report reached no conclusions about whether that interference had altered the outcome — an issue that U.S. intelligence officials made clear was considered beyond the scope of their inquiry.

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election,” the report said. U.S. spy agencies are “charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors,” the report said, but do “not analyze U.S. political processes or U.S. public opinion.”

[Senate Intelligence Committee leaders: Russia did interfere in 2016 elections]

Former U.S. intelligence officials voiced concern over Pompeo’s statement.

“This is another example of Pompeo politicizing intelligence,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. Pompeo “is the most political CIA director since Bill Casey” during the Reagan administration, the former official said. “This significantly undermines the intelligence community’s credibility.”

The former official and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the subject’s sensitivity.

A CIA spokesman denied that Pompeo intended to mislead the public with his remarks. “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed,” said the spokesman, Ryan Trapani, “and the director did not intend to suggest that it had.”

Pompeo’s comment came in response to a question about Russian meddling at the end of a lengthy public appearance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank.

Pompeo also criticized former U.S. intelligence officials for their television appearances, implying that they have violated their oaths and potentially contributed to the leaks of sensitive information.

“There are an awful lot of former CIA talking heads on TV,” Pompeo said, adding that their obligation to remain quiet about their work “far extends beyond the day you turn in your badge.”

[At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the president’s ardent ally]

His comment seemed to be aimed mainly at former senior intelligence officials in the Obama administration, including James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of National Intelligence, who said in a recent interview that Russia’s interference had “cast doubt” on Trump’s win.

“Our intelligence community assessment did, I think, serve to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory,” Clapper said in an interview on CNN last month. He added that he worried Trump’s perceived focus on the issue “transcends, unfortunately, the real concern here, which is Russian interference in our political process.”

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Clapper could not immediately be reached to comment.

Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy director who is employed by CBS News to comment on national security issues, responded to Pompeo with a post on Twitter. Pompeo’s caution against leaking is “wise,” Morell said. “But, to be clear, critiquing policy is not leaking.”

Pompeo’s mischaracterization of the intelligence report was the latest in a series of statements from the former Republican congressman that have seemed aimed at minimizing the significance of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

At a security forum in Aspen, Colo., earlier this year, Pompeo said that “it is true” that Russia interferedbut had also done so in the election “before that, and the one before that.” He continued that refrain Thursday, saying he had recently been reading accounts of Russian attempts to meddle in “the Nixon elections” in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The intelligence report released in January, which was produced in part by Pompeo’s own agency, noted Russia’s “longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order” but said the 2016 effort “demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

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Mike Pompeo – Google Search

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US spies can make it harder to do business with Iran. Here’s how …

CNBC2 hours ago
The United States should make it more expensive for Iran to engage in “adventurism” in the Middle East, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said …
CIA Director Wrongly Says US Found Russia Didn’t Affect Election …
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>19 minutes ago

FBI paid for dossier – Google Search

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Trump suggests FBI may have ‘paid for’ dossier alleging Russia ties

Washington Post6 hours ago
President Trump suggested Thursday that the FBI may have had a hand in creating an intelligence dossier that alleged ties between Russia …
Trump’s Question for the FBI
OpinionU.S. News & World Report1 hour ago

Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook – Google Search

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Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook – Google Search

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Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook – Google Search

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Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook – Google Search

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Story image for Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook from WIRED

Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook Is More Than Fake …

WIREDOct 18, 2017
This past summer, a Facebook account called Blacktivist posted a horrifying video. It depicted a blackman handcuffed, his face planted to the …

Story image for Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook from The Guardian

Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during …

The GuardianOct 17, 2017
Russian trolls posing as Americans made payments to genuine … Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?

Story image for Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook from CNNMoney

Exclusive: Even Pokémon Go used by extensive Russian-linked …

CNNMoneyOct 12, 2017
One Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter … CNN has separately established the links between the Facebook page … and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat.
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Trump Suggests ‘Pee Tape’ Dossier Was Financed Jointly by Russia, the FBI

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President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to suggest a potentially explosive dossier of allegations concerning his links to Russia may have been paid for by the FBI, Russia, the Democratic Party or a combination of the three. Trump’s tweeted speculation came a day after two officials with the intelligence firm that commissioned the dossier last year appeared before the House Intelligence Committee but invoked their constitutional privilege not to provide testimony.

Related: Here’s what the ‘golden shower’ dossier now being investigated by Mueller claims about Trump and Russia

“Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th,” Trump tweeted. “Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?”

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The Washington-based firm Fusion GPS commissioned former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to produce the dossier during the 2016 election campaign. It has refused to bow to pressure to disclose who paid for it. A lawyer for the firm, Josh Levy, wrote a letter to the House Intelligence Committee this week accusing Republican Chairman Devin Nunes of an “abuse of power” after he issued a subpoena to get the firm’s representatives to testify on Capitol Hill.

It has been widely reported that the dossier was initially financed by anti-Trump Republicans before Democrats picked up the check as the campaign moved toward the general election. Steele contacted the FBI with his findings and in October the two parties reached an agreement that he would continue his research with compensation from the bureau, according to a report from The Washington Post. That agreement never came to fruition, however.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team at the White House, on October 18. Trump took to Twitter Thursday morning to suggest a potentially explosive dossier of allegations concerning his links to Russia may have been paid for by the FBI, Russia or the Democratic Party or a combination of the three. Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

A summary of the dossier’s findings was provided to Trump and President Barack Obama ahead of January’s presidential inauguration. And, while Trump labeled the dossier “discredited” and “fake,” investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election have been taking it increasingly seriously.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the investigation into the dossier had been taken up by the man leading the FBI’s Russia probe, Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The former FBI director’s team has also met with Steele, CNN has reported.

Some of the more salacious details of the dossier, including that Russia possesses a video of Trump getting Russian prostitutes to urinate on a bed in a Moscow hotel room was once occupied by President Barack Obama and wife Michelle, have not been verified. But some aspects of the so-called pee-tape dossier have been corroborated, according to the CNN report.

Suggesting that a federal intelligence service coordinated with a foreign power to produce a dossier about him is just Trump’s latest explosive and unsubstantiated accusation. Notably, he has also claimed that three million to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 election and that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped his residence at Trump Tower.

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NPR News: 10-19-2017 11AM ET 

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NPR News: 10-19-2017 11AM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr.mc.tritondigital.com/NPR_500005/media/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2017/10/19/newscast110625.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=558766488&t=podcast&e=558766488&ft=pod&f=500005

Congress is spending millions on Russia investigations — but you’ll probably never know exactly how much – USA TODAY

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USA TODAY
Congress is spending millions on Russia investigations — but you’ll probably never know exactly how much
USA TODAY
USA TODAY reported last month that the House intelligence committee paid to send two of its staff investigators to London in July to try to contact Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a dossier on Donald Trump and his alleged ties and more »

Actually, No, Bob Corker and John McCain Are Doing Nothing to Hold Trump Accountable – The Nation.

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Actually, No, Bob Corker and John McCain Are Doing Nothing to Hold Trump Accountable
The Nation.
Donald Trump is claiming, for the moment, that he is on exceptionally good terms with congressional Republicans — even with some of the Republicans that his once-and-future chief strategist Steve Bannon has targeted for political extinction. Indeed and more »

WH Denies Trump Joked About Killing Gays, But New Yorker Stands by Story – Advocate.com

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WH Denies Trump Joked About Killing Gays, But New Yorker Stands by Story
Advocate.com
The email also stated that in the process of fact-checking the profile, The New Yorker’s staff spoke to more than 60 people to confirm Trump’s statement, including senior White House officials, a senior staffer in the vice president’s office, Rep 
Understanding Mike Pence And His Relationship To Trump: ‘His Public Role Is Fawning’KCUR
The Danger of President PenceThe New Yorker
White House denies Trump joked about Pence being anti-gayPoliticoall 144 news articles »

Trump Campaign Spending on Legal Fees Surges as Russia Inquiries Widen – New York Times

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New York Times
Trump Campaign Spending on Legal Fees Surges as Russia Inquiries Widen
New York Times
The report underscores the degree to which Mr. Trump’s team has been consumed byinvestigations being pursued by congressional committees and the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian meddling in the presidential election, and …
Trump campaign legal bills topped $1 million last quarterMyAJC
Trump’s Campaign Paid His Son’s Russia-Probe Law Firm $238,000 …Bloomberg
Trump campaign spends more than $1 million on legal fees in last quarterUSA TODAY
Politico –Vox –Washington Examiner –CNN
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House Intelligence Committee will subpoena Trump pal Roger Stone if he doesn’t identify his go-between with … – Daily Mail

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Daily Mail
House Intelligence Committee will subpoena Trump pal Roger Stone if he doesn’t identify his go-between with …
Daily Mail
The House Intelligence Committee will subpoena Trump friend Roger Stone if he refuses to identify an intermediary who shared information with him about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Rep. Mike Conway, the Republican leading the committee’s Russia …
Roger Stone attorney says he complied with request for Assange contactkvor
Clinton impeachment leader Bob Barr helping Roger Stone dodge congressional subpoena for Wikileaks sourceRaw Story
Roger Stone Must Give Away His WikiLeaks Source Or Will Be Subpoenaed By CongressWLSall 7 news articles »

As congressional investigations wear on, some eye a finish – WBOC TV 16

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WBOC TV 16
As congressional investigations wear on, some eye a finish
WBOC TV 16
WASHINGTON (AP) – As congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections wear on in the Capitol, some lawmakers are starting to wonder when – and how – the probes will end. After months of clandestine interviews and a few 

Anthony Weiner scandals: From politics to sexting cases – Fox News

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Fox News
Anthony Weiner scandals: From politics to sexting cases
Fox News
In the video announcement, Weiner, Abedin and their son appear to be a happy family, putting the scandal behind them. “Look, I’ve made … Abedin, at the time, was one of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aides for the 2016 presidential election. August and more »

Donald Trump promotes criticism of Hillary Clinton for role in Russian uranium deal while attacking ‘fake’ media – The Independent

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The Independent
Donald Trump promotes criticism of Hillary Clinton for role in Russian uranium deal while attacking ‘fake’ media
The Independent
Donald Trump has called criticism over Hillary Clinton’s role in a uranium deal with Russia “the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow”. As the controversy over the president’s handling of grieving military families grows, he lashed out and more »

Putin Trump – Google News: Trump and Putin’s Strong Connection: Lies – Mother Jones

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Mother Jones
Trump and Putin’s Strong Connection: Lies
Mother Jones
Also the author of a 2012 biography of Putin, The Man Without a Face, Gessen of late has been a frequent critic of the authoritarian tendencies of President Donald Trump. She spoke with Mother Jones about the similarities she sees between Trump and and more »

 Putin Trump – Google News

The Trump White House is unmoored – Washington Post

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The Trump White House is unmoored
Washington Post
President Trump’s most faithful supporters like to believe he’s always a step ahead of the media and the political establishment — that he’s playing three-dimensional chess while we’re stuck on checkers. Where we see utter discord, they see carefully …
Trump’s Unforced ErrorThe Atlantic
Father of Soldier Killed in Niger: Trump Was Respectful When He Called MeTIME
How did Trump’s response to four soldiers’ deaths go so wrong?Los Angeles Times
NPR –Chicago Tribune –CNN
all 907 news articles »

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11:32 AM 10/17/2017 – Data Firm Says ‘Secret Sauce’ Aided Trump; Many Scoff

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LGBT-pro nonprofit accuses former FBI agent of stealing more tha – Hawaii News Now

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -A former high-ranking FBI official in Honolulu is under fire after a local nonprofit accused him of stealing more than $33,000.

In a police statement filed last month, the nonprofit Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation said that between November 2016 and August 2017, 56-year-old Robert Kauffman wrote improper checks and made several unauthorized withdrawals from the foundation’s bank account.

Kauffman is a former assistant special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Honolulu field office, and served with the bureau for more than 20 years where he investigated organized crime and espionage cases. He also served as the foundation’s treasurer.

“Several of these checks and bank account withdrawals were in excess of $3,000, which requires the approval of two board members,” attorney and foundation director David Brustein wrote.

“Robert did not have signatures or board approval,” Brustein added.

But Kauffman’s attorney, Myles Breiner, said his client is “innocent of any embezzlement,” and was safeguarding the money from being misspent.

He said Kauffman returned the money with a cashier’s check even before the foundation went to the police.

“Mr. Kauffman is innocent of any embezzlement. We believe that there was a disagreement over the handling of funds by the Legacy Foundation,” said Breiner.

“(He) was concerned about some of the decision being made about the costs and financing of various projects the foundation was endorsing.”

Kauffman is currently chief investigator for the state Judiciary’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which oversees attorney conduct.

He’s also listed as the CEO of The Wellness Group LLC, which unsuccessfully applied for a medical marijuana dispensary license. Among the Wellness Groups’ investors included foundation board members Brustein and Dr. David McEwan.

Brustein said Kauffman’s role at the two organizations are unrelated.

The Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that supports causes for the gay, lesbian and transgendered people and is a big organizer of the Honolulu Pride festival happened throughout October.

The $33,000 is nearly half of the foundation’s annual revenues. Legal experts said allegations of theft or mismanagement can be financially exhausting for a nonprofit.

“It is more damaging, not only to the organization but the people who the organization was set up to assist,” said Hawaii Pacific University assistant professor Randal Lee, a retired Circuit Judge who has investigated hundreds of white-collar crime cases as a Honolulu deputy prosecutor.

Honolulu police are investigating and have turned over the case to its white-collar division. Kauffman plans to fight the allegations.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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Data Firm Says ‘Secret Sauce’ Aided Trump; Many Scoff

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But a dozen Republican consultants and former Trump campaign aides, along with current and former Cambridge employees, say the company’s ability to exploit personality profiles — “our secret sauce,” Mr. Nix once called it — is exaggerated.

Cambridge executives now concede that the company never used psychographics in the Trump campaign. The technology — prominently featured in the firm’s sales materials and in media reportsthat cast Cambridge as a master of the dark campaign arts — remains unproved, according to former employees and Republicans familiar with the firm’s work.

“They’ve got a lot of really smart people,” said Brent Seaborn, managing partner of TargetPoint, a rival business that also provided voter data to the Trump campaign. “But it’s not as easy as it looks to transition from being excellent at one thing and bringing it into politics. I think there’s a big question about whether we think psychographic profiling even works.”

At stake are not merely bragging rights, but also an emerging science that many believe could reshape American politics and commerce. Big data companies already know your age, income, favorite cereal and when you last voted. But the company that can perfect psychological targeting could offer far more potent tools: the ability to manipulate behavior by understanding how someone thinks and what he or she fears.

A voter deemed neurotic might be shown a gun-rights commercial featuring burglars breaking into a home, rather than a defense of the Second Amendment; political ads warning of the dangers posed by the Islamic State could be targeted directly at voters prone to anxiety, rather than wasted on those identified as optimistic.

“You can do things that you would not have dreamt of before,” said Alexander Polonsky, chief data scientist at Bloom, a consulting firm that offers “emotion analysis” of social networks and has worked with the center-right Republican Party in France.

“It goes beyond sharing information,” he added. “It’s sharing the thinking and the feeling behind this information, and that’s extremely powerful.”

Both conservatives and liberals are eager to harness that power. In Washington, some Democratic operatives are scrambling to develop personality-profiling capabilities of their own. But even as Cambridge seeks to expand its business among conservative groups, questions about its performance have soured many Republicans in Mr. Trump’s orbit.

Cambridge is no longer in contention to work for Mr. Trump at the Republican National Committee, a company spokesman confirmed, nor is it working for America First Policies, a new nonprofit formed to help advance the president’s agenda.

In recent months, the value of Cambridge’s technology has been debated by technology experts and in some media accounts. But Cambridge officials, in recent interviews, defended the company’s record during the 2016 election, saying its data analysis helped Mr. Trump energize critical support in the Rust Belt. Mr. Nix said the firm had conducted tens of thousands of polls for Mr. Trump, helping guide his message and identify issues that mattered to voters.

But when asked to name a single race where the firm’s flagship product had been critical to victory, Mr. Nix declined.

“We bake a cake, it’s got 10 ingredients in it. Psychographics is one of them,” he said. “It’s very difficult to isolate exactly what the impact of that ingredient is.”

Drawn to America

Cambridge’s parent company, the London-based Strategic Communication Laboratories Group, has a long record of trying to understand and influence behavior. Founded in 1993 by a former British adman, the firm has worked for companies and candidates around the world, as well as for government and military clients. SCL has studied Pakistani jihadists for the British government and provided intelligence assessments for American defense contractors in Iran, Libya and Syria, according to company documents obtained by The New York Times.

“Their approach was seen as serious and focused,” said Mark Laity, chief of strategic communications at NATO’s military headquarters in Europe, who has taken part in NATO-affiliated conferences where SCL has made presentations.

In recent years, the company has moved to exploit the revolution in big data to predict human behavior more precisely, working with scientists from the Cambridge University Psychometrics Center. The United States represented a critical new market. Europe has strict privacy protections that limit the use of personal information, but America is more lightly regulated, allowing the sale of huge troves of consumer data to any company or candidate who can afford them.

In 2013, Cambridge Analytica was created as SCL’s American operation, and the two companies today share many of their roughly 200 employees, several top executives, and offices in New York and Washington.

To develop its profiling system, Cambridge conducts detailed psychological surveys — by phone and online — of tens of thousands of people, differentiating them by five traits, a model widely used by behavioral researchers.

Uniquely, the company claims to be able to extrapolate those findings to millions of other people it has not surveyed, assigning them one of 32 distinct personality types. Cambridge then blends those profiles with commercial data and voting histories, revealing “hidden voter trends and behavioral triggers,” according to a 2016 company brochure.

Those profiles, in turn, would allow campaigns to customize advertising, direct-mail slogans and door-knocking scripts, each calibrated to prod the targeted voter toward — or away from — a candidate.

The promise of psychometrics appealed to Mr. Mercer, a computer scientist who made a fortune helping to lead Renaissance Technologies, a Long Island-based hedge fund. Mr. Mercer and his daughter Rebekah presided over a growing political empire that included millions of dollars in contributions to conservative groups and a stake in Breitbart, whose nationalist and racially antagonistic content prefigured Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Mercer became Cambridge’s principal investor, according to two former employees. (Like several others interviewed for this article, they spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing nondisclosure agreements and the threat of lawsuits.) Mr. Bannon, the family’s political guru, also advised the company and served as vice president of its board, according to Delaware public records.

Mr. Mercer has never spoken publicly about his policy views in depth, but his giving is eclectic: He has financed anti-Clinton documentaries, right-wing media watchdogs, libertarian think tanks and both Senator Ted Cruz, a religious conservative, and Mr. Trump, a thrice-married nationalist.

“The genius here is Bob, and the billionaire in this is Bob, and the person with the extreme views of how the world should be is Bob,” said David Magerman, a Renaissance research scientist who was recently suspended after criticizing his boss’s support for Mr. Trump.

In the run-up to the 2014 elections, Breitbart, under Mr. Bannon, set up a London office and made common cause with populist conservatives in Europe. But back in the United States, Cambridge was at first slow to land big accounts. It was rebuffed by the political network overseen by the billionaire conservative brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, to which the Mercers were major donors. Federal Election Commission records show that the firm had nine clients in House and Senate races that year, among them three “super PACs” partly financed by Mr. Mercer.

As the 2016 presidential campaign began, however, Cambridge landed a marquee political client: Mr. Cruz, the Texas senator. Mr. Mercer seeded a super PAC with $11 million to support him.

Cambridge had a talented salesman in Mr. Nix, an Eton-educated SCL director chosen to lead the American effort. Among colleagues, his skills at cajoling clients are legendary. At an office party at a London dog track in the summer of 2015, one young employee offered an affectionate toast.

“He is so smooth he’ll rub shoulders with politicians and their campaigns,” the employee joked, according to a video of the event posted on YouTube, “and, in their face, tell them he’s going to rip them off.”

‘Not About Tricking People’

But Cambridge’s psychographic models proved unreliable in the Cruz presidential campaign, according to Rick Tyler, a former Cruz aide, and another consultant involved in the campaign. In one early test, more than half the Oklahoma voters whom Cambridge had identified as Cruz supporters actually favored other candidates. The campaign stopped using Cambridge’s data entirely after the South Carolina primary.

“When they were hired, from the outset it didn’t strike me that they had a wide breadth of experience in the American political landscape,” Mr. Tyler said.

Ms. Mercer and Mr. Bannon were aggressive advocates for Cambridge. When the campaign disputed a $2.5 million invoice, they lit into Mr. Cruz’s senior campaign team during a conference call, according to the consultant. Cambridge Analytica, Ms. Mercer and Mr. Bannon claimed, was the only thing keeping Mr. Cruz afloat. (The company declined to comment on the exchange, as did a personal spokeswoman for Mr. Bannon and the Mercers.)

After the Cruz campaign flamed out, Mr. Nix persuaded Mr. Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, to try out the firm. Its data products were considered for Mr. Trump’s critical get-out-the-vote operation. But tests showed Cambridge’s data and models were slightly less effective than the existing Republican National Committee system, according to three former Trump campaign aides.

Mr. Bannon at one point agreed to expand the company’s role, according to the aides, authorizing Cambridge to oversee a $5 million purchase of television ads. But after some of them appeared on cable channels in Washington, D.C. — hardly an election battleground — Cambridge’s involvement in television targeting ended.

In postelection conversations with potential clients, Cambridge has promoted itself as the brains behind Mr. Trump’s upset victory. One brochure circulated to clients this year, which details Cambridge’s expertise in behavioral targeting, also calls the company’s “pivotal role” in electing Mr. Trump its “biggest success politically in the United States.”

Trump aides, though, said Cambridge had played a relatively modest role, providing personnel who worked alongside other analytics vendors on some early digital advertising and using conventional microtargeting techniques. Later in the campaign, Cambridge also helped set up Mr. Trump’s polling operation and build turnout models used to guide the candidate’s spending and travel schedule. None of those efforts involved psychographics.

In some recent public settings, Cambridge executives have acknowledged that. “I don’t want to break your heart; we actually didn’t do any psychographics with the Trump campaign,” Matt Oczkowski, Cambridge’s head of product, said at a postelection panel hosted by Google in December.

The firm’s claims about its client base have also shifted. As recently as October, the firm said it had 50 clients in the 2016 elections. But a company spokesman said federal elections records showing just a dozen were correct.

The spokesman also said neither Cambridge nor SCL had done any work, paid or unpaid, with the pro-“Brexit” Leave.eu campaign last year, although Mr. Nix once claimed that Cambridge had helped “supercharge” Leave.eu’s social media campaign. British authorities are now investigating the company’s exact role with Leave.eu and whether Cambridge’s techniques violated British and European privacy laws.

At a conference in Munich last month, Alexander Tayler, Cambridge’s chief data officer, dodged a question about whether Cambridge would work with far-right parties in European elections this year. He also played down the role of psychological profiling in the company’s work, much of which, Mr. Tayler suggested, is still based on traditional data analytics and marketing.

“It’s not about being sinister,” Mr. Tayler said. “It’s not about tricking people into voting for a candidate who they wouldn’t otherwise support. It’s just about making marketing more efficient.”

Looking to Expand

Even before the election, according to one former employee, Cambridge employees attended sessions about soliciting government business in the United States — where Mr. Trump now oversees the federal bureaucracy and Mr. Bannon is arguably the White House’s most powerful staff member. According to documents obtained by The Times, SCL is pursuing work for at least a dozen federal agencies, including the Commerce Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mr. Bannon’s spokeswoman said he stepped down from the Cambridge board in August, when he joined the Trump campaign, and “has no financial involvement” with the firm currently. She declined to say whether Mr. Bannon previously held equity in the firm.

Late last month, SCL executives met with Pentagon officials who advise the Joint Chiefs of Staff on information warfare. A reference document submitted in advance of that meeting indicates that the company has worked as a subcontractor on roughly a dozen Pentagon projects, many of them “counter-radicalization” assessments in Pakistan and Yemen.

Such intelligence work is the bread and butter of SCL’s government contracting in other countries. And the firm’s experience in trying to influence Muslim sentiment abroad dovetails with Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon’s focus on combating the Islamic State.

The Washington Post reported last month that SCL had secured a contract for a similar program at the State Department and was seeking military and Homeland Security work.

In an email, a Joint Chiefs spokesman confirmed that the Pentagon meeting, first reported by BuzzFeed, had occurred, but said he could not elaborate on the discussions “in order to avoid any undue influence or unintended consequences.”

The New York Times would like to hear from readers who want to share messages and materials with our journalists.

At the moment, according to former employees, Cambridge has relatively few well-known corporate clients in the United States. Among them are ECI New York, a clothing company, and Goldline, which sells gold coins and markets heavily to listeners of conservative talk radio.

A spokesman for MasterCard declined to say if it would do business with Cambridge. The Yankees did not sign on.

But Mr. Nix appears to have bigger ambitions. “I think were are on the cusp of something enormous,” he said.

Data science is about to reshape marketing, Mr. Nix maintained, and the big advertising conglomerates would survive only by developing their own targeting technology — or acquiring companies like Cambridge.

“Those agencies that don’t adapt will die,” Mr. Nix said.

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Minnesota researchers create mass shooting database – News – Crookston Times – Crookston, MN

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manipulation of voters psychology – Google Search

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Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump …

Vox7 hours ago
Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality …
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An intern at the Trump campaign data firm, Cambridge Analytica …

Business InsiderOct 14, 2017
An intern at the Trump campaign data firm, Cambridge Analytica, appears to have left sensitive voter targeting tools online for nearly a year.
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Russia Probe Now Investigating Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s …

Daily BeastOct 11, 2017
They were once Steve Bannon’s favorite analytics shop. Now investigators want to know if the Kremlin had a thing for Cambridge Analytica, too.
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Potential Lawsuit Could Reveal How Trump Targeted Voters on …

Slate Magazine (blog)Oct 6, 2017
And Trump’s campaign was masterful at it, in large part thanks to Cambridge Analytica, the data-targeting team that worked to make sure Trump …
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Trump addresses strategy on Iran nuclear deal (full speech)

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From: Trump
Duration: 18:34

President Trump unveils the United States’ new strategy on the Iran nuclear deal.

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Tillerson responds to Corker’s ‘castration’ remark 

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Duration: 01:05

After Sen. Bob Corker criticized President Donald Trump for his “castration” of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the secretary responded by saying he is “fully intact.”

12:36 PM 10/16/2017 – Surveillance Reform: The Fourth Amendments Long, Slow, Goodbye 

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Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (18 sites) FBI News Review: 12:12 PM 10/16/2017 FBI: Oh, by the way, we just found 30 pages of information about the Clinton/Lynch tarmac meeting Canada Free Press (blog) FBI: Oh, by the way, we just found 30 pages of information about the Clinton/Lynch tarmac meeting Canada Free … Continue reading “12:36 PM 10/16/2017 – Surveillance Reform: The Fourth Amendments Long, Slow, Goodbye”

Donald Trump and WikiLeaks aren’t even trying to hide their collusion anymore 

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Investigators are still piecing together how the Donald Trump campaign and international cyberterrorist group WikiLeaks were communicating and coordinating their efforts during the course of the 2016 election. Although Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone bragged that he was using backchannels to coordinate with WikiLeaks, the rest of the effort was a secret one. However, at this point, Trump and WikiLeaks are no longer even trying to hide it.

Last night Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and a wanted fugitive who’s spent years hiding out in a basement closet, had an unhinged meltdown about Hillary Clinton. Assange posted a series of deranged tweets about Clinton’s “menacing glares” and far worse. It raised the question of whether perhaps Assange should be taken to a mental institution instead of a prison once he’s eventually apprehended. It was also one more reminder that WikiLeaks, the Russian government, and the Donald Trump campaign treasonously conspired to rig the election in in favor of Trump and against Clinton.

So how did Donald Trump handle Assange’s meltdown about Clinton? By joining in. Trump hadn’t tweeted about her in quite some time. Yet this morning he couldn’t wait to tweet “I was recently asked if Crooked Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2020? My answer was, ‘I hope so!’” It’s not a coincidence that Assange and Trump suddenly have the same message: they’re colluding as we speak to create a media distraction. They must know that a bombshell story is about to surface which helps expose their election rigging scheme, and they’re trying to force that bombshell to share some headline space with the Hillary controversy they’re manufacturing.

During the course of the 2016 election, Russian government hackers stole personal information from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. It then gave that information to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, which often altered that information to appear scandalous. WikiLeaks coordinated with the Donald Trump campaign to release that (dis)information at the most opportune time for Trump. Everyone knows this. All that’s left is to prove it, so everyone involved can face charges.

The post Donald Trump and WikiLeaks aren’t even trying to hide their collusion anymore appeared first on Palmer Report.

12:28 PM 10/16/2017 – Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events 

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Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (18 sites) FBI News Review: 12:12 PM 10/16/2017 FBI: Oh, by the way, we just found 30 pages of information about the Clinton/Lynch tarmac meeting Canada Free Press (blog) FBI: Oh, by the way, we just found 30 pages of information about the Clinton/Lynch tarmac meeting Canada Free … Continue reading “12:28 PM 10/16/2017 – Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events”

Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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Iraqi forces seized key positions in the disputed city of Kirkuk, pushing out Kurdish forces, Reuters reported. The U.S.-trained counterterrorism force took up positions outside the provincial government headquarters on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Iraqi forces moved in to the city area. Kurdish fighters largely withdrew peacefully, the New York Times reported. One faction within the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) agreed to not contest the city’s seizure while fighters aligned with the KRG’s president continued to fight. The U.S. embassy called for an end to the fighting.

The Supreme Court will hear a case on government access to email data stored overseas, the Washington Post reported. The justices agreed to consider the Justice Department’s appeal in U.S. v. Microsoft. The case asks whether the Justice Department could use a warrant to access emails that Microsoft stored on a server in Ireland.

Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who endured five years of Taliban captivity, plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, according to the Times. Army prosecutors argued that Bergdahl’s sudden departure from his base in Afghanistan endangered the troops that then searched for him.

A grand jury found Ahmad Khan Rahimi guilty of carrying out a plot to set off explosives in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and New Jersey last year, the Times reported. In the case, the FBI presented evidence that Rahimi set up nine different bombs in and around New York City, only two of which exploded.

The death toll from a pair of truck bombings in Mogadishu, Somalia rose past 300 on Monday, the Post reported. The bombings nearly totally destroyed a city block. Somalia’s government blamed the attacks on al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda linked extremist group. Al Shabab has not yet issued any statement, according to the Times. Counterterrorism experts suggested that the militant organization may have received help from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has expertise in bomb-making.

European foreign ministers condemned President Trump’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, the Wall Street Journal reported. At a European Union meeting in Luxembourg, they pledged to honor the agreement and urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions that would effectively terminate the deal. Also at the meeting, the EU adopted new sanctions to put a blanket ban on business with North Korea and to totally ban oil exports to Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Spain’s prime minister demanded that Catalonia’s leader cease his move to declare independence by Thursday, the Journal reported. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalan President Carlos Puigdemont had not clarified whether he had declared independence from Spain in an address last week. Rajoy threatened to invoke a provision of the Spanish constitution that would strip away some of Catalonia’s autonomy if Puigdemont does not withdraw his bid for independence by Thursday.

Philippine forces killed a terrorist on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list in an operation to retake the city of Marawi from militant control, the Journal reported. The Philippine military said it found the body of Isnilon Hapilon, a Justice Department-wanted terrorist who was involved in several kidnappings in the early 2000s, in a city block captured by advancing military units.

Israeli warplanes attacked a Syrian missile launcher site after being fired on while patrolling in Lebanese airspace, the Guardian reported. The Israeli military said the battery fired a surface-to-air missile at Israeli jets flying close to the Syrian border.

Researchers discovered a flaw in the WPA2 security protocol, making Wi-Fi vulnerable to hacking, Reuters reported. The Department of Homeland Security issued a security warning after researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium found a bug in WPA2 that could allow hackers to read transmitted information or infect devices with malware.

British intelligence blamed Iran for a hack that targeted 9,000 email accounts associated with the British parliament this summer, the Guardian reported. The attackers used a “brute-force” technique to try to gain access to members of parliament’s emails, including the accounts of Prime Minister Theresa May and other cabinet members.

Hillary Clinton called Julian Assange a “tool of Russian intelligence,” Politico reported. Clinton spoke out against Assange’s Wikileaks organization, which played a key role in spreading leaked information about her 2016 campaign, in an interview on Monday.

NATO began its annual nuclear exercises in Germany, demonstrating its nuclear deterrent capabilities, according to the Journal. The drill will take place at U.S. bases in Belgium and Germany, where the U.S. stores its Europe-based nuclear arsenal.

Writing for the Post, Philip Carter argued that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster should implement the lessons he drew from his past writing on the failures of national security policymaking at the White House.

The Times’ David Sanger, David Kirkpatrick and Nicole Perlroth detailed how North Korea has turned its hacking operations into a global threat.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation published a new report on reforming counterintelligence outreach to industry.

 

ICYMI: This weekend, on Lawfare

In the Foreign Policy Essay, Katerina Papatheodorou argued that the U.S. should implement better online countering violent extremism efforts by learning from guerilla marketing techniques.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview with Shadi Hamid and William McCants on their new book Rethinking Political Islam.

Eliot Kim posted this week’s Water Wars, covering the U.S.’s latest freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) and Britain’s FONOP policy revisions.

Elena Chachko analyzed the limited scope of the actual action items from President Trump’s much-hyped Iran strategy announcement.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

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Surveillance “Reform”: The Fourth Amendment’s Long, Slow, Goodbye 

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Over 16 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent repeated passage or renewal of draconian “temporary” but “emergency” domestic surveillance laws in response, it’s fair to ask: Have we officially abandoned the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

With the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) less than three months away, now is a good time to review the effects of these surveillance laws in the seemingly endless “War on Terror.” But first, a quick recap of America’s embrace of mass surveillance in the post-9/11 era.

Within six weeks of the terrorist attacks in 2001, and with virtually no serious debate, Congress passed the behemoth PATRIOT Act. The law created vast new government surveillance powers that abandoned the Fourth Amendment’s across-the-board probable cause warrant requirement. In an October 11, 2001 speech discussing the Senate version of the legislation, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) assured terrified civil libertarians that the PATRIOT Act’s five-year “sunset” clause governing 15 of the bill’s provisions would serve “as a valuable check on the potential abuse of the new powers granted in the bill.”

Unbeknownst to the public and most members of Congress, the Bush administration allowed key authorities of the PATRIOT Act to be abused, a fact only brought to light in 2013 by Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass telephone surveillance conducted under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

Section 215 is one of the 15 “temporary” provisions that has been renewed repeatedly since 2001, making a mockery of Feinstein’s assurance that the “sunset” provision would act as a “check” on any abuse of the law. Today, 12 of those 15 “temporary” and “emergency” surveillance measures are permanent law.

Thanks to another document made public by Snowden, we know that three days after the 9/11 attacks, then-NSA Director Michael Hayden initiated a secret warrantless surveillance program encompassing Americans in contact with anyone in Afghanistan. Over the ensuing weeks, it would become a multi-pronged warrantless spying effort code-named STELLAR WIND. After the New York Times revealedthis unconstitutional surveillance in December 2005,  thanks to the help of a whistleblower at the Justice Department, the Congress and the Bush administration spent the next two years trying to make the illegal surveillance legal. Their final product, passed in 2008, was the FAA—renewed with little debate in 2012 and now, because of a “sunset” provision, is set to expire on December 31.

The key provision of the FAA that is the primary focus of debate is Section 702, which allows the government to target the communications of foreign entities even if the government knows it will likely sweep up the emails, text messages, and phone calls of innocent Americans in the process.

Have FAA’s authorities been used to subvert the Fourth Amendment and the constitutional rights of Americans, just as the PATRIOT Act has? Yes. Repeatedly.

In September, the politically progressive group Demand Progress issued a scathing report on documented abuses of the FAA, drawing directly from partially declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) records. The findings showed that aspects of the government’s Section 702 information collection, revealed in 2011, acquired “non-targeted, entirely domestic communications,” violating the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, the FISC found that the NSA engaged for 12 years in types of surveillance that FISC would eventually deem unlawful, with NSA only ceasing the violations under repeated—but ultimately empty—threats of criminal sanctions.

This report was preceded earlier this year by the publication of Stanford law professor (and Just Security editor) Jennifer Granick’s excellent book American Spies, which chronicles in detail the rights violations and false claims of effectiveness of the PATRIOT Act and the FAA by NSA and FBI officials.

Sixteen years after creating the biggest unconstitutional mass surveillance dragnet in American history, we have documentary evidence—from the federal government’s own records—of repeated, systemic abuses of these authorities. We also know they’re costing taxpayers, whose digital communications are swept up by these programs, tens of millions of dollars annually. What we don’t have is any public evidence that these surveillance practices have made us safer.

What’s the response of Congress? It’s proposing to reauthorize the same Section 702 program, which has led to these abuses.

On Oct. 6, on a bipartisan basis, the House Judiciary Committee introduced the ill-named USA Liberty Act (HR 3989). In my initial analysis of the bill, I noted that the proposed legislation ignored every major problem highlighted in the Demand Progress report. The bill’s authors also ignored an even longer list of Section 702 reform proposals put forward by nearly 60 civil society groups.

Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers, and FBI Director Christopher Wray have mounted a public campaign to renew Section 702 unchanged. At a meeting with reporters on Sept. 25, Coats and his colleagues argued that 702 is a vital surveillance authority that has helped thwart numerous terrorist plots. On background, I asked one of the reporters who attended that meeting whether Coats, Rogers, or Wray offered a single example of 702 stopping an attack on the United States. They did not—which tracks with Granick’s findings in American Spies.

Despite the lack of public, independently confirmed evidence that 702 has prevented terrorist attacks on America, Coats, Rogers, and Wray are winning the argument that 702 should remain the law of the land.

If you think about it, the indifference of the House Judiciary Committee leadership to these proposals is not terribly surprising. The overwhelming majority of the groups calling for changes to a surveillance law that should never have existed have no political power.

Unlike the National Rifle Association, they operate no political action committee or similar electoral vehicle that could be used to strike fear into House or Senate members who dare to put forward such proposals. Thus, House and Senate members know that they can safely ignore these groups, no matter how many press releases, Facebook posts, or completely fact-based reports about surveillance abuses they churn out–just as they have ignored these same groups for nearly 20 years as Congress has passed or reauthorized laws that, bit by bit, have eviscerated the Fourth Amendment.

My prediction: Absent another Snowden-like revelation, Section 702 of the FAA will be reauthorized largely without change, and any changes will be cosmetic, and almost certainly abused. Whether it has a “sunset” provision or not is now politically and practically meaningless.

After this latest assault on the Bill of Rights has been signed into law by President Donald Trump later this year or early next, opponents will have one more—and probably final—chance to roll back the damage already done when the three remaining PATRIOT Act provisions subject to “sunset” come due at the end of 2019. Unless the privacy and civil liberties community revamps its entire approach and structure for advocacy on these issues, the long, slow goodbye to the Fourth Amendment will come to an end just before Christmas in 2019.

Image: The NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland/Getty Read on Just Security »

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Russia tried to use Pokemon Go to stoke racial tensions in the US – Fox News

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Fox News
Russia tried to use Pokemon Go to stoke racial tensions in the US
Fox News
Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics and society ahead of the 2016 presidential election keeps getting weirder. The Kremlin-backed campaign of so-called fake news employed … The Don’t Shoot Us YouTube page, which is simply titled “Don’t Shoot 

Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events 

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Did President Donald Trump or other U.S. officials engage in an obstruction of justice with respect to the Russia investigation? There are three scenarios which raise that question. It’s important to keep each of them in mind as one thinks about incriminating and exculpatory information, and patterns of related behavior.

Before setting out each scenario and then the Timeline, it may bear reminding that under U.S. federal criminal law, the definition of obstruction of justice includes anyone who “corruptly … or by any threatening letter or communication … endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede” a criminal investigation. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, even a mere attempt to pursue those ends is enough for obstruction, regardless of whether the attempt succeeds. The criminal standard matters if prosecutors were ever to consider pressing charges while Trump is President (a period in which he may be immune from indictment) or after he leaves office. The federal definition could also serve as a background for impeachment proceedings, although Congress would not be tied to the strict definitions of existing criminal law. Finally, there is always the court of public opinion.

What are the three scenarios that prosecutors, members of Congress, and the public could consider under the heading of obstruction of justice?

First, any attempts to unlawfully have FBI Director James Comey drop the investigation of Michael Flynn Second, any attempts to unlawfully interfere with FBI or congressional investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election Third, any attempts to unlawfully interfere with the FBI or congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election (having nothing to do with any alleged collusion)It is also important to keep in mind that one form of obstruction may be in getting officials to drop an investigation (which is very difficult to ever pick back up) and another form may be in firing officials with authority over the investigation.

The following is a Timeline of events that could be relevant to considerations of the obstruction of justice. It adheres as much as possible to the most directly relevant information, but also includes some other evidence that may be relevant to investigators who are looking for patterns of behavior (for example, Trump’s treatment of Preet Bharara).

Timeline

Late July 2016 – According to the New York Times and later confirmed by former FBI Director James Comey, the FBI begins investigating the Russian government’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election. The investigation includes examining whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was connected to those efforts. The catalyst for the FBI investigation includes Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s trip to Moscow to deliver a pro-Russia foreign policy speech at a prestigious Russian institute that same month.

Dec. 29, 2016 – In retaliation for Russian interference in the election, the Obama administration ordersthe expulsion of Russian intelligence agents and imposes new sanctions on Russian state agencies and individuals suspected of hacking U.S. computer systems. The CIA and FBI had previously concluded that Russia had interfered in the election multiple times including leaking damaging information to assist the Trump campaign.

Jan. 6, 2017 – According to Senate testimony by James Comey, he first meets Trump at Trump Tower on this date as part of an Intelligence Community assessment briefing on Russian election interference. After the meeting ends, Comey meets with Trump privately and assures Trump he is not beingpersonally investigated. He writes a memo about the meeting after he returns to his car. Later testifying to Congress Comey says, “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

Jan. 6, 2017 – The New York Times reports that the IC concluded in its assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, initially seeking to weaken Hillary Clinton, but later developing a “clear preference” for Trump. The Timesreports that at the IC assessment meeting earlier that morning, Trump “responded by acknowledging, for the first time, that Russia had sought to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems,” but asserted that these activities did not influence the election’s outcome, and he did not address the IC conclusion that Putin had favored his campaign.

Jan. 19, 2017 – The New York Times first reports that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are conducting a counterintelligence investigation into links between Russian officials and Trump associates. The investigation centers partly on past business dealings between Trump advisers and Russia. The FBI is leading the investigation, alongside the CIA, NSA, and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The associates under investigation include former campaign manager Paul Manafort and advisers Carter Page and Roger Stone.

Jan. 27, 2017 – According to Comey’s testimony, Trump invites Comey to what he believes will be a group dinner at the White House, but which turns out to be a private dinner meeting with the then-FBI Director. Trump asks whether Comey wants to remain FBI Director, and Comey responds affirmatively. During the dinner, Trump repeatedly tells Comey that he “needs loyalty,” and Comey responds, “You will always get honesty from me.” Trump responds, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” Comey responds, “You will get that from me,” hoping to end the conversation. Comey later testifies to Congress that, given the one-on-one nature of the meeting and the substance of their talk, Comey believed the dinner was in part an effort to create a “patronage relationship.”

Feb. 13, 2017 – National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about a conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2017 about U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Feb. 14, 2017 – According to Comey’s Senate testimony, Comey and other IC leaders deliver a counter-terrorism briefing at the Oval Office. Trump signals the end of the briefing by thanking everyone and saying he wanted to meet with Comey privately. Trump tells Comey, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn,” adding that Flynn had not done anything wrong, but had to resign because he misled Pence. Trump then tells Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey later testifies that he “had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December.”

Immediately after the meeting, Comey prepared a memo of the communication and presented the issue to FBI senior leadership. Comey interpreted Trump’s communication as “a direction” to drop the FBI investigation as it related to Flynn’s alleged false statements about his meetings with the Russian Ambassador in December 2016.

The FBI leadership team and Comey believed that it was important not to “infect the investigative team with Trump’s request,” and decided to refuse the directive. The team concluded it would not have made sense to disclose Trump’s request to Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation, or the Deputy AG, who was soon to be replaced. They believed it was best to keep the communication “closely held,” although they might decide to disclose it to other officials as the investigation progressed.

Shortly thereafter, Comey also met with Sessions and told him “that what had just happened –  him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind – was inappropriate and should never happen.” He said he “implored” Sessions to ensure that no further private communications occur between Trump and himself. Nevertheless, he did not disclose the content of Trump’s request regarding dropping the Flynn investigation.

In his written statement for the Senate, Comey said the Attorney General “did not reply” and then told Senators in open session that Sessions was “just kind of looking at me” and “his body language gave me a sense like, ‘What am I going to do?’”

In his own testimony before the Senate, Sessions said Comey’s account was “incorrect” and said, “I did affirm the long-standing written policies of the Department of Justice concerning communications with the White House.”

Mar. 2, 2017 – Sessions announces that he is recusing himself from any investigations into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente takes over the Russia investigation following Sessions’ recusal.

Mar. 9, 2017 – Trump’s assistant calls U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara’s office and leaves a message asking Bharara to call Trump back. Trump’s direct communication request violates protocols governing presidential contact with federal prosecutors. Bharara notifies an adviser to AG Sessions of the presidential contact, and tells him he will not respond because of the protocol violation. Bharara then calls Trump’s assistant to say that he cannot speak with the president directly because of the protocol violation.

Mar. 10, 2017 – Trump orders Bharara and 46 other U.S. Attorneys appointed by Barack Obama to resign. The request surprises Bharara’s office because in November, he had met with Trump and advisers including Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower, and Trump had personally asked him to stay in the position. Bharara publicly refuses to resign.

Mar. 11, 2017 – Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente calls Bharara and tells him that he is one of the 46 U.S. Attorneys being asked to resign. Bharara tells him that he is interpreting that as being fired, and Boente repeats that he is being asked to resign.

Bharara tweets that afternoon that he has just been fired by Trump:

I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.

— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 11, 2017

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Because Bharara served as U.S. attorney of the S.D.N.Y., his jurisdiction included Trump Tower, and he would likely have known whether Trump Tower had been wiretapped by federal investigators as Trump claimed, as well as other Tower-related information potentially relevant to the Russia investigation, or to any other investigations involving the finances or other activities of Trump and his companies.

Mar. 20, 2017 – In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirms that the FBI is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. He also dismisses Trump’s claims that President Obama wiretapped him during the presidential campaign.

Mar. 22, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and other senior officials participate in an Oval Office briefing, after which Trump asks Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to stay for a private meeting. Trump complains to them about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation and asks them to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to stop investigating Flynn.

After the meeting, Coats discusses Trump’s request with other officials and decides that against Trump’s requests to issue a public statement and to intervene with Comey regarding Flynn, believing both would be inappropriate.

A day or two after Mar. 22, 2017 – Shortly after the Mar. 22 meeting, Trump reportedly makes separate telephone calls to both Coats and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers and requests that they issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of collusion between Trump officials and the Russian government. Both officials view the requests as inappropriate and refuse.

Then Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett writes an internal NSA memo documenting Trump’s conversation with Rogers. During the call, Trump questions the accuracy of the IC Assessment that Russia had interfered with the election, in addition to trying to convince Rogers to issue a public statement.

In addition to Trump’s requests, senior White House officials separately requested that top intelligence officials consider the possibility of intervening with Comey directly to have the FBI withdraw its probe of Flynn. Their lines of questioning included: “Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?”

Mar. 30, 2017 – According to Comey’s Senate testimony, on this date, Trump calls Comey at his office and tells Comey that the Russia investigation is a “cloud” inhibiting his ability to act as President. Trump assures Comey that he has had nothing to do with Russia and asks Comey what he can do to “lift the cloud.” Comey responds that the FBI is investigating the matter as quickly as it can, and that a full investigation is in Trump’s best interests.

Trump then asks about why Comey had confirmed the FBI investigation into coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign at a Congressional hearing, and Comey explains that he was responding to Congressional leaders’ demands. Comey explains that he has briefed those leaders on who exactly the FBI is investigating and informed them that Trump is not personally under investigation. Trump repeatedly urges Comey to get the fact that he himself is not under investigation out to the public.

Comey later testifies to the Senate that the FBI and DOJ were reluctant to make a public statement that they did not have an open case on Trump “for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.”

Mar. 30, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Mike Flynn has informed the FBI and congressional officials of his willingness to be interviewed by House and Senate investigators as part of the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Flynn’s lawyer released a statement confirming only that discussions with Congressional investigators were taking place, though it concluded: “no reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.” The New York Times reports that congressional officials are unwilling to make a deal with Flynn until they are further along in their inquiries and have a better idea of the information Flynn might offer.

Mar. 31, 2017 – Trump applauds Flynn’s request for immunity, tweeting:

Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017

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Apr. 11, 2017 – According to Comey’s testimonyTrump calls Comey again and asks what he has done about Trump’s request to publicize the fact that he is not personally under investigation. Comey tells Trump that he relayed Trump’s request to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente but that he has not heard back. Trump reiterates that the “cloud” is interfering with his ability to act as President, and asks whether he should have his staff contact Boente. Comey advises Trump of the traditional channel, which is for White House Counsel to contact DOJ leadership to make such requests. Trump says he will do so and tells Comey, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” Comey responds by reiterating that the proper channel for Trump’s request is for Trump to follow the DOJ chain of command. Trump agrees and ends the call.

Comey testifies that in light of Trump’s requests, “Our — our absolute primary concern was, we can’t infect the investigative team. We don’t want the agents and analysts working on this to know the president of the United States has — has asked — and when it comes from the president, I took it as a direction — to get rid of this investigation, because we’re not going to follow that — that request.

Apr. 25, 2017 – Rod Rosenstein is confirmed as Deputy AG by the Senate and will serve as the official overseeing the Russia investigation in light of Sessions’ recusal. Rosenstein told Senators he would handle it “the way I would handle any investigation,” adding: “I don’t know the details of what, if any, investigation is ongoing, but I can certainly assure you if it’s America against Russia, or America against any other country, I think everyone in this room knows which side I’m on.”

May 8, 2017 – According to the New York Times, Trump summons VP Pence, his chief of staff, top lawyers, and other senior advisors to the Oval Office and informs them that he plans to get rid of Comey, showing them an at least four-page letter, singe-spaced consisting of a long-running series of thoughts on why Comey should be fired that Trump dictated to aide Stephen Miller. The draft criticizes Comey for failing to publicly disclose that Trump was not personally under investigation and for his handling of both the Russia and Clinton email investigations.

White House Counsel Donald McGahn opposes the letter as “problematic” in multiple ways. His objections include the letter’s angry tone and its references to private conversations between Trump and Comey. He successfully convinces Trump not to use the draft. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein then composes his own letter, which becomes a central part of the administration’s public rationale for the removal. The New York Times reports that “Mr. Sessions had been charged with coming up with reasons to fire him,” according to administration officials.

May 8, 2017 — Trump implicitly accuses former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates of leaking classified information in a tweet. Because Yates was scheduled to testify on the Flynn investigation before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee later in May, and because she had previously warned the White House that Flynn might have been compromised, this tweet could provide supporting evidence for an attempt to intimidate a witness in the Flynn investigation.

Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017

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May 9, 2017 – Trump fires Comey from his post as FBI Director, removing the nation’s top law enforcement official while he was leading a criminal investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election as well as an investigation into former NSA Adviser Michael Flynn for potentially making a false statement to the FBI. The firing raised questions about political interference in an ongoing criminal investigation that could implicate Trump and his top advisers.

In the official announcement, Trump cites letters written by AG Sessions and DAG Rosenstein that “recommend [Comey’s] dismissal,” adding that he has accepted their recommendation and therefore is terminating Comey. The letters largely deal with the Clinton email investigation, and Trump also publicly cites Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation in announcing the change. However, Trump’s letter also references the Russia investigation and Comey’s actions toward Trump personally: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

Of the two letters Trump cites, Sessions’ brief letter does recommend Comey’s dismissal, and cites the reasoning in Rosenstein’s letter. Rosenstein’s letter, however, does not explicitly recommend dismissal; instead, it only outlines Comey’s “serious mistakes” in handling the Clinton e-mail investigation. It concludes that the FBI will be unlikely to regain public trust until a new Director is put in place. White House officials say that Sessions and Rosenstein pushed for Comey’s removal, but observers in Washington, including veteran former FBI agents, view the letters as pretextual.

May 9, 2017 – ABC News reports that Rosenstein was so upset that he was on the verge of resigning because of Trump’s public statements, and statements by White House officials, that Trump was acting on Rosenstein’s recommendation in firing Comey. Rosenstein tells the Sinclair Broadcast Group: “No, I’m not quitting.”

May 9, 2017 – Late that night, the White House announces that Trump will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov in the Oval Office the next day.

May 10, 2017 –Trump meets with Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak in the Oval Office and speaks to them about the Russia investigation and Comey’s firing. He reportedly tells the senior Russian officials: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job…I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off…I’m not under investigation.”

According to the Times, Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the account. Instead, he claimed in a statement that: “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia. Spicer adds, “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”

May 11, 2017 – In an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt, Trump admits that even before he consulted Rosenstein, “I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way.” Holt mentions that in Trump’s letter outlining the reasons for Comey’s firing, he cited Rosenstein’s letter, and Trump responds, “Oh, I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”

Then, while addressing how he would have fired Comey regardless, he adds: “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won…This was an excuse for having lost an election.”

When Holt asks him about whether he was angry with Comey because of the FBI’s Russia investigation, Trumps responds that he never tried to pressure Comey to drop it. He adds: “Maybe I’ll expand that, you know, lengthen the time (of the Russia probe) because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago. ‘Cause all it is, is an excuse but I said to myself, I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people.” He added, “I want that to be so strong and so good. And I want it to happen.”

May 12, 2017 – Trump tweets, “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations,” suggesting Trump may have recorded such tapes, and may decide to release them. The tweet follows a New York Times report the day prior describing the dinner between Trump and Comey at which Trump asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty.

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017

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The Times reports that both the president and his spokesman refused to confirm or deny whether Trump tapes his conversations with visitors. When asked about whether such tapes existed by a Fox News host later that day, Trump reiterated: “That I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about it…All I want is for Comey to be honest.” Spokesman Sean Spicer, when asked, would not give a definitive response, saying only, “The president has nothing further to add on that.” Spicer further denied that Trump was threatening Comey, saying “That’s not a threat…He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I’m moving on.”

May 17, 2017 – Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as the DOJ’s Special Counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election and possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia.

Trump responds by saying, “a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

However, Trump decries the decision on Twitter:

This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017

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With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017

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“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!;” “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

May 2017 – The New York Times reports that Trump berated Sessions in an Oval Office meeting and told him he should resign, shortly after learning of the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump accuses Sessions of “disloyalty” and then launches into a series of insults against Sessions. Sessions became emotional and told Trump he would quit, and then drafted and sent a resignation letter to the White House. The Times reports that Sessions would later tell colleagues that Trump’s dressing down was the most humiliating experience he had ever had in public life.

Trump eventually rejects the resignation in May after senior administration officials argue that it would only create more problems for him. But the Times also reports that he wished to remove Sessions again in July, though he did not act on it at that time. The Times reports that Trump believes the moment Sessions recused himself is the moment Trump lost control over the Russia investigation.

This dressing down represents the low point in the relationship between Trump and Sessions, a Senator who broke ranks with fellow Senators to become one of Trump’s first supporters. The Timesreports that their relationship would marginally improve over time, partly because of Sessions’ taking a strong public stance against leakers later on.

May 18, 2017 – Rosenstein testifies before a closed-door Senate briefing that he knew Trump wanted to fire Comey before he wrote his letter justifying Comey’s removal.  Rosenstein adds that Trump asked him to write the letter. He tells Senators that on May 8 he knew that Trump was planning to fire Comey.

June 6, 2017 – Washington Post reporter Robert Costa reports on NBC News that “The President is expected to be Tweeting on Thursday in response to Comey — not to stay quiet during the testimony — because he himself wants to be the one driving the process.”

Costa later tweets:

I’m told by two WH sources that Pres. Trump does not plan to put down Twitter on Thursday. May live tweet if he feels the need to respond.

— Robert Costa (@costareports) June 6, 2017

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June 7, 2017 – DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers both refuse to testify about their personal interactions with Trump and whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Russia investigation at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Coats tells the Committee, “I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to address that in a public session,” when asked about whether Trump requested he intervene in the Russia investigation. Coats adds, however: “But I am more than willing to sit before this committee during its investigative process in a closed session and answer your questions.” Roger says, “I am not going to discuss the specifics of interactions that I may or may have not had with the President.”

Both men deny being pressured to intervene. Coats says, “I have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way and shape — with shaping intelligence, in a political way or in relationship to an ongoing investigation.” Rogers tells the Committee, “To the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.

June 8, 2017 – Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz responds to Comey’s testimony  claiming Comey “admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President.”

However, legal experts say that the executive privilege could not have been implicated by Comey’s memos, because executive privilege functions as a shield against compelled rather than voluntary disclosure, and in any case, the leaks did not disclose any classified information or break any laws, since they dealt solely with private interactions with the President (the kind of internal communications of which many insider books are written).

June 16, 2017 – Trump attacks Deputy AG Rosenstein on Twitter:

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

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June 22, 2017 – The New York Times reports that Trump officially announces that he does not have taped recordings of his conversations with James Comey, citing Trump’s tweet:

With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017

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…whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017

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The Times report notes that Trump’s tweet leaves open the possibility that others may have recorded their conversations, potentially without permission, such as the Intelligence Community generally or FBI in particular.

The Times report notes that legal experts have said Trump’s initial tweet threatening that tapes existed could serve as part of a potential obstruction of justice case, because the tweet could be construed as pressuring Comey not to reveal details about his and Trump’s conversations relating to the Russia investigation to federal investigators. Others say the threat of existence of tapes suggest Trump was trying to keep Comey honest.

June 16, 2017 – Trump attacks Rosenstein and the expanding Russia probe in a series of tweets:

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

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June 23, 2017 – In a Fox television interview, in response to a Fox interviewer suggesting that the possibility of recordings of Comey’s conversations with Trump may have ensured Comey’s honesty in his Senate testimony, Trump says: “Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that.” He added that in response to the possibility of Comey’s conversations being recorded, “I think his story may have changed.”

July 8, 2017 – The New York Times reports that Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer in June 2016, shortly after his father won the Republican nomination. Campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner also attended. Though Trump Jr. initially releases a statement saying the meeting was primarily about an adoption program, emailsreleased later show meeting occurred because Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton by the Russian lawyer.

Trump personally dictates a statement for Trump Jr., stating that he and the Russian lawyer “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children,” and that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.” These claims are later proven to be false. Before the revelation of the president’s involvement in these deliberations, Trump’s lawyer repeatedly denied Trump was involved in drafting them. Eventually, the White House confirms that Trump “weighed in” on the drafting of the misleading statement.

July 10, 2017 – Trump tweets that Comey illegally leaked classified information to the media:

James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017

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July 19, 2017 – In an interview with the New York Times, Trump says that had he known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would not have nominated him to be Attorney General:

TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

BAKER: Was that a mistake?

TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

Trump repeats that he relied on the Rosenstein letter in deciding to fire Comey:

TRUMP: […] Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K.

Trump asserts again that Comey leaked confidential information in his Senate testimony, and oddly suggests that, in their initial meeting, Comey told Trump to “treat Flynn good” (when Comey testified that Trump had asked him to let go of the Flynn investigation):

TRUMP: Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose— special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.

TRUMP: So think of this. [NYT reporter] Mike [L. Schmidt]. He illegally leaks, and everyone thinks it is illegal, and by the way, it looks like it’s classified and all that stuff. So he got — not a smart guy — he got tricked into that, because they didn’t even ask him that question. They asked him another question, O.K.?

________

TRUMP: He said I said “hope” — “I hope you can treat Flynn good” or something like that. I didn’t say anything.

Later in the interview, Trump contends that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe has a conflict of interest involving Hillary Clinton. Days later, he repeats his claim on Twitter:

Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

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Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017

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…big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017

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Jill McCabe, McCabe’s wife, received nearly $500,000 in 2015 campaign donations from a political action committee associated with Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful Virginia Senate run. McAuliffe is close with both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

July 24, 2017 – The New York Times reports that Trump aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Senate investigators looking into the Russia investigation on the Senate Intelligence Committee. After meeting with investigators behind closed doors, Kushner released a statement to news media: “All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign…I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did.” He is the first member of the Trump inner circle to confer with congressional investigators.

July 24–25, 2017 — In a series of early morning tweets, Trump renews his attacks against Sessions.

So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

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Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – “quietly working to boost Clinton.” So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

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He also repeated his claims regarding McCabe having a conflict of interest with respect to the Clintons:

Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

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Aug. 1, 2017 – In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump again berates Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation:

WSJ: He’s the Russian guy. So Sessions has recused himself, but is Bob Mueller’s job safe? There is speculation –

TRUMP: No, we’re going to see. I mean, I have no comment yet, because it’s too early. But we’ll see. We’re going to see. Here’s the good news: I was never involved with Russia. There was nobody in the campaign. I’ve got 200 people that will say that they’ve never seen anybody on the campaign. Here’s another – he was involved early. There’s nobody on the campaign that saw anybody from Russia. We had nothing to do with Russia. They lost an election and they came up with this as an excuse. And the only ones that are laughing are the Democrats and the Russians. They’re the only ones that are laughing. And if Jeff Sessions didn’t recuse himself, we wouldn’t even be talking about this subject.

And Trump further suggests that Sessions’ early campaign endorsement was not a sign of loyalty:

WSJ: Just on Sessions, just one thing. Would you like to see him step aside? Would you like to see him resign? Would it be in the country’s best interest just –

TRUMP: I’m just very disappointed in him. I’m disappointed in, you know, a number of categories. I told you, the leakers. He should have – he should be after them. So many people say to me: Why are they going after you on nothing and they leave Hillary Clinton alone on, you know, really major things? And it is – so I’m disappointed in him. And don’t forget, when they say he endorsed me, I went to Alabama. I had 40,000 people, you may have been there, remember, in Mobile?

WSJ: I remember.

TRUMP: I had 40,000 people. He was the senator from Alabama. I won the state by a lot, massive numbers. A lot of the states I won by massive numbers. But he was a senator. He looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, what do I have to lose, and he endorsed me. So it’s not like a great, loyal thing about the endorsement. But I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.

Aug. 3, 2017 – Vox reports that, in late May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several people in high-level FBI management that they should consider themselves potential witnesses in any potential obstruction of justice investigation involving Trump. He told colleagues that he could also be a potential witness himself.

Aug. 26, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that sometime this past spring, Trump approached AG Sessions and asked whether the DOJ could possibly drop its case against former Maricopa County, Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio, whom Trump has long respected. Sessions advised him that it would have been inappropriate to drop the case, after which Trump decided to let the case go to trial and subsequently grant a pardon. Legal experts believe that Trump’s handling of the Arpaio case may be relevant to determining his intent in speaking to Comey about the FBI’s Michael Flynn investigation (“I hope you can let this go”) in an obstruction of justice probe.

Aug. 31, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump’s lawyers have met with Mueller several times in recent months and have submitted several memos to him contending that Trump didn’t obstruct justice by firing Comey and questioning Comey’s reliability as a potential witness.

Sept. 19, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller’s office interviewed DAG Rosenstein in June or July 2017 about Trump’s removal of Comey. A source told CNN that Rosenstein has no current plans to recuse himself from the investigation, suggesting he does not view himself as a key witness in the obstruction of justice investigation. DOJ Spokesperson Ian Prior released a statement saying, “As the deputy attorney general has said numerous times, if there comes a time when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed.”

[Editor’s Note: For more analysis, readers may be interested in: “A Round-Up of Just Security’s Obstruction of Justice Coverage”]

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Opinion: We must stop politicizing tragedy – The Ledger

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Opinion: We must stop politicizing tragedy
The Ledger
Perhaps the most famous case in the past two decades is the Patriot Act. Shortly after 9/11, congress implemented and passed the Patriot Act. This act allowed three-letter agencies — such as the NSA or the FBI — to expand their power and ability to 

11:55 AM 10/16/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – from The Early Edition: October 16, 2017 

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SYRIA The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) began their final push to oust Islamic State militants from Raqqa yesterday, marking the last phase to combat the militants in their de facto capital in Syria and after a significant number of militants surrendered as part of a locally brokered deal. John Davison and Ellen Francis report … Continue reading “11:55 AM 10/16/2017 – TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION – from The Early Edition: October 16, 2017”

12:03 PM 10/16/2017 – How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election – Axios 

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Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (18 sites) Trump – Google News: Trump dares ‘crooked’ Hillary to run again after she blames loss on Comey ‘shiv’ – Fox News Fox News Trump dares ‘crooked’ Hillary to run again after she blames loss on Comey ‘shiv’ Fox News President Trump tweeted Monday that he hopes Crooked … Continue reading“12:03 PM 10/16/2017 – How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election – Axios”

Trump allies worry that losing the House means impeachment – CNN

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CNN
Trump allies worry that losing the House means impeachment
CNN
If Republicans forfeit the House, Democrats will almost certainly create a spectacle that will derail conservatives’ agenda and the remainder of Trump’s first term — a spectacle complete with a raft of new subpoenas, a spotlight on the Russia 
The Daily 202: Trump’s attacks on Senate Republicans are paying political dividendsWashington Post

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Russia Funding Taliban in War Against NATO Troops – TOLOnews

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Russia Funding Taliban in War Against NATO Troops
TOLOnews
The report said that Russia’s intelligence services are sending fleets of fuel tankers into Afghanistan through the Hairatan border crossing with Uzbekistan to companies operating on behalf of the Taliban. The Times reported that about $2.5 million USD 

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How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election – Axios

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How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election
Axios
U.S. investigators are probing whether Russia relied on clandestine American help to identify political soft spots and pressure points in its campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But experts say that, even without local assistance, Russia’s own 
Why are Russian media outlets hyping the Mueller investigation?San Francisco Chronicle
Inside Russia’s alliance with white nationalists across the globeThinkProgress

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How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election – Axios

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Axios
How history readied Putin to disrupt the US election
Axios
U.S. investigators are probing whether Russia relied on clandestine American help to identify political soft spots and pressure points in its campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But experts say that, even without local assistance, Russia’s own 
Why are Russian media outlets hyping the Mueller investigation?Midland Daily News
Inside Russia’s alliance with white nationalists across the globeThinkProgress

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Manafort Got $60 Million from Russian Oligarch – Patheos (blog)

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Patheos (blog)
Manafort Got $60 Million from Russian Oligarch
Patheos (blog)
It’s the place where Russian oligarchs and organized crime (but I repeat myself), including Putinhimself, launder their money through banks. And guess who was vice chairman of … Trump’sCommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. While he was on the board of 

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7:22 AM 10/16/2017 The Method To The Moron’s Madness » Donald Trump: Further reading – FT | » Donald Trump | The Guardian: How Fallon fell: why is the late-night host floundering in Trump’s America? 

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Donald Trump “reelection campaign” funds may be going to Trump’s personal secretary Trump’s supposed 2020 reelection effort may be even more fraudulent than previously known  » 10:59 AM 10/15/2017 – The Method To The Moron’s Madness » Palmer Report » Donald Trump: Further reading 16/10/17 01:12 from 1. Trump from mikenova (5 sites) Donald Trump Donald Trump – further … Continue reading “7:22 AM 10/16/2017 The Method To The Moron’s Madness » Donald Trump: Further reading – FT | » Donald Trump | The Guardian: How Fallon fell: why is the late-night host floundering in Trump’s America?”

The Early Edition: October 16, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

SOMALIA

More than 300 have been killed in a double explosion in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu on Saturday and the death toll is likely to rise, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country since the Islamist insurgency started in 2007. Nicholas Bariyo reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The attack came after President Trump renewed efforts to rid Somalia of al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants, some analysts stating that the bombing may have been in retaliation for al-Shabab’s loss of territory and in response to the U.S.’ increased drone attacks. Hussein Mohamed, Eric Schmitt and Mohamed Ibrahim report at the New York Times.

The U.N. Secretary-General condemned the attack and urged all Somalis “to unite in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism,” in a statement by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson yesterday. The UN News Centre reports.

The Mogadishu attack may prompt the U.S. to step up its involvement in Somalia and to counter al-Shabab, who were almost certainly behind the attack. Jason Burke provides an analysis at the Guardian.

IRAN

“We stand committed to the J.C.P.O.A. and its full implementation by all sides,” a joint statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday, using the acronym for the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The leaders made the statement following President Trump’s decertification of Iran’s compliance with the accord and urged the Trump administration and Congress to “consider the implications to the security of the U.S. and its allies before taking any steps” to undermine the agreement. Laurence Norman reports at Wall Street Journal.

“We will continue to stick to the deal and to cooperate with the [International Atomic Energy Agency] within the framework of international law,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday in response to Trump’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance, adding that the U.S. is “more isolated than ever” as a consequence of the president’s actions. Erin Cunningham reports at the Washington Post.

“What we’re saying now with Iran is don’t let it become the next North Korea,” the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said yesterday, defending Trump’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance and arguing that the aim is to “improve the situation” and “see how” to make the nuclear agreement “better.” Eli Watkins reports at CNN.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia’s TASS news agency yesterday, responding to the Trump’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance, noting that the Trump administration has a habit of calling for improvements and amendments to already successful agreements. Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman “praised President Trump for visionary new Iran strategy,” the White House said yesterday in a read out of Saturday’s call between Trump and King Salman. Mallory Shelbourne reports at the Hill.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump for his “brave decision” on the Iran deal in an interview yesterday, adding that “we cannot allow this rogue regime 30 times the size of North Korea’s economy to have a nuclear arsenal.” Mallory Shelbourne reports at the Hill.

“The U.S. is no longer not just unpredictable but unreliable,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said yesterday, stating that the strength of the agreement was that it was based on “mutual mistrust” but that Trump is “widening the mistrust” between Iran and the U.S. and between the U.S. and the international community. Rebecca Savransky reports at the Hill.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Trump administration yesterday for its decision on the Iran deal, Reuters reports.

The various reactions of global leaders to Trump’s Iran strategy is provided by the BBC.

The Iran deal cannot be “fixed” because it is “intrinsically misconceived,” Iran cannot be trusted to comply with the agreement and the deal “will breathe its last shortly.” The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton writes at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump’s Iran strategy foreshadows “yet another crisis over the deal and perhaps a U.S. withdrawal in just three months’ time” as the president’s decision to decertify Iran’s compliance has left Congress to deal with the mess he has created. Josh Rogin writes at the Washington Post 

The president has sent mixed messages to Congress about his intentions, which does not bode well for the future of the deal as Congress lacks the tools to make effective foreign policy decisions. Daniel B. Shapiro writes at POLITICO Magazine.

Iran carried out a cyberattack on the U.K. parliament and hacked 9,000 email accounts in June, including the account of Prime Minister Theresa May, according to a secret intelligence assessment. Francis Elliot and Fiona Hamilton report at the Times.

IRAQ

Iraqi forces and Kurdish troops have clashed in the northern oil-rich Iraqi province of Kirkuk today, amid a three-day standoff when Iraqi forces advanced into the disputed province which was included in last month’s controversial Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, where the Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence. Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim report at the Washington Post.

The Iraqi forces were sent by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to impose security in the area and marks the first use of military force since the referendum vote, undermining the U.S.-backed efforts of the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to combat Islamic State militants. David Zucchino reports at the New York Times.

The Iraqi central government accused the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (K.R.G.) of bringing Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) fighters to Kirkuk, labeling the move a “declaration of war” – a K.R.G. official denying the claim as “false” and that there are only Peshmerga in Kirkuk. Reutersreports.

The Pentagon urged dialogue as “the best option to defuse ongoing tensions” and warned against “destabilizing actions that distract” from the fight against Islamic State militants and that would “further undermine Iraq’s stability.” Reuters reports.

The Iraqi forces’ operation has allegedly caused “lots of casualties,” according to a Peshmerga commander, adding that the Iraqi forces “burnt lots of houses and killed many people,” the claims could not be independently verified. Al Jazeera reports.  

Iraqi forces have captured territory in Kirkuk today, including key several positions, the Iraqi military saying in a statement that they are “continuing to advance.” Reuters reports.

Iran shut its border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan yesterday at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement. Reuters reports.

NORTH KOREA

Diplomatic efforts with North Korea “will continue until the first bomb drops,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview yesterday, adding that the “President has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically.” Eli Watkins reports at CNN.

The U.S. and South Korea will begin five-day joint military exercises off the Korean Peninsula today, an exercise that was described by North Korea on Saturday as “a reckless act of war” and there has been speculation that the drills would prompt North Korea to launch a provocation, with one South Korean government source saying that Pyongyang is preparing to launch a missile. Eun-Young Jeong reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. military will conduct noncombatant evacuation exercises next week to prepare U.S. service members and their families in the event of war and other emergencies. Choe Sang-Hun reports at the New York Times.

North Korea and South Korea will not hold direct talks in Russia today, despite attending the same event and despite encouragement by Moscow to use the opportunity to talk. Reuters reports.

North Korea’s ability to carry out cyberattacks poses a serious threat to the West and has achieved much more than many analysts expected, including targeting key state infrastructure, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, and hacking into South Korea’s military networks. David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick and Nicole Perlroth explain at the New York Times.

SYRIA

The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) began their final push to oust Islamic State militants from Raqqa yesterday, marking the last phase to combat the militants in their de facto capital in Syria and after a significant number of militants surrendered as part of a locally brokered deal. John Davison and Ellen Francis report at Reuters.

The locally brokered deal was arranged to “minimize civilian casualties” and “purportedly excludes” foreign Islamic State fighters, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement, emphasizing that the coalition was not involved in the discussions for the deal. Louisa Loveluck reports at the Washington Post.

A senior Turkish official rejected Syria’s call for Turkish troops to withdraw from the rebel-held Idlib province at the weekend, emphasizing that the Turkish forces are there in close cooperation with Russian forces and in order to establish a de-escalation zone. Umut Uras reports at Al Jazeera.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has around $60m worth of business dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to the Kremlin. Aggelos Petropoulos and Richard Engel report at NBC News.

Democrats and Republicans are stepping up efforts to secure the integrity of voting systems ahead of next year’s mid-term elections and in response to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Michael Wines reports at the New York Times.

The America public deserve to know about the connections between the Democrats, opposition research firm Fusion GPS, former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele and the F.B.I., and the media’s focus on Trump-Russia has meant they have failed to pick up on stories that reveal wider Russian influence. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

The PHILIPPINES

Two leaders of Islamic State-linked militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi were killed by Philippine forces, a government spokesperson saying in a statement today that the bodies of the leaders – one of whom was on the U.S. Department of Justice list of most-wanted terrorists world-wide – were recovered today. Jake Maxwell Watts reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Around 30 militants remain in Marawi, the Philippine’s military chief said today, as the forces stage an operation to retake the city. The AP reports.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended his role in the Trump administration yesterday amid reports that he has a poor relationship with the president, Julia Manchester reports at the Hill.

The reports of a poor relationship between U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Tillerson are “so ridiculous,” Haley said in an interview yesterday, stating that she shares a “great relationship” with the Secretary of State. Jacqueline Klimas reports at POLITICO.

White House chief of staff John Kelly has been taking action to fill positions in the administration. Nancy Cook explains his efforts at POLITICO.

GUANTÁNAMO

The entire civilian legal team defending the alleged mastermind of the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing has quit due to a secret ethical conflict, throwing into doubt the future of the case. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

The Pentagon has not yet said if it would extend the duty of the chief war crimes prosecutor Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, who is set to retire next month but has said would extend his service if asked to. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

An al-Qaeda terrorist turned government informant was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday. Carol Rosenberg provides an overview of Ahmed al Darbi’s circumstances at the Miami Herald.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Islamic State today claimed responsibility for firing two rockets yesterday from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into EgyptReuters reports.

The crisis in South Sudan has caused deep concern in the U.S., however the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has dismissed the Trump administration’s comments and shows no sign of changing his behavior. Kevin Sieff reports at the Washington Post.

Islamist militants carried out a daytime attack today in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula today, killing seven according to officials. Ashraf Sweilam reports at the AP, also providing the context for the recent increased violence perpetrated by militants in Egypt.

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9:19 AM 10/17/2017 – us national security – Google News: Facebook looking to hire employees with US national security clearance to combat election manipulation – Firstpost | Stars and Stripes: A new battle in Iraq gives Iran the upper hand | Stars and Stripes: Bergdahl guilty pleas leave room for drama at sentencing

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1. US Security from mikenova (78 sites)
Stars and Stripes: At least 15 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police compound
Washington Free Beacon: Rick Scott Declares State of Emergency in Advance of Richard Spencer Florida Event
In Homeland Security: National Security, Intelligence, Cybersecurity Experts To Speak At Homeland Security Week Conference
Just Security: Would the United States Be Responsible for Private Hacking?
Stars and Stripes: Russia pressures Serbia on status of controversial base
cia – Google News: Tom Cotton to CIA? That could go really bad, really fast – Salon
global security – Google News: Unisys Appoints Jonathan Goldberger as New Leader for Global Security Services – PR Newswire (press release)
International Security – Google News: Turkey leader in Poland for talks on security, his policies – ABC News
Stars and Stripes: Deadly fires ease, anger grows over Iberia’s 41 fire deaths
Stars and Stripes: US presence in Somalia surges as military mission turns more deadly
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Japanese military helicopter loses contact off central Japan
The National Interest: How America and Iran Almost Went to War
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: After Kirkuk, Kurdish forces pull out of more areas in Iraq

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12:14 PM 10/5/2017 – FBI agents question Las Vegas gunman’s girlfriend for several hours – ABC News | US: Myanmar crackdown could draw international terrorists | Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers – The Guardian | False Flag Terrorism: Myth and Reality by 20committee

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False Flag Terrorism: Myth and Reality 

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Sunday night’s appalling atrocity in Las Vegas, where an apparently lone gunman holed up in the Mandalay Bay hotel shot more than 500 people – killing 59 of them at present count – has taken over the airwaves and social media. Rightly so, since this is the deadliest mass shooting incident in recent American history.

Questions abound regarding Stephen Paddock, the shooter, who’s dead (reportedly by his own hand) and therefore unavailable to explain what motivated him to commit such an awful crime. It’s a rare thing for an affluent older white man – he was 64 and devoted to gambling in his retirement from accountancy – without a criminal record to assemble a vast arsenal, then unleash it on hundreds of people he’d never met.

It may be some time before a motive can be detected in this strange and sinister case. The claim of the Islamic State that Paddock was their “soldier” has been dismissed by U.S. intelligence as a desperate fantasy by the ailing terror group, eager to cash in on the Las Vegas horror. Indeed, we may never know exactly what propelled Paddock into this horrific act.

In the absence of reliable information, the usual charlatans have jumped into the fray, offering fact-free speculation. Per sordid custom, this ghoulish gang is led by Alex Jones, the InfoWars doyen, who proffered his customary insta-explanation for the crime: False Flag!

In other words, nothing in Las Vegas is as it seems. Jones offered a tale that was convoluted even for him: Paddock was merely a front for the “Deep State” in Washington, the Islamic State, and “the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik Revolution out of New York and London” (translation: Jews).

This is his shtick, and Jones falls back on False Flags to explain nearly everything. He became notorious for employing it after the 2012 school horror in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, which left 20 little kids murdered. Egged on by his instance that the entire incident was a hoax, Jones’ demented fans have tortured grieving parents for years.

This vile spectacle has pushed the False Flag idea beyond the pale, which is unfortunate because they really do exist among spies and terrorists. Recruiting agents and conducting espionage operations while pretending to be somebody else happens every day in the real world. Terrorists, too, have been known to kill while masquerading as another party, for political effect.

Polite people don’t like to talk about this, of course, and their politesse has infected our discourse about such important matters, to its detriment. Now, thanks to Alex Jones, to mention False Flags in any way is to self-brand as a lunatic.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageTerrorism  

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Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers
The Guardian
The Myanmar military killed dozens of Rohingya villagers as they gathered to seek safety following the outbreak of violence in Rakhine state, according to witness reports collected by human rights experts. The testimonies describe soldiers beating and more »

9:18 AM 10/5/2017 – German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times | Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape – by Joseph Fitsanakis 

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The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global. Source: German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape by Joseph Fitsanakis Thursday October 5th, 2017 at 2:29 AM Search Results For … Continue reading “9:18 AM 10/5/2017 – German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times | Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape – by Joseph Fitsanakis”

Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas shooter, targeted jet fuel tanks, possibly other targets: Investigators 

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Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock also shot into jet fuel tanks at the airport across from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, possible attempting to set off a massive explosion, according to a report.

Bullet holes were found in two white tanks at McCarran International …

US: Myanmar crackdown could draw international terrorists

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The U.S. State Department says Myanmar’s crackdown that has caused an exodus of a half-million Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh could destabilize the region and invite international terrorists.

     

Germany’s Trade Surplus Creates Tension With the Trump Administration | Economic Intelligence

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When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, the results are generally not pretty. For this reason, one has to worry about Germany’s outsized trade surplus, which appears to be putting that country on a collision course with the Trump administration.

Being elected on the platform that other countries have been taking advantage of the U.S. in the area of international trade, President Donald Trump seems to be moving irresistibly towards doing something about other countries’ large trade surpluses. Being sure that its country’s large trade surplus is a sign of virtue rather than constituting any problem, the German government is immovable about any notion of taking policy measures to help reduce the size of that surplus.

At the heart of the trade tensions between the U.S. and Germany is the fact that, at around $300 billion, Germany now has the world’s largest external current account surplus. At over 8 percent of GDP, Germany’s external current account surplus is approximately three times the size of that of China, which has for long been the main recipient of U.S. criticism about unfair trade practices.

U.S. concern about Germany’s large external current account surplus predates Trump becoming president. Already in April 2016, in its semi-annual currency report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury flagged that the German external surplus was problematic. It did so by placing Germany, along with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, on a special monitoring list. It warned that these countries faced extra scrutiny and potential retaliation by Washington as a result of concerns over their growing trade imbalances with the U.S.


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Since assuming office, Trump has made abundantly clear his displeasure with Germany’s large trade surplus, which he considers to be totally unacceptable in that it unfairly disadvantages U.S. workers. In that context, his administration has charged that Germany has taken advantage of its Euro membership to gain an unfair competitive advantage. By adopting the Euro as its currency, which weak economic performers like Greece, Italy and Portugal also use, Germany has enjoyed the benefits of a very much weaker currency than it would have had if it had maintained the Deutsche Mark.

The German government’s reaction to the Trump administration’s charges of unfair trade practices is generally one of indignation and incomprehension. It insists that a large trade surplus is not a policy objective, but rather the result of Germany’s orderly budget policies and its aging population’s high propensity to save. Why, they ask, should Germany be penalized for following sensible economic policies?

The German government is also quick to point out that even if it wanted to do something to address its large trade surplus, it is politically constrained from doing so. Since joining the Euro in 1999, it has not been a German central bank that influences the German exchange rate, but rather the independent European Central Bank that does so. Germany might have two seats on the ECB’s board, but it is only one of 19 countries that are represented on that board, which puts it in a distinct minority.


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Similarly, to the repeated entreaties by the International Monetary Fund that Germany should use the fiscal space that it has to help reduce trade imbalances both in Europe and the rest of the world, the German government responds that this is no longer constitutionally possible. In 2009, the German parliament overwhelmingly approved a balanced budget amendment or “debt brake.” According to that debt brake, from 2016 onwards, the German government has been constitutionally precluded from running a structural budget deficit that exceeds 0.35 percent of GDP.

One has to fear that the German government is grossly underestimating how politically important it is to the Trump administration to deliver on the president’s election promises to bring jobs back to America. One also has to worry that should the German government remain intransigent about doing anything to address its country’s large trade surplus, Trump will use his executive authority to follow through on his threats to introduce far-reaching trade restriction to meet his trade balance objectives.

An intensification of trade restrictions is the last thing that the world economy needs; it could very well invite retaliation that could lead to a global trade war. For this reason, one must hope that cooler heads prevail in both Berlin and Washington to find a cooperative way to deal with today’s global trade imbalances. The basis for such an approach might be to have Washington commit to more disciplined budget policies in return for Berlin committing to finding a way to use the fiscal space that it now enjoys to pursue a more expansionary fiscal policy.

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Hearing in the Bundestag: Maaßen calls for more technical possibilities – politics

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With reference to the security security situation, Hans-Georg Maaßen, the President of theConstitution, calls for more powers for the news services. “Security has its price, and the price is not only paid in euros,”. Only the services could detect and prevent terrorist attacks in advance. “We need a full set of tools with which we are able to solve the problems of today,” said Maaßen. “It can not be that we are dependent on our partners.”

Maaßen said he had “a few wishes just in the technical area”. The protection of the constitution needs access to messenger services like WhatsApp or telegram. He would also like to know who is looking at decapitation videos in Germany, which are spread over a foreign server, in order to be able to compare this information with files of suspicious extremists and to assess their dangerousness better.

The threat of cyber attacks is growing

The President of the Constitutional Defense argued that the security situation is now much more complex than in the case of the terror series 40 years ago in the so-called Deutscher Herbst. Currently there are 10,300 Salafists in Germany as well as more than 1800 persons in the Islamic terrorist spectrum. In addition, there was an increase in violent right- and left-wing extremism as well as a growing threat of cyber-attacks . “If I were a business man, I could say: in all our business areas, it is booming,” said Maaßen. “Unfortunately this is not a positive message.”

The President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said that the intelligence services are currently faced with immense challenges. The German services would have to keep pace with the technical development. “Otherwise the digital revolution benefits only those from whom we are supposed to protect our country.”

Maaßen: No cyber attacks before the Bundestagswahl

The intelligence chiefs also spoke about cyber attacks in the run-up to the Bundestag election. Hans-Georg Maaßen, President of the Constitution, confirmed that the feared attacks and disinformation campaigns had been suspended. Before the members of the Intelligence Control Board, Maaßen expressed the assumption that such methods had not been used “because the political costs are simply too high.” After the recent elections in the US and France, Russian disinformation campaigns had become so clear that this time, such measures were intentionally abandoned.

Maaßen had warned against foreign influence in the run-up to the election. Andrej Hunko, a member of the Left, said: “Contrary to the propaganda of German secret services, there were no cyber attacks on the Bundestag elections.” He referred to the answer given by the Ministry of the Interior to his parliamentary question. It lists only attack attempts on parties and part-time foundations, which have already taken months. The ministry calls the attacks “possible preparations for attempts to influence the Bundestag election”. Hunko, on the other hand, considers this presumed connection to be “coffee beverages”. ( dpa )

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