3:39 PM 12/14/2017 – The briefing is designed to avoid angering the president, the Posts report says.

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If you talk about Russia, meddling, interferencethat takes the [Presidential Daily Briefing] off the rails, said one former senior intelligence official.

The briefing is designed to avoid angering the president, the Posts report says.

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Polish official says Putin responsible for 2010 plane crash
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US F-22s intercept Russian fighters over Syria
US-backed Syria fighters kill more than 20 ISIS fighters
FCCs Net Neutrality Meeting Evacuated On Advice of Security
NY Times Reports Obama Only Told 18 Falsehoods During Entire Presidency

 

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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

6,700 Rohingya diedincluding 730 children under the age of 5 in the first month of the Myanmar governments crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority group,  the New York Times. The Times also  that two Reuters journalists have been arrested in the country on accusation that they attempted to illegally obtain government documents related to the military’s activities in Rakhine State, where the acts against Rohingya have occurred. Murders, rape, and arson in that state have driven over 645,000 Rohingya into neighboring Bangladesh since August. The United States and United Nations have called the acts ethnic cleansing.

In a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules,  the Washington Post. A  earlier this month said 83% of Americans oppose the change, which allows internet service providers to discriminate in the connection speeds they allow to different websites. The Times  the final effect that the change will have on internet users remains unclear. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman  he intends to file a lawsuit seeking to stop the rule change.

In the days before President Donald Trump took office, his closest confidants urged him to accept the intelligence communitys assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,  the Post. The president resisted the advice. Based on interviews with 50 current and former American officials, the Posts essay details episodes that reveal the presidents views and frustrations related to Russia, how those frustrations have affected his relationships with those around him, and the resulting implications for foreign policy and national security. If you talk about Russia, meddling, interferencethat takes the [Presidential Daily Briefing] off the rails, said one former senior intelligence official. The briefing is designed to avoid angering the president, the Posts report says.

In a signing statement for the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Trump signified that he intends to keep Guantanamo open, though he reserves the right to release detainees, the Miami Herald . Trump stated that restrictions on the Presidents authority to transfer detainees would violate constitutional separation-of-power principles, including the Presidents constitutional authority as Commander in Chief. The statement is similar to President Barack Obamas prior assertion of this authority, though the Obama administration emphasized this authority in an effort to close the facility.

The Trump administration is refocusing on Iran now that the threat from the Islamic State in the Middle East is subsiding,  the Wall Street Journal. Officials from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia have expressed concern over Iranian military expansion and the threat of Iranian military presence in Syria. While Defense Secretary James Mattis will keep troops in Syria in an effort to keep Islamic State insurgents from regaining ground in the country, U.S. officials state that American troops might also be needed to deter Irans military presence in Syria and prevent Iran from transporting weapons to its allies.

The unnamed U.S. citizen detained as an enemy combatant by the U.S. military since Sept. 16 also holds Saudi citizenship the Hill. John Doe was captured by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic forces while allegedly fighting with Islamic State insurgents. He has not yet been charged or provided counsel, but his Saudi citizenship could allow an arrangement to transfer him into Saudi custody under certain conditions.

James Alex Fields Jr., the self-identified neo-Nazi that killed counterprotester Heather Heyer at a far-right rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, will make his first appearance in court on Thursday,  the Post. He is charged with second-degree murder for deliberately driving his car into another car, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others, among several other charges.

Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee say the president will seek a federal pay freeze and cuts to domestic security programs in the fiscal year 2019 budget, the Post. The senators released two reports citing budget guidance promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. The documents specifically address the Department of Homeland Security but, regarding pay raises, cite governmentwide guidance that there will be no civilian salary increases. The documents also cite $568 million in cuts to counterterrorism programs, including countering violent extremism initiatives, transportation security, domestic nuclear detection, and emergency response programs. Congress would ultimately have to decide whether to authorize appropriations for those purposes.

On Wednesday, British Parliament dealt a major blow to Prime Minister Theresa May in a 309-305 vote for more control over Brexit negotiations, the New York Times . Parliament must now provide formal approval for any final deal in the ongoing negotiations withdrawing from the European Union. May argued against the vote, calling it another roadblock in the complicated negotiations intended to be completed in March 2019.

On Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested a new start in the relationship between China and South Korea, the Journal . Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at a Beijing summit, which was the first time the South Korean president visited China since assuming office in May. The two countries, which have suffered from a frayed diplomatic relations, seek to strengthen bilateral ties in a mutual effort to deter North Koreas missile program.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Mieke Eoyang, Benjamin Freeman and Benjamin Wittes  new survey data on public confidence in the FBI.

Mieke Eoyang and Laura S.H. Holgate  the dangers Michael Flynns advocacy for a Middle East nuclear power deal during his tenure as national security adviser.

Arun Sukumar  on the reelection of Judge Dalveer Bandhari to the International Court of Justice.

Matthew Kahn  the live stream of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensteins testimony on Justice Department oversight before the House Judiciary Committee.

Kahn  the live stream of Tuesdays Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the strategic and legal considerations regarding the use of force.

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

How much did hacker who taunted Rutgers cost the school? – NJ.com


NJ.com
How much did hacker who taunted Rutgers cost the school?
NJ.com
In a separate case filed in federal court in Alaska, Jha pleaded guilty to conspiring with two other hackers to create computer viruses, including the “Mirai” botnet that was used by other hackers to disable much of the internet in an October 2016 
Three plead guilty to causing massive US cyber attackFinancial Times
Three men plead guilty in case of cyber-attack that paralyzed internet in 2016The Guardian
Fanwood man pleads guilty to Rutgers University cyber attacksMyCentralJersey.com
Department of Justice –Krebs on Security –NJ.com –DocumentCloud
all 80 news articles »
The Next Military-Industrial Complex, Part II: Global Business and National Security – War on the Rocks


War on the Rocks
The Next Military-Industrial Complex, Part II: Global Business and National Security
War on the Rocks
In the future, the American defense establishment’s engagement with the private sector will vary with the mission. The arms-length procurement requirements of a dedicated industrial base for big-ticket weapon systems are different from the requirements 

Theres A Deadly New Threat From North Korea

If North Korea is starting a biological weapons program, it’s one more warning of the escalating threat the isolated nation poses to national security.
Bombing Underscores New York Subway Systems Vulnerability

New York City’s subway system: A 24-hour-a-day operation with 472 stations and more than 5 million daily riders. And, it’s vulnerable to terror attacks.
The American KGB is out of control! Thats how the freedom of speech is raped in America by the FBI! Gregg Jarretts arrest a result of the FBIs provocation and the FBIs retaliation for his criticism of the FBI

“Drunk Fox News Anchor Gregg Jarrett Arrested During Airport Fight” VIDEO “Fox News Anchor Arrested” The American KGB is out of control! That’s how the freedom of speech is raped in America by the FBI!  Is Gregg Jarrett’s arrest a result of the FBI’s provocation and the FBI’s retaliation for his criticism of the FBI … Continue reading“The American KGB is out of control! That’s how the freedom of speech is raped in America by the FBI! Gregg Jarrett’s arrest a result of the FBI’s provocation and the FBI’s retaliation for his criticism of the FBI”
HSBC Deferred Prosecution For Cartel Money Laundering Expires

Analysis: The global banking titan HSBC was fined a record-breaking $1.9 billion in 2012 for helping Mexican drug cartels launder money.
Conservatives want the FBI demolished to protect Donald Trump – Salon


Salon
Conservatives want the FBI demolished to protect Donald Trump
Salon
On Wednesday, the network invited Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch known for promoting endless scandals in the Obama administration (including Hillary Clinton’s emails) suggested that the FBI is tainted, and 
Judicial Watch’s Fitton: Was FBI Turned Into A KGB-Type Operation Under Obama Administration?RealClearPolitics
Fox News Guest Suggests We Need to ‘Shut Down The FBI‘ Because Obama Made it a ‘KGB-Type Operation’Mediaite

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US weapons helped ISIS fuel the industrial revolution of terrorism

A new report, three years in the making, describes ISIS militants as shrewd manufacturing and logistical planners who moved weapons, munitions and bomb-making materials throughout the war zone on a scale unprecedented for a terror organization.

Conservative watchdog head: Do we need to shut down the FBI? – The Hill


The Hill
Conservative watchdog head: Do we need to shut down the FBI?
The Hill
Fitton pointed to recent reports that FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation because of anti-Trump text messages he sent to an FBI colleague during the campaign. In one of those messages, Strzok called  
Conservatives want the FBI demolished to protect Donald TrumpSalon

FACT CHECK: Did The FBI Become A ‘KGB-Type Operation’ Under Obama?Newsweek 
Conservatives want the FBI demolished to protect Donald TrumpSalon

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Mediaite
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The FBI Scandal Hiding in Plain Sight – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
The FBI Scandal Hiding in Plain Sight
Bloomberg
Both Strzok, an FBI counter-intelligence agent, and Page, an FBI lawyer, were involved in the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and were both briefly on Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s influence of the 2016 election  
Hillary Is Corrupt and Trump Is Crazy: At the FBI, Anger at Being ScapegoatedVanity Fair
Grassley demands answers on FBI officials’ texts about TrumpPolitico

FBI Agents Sending Anti-Trump Texts Is Not a ScandalNew York Magazine 
The HillPBS NewsHour
 
Grassley demands answers on FBI officials’ texts about TrumpPolitico
Justice Department defends Russia probe from GOP claims of FBI political biasPBS NewsHour
NBCNews.comBBC News
 –NPRPolitico

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Puerto Rico grid fix won’t meet governor’s plan, corps says

Puerto Rico’s electrical grid is unlikely to be fully restored until the end of May, the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday months longer than the timeline offered by the island’s governor.

Trump delivering on foreign policy promises

When he ran for president, he promised, in effect, to destabilize the international order.

Syria’s government team won’t talk with opposition in Geneva

Syria’s government team at the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva said on Thursday that there will be no dialogue with the opposition as long as it insists on the removal of President Bashar Assad.

U.S. accuses Iran of being terrorist ‘arsonist’

The U.S. offered what it called “concrete evidence” Thursday of Iranian weapons used in terrorist attacks, including a missile officials said was manufactured in the Islamic Republic, exported sent to rebels in Yemen and then fired at a civilian airport in Saudi Arabia.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., …

Inside the Ring: U.S. Military Could Lose Next War, Report Says

A new study by the Rand Corp. is warning that U.S. military forces are poorly structured to meet the threats posed by China, Russia and other states, as well as the continuing war against Islamic terrorism.

The study, “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” presents the stark conclusion that the American military needs to reform its structure and war fighting plans to better deal with military challenges.

“Put more starkly, assessments in this report will show that U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight, despite the United States outspending China on military forces by a ratio of 2.7 to 1 and Russia by 6 to 1,” the report said. “The nation needs to do better than this.”

Read the entire article at the Washington Times.

The post Inside the Ring: U.S. Military Could Lose Next War, Report Says appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Hunger at the doors of Damascus, as government blocks aid

At the doors of the Syrian capital, children with wrinkled faces and arms like sticks are going hungry because President Bashar Assad’s forces, supported by Russia and Iran, are blocking trucks filled with humanitarian relief.

Polish official says Putin responsible for 2010 plane crash

Poland’s defense minister says a plane crash that killed the nation’s president in 2010 in Russia was preceded by two explosions on board, calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “take responsibility for what happened.”

Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked

In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded – that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real.

Haley unveils missile parts, says proof Iran arming Houthis

President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations says “undeniable” evidence proves Iran is violating international law by funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Grassley Demands More Answers About FBI Officials Anti-Trump Texts

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) is calling on the Justice Department to hand over more information regarding the text messages exchanged between two senior FBI employees and any communications they had with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The text messages in question, Grassley said, suggest “some officials took actions beyond expressing their political opinions.”

Grassley wants to know when and how Justice Department officials first learned of the politically charged text messages, and what steps they are taking to fully review the activities referenced in the messages and take any disciplinary measures.

“Any improper political influence or motives in the course of any FBI investigation must be brought to light and addressed,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “Former Director Comey’s claims that the FBI doesnt give a rip about politics certainly are not consistent with the evidence of discussions occurring in the deputy directors office” in August of last year.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday defended special counsel Robert Mueller in the facing of growing criticism that political bias had infected his probe, as well as the top ranks of decision-makers at the FBI and Justice Department.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein said he does not believe there is good cause to fire Mueller. He acknowledged that some members of the Mueller’s team have political views but said those personal biases don’t necessarily taint their work.

Texts released this week between two FBI officials who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation before being removed call Trump a “loathsome human” and mention the prospects of an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.

The electronic messages between FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, that mention an “insurance policy” also refer to the potential of Strzok working for “Andy”what some GOP lawmakers believe to be McCabe.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s officethat there’s no way [Trump] gets electedbut Im afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page in a text released by the Justice Department dated Aug. 15.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text.

The Iowa Republican demanded to know when Rosenstein first learned about the texts and asked for any other records relating to McCabes communications between Strzok and Page.

McCabe is under scrutiny for playing a key role in the Clinton email investigation even though his wife received $700,000 from Virginia Democrats when she was running for statewide office. That sum includes nearly $500,000 from a political committee affiliated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons who served on the board of the Clinton Global Initiative.

McCabe failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email probe until one week before the presidential election last year.

Another text referenced a second phone Strzok and Page used to “talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced.”

That text was sent just days before Strzok interviewed Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills in the FBI investigation into Clintons use of a private email server, Grassley noted.

Grassley asked Rosenstein if the Justice Department has identified the phone referenced in the text, and whether it has taken steps to review the records on the phone that allegedly “cant be traced.”

“If none, please explain why not?” he wrote. “If steps have been taken, please detail them and provide all records reviewed.”
The Justice Department inspector general is investigating the Justice Departments handling of the Clinton email investigation, and reportedly discovered the texts during the course of that probe.

The post Grassley Demands More Answers About FBI Officials Anti-Trump Texts appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

US F-22s intercept Russian fighters over Syria

American stealth fighter jets fired warning flares near Russian fighters over eastern Syria on Wednesday in an attempt to drive them out of airspace controlled by the U.S.-led, anti-Islamic State coalition, Pentagon officials said.

US-backed Syria fighters kill more than 20 ISIS fighters

An American-supported Syrian opposition force killed more than 20 Islamic State fighters in an area near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, U.S. officials said. The clash was described as a response to the Syrian army’s failure to prevent ISIS from moving freely through its lines.

FCCs Net Neutrality Meeting Evacuated On Advice of Security

A security team abruptly evacuated a Federal Communications Commission meeting as officials were debating and about to vote on the future of net neutrality.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced that the delay would take place.

“On advice of security, we need to take a brief recess,” Pai said.

Officers then told all present to exit the room and leave their belongings behind.

Dogs then swept the room, and shortly afterward, people were allowed back into the area.

FCC hearing on  abruptly interrupted: “On advice of security, we need to take a brief recess.”

This is not the first time the FCC has had such a disruption. In 2010, the FCC’s headquarters was evacuated for about two hours.

The FCC later voted on party lines to undo the net neutrality ruleswhich classified Internet Service Providers as public utilities, giving the government broad regulatory powerthat the Obama administration put in place.

The post FCCs Net Neutrality Meeting Evacuated On Advice of Security appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

NY Times Reports Obama Only Told 18 Falsehoods During Entire Presidency

A recent New York Times analysis claims that over his eight years in office, former President Barack Obama only told 18 distinct lies.

The Times set out to compare the trustworthiness of Obama compared to President Donald Trump. “In his first 10 months in office, [Trump] has told 103 separate untruths, many of them repeatedly. Obama told 18 over his entire eight-year tenure,” the piece reads.

On the list are some of Obama’s most well-known whoppers, including “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” and that he “didnt set a red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

By contrast, fact-checker Politifact ruled that over the course of his presidency, Obama made 43 “false” statements and 48 “mostly false” statements. Politifact also identified 7 “pants on fire” statements, which are falsehoods that are “not accurate and make a ridiculous claim.”

The majority of Politifact’s “Pants on Fire”-rated claims didn’t even make it on to the Times list, including:

In addition, several Obama claims that were rated “Four Pinocchios” by the Washington Post fact-checker are missing from the Times list, including four from the Post‘s list of “Obamas biggest whoppers.”

The post NY Times Reports Obama Only Told 18 Falsehoods During Entire Presidency appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.


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