1031: Dog Dazer

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 8m
May 6th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Robert Deeter

Associate Executive Producers: Stuart Venable

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger

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Millennials are picking pets over people - The Washington Post
Fri, 04 May 2018 02:58
The majority of Americans in their 30s have a dog. They are also increasingly likely to buy clothing, costumes, even strollers, for their pets. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)Young Americans are less likely to be homeowners, car owners or parents than their predecessors, but they do lead in one category: Pets.
Three-fourths of Americans in their 30s have dogs, while 51 percent have cats, according to a survey released by research firm Mintel. That compares to 50 percent of the overall population with dogs, and 35 percent with cats.
The findings come at a time when millennials, roughly defined as the generation born between 1980 and 2000, are half as likely to be married or living with a partner than they were 50 years ago. They are also delaying parenthood and demanding flexible work arrangements '-- all of which, researchers say, has translated to higher rates of pet ownership.
''Pets are becoming a replacement for children,'' said Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of ''Generation Me.'' ''They're less expensive. You can get one even if you're not ready to live with someone or get married, and they can still provide companionship.''
[What do millennials want? Many of the same things their parents did.]
Millennial men, it turns out, are more likely to look for companionship in pets. Among those surveyed, 71 percent of men between ages 18 and 34 had dogs (versus 62 percent of women), while 48 percent had cats (versus 35 percent of women).
''Men are more willing to put in the time and effort of taking care of a pet,'' said Rebecca Cullen, an analyst at Mintel. ''Women are more likely to feel they are away from home too much and that pets require too much work.''
All of this is has big implications for the $63 billion pet industry, which has grown three-fold since 1996.
Last year Americans spent $11 billion on pet-pampering alone. One-third of owners said they bought toys for their pets, while 17 percent bought pet costumes and 10 percent shelled out for pet strollers, according to Mintel, which surveyed 2,001 adults for its findings.
''When you're preparing for your first child, you're reading all the books, doing all the research,'' said Nathan Richter, 36, a partner at Wakefield Research, a market research firm in Arlington. ''That's how millennials are approaching pet ownership.''
[At this pet-friendly office, 150 dogs accompany humans to work]
A majority of millennials '-- 76 percent '-- said they are more likely to ''splurge'' on their pets than for themselves, including for expensive treats (44 percent) or a custom bed (38 percent), according to a 2014 study by Wakefield Research. By comparison, 50 percent of Baby Boomers '-- those born between 1946 and 1964 '''' said they would do so.
Millenials were also twice as likely than Baby Boomers to buy clothing for their pets, a phenomenon Richter chalks up to the prevalence of social media.
''The clothing is, for them, an opportunity for performance '-- they put it on their dog or cat, take them for a walk, post a picture on Facebook,'' Richter said. ''It's increasingly about getting a digital stamp of approval.''
From the Licki brush to the Puppoose, The Post's Sadie Dingfelder tried some the oddest pet products for sale online. Here's how that went. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
Read more:
Dogs are overrated: Scientists say a pet wallaby could be your best friend
Dogs are born with ears and tails. They should get to keep them.
Many life milestones are out of millennials' reach
Why Do Adult Dogs Become Like Human Children to Owners? | Psychology Today
Fri, 04 May 2018 02:52
Humans have an innate need to bond with other human beings and with pets. Many animals are hardwired to form intimate bonds with other members of their species. Anyone who has bonded with a dog knows first hand why dogs are considered ''man's best friend.''
For domesticated pets, close-knit bonds are often formed not only with conspecifics (of or belonging to the same species) but also with their owners. Domestic dogs and humans have been forming intimate bonds for at least 15,000 years. The moniker ''man's best friend'' grew out of the fact that dogs are so well adapted to living with human beings that the owner often replaces conspecifics and becomes the dog's primary social partner.
What are the roots of the intense bonding that occurs between humans and dogs? Scientists at the University of Veterinary medicine in Vienna have found that the bond between dogs and their owners shares striking similarities to the relationship between human parents and their children. Previous studies have shown that pet owners have improved psychological and physical health but surprisingly dogs have not been proven to increase human longevity.
The relationship between pet owners and dogs parallels the deep connection formed between young children and their parents. The Vienna veterinary study was published in the journal PLOS ONE on June 21, 2013. This is the first study to trace the roots of this bonding between dogs and their owners back to the ''Secure Base Effect.''
What is ''Secure Base Effect''?
Secure Base Effect is a fundamental part of parent-child bonding. Human infants literally view their caregivers as a ''secure base'' when it comes to gaining confidence for interacting with the environment inside and outside the home. Until now, Secure Base Effect had not been thoroughly examined in dogs and their owners. The Vienna study provides the first evidence of the similarity between the Secure Base Effect found in dog-owner bonds as it parallels child-caregiver relationships. The researchers intend to follow up this investigation with a direct comparative study between dogs and children.
Lead researcher Lisa Horn was curious to take a look at the relationship between dogs and owners based on the Secure Base Effect. In order to do this she decided to examine the dogs' reactions under three different conditions: "absent owner," "silent owner" and "encouraging owner."
In her experiment, the dogs could earn a food reward, by manipulating interactive dog toys. Interestingly, Horn found that dogs seemed much less interested in working for food when their caregivers were absent. Whether an owner encouraged the dog during the task or remained silent, had little influence on the animal's level of motivation to earn a food reward.
In a follow-up experiment, Horn and her colleagues replaced the owner with an unfamiliar person. The scientists observed that most dogs didn't interact with the strangers and were not much more interested in trying to get the food reward than when this person was not there.
The dogs were generally only motivated more when their owner was present. The researchers concluded that the owner's presence is important for the animal to behave in a confident manner based on Secure Base Effect. As Horn says, "One of the things that really surprised us is, that adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do. It will be really interesting to try to find out how this behavior evolved in the dogs with direct comparisons."
Bonding With a Pet Improves Owner's Well-Being
Pets can serve as an important source of social and emotional support for people from all walks of life. According to a 2011 study published by the American Psychological Association, owning a pet improves the well-being of people who are sick, but also makes "everyday healthy people" feel better. Psychologists at Miami University and Saint Louis University conducted a series of experiments to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership among what they called "everyday people."
"We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions," said lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio. "Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners."
Prior studies have shown that elderly Medicare patients with pets have fewer doctor visits than similar patients without pets, and that HIV-positive men with pets are generally less depressed than those without. McConnel and colleagues examined whether pet owners benefit more when their pet is perceived to fulfill their social needs better. This study found greater well-being among owners whose dogs increased their feelings of belonging, self-esteem and meaningful existence.
They also discovered that pets can make people feel better after experiencing rejection. Subjects were asked to write about a time when they felt excluded. Then they were asked to write about their favorite pet, or to write about their favorite friend. The researchers found that writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off hurtful feelings of rejection. The researchers concluded, "The present work presents considerable evidence that pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically, by serving as an important source of social support.''
Conclusion: Pets provide many benefits, but cannot substitute human bonds.
Bonding with animals improves the quality of life for most dog owners. Surprisingly, pets have not been shown to have a direct impact on our longevity. Dog owners know first hand that a dog is reliable ally for company, friendship, and affection. The positive impact that animals have on their caregivers' overall well-being and happiness are undeniable. But, human social connections trump the connection to a pet when it comes to increasing longevity according to researchers.
The verdict on whether pets can actually help us live longer is complex and perplexing. Health scientists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin have analyzed data gathered over an 80-year period from 1,500 people in California. As authors of The Longevity Project, Friedman and Martin have studied more than eight decades' worth of data and deciphered which personality traits and lifestyle behaviors increase lifespan. The research was started in 1921 by Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman.
The Longevity study's results debunk many popular notions about what actually helps us live longer. When asked what one resolution would have the greatest impact on longevity, Friedman insists that time spent with family and friends is the single most important habit for living longer. "The Longevity Project discovered that it is responsible, goal-oriented citizens, well-integrated into their communities" who are most likely to have healthy and long lives, he says. "Connecting with and helping others is more important than obsessing over one's diet, rigorous exercise program, or work load," Friedman concludes emphatically.
There is no denying that pets become like family to their owners and that the family dog views his or her caregivers as surrogate parents. A dog offers love, companionship, and also increases the odds of an owner being more physically active'--which has mutliple health benefits. But social connectivity with family and friends is always going to be the best way to create the Secure Base Effect in your adult life, improve long term health, and increase your lifespan.
Pets vs. Parenthood: Why Millennials Are Owning Pets Instead of Having Kids | Millennial Marketing
Fri, 04 May 2018 02:40
At an average Millennial get-together, it's not at all out of the norm for a friend to show off a hundred photos of their little one. They've gone all out in their excitement, buying everything from personalized bedding to custom decor '' and you can bet there's a monogram in the mix. From the amount of care Millennials exert making their pets comfortable and stylish like this, it's easy to see that they have adopted their little furballs as true members of the family.
Young Americans may be less likely to be homeowners or parents of human children, but they are leading in their rate of pet ownership . The $69 billion pet industry has already grown three times larger than its size in 1996, and Millennials are fueling the increase. With 44 p e r c e n t of Millennials remaining unsure if they want to start their own family, it makes sense that their Instagram feeds may be more full of fur babies than tiny humans. After all, aren't pets the original starter children?
Although pets are undoubtedly cute, their vast popularity signifies a deeper reason for why Millennials are choosing to have pets over children.
Part of the explosion in pet popularity involves something not so warm and fluffy: personal finances. The Great Recession hit Millennials right as they graduated and entered the workforce, causing them a lifetime of financial anxieties and student loan debt . Looking at the numbers for owning a furry friend is no walk in the park, though, with the costs for a year of dog ownership ranging from $2,674 to $3,536. Seems excessive, right? Perhaps, but not when you compare it to the cost of raising a baby. Raising a child costs parents anywhere from $12,800 to $14,970 per year. And that's without mentioning that college bill looming on the distant horizon. For cash-strapped couples, a dog or cat is simply a more financially feasible option.
Aside from finances, individuals are also drawn to the freedom a pet can offer. Pets can provide purpose without the sacrifices required for raising a baby. Of course, pets still require work and frequent bathroom breaks, but they can be left at home while owners go to work and out to social gatherings. While a pet can be left with minimal supervision, the same cannot be said for a child. This desire for freedom paints a bigger and more troubling picture '' Millennial women feel like they can't have kids.
Mommy Issues
Surprisingly, Millennials want more traditional gender roles for parents than the previous generation of Gen X, which puts women in a hard place. The average age women are having their first child has reached a new high of 26 years old, no doubt partially due to the ever-increasing motherhood penalty . This ''penalty'' is what sometimes happens to women when their career opportunities are limited post-baby. While mothers have always struggled to balance their home life with a career, divisions seem to have intensified in recent years as work-life integration has replaced work-life balance. Stephanie Coontz, co-chair and Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, remarked that the Millennial choice to have kids later has been exacerbated by the inability of women to choose both kids and a career. Employees are often expected to work long hours and be constantly available to their employers '' things that are hard to do with a baby waiting at home.
With all of this change, are less binkies actually helping Millennial women get ahead? The answer is yes, with women who delay pregnancy tending to make about $16,000 more for each year they wait to have kids. However, while choosing to have a pet over a baby may help family finances now, it can cost the overall economy later as people spend less money on the traditional family provisions. Another factor to watch as the age for parenthood creeps higher is the potential risk of entering a replacement rate of births, which happens when a country isn't having enough children to replace their current population number. The real issue for a low birth rate happens many years down the road, when fewer working age people have to support a larger aging population .
Parenthood's Evolution
Is the United States in danger of having too few children to the detriment of the entire economy? Not yet, as growth rates are still relatively normal on a global scale. Rather, the important takeaway for brands and businesses is to be aware of is that the boom of fur babies is partially due to generational worries about finances and freedoms. Many are afraid that they can't afford the time and money that kids require. This understanding can help businesses extend a helping hand to Millennials that reach them in a supportive, authentic way.
Brands that recognize Millennial worries can help them feel less trapped . Promoting an atmosphere of encouragement (regardless of life decisions) will increase brand loyalty as Millennials see supportive brands as allies . Employers should also consider increasing childcare and parental leave options to attract and retain their workers. Parents that work at companies who offer on-site childcare feel higher levels of positivity and loyalty to the business, increasing productivity for the entire company.
When parenthood is accepted, companies can retain high-achieving female employees and important diversity in workplace demographics. Parenthood will come later for Millennials, but for now, soak up the benefits of getting to pet all of those fur babies. Luckily, lint rollers can solve most pet parenting problems.
About Olivia LedbetterAs the 2017 Editorial Intern for Barkley, Olivia understands that great thinking needs a groundwork of solid strategy before it can become truly visionary. Her background in copywriting and creative writing has cultivated her belief...See Olivia's full bio.
US millennials are replacing babies with cats, dogs | PetfoodIndustry.com
Fri, 04 May 2018 00:55
Home >> US millennials are replacing babies with cats, dogs
Pet Food News / Pet Food Market Trends / Petfood Forum NewsBy
Tim Wallon April 5, 2017
At Petfood Forum 2017, an industry analyst said that thinking of pets as children creates opportunities to produce premium pet foods.The largest pet-owning group in the United States, the millennial generation, seems to be replacing babies with cats and dogs, which potentially sets up the U.S. to follow trends seen in Japan, said Maria Lange, business group director for market research firm GfK, at Petfood Forum 2017 on April'...
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Digital Edition April 2018The April 2018 issue of Petfood Industry features Navarch Pet Products, a Chinese company that is succeeding with e-commerce.
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Having Pets Instead Of Kids Should Be Considered A Psychiatric Disorder
Fri, 04 May 2018 00:55
If you grew up with dogs (as I did), you know that something bizarre and sad often happens when a mother dog loses her puppies. With hormones and maternal instinct coursing through her, she will frequently adopt inanimate objects as ''replacement-puppies.''
Usually, she chooses something like a boot, hat, or stuffed toy. Mother cats do the same thing, typically with socks. Whatever the object, the animal will carry it around, lick it, attempt to suckle it, protect it, and otherwise pour all of her energy and nurturing instincts into it'--often for much longer than she would an actual litter of puppies or kittens.
Something in her brain is soothed by the non-living replacement, but ironically, this replacement-puppy can prevent the mother from trying again to bear actual young. Her instincts are permanently misdirected, wasted on an object that will never be her real offspring.
Even sadder is when humans do the same thing. I'm not talking about mothers who have lost their babies. I'm talking about men and women, especially from the millennial generation, who have chosen to indefinitely postpone having children, yet still feel the unshakeable urge to parent.
This urge is natural. It's good. It was placed in us to let us know that our reproductive systems are in prime shape to marry, build a home, and raise children. As the father of three, I can also say what a joy it is to feel the tug of those parental instincts and fulfill them as God intended.
But for many in my generation who are also approaching 30, children (and the ideal prerequisite for children, marriage), are still out of the question because they're too expensive, too time-consuming, and might cramp their style. Those nurturing instincts don't go anywhere, though. A disturbing number of young adults are directing them toward substitutes'--not boots or stuffed toys, but dogs and cats.
The Rise of 'Fur Babies'I'm convinced that psychology manuals 200 years from now will identify ''replacement-baby syndrome'' as a diagnosable epidemic in my generation. For an unbelievable number of millennials, pets' original purpose'--to be shaggy companions and useful partners in work and housekeeping'--has been superseded by a role they were never intended to fill: replacement child.
It is now commonplace to hear young people my age unironically refer to their pooches and kitties (I'm horrified to even write this) as ''children,'' ''fur-babies,'' ''kids,'' ''girls,'' ''boys,'' or ''sons and daughters.'' Likewise, it's not at all unusual to hear pet-owners refer to themselves as ''pooch parents,'' or ''mommies and daddies.''
Christian musician Nicole Nordeman recently posted an account on Facebook of a couple she overheard at the airport holding a FaceTime call with their ''baby'' and his ''grandparents.''
''They are cooing and gushing and exclaiming 'well look at YOU, big boy! So big! So handsome! Are you being so good for Nana???''' These ''parents'' pester their own parents with questions about baby's feeding, pooping, and playtime, and ''nearly collapse with joy'' when ''baby'' comes back on screen for a last goodbye. ''Mommy and Daddy love you,'' the couple squeal. ''You are the best boy! We're coming home so soon!''
Nordeman says she turned around to sneak a look at this sweet baby who's so beloved by his parents, only to find'...a yellow Labrador retriever.
How much embarrassment must it bring those ''grandparents'' to participate in such a call? How badly must they want real grandchildren, instead of pet-sitting an attention-smothered dog? How much grief must they feel watching their child waste her parental instincts on an animal while they're forced to play along in the couple's sick and disturbing charade?
It's Hard Work Pretending Animals Are HumansMaybe not much, because they're likely very busy. After all, being a ''pet parent'' is hard work. This strenuous delusion usually involves pretending animals are humans, as with a viral Pinterest post by a woman who huffs, ''Don't say I am not a Mom just because my kids have 4 legs and fur. They are my kids, and I am their mom.''
Millennials, it turns out, are twice as likely as baby boomers to buy clothing for their pets, an industry which, along with other forms of ''pet-pampering,'' amounted to $11 billion last year, and markets such essential items as pet strollers and pet slings.
Other times, replacement-babies require pet parents to pretend they, themselves, are animals. Feast your eyes, for example, on this new cat brush that allows users to role-play by inserting it in their mouth like a giant tongue and ''licking'' their kitty.
Corporations have incorporated the replacement-baby epidemic into marketing campaigns. Consider this eyeroll-inducing new Sprint commercial, in which Instagram pretty boy and Jesus-lookalike Topher Brophy proudly refers to his dog as ''my son,'' and confers with him about wireless plans.
Many in my generation naively think of their dogs and cats as ''practice babies,'' hoping to test the waters of parenthood on a child that won't resent them for a lifetime or wind up in prison should they fail. Never mind that dogs would probably resent being treated like lab rats if they could understand human motives. Certainly, they don't appreciate being carted off to the animal shelter when their ''parents'' tire of them. But how many couples misdirect their parental instincts toward a door-shredding, constantly shedding nightmare and then decide they can't handle kids?
College Humor provides some much-needed ridicule of this idea, and shows why it's a sign of a weak relationship more than it is of cautious parenting (if our marriage falls apart, at least only the dog will suffer!). But there's a more serious and long-lasting consequence of millennials' choice to substitute babies with animals, even temporarily: They aren't getting around to actually having babies.
Choosing Pets Over ProgenyIn September, the Washington Post reported on findings from research firm Mintel that quantify the replacement-baby epidemic. Young Americans are less likely than their parents to own a car or a home, and half as likely to be married as Americans were 50 years ago. But we have a handy lead over the baby-boomers in one area: pet ownership. The frontrunners of the millennial pack who've already entered careers could be rechristened the ''dog-boomers.''
Three-fourths of Americans in their thirties own dogs, and half own cats.
Three-fourths of Americans in their thirties own dogs (for the purposes of this study, all adults 37 years old and younger were considered ''millennials''), and half own cats. When you compare them with the population in general, only half of whom own dogs and just over a third of whom own cats, the surge is obvious.
Writing at Forbes, Erin Lowry blames the perceived costs for this shortfall of children. As pricey as dogs can be if you treat them the way this Manhattanite does (she buys her dog expensive food, paw cleaning, surgery, pet-sitting, and pays to fly it places), her $5,000 in receipts are still nowhere near the reported sticker price of a kid.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in 2013 that the average annual cost of raising a child in a two-parent home runs somewhere between $12,800 and $14,970, and much more if you live in a major city. That's a quarter of a million dollars before each child reaches adulthood, which doesn't include college or post-adulthood basement-dwelling. If you have three kids and a single writer's income like I do, that should make you weak at the knees.
But of course, it's not true, because as James Breakwell points out, fathers like he and I will never see that much money, yet our kids are still alive. Texas A&M University finance professor H. Swint Friday points out that the USDA numbers are ''misleading to the point of outrageous,'' and concocted largely based on ''political objectives.''
The economy of scale, thrifty shopping, buying things used, and having a spouse willing to stay home and care for the kids drastically cuts childrearing costs. But perhaps because many of them were pampered, millennials have come away with the distinct impression that raising children is a vocation reserved for those with Batman's bank account. It's not.
Your Dog Doesn't Want to Be Your ChildI can tell everything I need to know about a person by whether he ''got a dog,'' or ''adopted a dog.'' The pretense that buying luxury items like indoor pets is somehow altruistic or noble will strike future observers as one of the oddest habits of the millennial generation. It's even becoming common to hear pet owners tell the story of how they ''rescued'' their dog or cat, as if they snatched it from a burning building at the peril of their own lives.
In reality, most of them simply visited the pound and picked the cutest furball they saw. I've never met someone who asked shelter workers, ''Which dog is scheduled to die first?'' and took home whatever mange-riddled chupacabra emerged from the back room. When you go get a dog, you are doing something you want to do. Portraying it as a sacrificial act of virtue is just indulgent.
When you go get a dog, you are doing something you want to do. Portraying it as a sacrificial act of virtue is just indulgent.
The same goes for virtually all of the bizarre activities that characterize the replacement-baby plague. Whether it's strollers, costumes, complicated grooming, or being confined to one-bedroom apartments in Brooklyn that smell like Febreze, we're fooling ourselves if we believe our animals enjoy any of this play-acting. I suspect dogs hate owners who treat them this way. They don't want to be pushed around in a carriage, sung to sleep, or sent to daycare. They don't want to be your surrogate infant. They want to be your pack-mate'--your hunting companion. They want to chase down something in the woods and rip its still-beating heart out, together. They are, after all, descended from wolves.
We have instincts to raise children. Well, guess what? Dogs have instincts, too. '''...the bloodlust, the joy to kill,'' writes Jack London in ''Call of the Wild.'' '''--all this was Buck's'...He was raging at the head of the pack, running the wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with his own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes in warm blood.''
Does this bother you? Do you find this distasteful? Then you shouldn't own a dog, because it is at the core of what they are. This is the instinct that makes dogs so eager to fetch a Frisbee at the park, and what makes cats hours of fun if you've got a laser-pointer. The reason man domesticated such animals in the first place was because of the joy they brought him'--not as replacement children, but as animals.
Millennials desperately need to shake the delusion this pets can stand in or prepare us for babies. Not only is it depriving us of the joy of children and misdirecting our parental instincts toward things that were never meant to receive them, it's depriving many of the true delight of pet ownership. For both humans and animals, these delusions are sad distortions of instinct that leave only barrenness in their wake. But there is one key difference: dogs and cats don't know any better. We do.
Copyright (C) 2018 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Women Replacing Babies with Dogs | Outside Online
Fri, 04 May 2018 00:55
Small canines on the rise as human birthrates drop
Small dogs will soon be our masters. (Facebook)
In an eerie parallel to the 1978 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, human babies are being replaced, not by pod people, but by small dogs. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a strong correlation between the falling number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 and a large spike in the number of small dogs (no more than 20 pounds) owned by American women.
While birthrates in America have taken a 10 percent tumble since 2007, small-dog ownership is steadily rising and has doubled since 1999. It's not just a coincidence: The same age group that's having fewer children is the very same driving force behind the small-dog movement. An investigation into the phenomenon by business analysis site Quartz suggests that humans are also putting more resources into their small dogs. Premium dog food sales have grown by 170 percent over the past 15 years and now account for more than half of the dog food market.
The New York Post interviewed a number of women on the subject and found that many viewed dogs as a suitable, hassle-free alternative to having a child. "I'd rather have a dog over a kid," declared equities trader Sara Foster, 30. "It's just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out. You don't have to get a babysitter."
Another woman, Mary Smith, 25, raved about the advantages her French bulldog has over a screaming infant. "He's great, except he snores a lot. He even has his own Instagram," she says. "A dog is easier to transport than a child. It's less final than having a child."
Next up: competitive canine prep schools.
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Question - Quora Procreation
Sat, 05 May 2018 19:26
Luc De Mestre , former Research engineer at Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Mines De Paris (2009-2011) The natural selection has produced living beings with the need for survival and reproduction.
At each generation humans with no need for reproduction are eliminated from the gene pool (because they don't reproduce), so the gene promoting this suicidal tendency are uncommon.
In the past, some humans where reproducing not driven by the need for breeding, but driven by the need for sex (from an evolutionary perspective it works, because the result is the same). Hopefully, with the contraception, such humans are now able to enjoy sex without breeding and are therefore eliminated from the gene pool. That is better for them (they can do what they like without any consequences) and better for the mankind (a specie needs individuals willing to survive and reproduce).
Our current society and economy is based on credit. We build today with tomorrows income. This conflicts with considerations regarding over population. Who would buy and spend if the next generation is not there to consume products? Who will support the growing elderly population without young people? Advances in medicine extends human life thats why we have growing elderly demographic. Some Developed countries have actual problems with declining birth rate and growing elderly demographic. It troubles me when i see this conflict on our planet and how we organize our society. So far, capitalism and consumerism is the best form of social organization humans have thought of. It brought unparalled prosperity for humans and great suffering and tragedy for other species. Whether factory farming or wholesale extinction of species, these were necessary bricks to build our affluence.
We are both Overpopulated but need new young people. Should we sacrifice our belief in human rights and abandon the elderly to squalor and poverty? How can we limit our population but maintain affluence for everyone? The two concepts (overpopulation and the need for young demographic) are contradictory and frightening to me.
If we maintain our consumerism and capitalism society, we must rely on scientists to find humanity new powers(fusion technology, space travel perhaps?) to support our present affluence before the credit comes due. Is there a better way to organize our societies?
They don't. Until quite recently they had no choice. Men felt the need to have sex and children happened. Women are now able to prevent children from happening if they take the trouble. In societies where men allow women to be educated and to use birth control, the number of children born to women on the average is low, often below the number needed to keep a population stable. That's good, since the planet is vastly overpopulated by human beings.
Martin Ibert , having lived as a human being for more than fifty years They don't. At least not all of them. If nobody had children, humanity would die out. Wouldn't be a great loss for the planet, if you ask me.
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Why people shouldn't have children, according to science - Business Insider
Sat, 05 May 2018 19:34
Nov. 27, 2017, 5:12 PM
248,764
If you're trying to decide if you should have kids, these studies could help. debasige/Shutterstock.com
Whether or not you should become a parent is often a fraught decision.With the US fertility rate at an all-time low, more people are rejecting the idea that you have to have children.While it's ultimately your decision, there are several factors at play that potential future parents should consider. If you're looking for a straightforward answer to the question of whether or not you should have a child, you'll be sorry to hear that it doesn't exist.
Certainly, there are several reasons people shouldn't have children '-- your decision to become a parent could make your life utterly miserable and send your career careening into the abyss.
But, then again, it could be the most fulfilling decision you've ever made and set you up to take on the world.
Or it could fall somewhere in the middle.
Simply put, it's complicated '-- and in many ways, too subjective '-- and I doubt we'll ever have a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all answer. The decision is, ultimately, up to you.
But hopefully, these studies will begin to unpack the question of whether you should or shouldn't have children and help you better understand the factors at play.
Having a child contributes to global warming REUTERS/Andres Forza In the bioethics world, there has been some discussion of late regarding the morality of having children considering the effect on the environment.
Writing for CNBC, Travis Rieder, the assistant director for education initiatives, director of the Master of Bioethics degree program, and research scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, argues that having a child is a major contributor to climate change, and the logical takeaway is that everyone should consider having fewer children.
Rieder cites research out of Oregon State University that found that having one fewer child would have a far greater effect on carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore be one of the best things things you could do for the environment, compared to reducing home energy use, travel, food choices, and other routine activities that result in carbon dioxide emissions.
Parents, especially mothers, face bias in the workplace Francisco Osorio/Flickr "Motherhood triggers assumptions that women are less competent and less committed to their careers," reads a recent report out of LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company. "As a result, they are held to higher standards and presented with fewer opportunities."
The report points to a study out of Cornell that found employers tended to discriminate against mothers.
As part of the study, researchers sent employers fake, almost identical r(C)sum(C)s with one major difference: some r(C)sum(C)s indicated that the job applicant was part of a parent-teacher association.
While male job candidates whose r(C)sum(C)s mentioned the parent-teacher association were called back more often than men whose r(C)sum(C)s didn't, women who alluded to parenthood in this way were half as likely to get called back than women who didn't.
The study participants also rated mothers as the least desirable job candidates and deemed them less competent and committed than women without children or men. At the same time, applicants who were fathers were rated significantly more committed to their job than non-fathers and were allowed to be late to work significantly more times than non-fathers.
You may earn less money if you're a mother REUTERS/Damir Sagolj "For most men the fact of fatherhood results in a wage bonus; for most women motherhood results in a wage penalty," research group Third Way's president Jonathan Cowan and resident scholar Dr. Elaine C. Kamarck write about "The Fatherhood Bonus and The Motherhood Penalty: Parenthood and the Gender Gap in Pay."
In the academic paper, author Michelle J. Budig, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, writes that, "While the gender pay gap has been decreasing, the pay gap related to parenthood is increasing."
In her 15 years of research on the topic, Budig found that, on average, men earn 6% more when they have and live with a child, while women earn 4% less for every child they have.
Sadly, "the women who least can afford it, pay the largest proportionate penalty for motherhood," as high-income men see the biggest pay raise for having children while low-income women see the biggest dip.
"A lot of these effects really are very much due to a cultural bias against mothers," Correll tells The New York Times.
The New York Times notes that in her previous work, Budig found that dads taking more parental leave mitigates the motherhood penalty, as evidenced by countries like Sweden that incentivize fathers to take paid leave and have a smaller pay gap.
Friendships inevitably change after the birth of a child, sometimes for the worse Flickr / Serge Melki Discussions of success often come down to career advancement and money, but other important factors like our interpersonal relationships play a vital role in our well-being.
When Child magazine surveyed about 1,000 parents, almost half of the dads and moms surveyed said they had fewer friends after their children were born.
And while 69% of women and 67% of men felt satisfied with their friendships before having kids, only 54% of women and 57% of men said they felt that way afterward.
One factor at play could be time. Before they had kids, women spent 14 hours a week with friends, while men spent an average of 16 hours a week with friends. After kids, those numbers dropped to five hours with friends for women and six hours for men.
Another factor is the inevitable shift in what people want to get out of their friendships. For example, almost all the women surveyed said they depended on their friends for having fun before they had kids '-- that number dropped to half once they had a family. A majority of the women surveyed said they felt that having friends who are good listeners became more significant after having kids.
Marriages tend to suffer after the birth of a child Shutterstock In a meta-analytic review of previous studies, researchers concluded that parenthood tends to have a negative effect on marital satisfaction because of the conflicts that arise from reorganizing roles in the marriage and the parents' restriction of freedom.
The study also indicated that the more children there are in the family, the lower the parents' marital satisfaction.
The difference in marital satisfaction was most pronounced among mothers of infants, while for men, the effect remained similar across ages of children.
And parents in high socioeconomic groups, of younger ages, and who have given birth in more recent years tend to see the most negative effects on their marriage.
Parents tend to be less healthy than non-parents Joe Raedle/Getty Images John Dick, founder of CivicScience, a polling platform that catalogued more than 1 million responses to its "Parental Status" poll, writes on Quartz that non-parents tend to lead healthier lifestyles than parents.
According to the poll results Dick shared, non-parents are 75% more likely than parents to report an average of more than eight hours of sleep each night, while parents are 29% more likely to report less than six hours of sleep per night. Unsurprisingly, parents are 28% more likely to say they drink coffee "every day without fail" than non-parents.
Non-parents are also 73% more likely than parents to say they "never" eat at fast food restaurants and 38% more likely to exercise at a gym once a week or more; while parents are 17% more likely to say they never exercise, 10% more likely to consider themselves overweight, and 54% more likely to smoke cigarettes every day, Dick reveals.
Having a child could negatively impact a parent's happiness Shutterstock A lot of people measure success by how happy they are, and numerous studies show that having kids plays a major role in this.
As happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky explains in Time, some studies indicate that parents are happier than non-parents, whereas others suggest the reverse '-- it really comes down to the parent and the child.
Her exhaustive analysis of various research revealed, for example:
- Young parents and parents with small children tend to be particularly unhappy.
- Fathers, married parents, and empty nesters tend to report especially high life satisfaction, happiness, or meaning.
She notes, however, that "all types of parents reported having more meaning in life than did their childless counterparts, suggesting that the rewards of parenting may be more ineffable than the daily highs (or lows)."
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10 Most Common Reasons Why People Want Children | WeHaveKids
Sat, 05 May 2018 19:19
Married with No Kids?New neighbor: Are you married?Me: Yes!New neighbor: How long?Me: Seven years.New neighbor: Kids?Me: None!New neighbor: Seven years of marriage and no children?!I have this conversation often, and it usually ends that way. My response is either a yes with a smile or a shrug with a smile. Seldom do I hear somebody asking "Why?" How do they look? Perplexed, confused, and without any ability to understand why we are taking this long to have a child or, perhaps, children.
They must have assumed two things: We keep it for later, or we just can't. The truth? We chose to be child-free!
The words "child-free" has many meanings but for us, we just do not intend to have children. It's voluntary childlessness. It's not about not liking babies or kids. It's much more than that. But this article is not about that.
Here are the the most common reasons I hear others give when asked "why have children?" along with its counter arguments.
Ten Common Reasons to Have Children'--With Counter ArgumentsTo have someone to take care of them when they get old. Old age is inevitable, and you don't need to create another human being for this purpose. It sounds so selfish and foolish. Children are not insurance that matures and is ready to use when you are old. You cannot guarantee that your children will take care of you when you reach that age. What if they won't? What if they die before you do or become invalid? What if you even die earlier before you could even take care of them? What now? You better save money for retirement. Make friends and be a good friend to them so that they'll take care of you. Most importantly, rather than looking for someone to take care of you, learn to take care of yourself and others around you.To carry on family name. Whose family name? The father or the mother? Has anyone considered the option of letting the kid use the mother's name? What is it about the family name to carry on, anyway? Christ never had children but his name is praised by millions of people all over the world more than he could have imagined. Einstein had children but he is not remembered because of them. Same with Gandhi, Buddha, or any other figures in history. What carries on in a name? Great, revolutionary, and enduring work or maybe a creation or invention that changes people's lives. Your children have nothing to do with carrying on your name. Do something remarkable or something great, then maybe your name will live and linger forever.Because they love babies. Babies are cute and adorable! So are baby pandas, kittens, puppies, tiger cubs, leopard cubs, chicks, and so forth. So if you give this reason, you must have forgotten that babies will eventually turn to children, and soon turn to adults. You might as well try a job in pediatric department, or apply for a job as a nanny, or become a toddler or nursery teacher. This way, you will not run out of babies in your care.It's human nature. Yeah, right! But stopping at one or two is definitely not human nature. So if you view procreation as human nature, you should continue creating children till you no longer cannot.Pregnancy and childbirth are life experiences. The world is full of wonderful things to experience. You might as well try a number of them. Being childless is also an experience. You should assess more carefully which life experiences you really want to achieve. Ask yourself whether you want children for their own sake or because you just want to experience pregnancy and childbirth. It's really important to think about your unborn children and not about yourself. People rarely do this!To let their children (who don't exist yet) experience the joy of existence. Existence could be enjoyable, but it also could be something else. Also, there is a big difference between existing and living. What if your child doesn't want to be born? What if he or she never finds enjoyment in existence? What if you just assumed that he or she would? What will you do? Just let your child suffer because he or she exists? As vhemt suggests, "Promote existence of joy rather than imagining joy in mere existence." Try it! You may find deeper joy without children.To give your parents grandchildren. What for? What if your children don't like visiting or staying with their grandparents? Is there some sense in that? Children should be brought into this world for their own sake and not for you, your parents, not even for your friends. You cannot please everyone (if you are doing this for that reason).To embody love for each other. Humans are gifted with imagination. Why not use it and do something more helpful that embodies your love for each other. Certainly there are so many other ways. You could plant a special kind of tree and watch it grow, for one.They want children of their own, with their own bloodline. By this reason, anyone who donates blood to another person should become family. Logically correct? This reason, for me, is really very narrow because there isn't really a word like mine or ours. Our body is not our own. Even our partner is not our own. I didn't even know my husband existed before I met him. But when I met him, I tried to find various ways to know him and he did the same. So, we make a person or a thing our own. The same applies to children. If you are really so eager to have one or two, you don't need to create your own. Adopt and provide an orphan a home that he or she has been wishing for.They don't know. Some people just say they don't know as if creating a new life is not a serious issue. They just don't think about it. Other people are doing it so I will, too. This is the kind of mentality they have. This has to change. Think what your unborn children would feel if they're brought into this world without thinking, that they just happen. It really matters.When you decide to bring a new life into this world, think many times and think as if you are your unborn child. Ask questions and answer them in your unborn child's perspective and not in yours.
11 Brutally Honest Reasons Why Millennials Don't Want Kids | Mic
Sat, 05 May 2018 19:16
When it comes to embarking on the journey of parenthood, lots of millennials are saying, "Meh. No, thanks."
According to data from the Urban Institute, birth rates among 20-something women declined 15% between 2007 and 2012. Additional research from the Pew Research Center reflects a longer-term trend of women eschewing parenthood as the number of U.S. women who choose to forego motherhood altogether has doubled since 1970.
This trend is fascinating, in part because there's long been a taboo associated with people (particularly, women) choosing to opt out of parenthood. Women who choose not to have kids have been referred to as "shallow" and "self-absorbed," and even the pope has said the decision not to procreate is fundamentally " selfish ."
In an effort to find out why so many young people are really deciding against parenthood, we solicited dozens of responses from our audience via Tumblr and Google Forms. The responses we received from people of all sexes and identities reveal that there are myriad reasons why people are opting out of parenthood '-- and all of them are equally valid.
1. Kids aren't always financially feasible '-- especially if you have student loans.Whether it's the medical costs of giving birth or the lifetime financial commitment that having a child entails, financial reasons were one of the most popular behind why people didn't want kids. Many respondents also specifically called out their student loans as a reason for not being able to afford kids '-- a trend that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, if the total student debt of the Class of 2015 is any indication.
"It leaves your body and it costs $20-30K. I've $40K in student loans already taking up the rest of my life. And that's best case scenario. If anything goes wrong, double it."
"I'm pan[sexual] and currently in a relationship with a woman. Having a child biologically would involve a huge medical bill."
"If I can hardly afford to live well now on my income, how can I be expected to give a child the life they deserve?"
Source: Mic/Getty 2. There's a strong fear of passing down mental health issues.Those who have struggled with various mental illnesses reported being particularly wary of bringing kids into the world, out of a fear that they would inherit the painful experiences they themselves went through.
"I made up my mind when I had diagnosed with the same mental illness that my mother has. Being raised by my mother who has manic depression was scary. You shouldn't be afraid of your parent."
"I've struggled with depression and if I passed that pain on I would feel horrid for inflicting that sadness and numbing on another human. No one deserves to live like this if it can be prevented."
"I am mentally ill and mental illnesses than mine run in my family, as do autoimmune disorders. I do not want to bring a child into the world knowing that there's a strong chance it will struggle like I have."
Source: Mic/Getty 3. The population is already out of control.Some concerned citizens cited overcrowding and environmental concerns as reasons to fear a rapidly growing population. While there's some debate as to whether or not overpopulation is a serious threat to humanity, many millennials see it as a legitimate reason to avoid adding more humans to the equation.
"There are too many unwanted kids on the planet as is, so I don't want to bring more into the world. I'm adopting if I ever decide I want kids. People don't understand how bad having a large population is."
"I joined [the] zero population growth movement a long time ago for environmental reasons."
"I think we need more do-ers and innovators compared to repopulaters."
Source: Mic/Getty 4. Fertility issues can give a different perspective on the necessity of having kids.While one might assume that infertility only affects older women, some millennials struggle to naturally conceive as well. In fact, according to 2002 data from the Centers for Disease Control, 11% of married women under 29 have dealt with fertility issues. For some women, this can lead them to reconsider whether they even want a kid in the first place.
"I can't have kids naturally. It's not a sad thing though. A lot of other women get upset when I tell them that, but I just say I really have no right to complain about one gift I didn't receive when I have been given so many to begin with."
5. Pregnancy can take a serious physical toll.Even in the 21st century, childbirth is a strenuous (not to mention potentially dangerous ) physical ordeal. Plenty of women just aren't into the idea of using their uteruses as an "incubator," as one very honest respondent put it.
"I'm completely squicked out by pregnancy and labor. Full-on body horror."
"The physical changes my body would go through with the pain of birth is not appealing at all to me."
"The idea of carrying a child makes me nauseous."
Source: Mic/Getty 6. With kids comes the pressure to make perfect choices.Although people who don't want to have kids are often called "selfish," our survey showed they're anything but. If nothing else, our respondents were well aware that the responsibility to be a good parent means consistently putting the child first and making healthy choices for them, and they didn't feel they were up to that challenge.
"It overwhelms me to think that there would be a tiny little person growing inside of me, depending on me to make healthy choices."
"I might fuck them up with horrible parenting."
Source: Mic/Getty 7. Not all women are preprogrammed with maternal instincts.Much like comedian Margaret Cho, who once joked that she "ovulates sand," many women told Mic that they simply didn't feel they were born with motherly urges.
"I have personally have never felt the 'motherly instinct' that girls my age who are getting married and pregnant rave about. I have had multiple encounters with children throughout life and it is always an awkward and anxious experience for me."
"Children always have irritated me to no end. The only time I enjoy children is when they are quiet, humble, intelligent beings. Obviously these conditions are unreasonable to expect of the tiny humans, so for me, the logical solution is to not have any of my own."
Source: Mic/Getty 8. The world isn't always a nice place.Sometimes the decision to not be a parent is as simple as wanting to spare a child from having to live in a world of jerks. Citing factors like global inequality , bullying or a general discontent with society, many readers don't want their offspring to have to deal with the world's problems.
"I feel we have too many issues recently with law enforcement and government that I do not feel comfortable upbringing kids into this society."
"I was bullied a lot as a child. I know what children are capable of and it scares me. I see all children as a potential future threat, simply because about 70% of people in my year group were bullies, and most of them still are. I wouldn't want a child to have to live in a world where they'll either be bullied, or be the bully. I don't think I could handle seeing my child cry from being made fun of, or being told my own child had made someone else cry for fun."
"Honestly our society is kind of fucked up; I don't need to send someone out into that."
Source: Mic/Getty 9. Sometimes, career ambitions take priority.There is research suggesting that the idea of "having it all"'--both a family and a kickass career'--is something of an unattainable myth. So it's not surprising that a number of our respondents reported they see parenthood vs. career success as an impossible choice to make. Many said they would only view children as possible hindrances to their lofty career goals.
"I don't want to have kids because I am studying to be a surgeon and I don't think I could give them the attention they need with such a demanding job."
"When I imagine my future, I just don't see any [kids]. I love what I'm studying and I want to get the most out of my career. Whether that includes endless overtime, sleepless nights, relocating, and/or travel."
"I have noted from quite a young age that when a man and a women get married and have children '-- it almost always means the women becomes a housewife (unless the parents both have to work). I have worked hard in school and would love to get married some day, but the idea that I would quite my job that I have worked my whole life to stay home for the next 18+ years does not appeal to me."
Source: Mic/Getty 10. Children don't fit into every lifestyle.Even when career goals weren't the primary reason behind the decision, many respondents cited a desire to preserve their already-fulfilling lifestyles as an equally compelling reason why they didn't want kids. These respondents felt that their lives were full (and busy ) enough as is, without the added responsibilities that come with having children.
"My dream is to visit all 195 countries in the world (been to 23 so far) and I really don't feel like a child fits into the nomad lifestyle I want to live."
"With the way I want to live my life, kids would get in the way."
"I don't want kids because they're a fuckton of work."
Source: Mic/Getty 11. Ultimately, a reason shouldn't even be necessary.While the Mic survey illuminated just how varied some of our reasons for not wanting to have kids are, one reason stood out among all the others: not needing a reason at all. After all, our personal choice as to what we want to do with our bodies are just that, personal. Many respondents felt they didn't need to provide an explanation one way or the other.
"Sometimes I think that "I just don't want to" isn't enough of a reason to explain the lack of progeny. Then I think, why the hell should the reason matter to anyone other than myself? And I am content with that."
"I don't want kids because I just don't . I shouldn't have to explain my reasoning, or even have a reason at all: my body, my choice."
Source: Mic/Getty
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Glitch!
Twitter says glitch exposed 'substantial' number of users' passwords | Reuters
Thu, 03 May 2018 20:19
(Reuters) - Twitter Inc (TWTR.N ) urged its more than 330 million users to change their passwords after a glitch exposed some in plain text on its internal computer network.
FILE PHOTO: The Twitter application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File PhotoThe social network said an internal investigation had found no indication passwords were stolen or misused by insiders, but that it urged all users to consider changing their passwords ''out of an abundance of caution.''
The blog did not say how many passwords were affected.
Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Editing by Susan Thomas
passwords - Which is more secure, using just bcrypt or SRP? - Cryptography Stack Exchange
Sun, 06 May 2018 13:12
tl;dr don't trust HTTPS alone use it as one part of layered security and do use SRP always. bcrypt the password as input to SRP for additional protection. AES encrypt the verifier in the database for additional protection of the offsite backups.
Hashing the password with bcrypt on the client only makes it harder to recover the password if the servers database is captured. It does not protect against interception. You should not assume that you will have good SSL/TLS in the form of HTTPS to your clients for reasons which I will outline in detail below. With SRP you get more benefits as described in this excellent answer by @poncho:
The security goal behind SRP is that an attacker that could either pretend to be a client (and attempt to log into a server that knows the key), pretend to be a server (and allow clients that know the key to attempt to log in), or actively monitor (and modify) the communications between a valid client and a valid server, would learn nothing from an exchange, except possibly whether a single password is valid or not.
With SRP there can be no replay attack as each login attempt has to perform a password proof for a fresh server generated random challenge. Using bcrypt alone someone can intercept what the client sends to the server and they can login as the client until the client changes their password. With SRP an intercept is useless. bcrypt of the password as input to SRP slows down a dictionary attack if the verifier is stolen. Encrypting the verifier with AES in the database reduces the risk of the verifier being leaked.
As @Thomas points out if you have SSL/TLS such as HTTPS then in theory you know that you are talking to the correct server, with no man-in-the-middle, so you are safe. This theory is demonstrably unsound in practice due to the operationally complexities inherent in maintaining a secure HTTPS site correctly and due to commercial man-in-the-middle software routinely deployed by large corporatations.
The Heartbleed bug leaking unencrypted text from the server had existed for long enough that an estimated 17% of HTTPS sites were vulnerable. Once it was a known attack people demonstrated it against famous sites damaging the reputations of those sites. Those sites could have been secure had they used SRP over HTTPS.
Many large corporate websites only use HTTPS into the public facing DMZ and then use plain text from the webservers through to application servers, then plain text from the application servers to the database servers. This potentially risks plain text passwords being leaked in log files, or being recovered by malicious employees or contractors maintaining the infrastructure. SRP protects against this.
Large enterprises such as global financial services firms routinely run main-in-the-middle scanners between their employees and external HTTPS sites. There is commercial software for this which is not widely advertised. (I know someone who was a consultant for HP installing such software for large corporates for two years). This relies on the fact that employees use a browser which accepts a certificate from the corporate webproxy which decrypts, scans, then reencrypts, and forwards to the external sites. (Edit: Actually a colleague just told me that IE can be configure to offload encryption to the local web proxy although I have not confirmed this personally.) This 'attack' is done to prevent rogue employees stealing client data or corporate intellectual property. (Or to prevent employees tunneling file sharing protocols over HTTPS). See https://security.stackexchange.com/q/63304/45960 for one example. Such software may leak passwords into log files or have a bug which compromises passwords or be maintained by malicious employees or contractors who might attempt to recover passwords.
Finally I have personally seen a mistake in upgrading an online banking website where a misconfiguration between the versions of software deployed led to behaviour identical to heartbleed. The application server software was upgraded but the webserver plugin was not correctly updated to the matching version by the deployment script. The website ran fine yet pen testers throwing scripted attacks at the site got back plain text chunks of memory. They captured the customer support managers password whilst she was doing testing of the upgraded in a test environment (accessible via IP whitelist only) the week before the release was to due to go live. We rapidly fixed it then added two factor authentication to the site at considerable cost. Had we known about SRP and had used that we would have been less vulnerable had the pen testers not found the problem before the software upgrade went live.
P.S. Even if you use two factor authentication you should still use SRP for the password to guard against a social engineering attacks where someone get the password then rings customer support and impersonates the customer saying that they have lost their token and is given a one-time override.
GitHub Accidentally Exposes Some Plaintext Passwords In Its Internal Logs - Slashdot
Sun, 06 May 2018 13:10
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binspamdupenotthebestofftopicslownewsdaystalestupidfreshfunnyinsightfulinterestingmaybeofftopicflamebaittrollredundantoverratedinsightfulinterestinginformativefunnyunderrateddescriptivetypodupeerror 99993458 story GitHub Accidentally Exposes Some Plaintext Passwords In Its Internal Logs (zdnet.com) 149 Postedby BeauHDon Wednesday May 02, 2018 @06:00AM from the heads-up dept.GitHub has sent an email to some of its 27 million users alerting them of a bug that
exposed some user passwords in plaintext. "During the course of regular auditing, GitHub discovered that a recently introduced bug exposed a small number of users' passwords to our internal logging system," said the email. "We have corrected this, but you'll need to reset your password to regain access to your account." ZDNet reports:
The email said that a handful of GitHub staff could have seen those passwords -- and that it's "unlikely" that any GitHub staff accessed the site's internal logs. It's unclear exactly how this bug occurred. GitHub's explanation was that it stores user passwords with bcrypt, a stronger password hashing algorithm, but that the bug "resulted in our secure internal logs recording plaintext user passwords when users initiated a password reset." "Rest assured, these passwords were not accessible to the public or other GitHub users at any time," the email said. GitHub said it "has not been hacked or compromised in any way." You may like to read:
How can a clear text password be available to them at all to record it in a log?
Are you sure it's correct? How would you log in users? They would hash their password on the client side and send the hash so that the back end would compare the hashes?
by Anonymous Coward writes:
What should happen is that a hash gets calculated on client AND server side, you don't want to store the client's hash directly in the database... for obvious reasons.
by Anonymous Coward writes:
What? No. The server holds the hashed user's passwords so anytime a user types his password it compares its hash with the one it got and only then it allows the login.
Single hashing bears a problem. If done on the server side, the clear password has to travel to the server. In an encrypted tunnel, all right, but you have to trust that tunnel and you have to trust the process between tunnel and hashing, which as we can see here has been compromised.
Hashing on the client side reduces the problem to one akin to storing a plain-text password where you compare what is sent by the client with the database, leaving the data vulnerable in case of a database hack because knowing
Double hashing does effectively nothing useful. The correct solution if you don't trust that the tunnel is encrypted is to use a zero knowledge password exchange protocol like SRP.
Problem with SRP is that it's not particularly useful in a browser, practically speaking.
The implementation actually performing the SRP is going to be a javascript download from the site you are dealing with. Meaning the server and connection you explicitly do not trust to send your password to is the one you are trusting to provide the alternative implementation.
Doing SRP right requires a lot of work that just isn't happening. Namely browsers particularly need to implement some sort of industry standard
I keep seeing responses like this but they never make sense to me.
Your argument basically boils down to "JS-based SRP is insecure because JavaScript crypto is insecure, which is because of the web page delivery mechanism". Well, yes, web crypto has a chicken and egg trust issue, but this problem *already exists in the current traditional login methods*! If a malicious actor can inject HTML/JS into your login page, *both* SRP and traditional password logins would both be hosed, since it would be trivial to j
That's either bad security or you're vastly oversimplifying. Assume everyone is listening in on the network transaction; so you can't send the password over the network, and you can't send the hash over the network, otherwise the transaction can be replayed to spoof the server. Each session should be unique.
This entire thread is a fucking trainwreck but your comment takes the cake. Hashing with a key?! Hashing locally and sending the hash to the server so that it compares hashes? Then your hash is the damn password and you're back at sending your password to the server, who stores it in plaintext. Yay.
If you hash on the client, then you're not really hashing, you're just using a different password and the thing in your database is now the real password, because that's what the client presents to log in. If you really want to do it properly, there are zero-knowledge protocols that allow it, but simply hashing on the client is not sufficient.
I always wondered why we don't hash client-side *and* server side. Then the password would be the result of a hash, as you say, and it would also be stored properly.
Being hashed client-side also means the server doesn't have to worry about too-long passwords or bad characters in the password or anything; it just expects the result of a hash. As long as the thing it receives is (say) 256 bits long, it's good.
There are a couple of reasons, but the main one is that if you're able to run code on both the client and server then there are much smarter ways of doing this. The simplest way is to store a public key on the server and store the corresponding private key on the client. Then the server sends some data to the client, which encrypts it with the private key and sends it to the server, which decrypts it with the public key. If the encrypted data matches the data provided by the server, this proves that the
I always wondered why we don't hash client-side *and* server side. Then the password would be the result of a hash, as you say, and it would also be stored properly.
Because it would only be stronger than really weak passwords. While the result of a SHA1 hash is stronger than "password", knowing the exact length of the password greatly reduces the number of possible passwords, therefore making it easier to brute force.
Probably. There are 11 possibilities, just within the realm of computing, and that's if we limit to only those listed on that wiki page, though; so it's a bit irresponsible to simply use the acronym in this case.
You poor thing. Let me dissect those 11 possibilities for you, in an attempt to find the one that matches the context of password authentication:
Single responsibility principle, a concept in computer science
Hmm. Could that be it? Does "single responsibility principle" sound related to "password authentication"? Hard to tell, but I think it doesn't.
Secure Remote Password protocol, a protocol for authentication
Hmm. Could that be it? Does "secure remote password, a protocol for authentication" sound related to "password authentication"? No way.
and that's if we limit to only those listed on that wiki page
In other words, there's no guarantee it's any of those 11.That said, I really didn't need the breakdown, but many others here may have, so thank you for providing it, I guess?
Asshole.
So you proactively complained, on behalf of others. That's actually worse.
but many others here may have
Yeah, all the lesser minds, common idiots who -- unlike you -- lack the intelligence to resolve an acronym with the help of a disambiguation page.
You sound and act incredibly arrogant.
So you proactively complained, on behalf of others. That's actually worse.
Howso?
You sound and act incredibly arrogant.
Hi, Pot, I'm Kettle!
This is why you don't have novices implement security. Also make a note that an expert on the use of an SSL API is not the same as a security expert. We continue to have these security problems because there are so many people implementing security who aren't security experts. Never mind the actual design itself which should come from even higher up.
If you have users who turn off JavaScript-by-default for security reasons or software freedom reasons, how do you hash on the client side?
<noscript>This website requires Javascript enabled in your browser, you fucking twat. Please enable it and try again. If you don't wanna enable Javascript you can go and fuck yourself with a cactus.</noscript>
Problem solved.
This is github, so when I'm using HTTP auth via git, does git need to implement a javascript engine?
"JavaScript is enabled, but I use LibreJS [gnu.org] to block proprietary script [gnu.org]. Can you send me a copy of the authentication script's unobfuscated, unminified source code under a free software license so that I (or another member) can perform a code review before executing it?"
If the answer is no, then this is why GitHub has been rated F for requiring execution of proprietary script [gnu.org].
and never accept free beer.
I have to intervene at this point, what you call "free beer" should in fact be called "gratis beer".
Thanks for caring.
The only way, to end up with the same value, is to enter the same inputs
Or one of the infinite number of other possible inputs that will produce the same hash. But please go on educating us on this matter. I mean how hard can it be, right?
I guess http basic auth over TLS.The connection is encrypted using TLS but the password is transferred in the clear (base64).
Don't use basic-auth.If you absolutely have to, use an application specific password with restricted rights.
Basic auth is an HTTP header, and HTTP headers are just as protected by TLS as response headers and bodies. Otherwise, HTTPS would be ineffective against Firesheep-style attacks that clone a session cookie. The other common means of authentication is submitting a password that has been entered into a field of an HTML form as part of an HTTP POST request body. What's any more "in the clear" with HTTP basic authentication than with the form route?
And in case you believe both forms and basic authentication oug
by Anonymous Coward writes:
How can a clear text password be available to them at all to record it in a log?
Quite easily.
Change your form to send a GET request instead of a POST, and *blam* form contents go into the server log as part of the request URI.
With a normal form submit, this would, of course, be noticed immediately by the user (and one would hope by the developer and QA too) because the form contents show up in the browser URL bar, but if the request is made via Ajax, then this doesn't happen so it could get missed.
Another way it can happen is a debugging statement left in the code that dumps the user o
How can a clear text password be available to them at all to record it in a log?
Er, because the user clicks "submit" on a password change form? And somebody was debugging something, and was logging the submitted data before the password got hashed?
Every single web site you use including Slashdot, Gmail, etc etc has the plain text password available to the server. The hashing of the password with a salt runs on the server. This Github bug was simply that a developer wrote the plain text password to a log file during the authentication process. They didn(TM)t store the plain text password in a database.
It makes me nervous enough that I think basic hashing and encryption should be done at the client side as well. This would stop everything that isn't tampering with the site itself.
No, it wouldn't.
Let's say your password is X, and you hash it locally to Y. You still have to send Y to the server to be validated. There's no way around this.
If you are sending Y, then it is possible that the server could potentially log Y, and someone who sees those logs might in turn be able reproduce your login by sending Y themselves, even without ever knowing what X is.
That Y might happen to be a binary string that has no visible representation or ability to directly type on a keyboard has n
Let's say your password is X, and you hash it locally to Y. You still have to send Y to the server to be validated. There's no way around this.
You don't ever need to send the password, X or Y, if you can depend on running some JS on the client: just use a zero-knowledge proof of identity. However, it's pointless overkill, as man-in-the-browser attacks are more common than MITM attacks these days. Complicated login approaches don't really help against the common attack, so there's little point in getting clever - just make sure you're using HTTPS and POST not GET.
Anything that you send to the server can be read by that server and can therefore be potentially logged as plain text (which is what happened here). The only way around this is to move 100% of the server functionality to the client, which means that the client can't exchange any data with the server in any way (because any data that they do exchange to somehow confirm identity can be logged, as I said above).
Yes, yes, which is why a method of authentication that is not replay-able is preferred, all things being equal. You're missing the point of "zero-information" protocols: log whatever you want, or send it in the clear, it gives an outsider zero information that's of any future use.
It doesn't matter if you send it in the clear or if you send it encrypted... the point is that the server will know what you sent, and if that server logs what you sent, then all someone else will have to do is send the same thing in their own session. If you can't replicate it, then there's no way for the server to possibly be able to verify your identity at all.
Protip: when you don't understand the words being used in the post you're responding to, you might develop the habit of looking them up, [wikipedia.org] rather than continuing to demonstrate your ignorance.
FFS, at least understand what a replay attack is, and what a non-replay-able protocol is, before wittering on about them.
Second protip, don't move the goalposts of a discussion and then try and call someone on not knowing what they are talking about.
The suggestion above was to encrypt the password on the client side.... but of course, you still need to actually send that encrypted password, and that encrypted password could be logged. The server would never know the "real" underlying password, but a person who viewed that log could send that exact same byte sequence without ever ever knowing the alleged real password, ju
C'mon, you said "there's no way around this", and I just pointed out "yes, there is a way around this", where it would be safe to log whatever. And if you were using JS to hash client-side, you could just do it the right way instead.
If you really want to solve this kind of problem with client-side JS, you can indeed solve it that way, and make it safe to log everything sent. I think that's solving the wrong problem, but you could.
The point isn't to prevent the server/company from getting your hash, but to make that hash useless to other third parties if it gets leaked. If you sent a hash to GitHub and GitHub inadvertently logged it, well, they had your hash to begin with so it's not any extra information, and if it gets leaked, well, at least the third parties don't have your password.
Wouldn't this work?
Server stores a salted hash based on username + password.
Client sends a salted hash based on username + password.
Server checks salt
My point is that if you are sending the server the hash then effectively, that hash *IS* your password... and that's all that a would be attacker would ever have to send to impersonate you, because that's all that *YOU* sent to identify yourself.
by Anonymous Coward writes:
How do you think they both check your password and allow you to change your password without ever having the clear text password available?
It's a trivial thing to do, by not thinking what you are doing through. For example, "Hey Bob, can you work on bug 127654 the "password reset fails in this obscure case" one?". Bob then adds "log(form.getAll().toPrettyString())" to the reset code and either leaves in his debugging output when he checks in the actual fix or modifies production directory if it's a cowboy d
By sending them a hash of the password I enter, which is then stored as a hash of that hash in their database. The idea is that even if I am the average dumb user that reuses the same password over and over, the salted hash ensures that this password is not published even if the first hash gets published (or logged, as in this case), while the second hashing ensures that knowing that first hash does not immediately compromise the authentication process.
So both requiring running javascript on the browser to login and not actually providing any additional security for them (the hash is now the clear text password).
So to protect people who reuse passwords we prevent people who don't want to run javascript from logging in at all? Those people being protected could just use their own software to get the same effect without stopping non-js users from accessing the site at all.
You could simply allow people not wanting to run Javascript to transmit their plaintext passwords.
Though that also eliminates any and all grounds for complaining if their true and tried and often reused "password1234!" appears in a log...
A string of 32 random hexadecimal digits is stronger than "password123", but it's weaker than a strong password.
Generally speaking, if a scheme means the server is never handed the password at all, then a compromise of their database leaks a viable set of credentials to use to log into their service. The alternative to one-way hashing, with password provided to validate knowledge of the password is generally some variation of shared secret, where the server must have the same knowledge the client has. It may be a secret derived from the password and thus the password is still not known, but it's of small comfort wh
It sounds like the logs in question were of the form fields being submitted by the user password reset form. Even if you're using SSL (which they are) and the passwords are only stored as a hash (which it sounds like is true at GitHub), there's still a moment where the server has the plaintext password. Some logging frameworks will automatically omit or redact the value of any field like `secret` or `password`. Perhaps in this case they forgot to also redact `password_confirmation` or something.
I worry about this, but I see it far too often. We learned decades ago with Unix to never store the plaintext password anywhere. Instead you store a value derived in some from the password and other information (such as a secure hash function). That way even if you get a glance at the password file you never see the passwords. It's basic freshman level security.
That a web site even has a plain text password is bad, that it stores the password is even more bizarre.
Sadly, I think there are major tools that
Seen this happen a zillion times... person enters password in the "Username: " field.Eg (synthesised, from memory):
Failed login for "secret" on tty04Successful login by "jbloggs" on tty04
Ok, that's a different beast, that's user error.
A better question is why doesn't the HTML standard for password fields allow automatic hashing with a custom salt?
It does; it's called digest authentication [wikipedia.org]. But depending on how digest authentication is implemented, it is vulnerable to one of two attacks. If the realm portion is fixed, digest is vulnerable to a replay attack that passes the hash [wikipedia.org]. If the realm portion is variable, it requires the server to store the unhashed password. In addition, digest authentication still uses MD5, which is deprecated and whose immediate successor (SHA-1) is also deprecated.
the bug "resulted in our secure internal logs recording plaintext user passwords when users initiated a password reset."
...
"We have corrected this, but you'll need to reset your password to regain access to your account."
Er... are you really sure that this has been corrected?
While I can't prove that your paranoid speculations are incorrect, neither can you prove that they are correct. I believe that you are honestly reporting the way you perceive your experiences, but to claim that this is happening at a site that you don't know personally is, as I said, paranoid. And, frankly, usually personal issues are more important than technical competence at getting promoted, so if that's important to you, you might want to work on personality. I don't think "just slap the word 'secur
PIN numbers
Sorry, lost all credibility right there.
So how is this "random salt" recovered when you need to check the password's validity?
It's stored along in the data base.Most stored password have a form like :
${type of algorithm used}${parameters used}${data}
where:- "type of the algorithm used" tell you what was used to generate this (e.g: using Bcrypt, like GitHub as mentioned in the summary).- "data" is the actual salted-output that you need to replicate to successfully log-in- "parameters" is any extra-data that the algorithm needs to generate password checks.Like the salt.Or like the number of iterations. Because nobody sane actually use a hash function such as SHA512 anymore. Instead you use a Key Derivation Function (KDF) such as Bcrypt (or Scrypt or Argon2) and those are *slow* on purpose, to make brute-forcing much less likely (e.g.: they slow down by repeating a hash for large number of iterations).
The exact implementation vary (the above is typically used by the "crypt" function used, e.g., on Linux log-ins),but basically are the same : the salt (and iterations) are stored together with the "hash" that you need to test.
And most of the KDF function can work as "hash_to_compare = KDF(password_login_attempt, old_hash_from_database)", ie.: they can automatically extract the parameters if you give them the string that is in the database, and generate the hash the exact same way.They'll invent a new salt (and guess the optimal number of iterations) only if you omit the old hash and give the new password as the single parameter.
The salt isn't secret, it's just used to prevent rainbow tables from being useful. If you store passwords as unsalted hashes, then an attacker can construct a large table of all of the hashes of 8-character inputs and compare each of your hashes against their table. If there's a match, then they have a password that will work. If you add a salt, then they can't use such a table, because they have to check each 8-character sequence with the hash prepended. If the salt is different for each password (as it should be), then there's no benefit from pre-calculating the table. If it takes 2 hours of GPU time to compute the table, then with unsalted passwords that's a one-time cost and you can then crack any weak password in a leaked password database almost instantly. In contrast, it will take you 2 hours to attempt each password and crack each weak one in a leaked salted password database.
So how is this "random salt" recovered when you need to check the password's validity?
In addition to what others have said about each password having a random salt stored alongside, you can combine the salt with another string that's stored in a secure hardware module. This string is the same for all passwords, but it can only be accessed by the application. This makes determining passwords even more difficult for someone who gets a copy of the database, since they don't have the entire string that was passed to the hashing algorithm.Because computer scientists think they're funny, they c
you feed the string and the salt into an encryption algorythm like sha512 which produces a HASH this is what gets stored
Argh!No!NO!!!NO-NO-NO-NO!!!!DO NOT USE HASHES ! (like Sha512).
These are designed to be *fast* (1), meaning that it could be not impossible for an attacker to guess the password out of the hash simply by brute forcing all the most common password and variations thereof into the same salt and see if they match.
(1 - And remember that the "tera hash" that ASIC bitcoinminer are reporting are exactly that : trillion of SHA256-like computation per second.)
USE KEY-DERIVATION FUNCTIONS (KDF) INSTEAD !
Like the Bcrypt use by github as mentionned in the summary. Or Scrypt (same used by tarsnap). Or Argon2. etc.These also produce a value out of a password and a salt, but they are on purpose extremely slow (E.g.: by repeating a hash function over and over for a high number of iteration).If each computation takes some time, it doesn't impact login that much (After all, you only need to log in once at the beginning of your session), but it hinders anyone wanting to brute force your password out of a stolen hash.
It makes data breaches that managed to steal your user database a lot less dangerous (because once you have successfully guessed the password from the hash, the next step is to see all the other places where the user has re-used the same password).
USE KEY-DERIVATION FUNCTIONS (KDF) INSTEAD !
Like the Bcrypt use by github as mentionned in the summary. Or Scrypt (same used by tarsnap). Or Argon2. etc.
Is SHA256 inside PBKDF2 [wikipedia.org] still safe?
PBKDF2 uses SHA-variants in it iteration.Despite "Shattered", it's not "broken" yet.
There are just better more modern KDFs (like the Bcrypt used by Github, like the Scrypt designed for use in tarsnap, or like Argon2 which is the latest competition winner) that don't have PBKDF's short comings (e.g.: collision of long input pass phrases and their SHA-1).
Regarding : "Shattered" you have to understand its context.SHA-1 has known to be not as secure as it could be (a 128bit SHA-1 has not 128bits of security) fo
Is Argon2 considered ready for prime time yet, or is it still in the early adopter phase?
Don't tell people not to use hashes. The next think they'll think is "Oh, I should use plaintext instead".
A key-derivation function is also insufficient, since the output is only as strong as the input. Meaning if you have a 10-bit password, the resulting KDF strength will still only be 10 bits.
You must use a Password-Based Key Derivation Function. A PBKDF can add ~10 bits of security to a password. So if a user gives "password" as their password (2 bits), the resulting hash has ~12 bits of security.
I don't really see why people are so against to hashes that they need to shout.
My main reason was for commically over-exagerated "hysteria".
The actual reason why people are against hashes, is a combination of three factors :
Brute forcing:The computational power has vastly increased recently. Noticed the "Tera hash" that bitcoin ASIC miner have been advertising ? That's trillion of SHA256 hashes computed by second. GPU and FPGA are widely available and are good at brute forcing millions, perhaps billions of hashs per second.We humans suck at picking passwords. You don't need to actu 3) you feed the string and the salt into an encryption algorythm like sha512 which produces a HASH this is what gets stored
Except sha512 is a hashing algorythm not an ecryption algorythm.
IIUC, what happened is that the passwords that were revealed were of those who were resetting their account passwords. So this would mean that they needed to be send the new password in clear text to the site, at which point it was logged before being hashed.
This is still a problem, but I'm not sure that there is any reasonable way around it. It just shouldn't have been logged.
OK, that's naughty and needs fixing, but it's internal logs, did it need a slashdot story?
Fortunately, investors don't care about the simple stuff.
Exploits are even simpler?
Because investors decide what gets done (people need to be paid for the work they do) and they don't care about security.
GitHub has sent an email to some of its 27 million users alerting them of a bug that exposed some user passwords in plaintext. "During the course of regular auditing, GitHub discovered that a recently introduced bug exposed a small number of users' passwords to our internal logging system
Is 27 million a small number?..
GitHub has sent an email to some of its 27 million users
Emphasis mine.
Logging a password is a beginner's mistake, like SQL injection. I found the same bug in unreleased code many years back, and raised it to management so we could track down the engineer who did it. It's the kind of (cough) mistake that can be the "straw that broke the camel's back" when dealing with an engineer who has (cough) "negative productivity."
Ideally, this kind of bug should be caught in code reviews. As someone who reviews a lot of code, even I'll admit that it's possible for something like this to
2-factor authentication can be very useful for improving security. It's burdensome to set up, and makes automation much more difficult. Github, gitlab, and Sourceforge, and other public source control repositories also have a difficult situation _supporting_ multiple access methods,. Even as they improve the security of one system, they're still left with all the potential holes of the other supported systems. From the source articles, Github developers should have caught this one. But let's be cautious to
I got the email.
I was impressed that it was handled quickly.
I'm even more confident because I actually use a proper password manager making sure I have unique passwd's for everything.
I give them credit -- here they found their own security issue before it became a breach, they fixed it, and they didn't sweep it under the rug but instead they notified their users. Kudos for being forthcoming.
"It's unclear exactly how this bug occurred"... riiiiiiiight, git blame?
I bet the human brain is a kludge.-- Marvin Minsky
Working...
Twitter urges all users to change passwords after glitch | Reuters
Sun, 06 May 2018 13:09
(Reuters) - Twitter Inc urged its more than 330 million users to change their passwords after a glitch caused some to be stored in readable text on its internal computer system rather than disguised by a process known as ''hashing''.
The social network disclosed the issue in a blog post and series of Tweets on Thursday afternoon, saying it had resolved the problem and an internal investigation had found no indication passwords were stolen or misused by insiders. Still, it urged all users to consider changing their passwords.
''We fixed the bug and have no indication of a breach or misuse by anyone,'' Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a Tweet. ''As a precaution, consider changing your password on all services where you've used this password.''
The blog did not say how many passwords were affected. A person familiar with the company's response said the number was ''substantial'' and that they were exposed for ''several months.''
The disclosure comes as lawmakers and regulators around the world scrutinize the way that companies store and secure consumer data, after a string of security incidents at Equifax Inc, Facebook Inc and Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL].
The European Union is due later this month to start enforcing a strict new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation, that includes steep fees for violators.
Twitter discovered the bug a few weeks ago and has reported it to some regulators, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which investigates companies accused of deceptive practices related to data security, declined comment on the password glitch.
The agency settled with Twitter in 2010 over accusations the site had ''serious lapses'' in data security that let hackers access private user data on two occasions. The settlement called for audits of Twitter's data security program every other year for 10 years.
The glitch was related to Twitter's use of ''hashing'' and caused passwords to be written on an internal computer log before the scrambling process was completed, the blog said.
''We are very sorry this happened,'' the Twitter blog said.
Twitter's share price was down 1 percent in extended trade at $30.35, after gaining 0.4 percent during the session.
The company advised users to take precautions to ensure that their accounts are safe, including changing passwords and enabling Twitter's two-factor authentication service to help prevent accounts from being hijacked.
FILE PHOTO: The Twitter application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File PhotoReporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; editing by Susan Thomas and Bill Rigby
Iran
Boeing and trade - Bibi to cover up
Iran drops the dollar. Others tried and were bombed. 'It's all about the banking,' says Lee Camp
Sat, 05 May 2018 20:28
Iran recently announced it is dropping the US dollar in foreign trade. Just as Iraq did shortly before it was invaded by the US, or Libya planned to before it was bombed by NATO-led allies. Lee Camp is starting to see a pattern.
The US is gearing up to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, which has all but killed Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, because it's not restrictive enough. With Iran already saying it won't accept more demands or more sanctions, it's anyone's guess what kind of chain reaction might ensue.
READ MORE: Iran dumps dollar for euro in foreign trade transactions
Comedian Lee Camp's guess is pretty grim. He notices how Iran recently ditched the dollar in favor of the euro '' something Iraq also did 18 years ago, a couple years before the US invaded it under the phony pretext of weapons of mass destruction. Libya wanted to do the same, although its leader Muammar Gaddafi wanted to establish its own currency, the gold dinar '' but in 2011, NATO warplanes bombed his country to support an uprising against him. Almost immediately, the rebels formed their own central bank and were given leave by the US and the UN to legally sell oil from the land they controlled.
On his show Redacted Tonight, Lee deconstructs these parallels and more, because "It's all about the banking!"
WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE:
Iran Bans US Dollar in Trade Activities to Beat Sanctions | News | teleSUR English
Sun, 06 May 2018 09:46
Iran has banned the use of the U.S. dollar in all trade transactions, prohibiting businesses from registering import orders using the currency.
RELATED:
Iran, Russia Consider Developing Own Cryptocurrencies
The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade made the announcement Wednesday, following an official request by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). It is meant to address fluctuations in the dollar.
Mehdi Kasraeipour, CBI's director of foreign exchange rules and policies, said the move is unlikely to meet with resistance, considering that the dollar has a low share in Iran's trade activities."It has been for a long time that Iran's banking sector cannot use the dollar as a result of the sanctions," he said.
Iran has since implemented a new electronic system to purchase foreign currencies on a wider scale.
The country has long been seeking to make the move, having signed many agreements with other nations on using national currencies inbilateral trade.
In November, when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he had said that in order to beat U.S. sanctions, the two could dump the U.S. dollar in trade, a strategy that could "isolate the Americans."
Afgahnistaqn
Islamic State suicide bombing kills 25 in Kabul, including at least 9 journalists - The Washington Post
Sat, 05 May 2018 20:37
KABUL '-- Just after 8 a.m. Monday, a familiar boom filled the air and rattled windows across the Afghan capital. Local news photographers, reporters and TV crews grabbed their gear and rushed to the scene of the latest suicide bombing in a long and bloody conflict. Though such incidents were never without risk, the journalists were used to covering them '-- and rather competitive about getting there first.
But about 20 minutes later, when the journalists were gathered watching emergency workers at the bomb site in a ­high-security official zone, another explosion erupted in their midst. A second suicide bomber, on foot and carrying a press pass and camera, had joined and targeted the very group of people tasked with covering such violence.
Of the 25 Afghans who died in the twin blasts, nine were journalists at the second one. An additional 45 people were injured. Claimed by the Islamic State, it was the single deadliest attack on the press since the overthrow of Taliban rule in 2001. Later in the day, an Afghan reporter for the BBC was killed in a separate attack in Khost province.
''This is a black day for our country, and for every journalist in Afghanistan,'' Fawad Nasiri, 25, a journalist at Radio Azadi, said Monday morning. He was waiting outside an operating room at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, where one of his colleagues was undergoing surgery. ''We lost a lot of friends today. I'm sorry, I cannot say any more.''
A few hundred yards away, at the hospital morgue, a cluster of men watched somberly as the body of Nawroz Ali Rajabi, a young reporter for the TV One news channel, was pulled from a steel drawer and lowered into a pasteboard coffin. The men were his brothers, cousins and colleagues. Several peered down at his burned and bruised face, then gasped or turned away, sobbing.
One man gently zipped up the black body bag. Another nailed down the coffin lid. A cousin, red-eyed and shaking with anger, shouted, ''The sons of generals and officials drive in armored cars, but we poor people are being killed.'' Then the men hoisted the box onto their shoulders, chanting a Koranic prayer, and carried it out to be buried.
Agence France-Presse's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, who was killed in the second explosion. (AFP/Getty Images)
The blasts, which occurred in the heavily guarded zone that houses foreign embassies, Afghan government offices and NATO's mission in Afghanistan, also killed Shah Marai, the chief photographer here for Agence France-Presse, and seven journalists from local TV and radio stations. Six others were among the wounded.
[Afghanistan is building up its commando force to fight the Taliban]
The heavy casualties left ­Kabul's war-hardened press corps reeling in shock and grief. Dozens of Afghan journalists have died covering combat and conflict in recent years, but this was a deliberate attack on a group of professionals and friends in the capital, many of whom who had worked together for years.
Afghan press associations and individual journalists complained Monday that the government was not doing enough to protect them, and some suggested they be provided with armed guards and flak jackets. There was also anger that the Afghan intelligence service did not take more defensive action after the first bomber, on a motorbike, detonated his explosives outside its compound.
''On the one hand, we have to cover the news. On the other hand, our people need to be protected,'' said a TV One manager who asked not to be named, citing insecure conditions for journalists. In addition to Rajabi, he said, a station cameraman died in the blast.
Relatives of slain AFP photojournalist Shah Marai carry his coffin in Kabul, April 30, 2018. (Massoud Hossaini/AP)
''We lost two of our best employees,'' he said. ''We will honor them, and we will help support their families, but this hurts our souls.''
The twin bombings came just over a week after a massive suicide attack killed at least 57 people in the Afghan capital. In that attack, also claimed by the Islamic State, a suicide bomber on foot detonated explosives outside a building where people were waiting in a long line to obtain voter ID cards.
Several hours after the Monday bombings, the regional branch of the Islamic State posted a statement online saying that two of its ''martyrs'' had carried out an attack on the Afghan intelligence service in Kabul.
Both the Taliban and the ­Islamic State have often used the tactic of quick-succession bombings to increase casualty tolls.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that although Taliban and Islamic State militants occasionally fight each other, they share a goal of destabilizing the government. He said they ''cannot win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs.''
International media groups mourned the slain Afghan journalists and denounced the cruelty of the attack that claimed their lives.
''This latest attack on journalists in Afghanistan is a reminder of the extreme dangers to media workers in that country and of the extremely brutal tactics used there by enemies of the free press,'' said a statement by Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Reporters Without Borders urged the United Nations to create a special representative for the protection of journalists. ''It is high time that the U.N. sent a strong signal to the international community,'' the group's secretary general, Christophe Deloire, said in a statement.
The bombings occurred on the same day that one U.S. service member was killed and another wounded during a combat operation in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said in a statement. Several Afghan troops also were killed or wounded, and the surviving wounded U.S. service member was taken to a military hospital at Bagram air base.
In southern Kandahar province Monday, meanwhile, NATO officials said 11 children were killed when a convoy of Romanian troops was struck by a car bomb near a religious school in a densely populated area. They said 16 people were wounded, including eight Romanian troops, Afghan civilians and policemen.
Taliban insurgents last week announced the launch of their annual spring offensive, dimming hopes for peace talks recently proposed by the government. The group said it would target Afghan and foreign forces but would avoid civilian casualties. The Islamic State, however, has made targeting civilians a key part of its strategy.
All morning, sirens wailed as ambulances rushed from the Kabul blast site to several hospitals. In one ward at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, severely wounded police officers were lying in a row of beds, surrounded by anxious relatives and medical staff. One had a bandaged face and breathing tube. A nurse said he was in a coma and might not survive. A younger man burst into the room, stared closely at his face and began weeping.
Outside the hospital, families looked anxiously at lists of blast patients posted on the walls, and some donated blood to help their injured relatives. Among the families was an English teacher named Amanullah. He said his nephew, a doctor, had just finished the night shift and passed by the blast site on his way home. He was badly injured by shrapnel and underwent three hours of surgery.
''So many innocent people died,'' said Amanullah, 30. ''These are terrorists. They just want to destroy our country. Muslim people would never do this. We just want peace with no blasts, no killing, no kidnappings. It may be impossible, but we have to try.''
Sayed Salahuddin in Kabul and Dan Lamothe in Washington contributed to this report.
Read more:
The Marines' new mission in Afghanistan: Taking back territory previously won
How the Islamic State got a foothold in Afghanistan
Today's coverage from Post correspondents around the world
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Any Collusion?
Doug Ross @ Journal: MONUMENTAL: The Naked Truth About Robert Mueller
Sat, 05 May 2018 00:15
By Rep. Louis Gohmert Robert Mueller has a long and sordid history of illicitly targeting innocent people. His many actions are a stain upon the legacy of American jurisprudence. He lacks the judgment and credibility to lead the prosecution of anyone.I do not make these statements lightly. Each time I prepared to question Mueller during Congressional hearings, the more concerned I became about his ethics and behavior. As I went back to begin compiling all of that information in order to recount personal interactions with Mueller, the more clearly the big picture began to come into focus.
At one point I had to make the decision to stop adding to this compilation or it would turn into a far too lengthy project. My goal was to share some firsthand experiences with Mueller -- as other Republican Members of Congress had requested -- adding, ''You seem to know so much about him.''
This article is prepared from my viewpoint to help better inform the reader about the Special Prosecutor leading the effort to railroad President Donald J. Trump through whatever manufactured charge he can allege.
Judging by Mueller's history, it doesn't matter who he has to threaten, harass, prosecute or bankrupt to get to allege something or, for that matter, anything. It certainly appears Mueller will do whatever it takes to bring down his target -- ethically or unethically -- based on my findings.
What does former Attorney General Eric Holder say? Sounds like much the same thing I just said. Holder has stated, "I've known Bob Mueller for 20, 30 years; my guess is he's just trying to make the case as good as he possibly can."
Holder does know him. He has seen Mueller at work when Holder was obstructing justice and was therefore held in Contempt of Congress. He knows Mueller's FBI framed innocent people and had no remorse in doing so.
Let's look at what we know. What I have accumulated here is absolutely shocking upon the realization that Mueller's disreputable, twisted history speaks to the character of the man placed in a position to attempt to legalize a coup against a lawfully-elected President. Any Republican who says anything resembling, ''Bob Mueller will do a good job as Special Counsel,'' ''Bob Mueller has a great reputation for being fair,'' or anything similar; either (a) wants President Trump indicted for something and removed from office regardless of his innocence; (b) is intentionally ignorant of the myriad of outrageous problems permeating Mueller's professional history; or (c) is cultivating future Democrat votes when he or she comes before the Senate someday for a confirmation hearing.There is simply too much clear and convincing evicdence to the contrary. Where other writers have set out information succinctly, I have quoted them, with proper attribution. My goal is to help you understand what I have found.
Robert Mueller - BackgroundIn his early years as FBI Director, most Republican members of Congress gave Mueller a pass in oversight hearings, allowing him to avoid tough questions. After all, we were continually told, ''Bush appointed him.'' I gave him easy questions the first time I questioned him in 2005 out of deference to his Vietnam service. Yet, the longer I was in Congress, the more conspicuous the problems became. As I have said before of another Vietnam veteran, just because someone deserves our respect for service or our sympathy for things that happened to them in the military, that does not give them the right to harm our country later. As glaring problems came to light, I toughened up my questions in the oversight hearings. But first, let's cover a little of Mueller's history.
Mueller: the Whitey Bulger AffairThe Boston Globe noted Robert Mueller's connection with the Whitey Bulger case in an article entitled, ''One Lingering Question for FBI Director Robert Mueller.'' The Globe said this: ''[Mike] Albano [former Parole Board Member who was threatened by two FBI agents for considering parole for the men imprisoned for a crime they did not commit] was appalled that, later that same year, Mueller was appointed FBI director, because it was Mueller, first as an assistant US attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, who wrote letters to the parole and pardons board throughout the 1980s opposing clemency for the four men framed by FBI lies. Of course, Mueller was also in that position while Whitey Bulger was helping the FBI cart off his criminal competitors even as he buried bodies in shallow graves along the Neponset'...''Mueller was the head of the Criminal Division as Assistant U.S. Attorney, then as Acting U.S. Attorney. I could not find any explanation online by Mueller as to why he insisted on keeping the defendants in prison that FBI agents'--in the pocket of Whitey Bulger'-- had framed for a murder they did not commit. Make no mistake: these were not honorable people he had incarcerated. But it was part of a pattern that eventually became quite clear that Mueller was more concerned with convicting and putting people in jail he disliked, even if they were innocent of the charges, than he was with ferreting out the truth. I found no explanation as to why he did not bear any responsibility for the $100 million paid to the defendants who were framed by FBI agents under his control. The Boston Globe said, ''Thanks to the FBI's corruption, taxpayers got stuck with the $100 million bill for compensating the framed men, two of whom, Greco and Tameleo, died in prison.''
The New York Times explained the relationship this way: ''In the 1980's, while [FBI Agent] Mr. Connolly was working with Whitey Bulger, Mr. Mueller was assistant United States attorney in Boston in charge of the criminal division and for a period was the acting United States attorney here, presiding over Mr. Connolly and Mr. Bulger as a 'top echelon informant.'
Officials of the Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Department had long wondered why their investigations of Mr. Bulger were always compromised before they could gather evidence against him, and they suspected that the FBI was protecting him.''
If Mr. Mueller had no knowledge that the FBI agents he used were engaged in criminal activity, then he certainly was so incredibly blind that he should never be allowed back into any type of criminal case supervision. He certainly helped continue contributing to the damages of the framed individuals by working relentlessly to prevent them from being paroled out of prison even as their charges were in the process of being completely thrown out.
Notice also the evidence of a pattern throughout Mueller's career: the leaking of information to disparage Mueller's targets. In the Whitey Bulger case, the leaks were to organized crime --- the Mafia.
One of the basic, most bedrock tenets of our Republic is that we never imprison people for being ''bad'' people. Anyone imprisoned has to have committed a specific crime for which they are found guilty. Not in Mueller's world. He has the anti-Santa Claus list; and, if you are on his list, you get punished even if you are framed.
He never apologizes when the truth is learned, no matter how wrong or potentially criminal or malicious the prosecution was. In his book, you deserve what you get even if you did not commit the crime for which he helped put you away. This is but one example, though -- as Al Pacino once famously said -- ''I'm just getting warmed up!''
Rep. Curt Weldon Attacked and Crushed by Robert MuellerDuring my first term in Congress, 2005 to 2006, Congressman Curt Weldon delivered some powerful and relentless allegations about the FBI having prior knowledge that 9/11 was coming. He repeatedly alleged that there was documentary evidence to show that 9/11 could have been prevented and thousands of lives saved if the FBI had done its job. He held up documents at times while making these claims in speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives.I was surprised that FBI Director Mueller seemed to largely ignore these allegations. It seemed to me that he should either admit the FBI made significant mistakes or refute the allegations. Little did I know Mueller's FBI was preparing a response, but it certainly was not the kind of response that I would have expected if an honorable man had been running that once hallowed institution.
You can read two of Congressman Weldon's speeches on the House floor that are linked below. After reading the excerpts I have provided, you may get a window into the mind of the FBI Director or someone under Mueller's control at the FBI. The FBI literally destroyed Congressman Weldon's public service life, which then foreclosed his ability to use a national platform to expose what he believed were major problems in the FBI fostered under the Clinton administration. Here is but one such excerpt of a speech wherein he spoke of the failure of FBI leadership, then under the direction of the Clinton administration and as came within Mueller's control just before 9/11. Shockingly, the Mueller FBI failed to even accept from the military any information on the very terrorists who would later go on to commit the atrocities of
9/11, much less act upon it.
The U.S. gleaned this information through development of a surveillance technology called Able Danger. On October 19, 2005, Rep. Curt Weldon delivered the following statement on the House floor.
Mr. Speaker, back in 1999 when I was Chair of the Defense Research Subcommittee, the Army was doing cutting-edge work on a new type of technology to allow us to understand and predict emerging transnational terrorist threats. That technology was being done at several locations but was being led by our Special Forces Command. The work that they were doing was unprecedented. And because of what I saw there, I supported the development of a national capability of a collaborative center that the CIA would just not accept.In fact, in November 4 of 1999, two years before 9-11, in a meeting in my office with the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Director of the CIA, Deputy Director of the FBI, we presented a nine-page proposal to create a national collaborative center.
When we finished the brief, the CIA said we did not need that capability, and so before 9/11 we did not have it. When President Bush came in after a year of research, he announced the formation of the Terrorism Threat Integration Center, exactly what I had proposed in 1999. Today it is known as the NCTC, the National Counterterrorism Center.
But, Mr. Speaker, what troubles me is not the fact that we did not take those steps. What troubles me is that I now have learned in the last four months that one of the tasks that was being done in 1999 and 2000 was a Top Secret program organized at the request of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, carried out by the General in charge of our Special Forces Command, a very elite unit focusing on information regarding al Qaeda. It was a military language effort to allow us to identify the key cells of al Qaeda around the world and to give the military the capability to plan actions against those cells, so they could not attack us as they did in 1993 at the Trade Center, at the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole attack, and the African embassy bombings.
What I did not know, Mr. Speaker, up until June of this year, was that this secret program called Able Danger actually identified the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda in January and February of 2000, over one year before 9/11 ever happened.
In addition, I learned that not only did we identify the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda, but we identified Mohamed Atta as one of the members of that Brooklyn cell along with three other terrorists who were the leadership of the 9-11 attack.
I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000, again, over one year before 9-11, that [the] Able Danger team attempted on three separate occasions to provide information to the FBI about the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda, and on three separate occasions they were denied by lawyers in the previous administration to transfer that information.
Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday on ''Meet the Press,'' Louis Freeh, FBI Director at the time, was interviewed by Tim Russert. The first question to Louis Freeh was in regard to the FBI's ability to ferret out the terrorists. Louis Freeh's response, which can be obtained by anyone in this country as a part of the official record, was, 'Well, Tim, we are now finding out that a top-secret program of the military called Able Danger actually identified the Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda and Mohammed Atta over a year before 9/11.'
And what Louis Freeh said, Mr. Speaker, is that that kind of actionable data could have allowed us to prevent the hijackings that occurred on September 11.
So now we know, Mr. Speaker, that military intelligence officers working in a program authorized by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the General in charge of Special Forces Command, identified Mohammed Atta and three terrorists a year before 9/11, tried to transfer that information to the FBI [and] were denied; and [that] the FBI Director has now said publicly if he would have had that information, the FBI could have used it to perhaps prevent the hijackings that struck the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that landed in Pennsylvania and perhaps saved 3,000 lives and changed the course of world history.
Curt Weldon gave a series of speeches, recounting what he saw and what he knew, regarding the failures of the FBI and the Clinton administration to share information that could have prevented 9/11.
Congressman Weldon tried to hold those accountable in the FBI and CIA that he felt had mishandled actionable intelligence which he said could have thwarted the 9/11 attacks. He recounted many examples of similar intelligence failures.
In 2006, the Robert Mueller-led FBI took horrendously unjust actions to derail Curt Weldon's reelection bid just weeks before the vote'--actions that were later described as a ''hit job'': ''Each of Weldon's 10 previous re-elections had been by sizable margins. Polls showed he was up by 5-7 points [in the fall of 2006]. Three weeks prior to the election, however, a national story ran about Weldon based upon anonymous sources that an investigation was underway against him and his daughter, alleging illegal activities involving his congressional work. Weldon had received no prior notification of any such investigation and was dumbfounded that such a story would run especially since he regularly briefed the FBI and intelligence agencies on his work.
A week after the news story broke, alleging a need to act quickly because of the leak, FBI agents from Washington raided the home of Weldon's daughter at 7:00AM on a Monday morning'... Local TV and print media had all been alerted to the raid in advance and were already in position to cover the story. Editor's note: Sound familiar?
Within hours, Democratic protesters were waving ''Caught Red-Handed'' signs outside Weldon's district office in Upper Darby. In the ensuing two weeks, local and national media ran multiple stories implying that Weldon must also have been under investigation. Given the coverage, Weldon lost the election'... To this day, incredibly, no one in authority has asked Weldon or his daughter about the raid or the investigation. There was no follow up, no questions, no grand jury interrogation, nothing.
One year after the raid the local FBI office called Weldon's daughter to have her come get the property that had been removed from her home. That was it'...The raid ruined the career of Weldon and his daughter.''
Though some blamed the Clintons and Sandy Berger for orchestrating the FBI ''hit job,'' we can't lose sight of the fact that the head of the FBI at the time was Robert Mueller. Please understand what former FBI officials have told me: the FBI would never go after a member of Congress, House or Senate, without the full disclosure to and the blessing of the FBI Director. Even if the idea on how to silence Curt Weldon did not come from Director Mueller himself, it surely had his approval and encouragement.
The early morning raid by Mueller's FBI -- with all the media outside -- who had obviously been alerted by the FBI, achieved its goal of abusing the U.S. Justice system to silence Curt Weldon by ending his political career. Mueller's tactics worked. If the Clintons and Berger manipulated Weldon's reelection to assure his defeat, they did it with the artful aid of Mueller, all while George W. Bush was President. Does any of this sound familiar?
People say those kinds of things just don't happen in America. They certainly seemed to when Mueller was in charge of the FBI and they certainly seem to happen now during his tenure as Special Counsel. It appears clear that President Obama and his adjutants knew of Mueller's reputation and that he could be used to take out their political opponents should such extra-legal actions become politically necessary.
To the great dismay of the many good, decent and patriotic FBI agents, Obama begged Mueller to stay on for two years past the 10 years the law allowed. Obama then asked Congress to approve Mueller's waiver allowing him to stay on for two extra years. Perhaps the leaders in Congress did not realize what they were doing in approving it. I did. It was a major mistake, and I said so at the time. This is also why I objected strenuously the moment I heard Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed his old friend Bob Mueller to be Special Counsel to go after President Trump.
Rod RosensteinI was one of the few who were NOT surprised when Mueller started selecting his assistants in the Special Counsel's office. Many had reputations for being bullies, for indicting people who were not guilty of the charges, for forcing people toward bankruptcy by running up their legal fees (while the bullies in the Special Counsel's office enjoy an apparently endless government budget), or by threatening innocent family members with prosecution so the Special Counsel's victim would agree to pleading guilty to anything to prevent the Kafka-esque prosecutors from doing more harm to their families.
An Illegal Raid on Congress By MuellerThere is a doctrine in our governmental system that mandates each part of government must have oversight to prevent power from corrupting --- and absolute power from corrupting absolutely. The Congress and Senate are accountable to the voters as is the President. Our massive and bloated bureaucracy is supposed to be accountable to the Congress.A good example would be complaints against the Department of Justice or, specifically, the FBI.
If constituents or whistleblowers within those entities have complaints, a Congressman's office is a good place to contact. Our conversations or information from constituents or whistleblowers are normally privileged from review by anyone within the Executive Branch. It must be so.
If the FBI could raid our offices anytime an FBI agent were to complain to us, no FBI agent could ever afford to come forward, no matter how egregious the conduct they sought to disclose.
Whistleblowers in the FBI must know they are protected. They always have known that in the past. As I learned from talking with attorneys who had helped the House previously with this issue, if the FBI or another law enforcement entity needed to search something on the House side of the Capitol or House office buildings, they contacted the House Counsel, whether with a warrant or request. The House Counsel with approval of the Speaker, would go through the Congress Members' documents, computers, flash drives, or anything that might have any bearing on what was being sought as part of the investigation.
They would honestly determine what was relevant and what was not, and what was both irrelevant and privileged from Executive Branch review. Normally, if there were a dispute or question, it could be presented to a federal judge for a private in-chamber review to determine if it were privileged or relevant. If the DOJ or FBI were to get a warrant and gather all of the computers and documents in a Congressman's office without the recovered items being screened to insure they are not privileged from DOJ seizure, the DOJ would be risking that an entire case might be thrown out because of things improperly recovered and ''fruit of the poisonous tree,'' preventing the use of even things that were not privileged.
FBI Director Mueller, however,, seemed determined to throw over 200 years of Constitutional restraints to the wind so he could let Congress know he was the unstoppable government bully who could potentially waltz into our offices whenever he wished.
In the case of Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, Mueller was willing to risk a reversal of a slam dunk criminal case just to send a message to the rest of Congress: you don't mess with Mueller. That Congressman Jefferson was guilty of something did not surprise most observers when, amidst swirling allegations, $90,000 in cold hard cash was found in his freezer. As we understood it, the FBI had a witness who was wired and basically got Jefferson on tape taking money. They had mountains of indisputable evidence to prove their case. They had gotten an entirely appropriate warrant to search his home and had even more mountains of evidence to nail the lid on his coffin, figuratively speaking.
The FBI certainly did not need to conduct an unsupervised search of a Congressman's office to put their unbeatable case at risk. Apparently, the risk was worth it to Mueller --- he could now show the members of Congress who was in charge. Apparently, the FBI knew just the right federal judge who would disregard the Constitution and allow Mueller's minions to do their dirty work.
I read the Application for Warrant and the accompanying Affidavit for Warrant to raid Jefferson's office, as I did so many times as a judge.
I simply could not believe they would risk such a high-profile case just to try to intimidate Members of Congress.
In the opinion of this former prosecutor, felony judge and Appellate Court Chief Justice, they could have gotten a conviction based on what they had already spelled out in the very lengthy affidavit. The official attorneys representing the House, knowing my background, allowed me to sit in on the extremely heated discussions between attorneys for the House, DOJ attorneys, and, to my recollection, an attorney from the Bush White House, after Jefferson's office was raided.
The FBI had gathered up virtually every kind of record, computerized or otherwise, and carted them off. I was not aware of the times that the DOJ and House attorneys, with the Speaker's permission, had cooperated over the years. No Congressman is above the law nor is any above having search warrants issued against them which is why Jefferson's home was searched without protest.
However, when the material is in a Congressional office, there is a critical and centuries' old balance of power that must be preserved.
The Mueller FBI, along with the DOJ, assured everyone that all was copacetic. They would ask some of the DOJ's attorneys review all of the material and give back anything that was privileged and unlawful for the DOJ to see. Then they would make sure none of the DOJ attorneys who participated in the review of materials (that were privileged from the DOJ's viewing) would be allowed to be prosecutors in Jefferson's case.
If you find that kind of thinking terribly flawed and constitutionally appalling, you would be in agreement with the former Speakers of the House, the Vice President at the time, and ultimately, the final decisions of our federal appellate court system. They found the search to be illegal and inappropriate. Fortunately for the DOJ, they did not throw the entire case out. In retrospect, we did not know at the time what a farce a DOJ ''firewall'' would have been. Now we do!
Mueller's 5-Year Up-Our-OutIn federal law enforcement, it takes a new federal agent or supervisor about five years or so after arriving at a newly assigned office to gain the trust and respect of local law enforcement officers. That trust and respect is absolutely critical to doing the best job possible. Yet new FBI Director Robert Mueller came up with a new personnel policy that would rid the FBI of thousands of years of its most invaluable experience.In a nutshell, after an FBI employee was in any type of supervisory position for five years, he or she had to either come to Washington to sit at a desk or get out of the FBI .
In the myriad of FBI offices around the country, most agents love what they do in actively enforcing the law. They have families involved in the community; their kids enjoy their schools; and they do not want to move to the high cost of living in Washington, DC, and especially not to an inside desk job. What occurred around the country was that agents in charge of their local offices got out of the FBI and did something more lucrative. Though they really wanted to stay in, they were not allowed to do so if they were not moving to DC. Agents told me that it was not unusual for the Special Agent in Charge of a field office to have well over 20 years of experience before the policy change. Under Mueller's policy that changed to new Special Agents in Charge having five to ten years of experience when they took over.
If the FBI Director wanted nothing but ''yes'' men and women around the country working for him, this was a great policy. Newer agents are more likely to unquestioningly salute the FBI figurehead in Washington, but never boldly offer a suggestion to fix a bad idea and Mueller had plenty of them.
Whether it was wasting millions of dollars on a software boondoggle or questionable personnel preferences, agents tell me Mueller did not want to hear from more experienced people voicing their concerns about his ideas or policies. An NPR report December 13, 2007, entitled, ''FBI'S 'Five-And-Out' Transfer Policy Draws Criticism'' dealt with the Mueller controversial policy: ''From the beginning of this year (2007) until the end of September (2007), 576 agents found themselves in the five-and-out pool. Less than half of them '-- just 286 '-- opted to go to headquarters; 150 decided to take a pay cut and a lesser job to stay put; 135 retired; and five resigned outright.''
In the period of nine months accounted for in this report, the FBI ran off a massive amount of absolutely priceless law enforcement experience vested in 140 invaluable agents. For the vast part, those are the agents who have seen the mistakes, learned lessons, could advise newer agents on unseen pitfalls of investigations and pursuit of justice.
So many of these had at least 20-30 years of experience or more. The lessons learned by such seasoned agents were lost as the agents carried it with them when they left. In the 2007 NPR report, the FBI Agents Association indicated that the Five-Year-Up-or-Out program hobbles field offices and takes relationships forged there for granted. In other words, it was a terrible idea.
The incalculable experience loss damages the FBI by eliminating those in the field in a position to advise the FBI Director against his many judgment errors, which were listed in the NPR article. But this was not the only damage done.
If an FBI Director has inappropriate personal vengeance in mind or holds an inappropriate prejudice such as those that infamously motivated Director J. Edgar Hoover, then the older, wiser, experienced agents were not around with the confidence to question or guide the Director away from potential misjudgment. I also cannot help but wonder: if Mueller had not run off the more experienced agents, would they have been able to advise against and stop the kind of Obama-era abuses and corruption being unearthed right now?
Rather than admit that his 5-Year program was a mistake, Mueller eventually changed the policy to a Seven-Year-Up-or-Out Program. I once pointed out to him at a hearing that if he had applied the Five Year Up-or-Out Policy to literally everyone in a supervisory position, he himself would have had to leave the FBI by September of 2006. He did not seem to be amused.
One other problem remained that will be discussed in more detail later in this article. Before Mueller became Director, FBI agents were trained to identify certain Muslims who had become radicalized and dangerous. Mueller purged and even eliminated training that would have helped identify radical Islamic killers. By running off the more experienced agents who had better training on radical Islam before Mueller, ''blinded us of the ability to identify our enemy,'' as I was told by some of them, Mueller put victims in harm's way in cities like Boston, San Diego and elsewhere.
National Security Letter AbusesNational Security Letters (NSL) are a tool that allows the DOJ to bypass the formality of subpoenas, applications for warrants with affidavits in support, and instead simply send a letter to an individual, business or any entity they so choose to demand that records or documents of any kind must be produced and provided to the sender.The letter also informs the recipient that if the he or she reveals to anyone that the letter was received or what it requires to be produced, then the recipient has committed a federal felony and will be prosecuted.
It is a rather dramatic event to receive such a letter and then realize that this simple letter could have such profound power and consequences.
The Committee in the House of Representatives that has oversight jurisdiction over the DOJ is the Judiciary Committee of which I am a member. We have grilled DOJ personnel in the past over the potential for NSL abuse, but both the House and Senate Committees were reassured that there were no known abuses of this extra-constitutional power.
Unfortunately, the day came when we learned that there had been an extraordinary number of abuses.
Apparently, some of Mueller's FBI agents had just been sending out demands for records or documents without any probable cause, which the Fourth Amendment requires. Some agents were on outright fishing expeditions just to find out what different people were doing. We were told that there may have even been thousands of NSL's dispatched to demand documents without following either the Constitutional requirements or the DOJ's own policy requirements.
When the Inspector General's report revealed such absolutely outrageous conduct by FBI agents, some in Congress were absolutely livid. An NBC News report on March 9, 2007, had this headline and sub-headline: ''Justice Department: FBI acted illegally on data; Audit finds agency misused Patriot Act to obtain information on citizens.''
The report went on to say, ''FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was to blame for not putting more safeguards into place. 'I am to be held accountable,' Mueller said. He told reporters he would correct the problems and did not plan to resign. 'The inspector general went and did the audit that I should have put in place many years ago,' Mueller said.'' Some Republicans wanted to completely eliminate such an extraordinary power that was so widely abused. Nonetheless, I could not help but wonder that if Mueller had not run off thousands of years of experience though his ''Five Year Up-or-Out Policy,'' perhaps young, inexperienced agents would not have been so tempted to vastly abuse the power of the NSL.
In fact, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lost his job over the widespread, pervasive abuses under Mueller's supervision. In retrospect, Mueller probably should have been gone first. It was his people, his lack of oversight, his atmosphere that encouraged it, and his FBI that did virtually nothing to hold people accountable.
Senator Ted StevensWith Mueller as his mentor and confidant, is it any surprise that we're now finding James Comey's FBI found additional ways to monitor Americans and plot with Democrat loyalists in an attempt to oust a duly-elected President?
Ted Stevens had served in the U.S. Senate since 1968 and was indicted in 2008 by the U.S. Justice Department. One would think before the U.S. government would seek to destroy a sitting U.S. Senator, there would be no question whatsoever of his guilt. One would be completely wrong, at least when the FBI Director is Robert Mueller. Roll Call provides us with General Colin Powell's take on Ted Stevens.
''According to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had worked closely with the senator since his days as President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, the senator was 'a trusted individual ... someone whose word you could rely on. I never heard in all of those years a single dissenting voice with respect to his integrity, with respect to his forthrightness, and with respect to the fact that when you shook hands with Ted Stevens, or made a deal with Ted Stevens, it was going to be a deal that benefited the nation in the long run, one that he would stick with.'''
Such a glowing reputation certainly did not inhibit Mueller's FBI from putting Stevens in its cross-hairs, pushing to get an indictment that came 100 days before his election, and engaging in third world dictator-type tactics to help an innocent man lose his election, after which he lost his life. As reported by NPR, after the conviction and all truth came rolling out of the framing and conviction of Senator Stevens, the new Attorney General Eric Holder, had no choice. He ''abandoned the Stevens case in April 2009 after uncovering new and 'disturbing' details about the prosecution'...''
Unfortunately for Ted Stevens, his conviction came only eight days before his election, which tipped the scales on a close election.
Does this sound familiar yet? The allegation was that Senator Stevens had not paid full price for improvements to his Alaska cabin. As Roll Call reported, he had actually overpaid for the improvements by over twenty percent. Roll Call went on to state:
''But relying on false records and fueled by testimony from a richly rewarded 'cooperating' witness'... government prosecutors convinced jurors to find him guilty just eight days before the general election which he lost by less than 2 percent of the vote.''
After a report substantiated massive improprieties by the FBI and DOJ in the investigation and prosecution of Senator Stevens, the result was ultimately a complete dismissal of the conviction.
At the time there was no direct evidence that Director Mueller was aware of the tactics of concealing exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated Stevens, and the creation of evidence that convicted him in 2008. Nearly four years later, in 2012, the Alaska Dispatch News concluded: ''Bottom line: Kepner (the lead FBI investigator accused of wrongdoing by Agent Joy) is still working for the FBI and is still investigating cases, including criminal probes. Joy, the whistleblower (who was the FBI agent who disclosed the FBI's vast wrongdoing, especially of Kepner), has left the agency.''/p>
Director Mueller either did control or could have controlled what happened to the lead FBI agent that destroyed a well-respected U.S. Senator. That U.S. Senator was not only completely innocent of the manufactured case against him, he was an honest and honorable man. Under Director Mueller's overriding supervision, the wrongdoer who helped manufacture the case stayed on and the whistleblower was punished. Obviously, the FBI Director wanted his FBI agents to understand that honesty would be punished if it revealed wrongdoing within Mueller's organization. Further, not only was evidentiary proof of Senator Stevens' innocence concealed from the Senator's defense attorneys by the FBI, there was also a witness that provided compelling testimony that Stevens' had done everything appropriately. That witness, however, was who agents sent back to Alaska by FBI Agents, unbeknownst to the Senator's defense attorneys. This key exonerating testimony was placed out of reach for Senator Stevens' defense. Someone should have gone to jail for this illegality within the nation's top law enforcement agency. Instead, Senator Stevens lost his seat, and surprise, surprise, Mueller's FBI helped another elected Republican bite the dust. Unfortunately, I am not speaking figuratively.
In August of 2010, former Senator Stevens boarded his doomed plane. But for the heinous, twisted and corrupt investigation by the FBI, and inappropriate prosecution by the DOJ, he would have still been a sitting U.S. Senator.
Don't forget, one vote in the Senate was critical to ObamaCare becoming law. If Senator Stevens was still there, it would not have become law. In the following month after Senator Stevens' untimely death, in September of 2010, a young DOJ lawyer, Nicholas Marsh -- who had been involved in the Stevens case -- committed suicide at his home as the investigation into the fraudulent case continued. The report expressed, "no conclusion as to his (Marsh's) conduct," given his untimely death. Robert Luskin, an attorney for Marsh, said, "he tried to do the right thing."
If you're wondering what happened to the valuable FBI agent who was an upstanding whistleblower with a conscience, you should know that inside Mueller's FBI, Special Agent Joy was terribly mistreated.
Orders came down from on high that he was not to participate in any criminal investigation again, which is the FBI management's way of forcing an agent out of the FBI. On the other hand, the FBI agent who was said to have manufactured evidence against Senator Stevens -- while hiding evidence of his innocence -- was treated wonderfully and continued to work important criminal cases for Director Mueller.
If you wonder if mistreatment of an FBI agent who exposed impropriety was an anomaly in Mueller's FBI, the Alaska Dispatch noted this about another case:
''Former FBI agent Jane Turner was treated much like Joy (the whistleblower agent in the Stevens case) after she blew the whistle on fellow agents who had taken valuable mementos from Ground Zero following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. She took the FBI to court over her treatment and ended up winning her case against the agency after a jury trial. When you blow the whistle on the FBI, 'it's death by a million paper cuts,' she told Alaska Dispatch. Turner said that agents who violate the FBI's omerta -- those who internally challenge the agency -- are undercut and isolated. 'They (Mueller's FBI supervisors) do everything they can to get you to quit' she said.''
The Disgusting Treatment of Dr. Steven HatfillHere is how Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist described this combined Mueller-Comey debacle:
''The FBI absolutely bungled its investigation into the Anthrax attacker who struck after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Carl Cannon goes through this story well, and it's worth reading for how it involves both Comey and his dear 'friend' and current special counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI tried '-- in the media '-- its case against Hatfill. Their actual case ended up being thrown out by the courts: Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled. They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington's mail system, solidified the Bush administration's antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure. More from the Carl Cannon cited above, recounting how disastrous the attempt to convict Dr. Steven Hatfill for a crime he didn't commit was: In truth, Hatfill was an implausible suspect from the outset. He was a virologist who never handled anthrax, which is a bacterium. (Ivins, by contrast, shared ownership of anthrax patents, was diagnosed as having paranoid personality disorder, and had a habit of stalking and threatening people with anonymous letters '' including the woman who provided the long-ignored tip to the FBI). So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency threw a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they'd ''alerted'' on Hatfill and that he must be the killer.
Unfortunately, both Mueller and Comey were absolutely and totally convinced of the innocent man's guilt. They ruined his life, his relationship with friends, neighbors and potential employers. And from Carl Cannon, Real Clear Politics:
You'd think that any good FBI agent would have kicked these quacks in the fanny and found their dogs a good home. Or at least checked news accounts of criminal cases in California where these same dogs had been used against defendants who'd been convicted -- and later exonerated. As Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times investigative reporter David Willman detailed in his authoritative book on the case, a California judge who'd tossed out a murder conviction based on these sketchy canines called the prosecution's dog handler ''as biased as any witness that this court has ever seen.'' Instead, Mueller, who micromanaged the anthrax case and fell in love with the dubious dog evidence, and personally assured Ashcroft and presumably George W. Bush that in Steven Hatfill, the bureau had its man'... Mueller didn't exactly distinguish himself with contrition, either. In 2008, after Ivins committed suicide as he was about to be apprehended for his crimes, and the Justice Department had formally exonerated Hatfill '' and paid him $5.82 million in a legal settlement ($2.82+150,000/yr. for 20 yrs) '' Mueller could not be bothered to walk across the street to attend the press conference announcing the case's resolution. When reporters did ask him about it, Mueller was graceless. ''I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation,'' he said, adding that it would be erroneous ''to say there were mistakes.''
Though FBI jurisdiction has its limitations, Mueller's ego does not. Mueller and Comey's next target in the Anthrax case was Dr. Bruce Ivins. As the FBI was closing in and preparing to give him the ultimate Hatfill treatment, Dr. Ivins took his own life. Though Mueller and Comey were every bit as convinced that Dr. Ivins was the Anthrax culprit as they were that Dr. Hatfill was, there are lingering questions about whether or not there was a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Since Dr. Ivins is deceased, we are expected to simply accept that he was definitely the Anthrax killer and drop the whole matter. That's a difficult ask after taxpayer money paid off Mueller's previous victim. Mueller had relentlessly dogged Dr. Hatfill using lifedestroying, Orwellian tactics. Either Mueller was wrong when he said it would be a mistake, ''to say there were mistakes,'' in the railroading of Hatfill or Mueller did intentionally and knowingly persecute an innocent man.
The Framing of Scooter LibbyIn 2003, there was yet another fabricated and politically-charged FBI investigation: this one "searching" for the leak of CIA agent Valery Plame's identity to the media. Robert Mueller's close friend James Comey was at the time serving as the Deputy Attorney General. Comey convinced then Attorney General John Ashcroft that he should recuse himself from the Plame investigation while Ashcroft was in the hospital.
After Deputy A.G. Comey was successful in securing Ashcroft's recusal, Comey then got to choose the Special Counsel. He then looked about for someone who was completely independent of any relationships that might affect his independence and settled upon his own child's godfather, nameing Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the source of the leak. So much for the independence of the Special Counsel.
The entire episode was further revealed as a fraud when it was later made public that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald, FBI Director Mueller, and Deputy Attorney Comey had very early on learned that the source of Plame's identity leak came from Richard Armitage. But neither Comey nor Mueller nor Fitzgerald wanted Armitage's scalp. Oh no. These so-called apolitical, fair-minded pursuers of their own brand of justice were after a bigger name in the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. Yet they knew from the beginning that these two men were not guilty of anything.
Nonetheless, Fitzgerald, Mueller and Comey pursued Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, as a path to ensnare the Vice President. According to multiple reports, Fitzgerald had twice offered to drop all charges against Libby if he would 'deliver' Cheney to him. There was nothing to deliver. Is any of this sounding familiar? Could it be that these same tactics have been used against an innocent Gen. Mike Flynn? Could it be that Flynn only agreed to plead guilty to prevent any family members from being unjustly prosecuted and to also prevent going completely broke from attorneys' fees? That's the apparent Mueller-ComeySpecial Counsel distinctive modus-operandi. Libby would not lie about Cheney, so he was prosecuted for obstruction of justice, perjury, making a false statement. This Spectator report from 2015 sums up this particularly egregious element of the railroading.'''... By the time Scooter Libby was tried in 2007 it wasn't for anything to do with the Plame leak '-- everyone then knew Armitage had taken responsibility for that '-- but for lying to federal officials about what he had said to three reporters, including Miller. It is relating to this part of the story that an extraordinary new piece of information has come to light. After her spell in prison, and with her job on the line, Miller was eventually worn down to agree to hand over some redacted portions of notes of her few conversations with Libby. Several years on, she could no longer recall where she had first heard of Plame's CIA identity, but her notes included a reference to Wilson alongside which the journalist had added in brackets 'wife works in Bureau?'
After Fitzgerald went through these notes it was put to Miller that this showed that the CIA identity of Plame had been raised by Libby during the noted meeting. At Libby's trial Miller was the only reporter to state that Libby had discussed Plame. His conviction and his sentencing to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, rested on this piece of evidence. But Miller has just published her memoirs. One detail in particular stands out. Since the Libby trial, Miller has read Plame's own memoir and there discovered that Plame had worked at a State Department bureau as cover for her real CIA role. The discovery, in Miller's words, 'left her cold'. The idea that the 'Bureau' in her notebook meant 'CIA' had been planted in her head by Fitzgerald. It was a strange word to use for the CIA. Reading Plame's memoir, Miller realized that 'Bureau' was in brackets because it related to her working at State Department. (Emphasis added)
What that means is that Scooter Libby had not lied as she originally thought and testified. He was innocent of everything including the contrived offense. For his honesty and innocence, Scooter Libby spent time behind bars, and still has a federal felony conviction he carries like an albatross. The real culprit of the allegation for which the Special Counsel was appointed, and massive amounts of tax payer dollars expended was Richard Armitage. A similar technique was used against Martha Stewart. After all, Mueller's FBI developed both cases. If the desired crime to be prosecuted was never committed, then talk to someone you want to convict until you find something that others are willing to say was not true. Then you can convict them of lying to the FBI. Martha Stewart found out about Mueller's FBI the hard way. Unfortunately, Mueller has left a wake of innocent people whom he has crowned with criminal records. History does seem to repeat itself when it is recording the same people using the same tactics. Can anyone who has ever actually looked at Robert Mueller's history honestly say that Mueller deserves a sterling reputation in law enforcement? One part of his reputation he does apparently deserve is the reputation for being James Comey's mentor.
Mueller's Embrace of the Friends of Islamic TerrorIn 2011, in one of the House Judiciary Committee's oversight hearings, FBI Director Mueller repeatedly testified during questioning by various Members about how the Muslim community was just like every other religious community in the United States. He also referenced an ''Outreach Program'' the FBI had with the Muslim community.
When it was my turn to question, I could not help but put the two points of his testimony together for a purge question:
GOHMERT: Thank you, Director. I see you had mentioned earlier, and it's in your written statement, that the FBI's developed extensive outreach to Muslim communities and in answer to an earlier question I understood you to say that you know Muslim communities were like all other communities, so I'm curious as the result of the extensive outreach program the FBI's had to the Muslim community, how is your outreach program going with the Baptists and the Catholics?MUELLER: I'm not certain of, necessarily the rest of that, the question I would say -- there are outreach to all segments of a particular city or county or society is good.
GOHMERT: Well do you have a particular program of outreach to Hindus, Buddhists, Jewish community, agnostics or is it just an extensive outreach program to ''
MUELLER: We have outreach to every one of those communities.
GOHMERT: And how do you do that?
MUELLER: Every one of those communities can be affected can be affected by facts or circumstance.
GOHMERT: I've looked extensively, and I haven't seen anywhere in any one from the FBI's letters, information that there's been an extensive outreach program to any other community trying to develop trust in this kind of relationship and it makes me wonder if there is an issue of trust or some problem like that that the FBI has seen in that particular community.
MUELLER: I would say if you look at one of our more effective tools or what we call citizens academies where we bring in individuals from a variety of segments of the territory in which the office operates . . . look at the citizens' academy, the persons here, they are a crosssection of the community, they can be Muslim, could be Indian, they can be Baptists '' GOHMERT: Okay but no specific programs to any of those. You have extensive outreach to the Muslim community and then you have a program of outreach to communities in general is what it sounds like.
We went further in the questioning. The 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorism financing trial in American history, linked the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR) to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Because of this affiliation, the FBI issued policy and guidance to restrict its non-investigative interactions with CAIR in an effort to limit CAIR's ability to exploit contacts with the FBI. As a result, FBI field offices were instructed to cut ties with all local branches of CAIR across the country.
GOHMERT: Are you aware of the evidence in the Holy Land Foundation case that linked the Council on American-Islamic relations, CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America and the North America Islamic Trust to the Holy Land Foundation?MUELLER: I'm not going to speak to specific information in a particular case. I would tell you on the other hand that we do not ''
GOHMERT: Are you aware of the case, Director?
[CROSSTALK] MUELLER: '' relationship with CAIR because of concerns ''
GOHMERT: Well I've got the letter from the Assistant Director Richard Powers that says in light of the evidence '' talking about during the trial '' evidence was introduced that demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders, including its current president emeritus and executive director and the Palestine committee, evidence was also introduced that demonstrated a relationship between the Palestine committee and Hamas, which was designated as a terrorist organization in 1995.
In light of that evidence, he says, the FBI suspended all formal contacts between CAIR and FBI. Well now it's my understanding, and I've got documentation, and I hope you've seen this kind of documentation before, it's public record, and also the memo order from the judge in turning down a request that the unindicted co-conspirators be eliminated from the list, and he says the FBI's information is clear there is a tie here, and I'm not going to grant the deletion of these particular parties as unindicted coconspirators.
So, I'm a little surprised that you're reluctant to discuss something that's already been set out in an order, that's already been in a letter saying we cut ties in light of the evidence at this trial. I'm just surprised it took the evidence that the FBI had, being introduced at the trial in order to sever the relationships with CAIR that it (the FBI) had that showed going back to the 1993 meeting in Philadelphia, what was tied to a terrorist organization. So, I welcome your comments about that.
MUELLER: As I told you before, we have no formal relationship with CAIR because of concerns with regard to the national leadership on that.
What Director Mueller was intentionally deceptive about was that the FBI had apparently maintained a relationship and even ''community partnership'' instigated on his watch with CAIR and other groups and individuals that his FBI had evidence showing they were co-conspirators to terrorism. That, of course, is consistent with his misrepresentation that Mueller's FBI had outreach programs to other religious communities just like they did with the Muslim community. They did not. He was not honest about it. In a March 2009 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) questioned Mueller over the FBI move to cut off contact with CAIR. Mueller responded to Kyl's pressing over how the policy was to be handled by FBI field offices and headquarters with the following:
MUELLER: We try to adapt, when we have situations where we have an issue with one or more individuals, as opposed to institution, or an institution, large, to identify the specificity of those particular individuals or issues that need to be addressed. We will generally have -- individuals may have some maybe leaders in the community who we have no reason to believe whatsoever are involved in terrorism, but may be affiliated, in some way, shape or form, with an institution about which there is some concern, and which we have to work out a separate arrangement. We have to be sensitive to both the individuals, as well as the organization, and try to resolve the issues that may prevent us from working with a particular organization.KYL: They try to ''adapt'' with members of terror-related groups? Are they as ''sensitive'' with other organizations? Do they work out ''separate arrangements'' with members of, say, the Mafia or the Ku Klux Klan for ''community outreach''? Why the special treatment for radical Islamic terrorism?
A March 2012 review of FBI field office compliance with this policy by the Office of Inspector General found a discrepancy between the FBI's enforcement policy restricting contact and interaction with CAIR and its resulting actions. Rather than FBI headquarters enforcing the rules, they hedged. Mueller set up a separate cover through the Office of Public Affairs and allowed them to work together, despite the terrorist connections.
That was the cultivated atmosphere of Mueller's FBI. The DOJ actually set out in writing in an indictment that CAIR and some of the people Mueller was coddling were supporters of terrorism. I had understood that the plan by the Bush Justice Department was that if they got convictions of the principals in the Holy Land Foundation trial, they would come right back after the co-conspirators who were named in the indictment as co-conspirators but who were not formally indicted. In late 2008, the DOJ got convictions against all those formally indicted, so DOJ could then move forward with formally indicting and convicting the rest'--EXCEPT that the November 2008 election meant it was now going to be the OBAMA DOJ with Eric Holder leading. The newly-named but not confirmed Attorney General apparently made clear they were not going to pursue any of the named co-conspirators. That itself was a major loss for the United States in its war against terrorism in the Obama administration. It was a self-inflicted refusal to go after and defeat our enemies. All of the named co-conspirators would not likely have been formally indicted, but certainly there was evidence to support the allegations against some of them, as the federal district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had formally found. One of the problems with FBI Director Mueller is that he had already been cozying up to named co-conspirators with evidence in hand of their collusion with terrorists. That probably was an assurance to President Obama and Attorney General Holder that Mueller would fit right in to the Obama administration. He did. It also helps explain why President Obama and AG Holder wanted him to serve and extra two years as FBI Director. Mueller was their kind of guy. Unfortunately for America, he truly was!
Purging the FBI of Anti-Terror InformationWe repeatedly see cases where people were radicalized, emerge on the FBI's radar, but federal agents are instead looking for Islamophobes, not the terrorists standing in front of them. That is because Mueller's demand of his FBI Agents, in the New Age to which he brought them, was to look for Islamophobes.
If a Mueller-trained FBI agent got a complaint about a potential radical Islamist who may pose a threat, the agent must immediately recognize that the one complaining is most likely an Islamophobe. That means the agent should first investigate whether the complainant is guilty of a hate crime. Too often it was after an attack occurred that Mueller-trained FBI agents would decide that there really was a radical Islamic threat to the United States.
The blinding of our FBI agents to the domestic threat of radical Islam is part of the beguiling damage Robert Mueller did as FBI Director. That is also the kind of damage that got Americans killed, even though Mueller may have avoided offending the radical Islamists who were killing Americans. As terrorism expert Patrick Poole continually points out in his ''Known Wolf'' series, the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil are committed by those the FBI has interviewed and dismissed as a threat. Here are three of the more high-profile cases:
ORLANDO: The mass killer who attacked the Pulse nightclub in June 2016, Omar Mateen, had been interviewed by the FBI on three separate occasions. The open preliminary investigation in 2013 lasted 10 months, after Mateen had told others about mutual acquaintances he shared with the Boston bombers and had made extremist statements. He was investigated again in 2014 for his contacts with a suicide bomber who attended the same mosque. At one point, Mateen was placed on TWO separate terrorism databases. He was later removed from them.
NORTHWEST AIRLINES: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Detroitbound Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 with 289 other passengers wearing an underwear bomb intended to murder them all. He was well-known to U.S. intelligence officials before he boarded.
Only one month before the attempted bombing, Abdulmutallab's father had actually gone to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and met with two CIA officers. He directly told the CIA that he was concerned about his son's extremism. Abdulmutallab's name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database. However, his name was not added the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database. Or even the no-fly list. So, he boarded a plane. When asked about the near-takedown of the flight and these missteps, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarkably told CNN that ''the system worked.'' The only "system" that worked in this incident: a culture that values bravery, already instilled in the passengers who acted.
BOSTON: Prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in April 2013 that killed three people and injured 264 others, the FBI had been tipped off. Twice. Russian intelligence warned that Tamerlan was ''a follower of radical Islam.'' Initially, the FBI denied ever meeting with Tamerlan. They later claimed that they followed up on the lead, couldn't find anything in their databases linking him to terrorism, and quickly closed the case. After the second Russian warning, Tamerlan's file was flagged by federal authorities demanding ''mandatory'' detention if he attempted to leave or re-enter the United States. But Tsarnaev's name was misspelled when it was entered into the database.
An internal FBI report of the handling of the Tsarnaev's case -unsurprisingly -- saw the FBI exonerate itself. When I asked at yet another House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Mueller himself admitted in response to my questioning, that the FBI had indeed gone to the Boston mosque the bombers attended. Of course, The FBI did not go to investigate the Tsarnaevs. The bombers' mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston, was incorporated by known and convicted terrorists. The incorporation papers were signed by none other than Abduram Al-Amoudi who is currently serving 23 years in a federal prison for funding terrorism. One of the members of the Board of Trustees included a leader of the International Muslim Brotherhood, Yusef al-Qawadari, who is barred from entering the United States due to his terrorist ties. Did Mueller's FBI go to the Boston bombers' mosque to investigate the Tsarnaevs? This is from the House Judiciary oversight hearing transcript:
GOHMERT: The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks. If the Russians tell you that someone has been radicalized and you go check and see the mosque that they went to, then you get the articles of incorporation, as I have, for the group that created the Boston mosque where these Tsarnaevs attended, and you find out the name Al-Amoudi, which you will remember, because while you were FBI Director this man who was so helpful to the Clinton administration with so many big things, he gets arrested at Dulles Airport by the FBI and he is now doing over 20 years for supporting terrorism. This is the guy that started the mosque where the Tsarnaevs were attending, and you didn't even bother to go check about the mosque? And then when you have the pictures, why did no one go to the mosque and say, who are these guys? They may attend here. Why was that not done since such a thorough job was done?MUELLER: Your facts are not altogether'--'--
GOHMERT: Point out specifically. MUELLER: May I finish my'--'--
GOHMERT: Point out specifically. Sir, if you're going to call me a liar, you need to point out specifically where any facts are wrong.
MUELLER: We went to the mosque prior to Boston.
GOHMERT: Prior to Boston?
MUELLER: Prior to Boston happening, we were in that mosque talking to the imam several months beforehand as part of our outreach efforts. ''Outreach efforts''? Yes. That is apparently Mueller's efforts to play figurative pattycake with the leaders and tell them how wonderful they are and how crazy all those Islamaphobes out there are, but they surely got assurance that Mueller's FBI is after those bigots. Maybe they sat around on the floor and had a really nice meal together. One thing for certain, they weren't asking about the Tsarnaevs! But the hearing got even worse:
GOHMERT: Were you aware that those mosques were started by Al-Amoudi?
MUELLER. I've answered the question, sir.
GOHMERT. You didn't answer the question. Were you aware that they were started by Al-Amoudi?
MUELLER. No. . .
Then my time for questioning expired, leaving many questions unanswered. Why was the FBI unaware of the origins of the mosque attended by the Boston bombers? This was arguably the most traumatic Islamic terrorist attack in America since 9-11 because the explosions happened on live television at the Boston Marathon. When did the FBI become an outreach-to-terrorism organization to the detriment and disregard of its investigations? Under Director Robert Mueller's tenure, that's when!
In Director Mueller's efforts to appease and please the named co-conspirators of terrorism, he was keenly attuned to their complaints that the FBI training materials on radical Islam said some things about Islamic terrorists that offended some Muslims. Never mind that the main offense was done to the American people by radical Islamists who wanted to kill Americans and destroy our way of life. Mueller wanted to make these co-conspirators feel good toward Mueller and to let them know he was pleased to appease. Director Mueller had all of the training materials regarding radical Islam ''purged'' of anything that might offend radical Islamic terrorists. So, in addition to using his ''Five Year Up-or-Out'' policy to force out so many experienced FBI agents who had been properly trained to identify radical Islamic terrorists, now Mueller was going even further. He was ensuring that new FBI agents would not know what to look for when assessing potentially radicalized individuals.
When thoseof us in Congress learned of the Mueller-mandated ''purge'' of FBI training materials, we demanded to see what was being removed. Unfortunately, Mueller was well experienced in covering his tracks, so naturally the pages of training materials that were purged were ordered to be ''classified,'' so most people would never get to see them.
After many terrorist attacks, we would hear that the FBI had the Islamic terrorists on their radar but failed to identify them. Now you are beginning to see why FBI agents could not spot them. They were looking more at the complainant than they were at the radical Islamist because that is what Mueller had them trained to do.
Michele Bachmann and I were extremely upset that Americans were being killed because of the terribly flawed training. We demanded to see the material that was ''purged'' from the training of FBI agents regarding radical Islam. That is when we were told it could not be sent over for review because the purged material was ''classified.'' We were authorized to review classified material, so we demanded to see it anyway. We were willing to go over to the FBI office or the DOJ, but we wanted to review the material.
We were told they would bring it over and let us review it in the Rayburn Building in a protected setting. They finally agreed to produce the material. Members of Congress Michele Bachmann, Lynn Westmoreland, and I went to the little room to review the vast amount of material. Lynn was not able to stay as long as Michele and I did, but we started pouring through the notebooks of materials. It was classified so naturally I am not allowed to disclose any specifics, but we were surprised at the amount of material that was purged from the training our agents. Some of the items that were strictly for illustration or accentuation were removed. A few were silly. But some should clearly have been left in if an FBI agent was going to know how and what a radical Islamic terrorist thinks, and what milestone had been reached in the radicalization process.
It was clear to Michele and me as we went through the purged materials that some of the material really did need to be taught to our FBI agents. For those densely-headed or radical activists who will wrongly proclaim that what I am writing is an Islamophobic complaint, please note that I have never said that all Muslims are terrorists. I have never said that, because all Muslims are not terrorists. But for the minority who are, we have to actually learn exactly what they study and learn how they think. As Patton made clear after defeating Rommel's tanks in World War II, he studied his enemy, what he believed and how he thought. In the movie, ''Patton,'' he loudly proclaims, ''Rommel, you magnificent ___, I read your book!''
That is how an enemy is defeated. You study what they believe, how they think, what they know. Failure to do so is precisely why so many ''Known Wolves'' are able to attack us. Clearly, Mueller weakened our ability to recognize a true radical Islamic terrorist. As one of my friends in our U.S. Intelligence said, ''We have blinded ourselves of the ability to see our enemy! You cannot defeat an enemy you cannot define.'' Robert Mueller deserves a significant amount of the credit for the inability of our federal agents to define our enemy.
Purging Counter-Terrorism Training MaterialsFBI Special Agent Kim Jensen had spent a great deal of his adult life studying radical Islam. He is personally responsible for some extraordinary undercover work that remains classified to this day. He was tasked with putting together a program to train our more experienced FBI agents to locate and identify radicalized Muslims on the threshold of violence.
Jensen had done this well before Mueller began to cozy up with and pander to groups such as CAIR. Complaints by similar groups caused Mueller to once again demand that our agents could not be properly instructed on radical Islam.
Accordingly, Jensen's roughly 700-pages of advanced training material on radical Islam were eliminated from FBI training and all copies were ordered destroyed.
When Director Mueller decides he wants our federal agents to be blind and ignorant of radical Islam, they are indeed going to be blind and ignorant.
Fortunately, in changing times well after Mueller's departure as FBI Director, a new request went out to Mr. Jensen to recreate that work because at least someone in the FBI needed to know what traits to look for in a terrorist. It still did not undo the years of damage from Mueller's commanded ignorance of radical Islam.Mueller's Unethical Acceptance of Appointment as Special ProsecutorRobert Mueller had more than one direct conflict of interest that should have prohibited him from serving as the Special Counsel to investigate President Donald Trump.
For one thing, President Trump fired his close friend and confidante, disgraced FBI Director James Comey. Mueller had long served as a mentor to Comey, who would most certainly be a critical witness in any investigation of Donald Trump.
Mueller and Comey had also been exceedingly close friends beyond the mentor relationship. But Comey's insertion of himself into so much of the election cycle -- and even its aftermath -- in conversations he had with the President himself made him a critical witness in the investigation. There is no way Mueller could sit in judgment of his dear, close friend's credibility, and certainly no way he should be allowed to do so.
Gregg Jarrett explained one aspect of this situation quite clearly and succinctly at FoxNews.com in an article titled, ''Gregg Jarrett: Are Mueller and Comey 'Colluding' against Trump by acting as co-special counsel?'' A portion of that article reads:The law governing the special counsel (28 CFR 600.7) specifically prohibits Mueller from serving if he has a ''conflict of interest.'' Even the appearance of a conflict is disallowed. The same Code of Federal Regulations defines what constitutes a conflict. That is, ''a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution'' (28 CFR 45.2).Comey is that person. He was substantially involved in the conversation with President Trump who may be the subject of an obstruction investigation. In fact, the former Director is the only other person involved. There were no witnesses beyond himself. A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual has competing interests or loyalties. Here, it sets up a clash between the special counsel's self-interest or bias and his professional or public interest in discharging his responsibilities in a fair, objective and impartial manner. His close association with the star witness raises the likelihood of prejudice or favoritism which is anathema to the fair administration of justice.
Mueller has no choice but to disqualify himself. The law affords him no discretion because the recusal is mandatory in its language. It does not say ''may'' or ''can'' or ''might''. It says the special counsel ''shall'' recuse himself in such instances.
An excellent post by Robert Barnes, a constitutional lawyer, identifies five statutes, regulations and codes of conduct that Mueller is violating because of his conflict of interest with Comey. Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner recounts in detail the close personal relationship between Mueller and Comey which gives rise to the blatant conflict of interest.
Another deeply troubling aspect of Mueller's conflict of interest is and was his role in the investigation of Russia's effort to illegally gain control of a substantial part of United States' precious supply of uranium. That investigation was taking place within the Mueller FBI, which should have had a direct effect on prohibiting Secretary of State Clinton from participating in the approval of the uranium sale into the hands that were ultimately the Russian government.
Of course, then U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein had direct control over that Russiauranium investigation in conjunction with FBI Director Mueller. It certainly appears that with what they had gleaned from that undercover investigation, they should never have been involved in any subsequent investigation that might touch on potential collusion and millions of dollars paid to the Clinton's foundation by the very beneficiaries of the Russians' uranium schemes. Rosenstein and Mueller's failure to warn against or stop the sale reeks of its own form of collusion, cooperation, or capitulation in what some consider a treasonous sale.
Quite the interesting duo is now in charge of all things investigatory surrounding their own actions. In fact, Rosenstein and Mueller are now in a position to dissuade others from pursuing them for their own conduct.
Special Prosecutor Mueller's Troublingly Biased HiresThrough it all, Mueller's modus operandi does not seem to have ever changed. He has hired nine Democrat-supporting lawyers and zero Republicans. Certainly all attorneys likely have political views and that is not a problem so long as they do not affect their job. But not a single Republican was worthy of Mueller's selection?
Were there no establishment Republicans who wanted to join his jihad? Mueller's hand-picked team of Democrats reveal political views that distinctly conflict with Trump and the conservative agenda, raising questions about Mueller's bias and his ability to conduct a fair investigation. At least nine members of Mueller's team made significant contributions to Democrats or Democratic campaigns, while none contributed to Trump's campaign and only James Quarles contributed to Republicans in a drastically smaller amount than what he gave to Democrats.
Analysis of Federal Election Commission records shows that Andrew Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Goldstein, James Quarles, Elizabeth Prelogar, Greg Andres, Brandon Van Grack, Rush Atkinson, and Kyle Freeny all contributed over $50,000 in donations to Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's Presidential campaigns, various Democratic non-presidential candidates, and the Democratic National Convention. Mueller also has surprisingly strong personal ties to a number of the lawyers he hired.
Three former partners with Mueller at the Boston law firm of WilmerHale are on the payroll: Aaron Zebley, Jeannie Rhee, and James Quarles. In addition to strong personal ties to Mueller, many of the attorneys have potential conflicts in working for persons directly connected to the people and issues being investigated.
Jeannie Rhee represented Ben Rhodes, ex-Obama National Security Adviser, and the Clinton Foundation in a 2015 racketeering lawsuit, as well as Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit probing her private emails.
Aaron Zebley, former Chief of Staff to Mueller while Director of the FBI, represented Justin Cooper in the Clinton email scandal as he was responsible for setting up Clinton's private email server. He admitted to physically damaging Clinton's old mobile devices.
Andrew Goldstein joined the team after working under major Trump critic Preet Bharara in the U.S. Attorney's office in New York. Bharara became a strong critic after Trump fired him as an Obama-holdover and spoke on ABC News that ''there's absolutely evidence to launch an obstruction of justice case against Trump's team with regard to the Russia probe.'' Does he sound a bit prejudiced?
Andrew Weissman, notoriously a ''tough'' prosecutor previously accused of ''prosecutorial overreach,'' has a less than stellar career after various courts reversed his prosecutions due to his questionable conduct and tactics. As director of the Enron Task Force, Weissman shattered the Arthur Andersen LLP accounting firm and destroyed over 85,000 jobs. In 2005, the conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court. In other words, the only true crime in the case was the murderous destruction of 85,000 jobs and the lives they ruined.
Weissman's next conviction threw four Merrill Lynch executives into prison without bail for a year, only to be reversed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Weissman subsequently resigned from the Enron Task Force. A suspiciously timely move, as the public eye had just caught sight of his modus operandi. Additionally, Weissman has unsightly political ties, having attended Clinton's electionnight celebration in New York City. He also sent an email to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, praising her boldness on the night she was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump's travel ban. President Trump was trying to enforce the law; Weissman was trying to enforce his bigotry against Trump and Republicans.
Peter Strzok was removed from Mueller's team after more than 10,000 texts between him and former Mueller investigator Lisa Page were found to contain vitriolic anti-Trump tirades. They were not simply anti-Trump. They were more in the nature of desperate attempts to stop him from becoming President and talk of a nefarious insurance policy to orchestrate his removal if he were elected.
General Michael FlynnMichael Flynn is a man entangled in manufactured controversy from the moment he stepped into his role in the Trump administration. The circumstances surrounding his take-down have become one of the more puzzling aspects of the TrumpRussia investigation. His career took him from three decades in the U.S. Army to overseeing the Pentagon's military intelligence operation and directing the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn was more than qualified to act as the first national security adviser in a new administration. However, his influence and zeal made him a clear target for the Trump-Russia investigation.
As a strong supporter and friend of Donald Trump's from the onset, he campaigned and publicly supported then-candidate Trump throughout 2016. As best I can sort it out through the media hype and hysteria, having no first-hand knowledge like the rest of America: after the successful election, during the transition period, in December 2016, Flynn reportedly conversed with a Russian ambassador.
He was ''accidentally'' swept up in an intelligence foreign surveillance recording. When this happens, the names of American citizens are supposed to be masked in the transcripts. Somehow Flynn's name was magically unmasked, which apparently allowed the Obama administration to peruse his meetings and conversations. Parts of the classified transcript of that conversation were leaked to the media by rogue Deep State law breakers (criminals who Mueller seems completely disinterested in). This appears to be what fueled the media-driven narrative of Trump campaign ''collusion'' with Russia because Flynn had a discussion with a Russian ambassador, which conversation is absolutely legal and advisable. A media-generated doubt clouded Flynn's reputation, as the discussion was longreported as having taken place during the campaign (which could possibly be illegal) but was later proven to have been after the election and during the transition which should not have been illegal.
After a complete pounding of media-driven hysteria, in mid-February of 2017, Flynn resigned having served only 23 days as National Security Advisor. Mueller targeted Flynn using illicitly-gathered and leaked foreign intelligence and surveillance as evidence. Nine months later after Flynn and his family were subjected to Mueller's usual threats and intimidation, a financially exhausted Flynn entered a guilty plea on one count of lying to the FBI'--the result of a Mueller-technique perjury trap as was used on Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart. What is Flynn guilty of? He apparently misremembered a conversation that took place 33 days previously? The FBI had a transcript of that conversation and already knew what information was there. They went into a conversation with Flynn not seeking answers to questions, but to try to trip him up on exact statements made in a conversation when they were already in possession of the transcript.
Flynn's unmasking has become the center of a controversy wherein those transcripts were procured under exceedingly questionable circumstances before a judge who had a questionable and undisclosed relationship with part of Mueller's team. That judge was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secretive court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows federal law enforcement to seek secretive warrants to surveil foreign persons outside of the United States who are suspected of terrorism. But the Obama administration and Mueller seemed to find it much more politically expedient to use the secret court to go after Americans who were part of the Trump team for actions that did not occur while they were part of the Trump campaign team. Strange goings-on.
One could argue that Judge Rudolph Contreras, the federal judge who accepted Flynn's guilty plea, conveniently misremembered that he also served on the FISA court as a judge and conveniently misremembered his friendship with the FBI agent whose interview was used as evidence against Flynn. As it turns out, the FBI interview notes of that very encounter with Flynn may exonerate Michael Flynn, crushing Mueller's case against him, not to mention the highly questionable hearing before a judge who may well have been recused much too late to save the Flynn prosecution.
FISA ABUSEThe FISA-authorized FISC is built upon the principle that highly delicate cases dealing with government surveillance of foreign agents and officials would be handled in an unbiased and respectful environment where secrecy at all costs was critical. There is supposed to be an added precaution to prevent any potential for bias in a FISA Judge by having a rotation of judges. That is why it is such a shock to find out now that Mueller's case against Michael Flynn would happen to end up before the ''randomly selected'' very dear close personal friend of FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who hated President Trump with a passion, as evidenced in his text messages with colleague and paramour, Lisa Page. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, or ''Rudy'' as Strzok likes to refer to him, should have recused himself from such a highly sensitive case involving the ultimate attempted removal of the duly-elected President of the United States who happened to be despised by the very people who by law were required to prosecute with fairness. He was later forced to 'recuse' himself and be removed from the Flynn proceedings, without public explanation.
This forced recusal was an unmistakable indication that he never should have been involved in the Michael Flynn plea agreement. Judge Contreras' conflict of interest has yet to be explained by the court. Contreras' is one of only three local FISA court judges, and by default, is likely one of the judges who have on four occasions approved the Title I surveillance of another character in this melodrama, Carter Page. This is the case where the FBI is known to have intentionally misled the FISA court by using as evidence the illustrious ''Steele Dossier,'' a sordid opposition research document paid for by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Oh, what a tangled web of crime Special Prosecutor Mueller's team appears to have helped weave, and of which Mueller appears to be completely disinterested, all while he searches high and low for an elusive crime to pin on the President.
Mueller ignores provable crimes by the Clinton Campaign, the FBI, the FISC, etc.Strategically timed leaks of selective classified information are being used to target individuals for investigation in order to create the appearance of some sinister crime are committed.
Upon closer scrutiny, the cases fall apart.
Yet, slam dunk federal criminal cases of leaking classified material are going on under Mueller's nose, and by those within his purview and his team. When we think of all the leaks from Mueller's investigation, it brings to mind Wilford Brimley's quote from Absence of Malice: ''You call what's goin' on around here a leak? Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built hisself a boat.''
Case in point: Erik Prince. As Lee Smith put it in a recent article from TabletMag.com, Robert Mueller's Beltway Cover-Up:
News that special counselor Robert Mueller has turned his attention to Erik Prince's January 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker, a Lebanese-American political fixer, and officials from the United Arab Emirates, helps clarify the nature of Mueller's work. It's not an investigation that the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading'--rather, it's a cover-up'...Mueller is said to believe that the Prince meeting was to set up a back channel with the Kremlin. But that makes no sense. According to the foundational text of the collusion narrative, the dossier allegedly written by former British spy Christopher Steele, the Kremlin had cultivated Trump himself for years. So what's the purpose of a back channel, when Vladimir Putin already had a key to the front door of Mar-a-Lago? Further, the collusion thesis holds that the Trump circle teamed with high-level Russian officials for the purpose of winning the 2016 election. How does a meeting that Erik Prince had a week before Trump's inauguration advance the crooked election victory plot? It doesn't'--it contradicts it. The writer goes on to point out that serious crimes have been committed which Mueller is purposefully ignoring. Prince was thrown into the middle of Russiagate after an April 3, 2017, Washington Post story reported his meeting with the Russian banker. But how did anyone know about the meeting? After the story came out, Prince said he was shown ''specific evidence'' by sources from the intelligence community that the information was swept up in the collection of electronic communications and his identity was unmasked. The US official or officials who gave his name to the Post broke the law when they leaked classified intelligence. ''Unless the Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles,'' Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in December, ''the only way that's happening is through SIGINT [signals intelligence].'' Prince's name was unmasked and leaked from classified signals intelligence. Oddly enough, it's the same modus operandi used in the targeting of President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It is a federal felony to publish leaked classified information.
Ask WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about that particular unequal application of the law. The Deep State felons who are strategically leaking this information have politically weaponized our justice system and should be prosecuted for their attempts, with malice aforethought, to manufacture the overthrow of a duly elected President of the United States. The leaks and publication of classified information alone warrant investigation and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law in this matter, yet Mueller appears utterly uninterested in those crimes even as they go to the very heart of the credibility of his investigative mandate.
Yet, as I've demonstrated here, the man put in charge of the investigation of "Russian Collusion"; case, Robert Mueller, has perfected the art of abuse of the justice system for personal and political gain. He is uninterested in any criminal activity that does not further his cause of damaging this President. If you think that is harsh, consider the criminality of the FISA court abuses by the Obama Department of Justice and FBI. We have all heard ad nauseum about the infamous ''Steele Dossier,'' the opposition research document paid for by the Clinton campaign that was used to manufacture the Russia collusion narrative and spark what became the Mueller investigation into our President. On June 18, 2017, Muller prot(C)g(C) and disgraced former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the Clinton campaign-funded document, telling Congress that the document was, ''salacious and unverified.'' https://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/full-text-james-comey-trump-russia-testimony-239295)
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, created a court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to allow secret warrants to surveil agents of foreign governments, be they U.S. citizens or non-U.S. actors. In October of 2016, the Obama DOJ/FBI successfully applied for one of these secret warrants to surveil Carter Page, a short-time Trump campaign volunteer. Since these warrants against U.S. citizens are outside of the bounds of the Constitution, they have to be renewed by applying to the court every 90 days after the first warrant application is approved. These secret warrants are so serious they have to be signed off on at the highest levels. The applications in question would have been signed off on by Obama administration FBI and DOJ officials including then FBI Director James Comey. At least one of the renewal applications would have been signed off on by our current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. At the time of the signing, they all would have had the knowledge and/or the professional and legal duty to know that the dossier was used as evidence and also had the legal duty to know the evidence origins. The same would apply to the knowledge of the penalty for submitting unverified information to the FISC for the purpose of obtaining a warrant. It is a crime to submit under the color of law an application to the FISC that contains unverified information 50 U.S. Code § 1809).
Comey's ''salacious and unverified'' testimony before the Senate occurred eight months after the Clinton campaign-funded dossier was used in the first successful FISA court application to obtain a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a Trump campaign volunteer for several months. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence examined the documentation submitted to the court and concluded that the unverified information contained in the Steele dossier was in fact used in the FISC application, without disclosing to the court that it was an opposition research document paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
Neither the initial application in October of 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, the Clinton campaign, or any other partyn in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials. The timing of the applications, the inclusion of material the DOJ/FBI knew to be unverified at the time, and the successful result after this fraudulent inclusion speak to the level of criminal corruption of those who sought to destroy Donald Trump's candidacy and still seek to overturn his election. The widespread abuse of the FISA-authorized court, FISC, was laid bare in a court memorandum of review of these abuses that was declassified in 2017 and went virtually unnoticed by the media because it didn't fit their narrative.
These are serious crimes that, left unchecked, lead nations down the path to tyranny at the hands of people who think they know better than citizens. It's an age-old struggle America's Founding Fathers knew well and did everything they could to prevent from happening. The FISC judges themselves have a duty to police their own courts and call to account these bad actors who, by all facts in the documentation I've personally seen, have committed a fraud upon the court. If these judges do not have the integrity to self-police in this matter, we in Congress must hold them accountable using the power granted to us in the Constitution. Congress has created every single federal court in the country except the Supreme Court. We have the duty to phase out, change or disband the FISC, all while developing a better solution to address the authorization of this sort of surveillance of foreign agents and actors. It is our duty to clean up the mess that the Obama administration demonstrated is far too easy to create.
If you want answers, and you can handle the truth, join me in demanding those answers from ''Special Counsel'' Robert Mueller, along with his resignation. If he were to resign, it could well be the only truly moral, ethical and decent action Mueller has undertaken in this entire investigation.
Hat tip: BadBlue Uncensored News.
Mueller focuses on links between Roger Stone, Trump campaign aide Gates
Fri, 04 May 2018 03:32
Special counsel Robert Mueller is focusing intensely on alleged interactions between former top Trump campaign official Rick Gates and political operative Roger Stone, one of President Donald Trump's closest confidants, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Stone, a longtime advisor to Trump, is apparently one of the top subjects of the Mueller investigation into potential collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, sources told CNBC on condition of anonymity.
The questions have been largely about what was discussed at meetings, including dinners, between Stone and Gates, before and during the campaign, said the sources, who have knowledge of the substance of the recent interviews.
In February, Gates pleaded guilty to two counts stemming from the Russia investigation, and he is cooperating with Mueller's probe.
The new developments indicate that Mueller's team is interested in Stone beyond his interactions with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign.
An attorney for Stone, Robert Buschel, did not deny discussions took place between his client and Gates, but sought to downplay their importance.
"Roger Stone did not have any substantive or meaningful interaction with Rick Gates during or leading up to the 2016 campaign," Buschel told CNBC in a statement.
An attorney for Gates declined to comment. The special counsel's office declined to comment.
The link between Gates and Stone goes back to their work at what had been one of the most powerful lobbying firms in Washington, which was founded by Stone along with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The special counsel's probe has yielded two indictments against Manafort, who is accused of several crimes, including bank fraud and conspiracy against the United States.
Gates joined the firm as an intern more three decades ago, and it is unclear how much work he did with Stone at the time.
Getty Images
Richard Gates, former associate to Paul Manafort, leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse after a hearing February 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
The firm, called Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, was known for its work to help improve the image of controversial politicians, including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Russian-aligned former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
Gates joined the Trump campaign in the spring of 2016 and became Manafort's deputy. It was there where he became close to many of Trump's confidants. He remained with the campaign even after Manafort's ouster. Gates then worked on Trump's inaugural committee and co-founded the pro-Trump nonprofit group America First Policies.
In March, Gates was pulled into the Mueller inquiry when the special counsel's office filed a motion that claimed the former campaign aide had contact with a former agent of the Russian intelligence service in 2016. This came after Gates pleaded guilty to lying and conspiring against the United States, which could lead to possibly six years in prison. A sentencing date has yet to be announced.
For Stone, this is another potential hurdle in an ongoing investigation that continues to focus on him, among others.
Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign advisor, also said he was asked about Stone's involvement with Wikileaks during his interview before Mueller's grand jury in March.
"Roger is certainly a subject," Nunberg said. "The fact that Roger hasn't been called in and the special counsel continues to ask questions about Roger's possible activities during the election shows that at the very least he's a subject."
Stone allegedly met with Assange, the Wikileaks founder, in August 2016. In an email leaked to The Wall Street Journal, Stone said, "I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite."
Stone has denied that he has met with the Wikileaks founder and said the email was in jest.
During the 2016 campaign, Wikileaks published emails allegedly stolen from the Democratic National Committee's servers by a Russia-linked hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0."
NBC corrects Cohen story, removes details on wiretapping | TheHill
Fri, 04 May 2018 09:55
NBC News on Thursday corrected its report that federal agents had placed a wiretap on phone lines associated with President Trump Donald John TrumpStormy Daniels lawyer: There were 'extensive communications' on settling hush-money deal before election Trump asks Pentagon to look at options for withdrawing troops from South Korea: report Adelson helped arrange canceled Pruitt trip to Israel: report MORE 's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
The news outlet updated its initial report to reflect that Cohen's phones were subject to a "pen register," which allows investigators to create a log of phone calls associated with Cohen's number.
Its original story, which reported the wiretap, cited two separate sources with knowledge of the proceedings. However, three senior U.S. officials later disputed the report, prompting the correction.
"Correction: Earlier today NBC News, and this reporter, said that Michael Cohen's phone lines were wiretapped. 3 Senior U.S. Officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring was limited to a log of calls (pen register) not a wiretap of Cohen's lines. We will continue to report," one of the story's reporters, Tom Winter, tweeted following the correction.
Correction: Earlier today NBC News, and this reporter, said that Michael Cohen's phone lines were wiretapped. 3 Senior U.S. Officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring was limited to a log of calls (pen register) not a wiretap of Cohen's lines. We will continue to report.
'-- Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) May 3, 2018The distinction is significant. The use of a pen register allows investigators to track incoming and outgoing calls from a number, whereas a wiretap allows investigators to actually listen in on calls.
Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, said it's far easier to obtain a pen register than a wiretap.
''While the latter records phone calls and captures private information, the former only tracks phone numbers dialed,'' he said. ''The Supreme Court has recognized that by dialing a phone number, a person voluntarily shares that information with the phone company, so there is a reduced expectation of privacy."
Glen Kopp, a partner at Mayer Brown and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, added that pen registers are fairly common in investigations.
''A judge has to approve the use of a pen register, but the hurdles for obtaining approval are way less than for a wiretap of someone's telephone,'' he said.
NBC originally said that at least one phone call between the White House and a line associated with Cohen was monitored. It has since updated its story to note that one call was logged.
The initial report sparked outrage from Rudy Giuliani, who represents President Trump in the Russia investigation.
"I am waiting for the attorney general to step in, in his role as defender of justice, and put these people under investigation,'' Giuliani told The Hill.
The former New York City Mayor added that wiretapping Cohen's phone would amount to ''gross misconduct'' by the government.
The White House did not have any comment on the story when it was brought up at Thursday afternoon's press briefing.
Lydia Wheeler contributed.
Mueller seeks delay in case alleging Russians interfered in U.S. presidential election
Sat, 05 May 2018 13:38
Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office are seeking to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The 13 people charged in the high-profile indictment in February are considered unlikely to ever appear in a U.S. court. The three businesses accused of facilitating the alleged Russian troll farm operation '-- the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering '-- were also expected to simply ignore the American criminal proceedings.
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Last month, however, a pair of Washington-area lawyers suddenly surfaced in the case, notifying the court that they represent Concord Management. POLITICO reported at the time that the move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller's team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information.
On Friday, Mueller's prosecutors disclosed that Concord's attorneys, Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly, had made a slew of discovery requests demanding nonpublic details about the case and the investigation. Prosecutors also asked a judge to postpone the formal arraignment of Concord Management set for next week.
The prosecution team sought the delay on the grounds that it's unclear whether Concord Management formally accepted the court summons related to the case. Mueller's prosecutors also revealed that they tried to deliver the summonses for Concord and IRA through the Russian government, without success.
''The [U.S.] government has attempted service of the summonses by delivering copies of them to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia, to be delivered to the defendants,'' prosecutors wrote. ''That office, however, declined to accept the summonses. The government has submitted service requests to the Russian government pursuant to a mutual legal assistance treaty. To the government's knowledge, no further steps have been taken within Russia to effectuate service.''
Mueller's team sent a copy of the formal summons to Dubelier and Seikaly and asked them to accept it on behalf of Concord Management, but Dubelier wrote back on Monday saying that the government's attempt to serve the summons was defective under court rules. He did not elaborate.
Dubelier did not respond to a message seeking comment for this article.
In their request on Friday to put off the arraignment, prosecutors included the extensive requests for information that the lawyers for Concord Management have set forth since they stepped forward last month.
''Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained,'' attorneys Jeannie Rhee, Rush Atkinson and Ryan Dickey wrote. ''That is especially true in the context of this case, which involves a foreign corporate defendant, controlled by another, individual foreign defendant, that has already demanded production of sensitive intelligence gathering, national security, and foreign affairs information.''
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The Mueller team proposed that both sides file briefs on the issues of whether Concord has been properly served, with the government filing on May 25 and Concord's lawyers weighing in by June 15.
Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee, didn't immediately rule on that proposal or put off the arraignment. She did issue a brief order telling Concord's attorneys to respond to the government's filing by Monday.
The indictment, obtained by Mueller but announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, accused the defendants of mounting an ''information warfare'' operation in connection with the 2016 election. The IRA, long suspected of ties to the Kremlin, allegedly used social media, email and other means to manipulate ''unwitting'' American citizens and Trump campaign officials into protests, demonstrations and the recirculation of media messages. Most of the interventions were intended to benefit Trump or demean his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, the indictment alleged.
FBI officials Jim Baker, Lisa Page resign from bureau | Fox News
Sat, 05 May 2018 14:17
Two FBI officials who worked closely with embattled former bureau director James Comey have left the agency, Fox News has confirmed.
Jim Baker, a top FBI lawyer who was reassigned in late 2017 after being linked to a journalist who wrote about the so-called "Trump dossier," is reportedly looking to join the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Lisa Page, whose electronic communications with another FBI employee drew accusations of political bias, "resigned" Friday to "pursue other opportunities," an FBI spokesperson told Fox News.
Comey acknowledged Baker's departure in a tweet, commending his former colleague's ''integrity'' and ''commitment to the rule of law.''
Baker had been the subject of a Justice Department investigation on suspicion of leaking classified information about the so-called ''Trump dossier'' '' a document that supposedly contained evidence about the Trump campaign's connection to Russia.
He had been reassigned in December as an adviser to current FBI Director Christopher Wray.
''I love the FBI,'' Baker told the New York Times. ''I have tremendous respect for the bureau. The FBI was great, is great and will be great.''
Page, who was previously a member of Robert Mueller's special counsel team, came under fire for allegedly sending ''anti-Trump'' text messages to a colleague.
She was one of Comey's advisers in 2016 when the former director announced the bureau would not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified emails.
Comey has said he would have removed Page from any relevant investigations had he known of her anti-Trump bias.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
FBI Chaos: Comey Caught In Lie Over Flynn Investigation; Anti-Trump "Lovebird" Lisa Page Quits | Zero Hedge
Sun, 06 May 2018 02:08
Quite a bit of FBI-related news broke late Friday;
A newly unredacted section of a House Intel Committee report reveals that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Congressional investigators that the FBI had virtually no case against Mike FlynnThe same report reveals that James Comey contradicted himself during a recent interview with Bret BaierComey, McCabe and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord gave the committee "conflicting testimony"Anti-Trump FBI "Lovebird" Lisa Page (with whom Peter Strzok was having an affaird) has flown the coop, tendering her resignation on FridayOne of Comey's closest confidants, former FBI top lawyer James A. Baker also resigned FridayA newly unredacted version of the House Intelligence Committee's final report on Russia was released on Friday, containing bombshell revelations stemming from the Congressional testimony of former FBI and DOJ officials Andrew McCabe and James Comey.
For starters, the redacted section of the report covers up the fact that former deputy director Andrew McCabe told Congressional investigators the FBI had virtually no case against former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.
McCabe also says that former FBI Director James Comey spearheaded the "ambush" of Flynn at the White House - in which two FBI agents, one of whom was Peter Strzok dropped in unannounced to interrogate him.
Compare the fully redacted version that came out last week to the mostly unredacted version that came out today. Do you see what DOJ/FBI tried to cover up? McCabe s aid they hadn't substantiated anything against Flynn, and the ambush of Flynn at the WH was directed by Comey. pic.twitter.com/6Fc9U3kVwM
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 4, 2018McCabe told the committee that "The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying[.]" as well as "[N]ot [a] great beginning of a false statement case."
''Deputy Director McCabe confirmed the interviewing agent's initial impression and stated that the 'conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn't detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview '... the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador,''' the report states.
Compare these two pages. The initial redacted version hid clear testimony that the FBI didn't think Flynn lied. McCabe: "The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying[.]" And: "[N]ot [a] great beginning of a false statement case[.]" pic.twitter.com/MZNIHCGzPU
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 4, 2018Next, we learn that Comey lied (or had a terrible lapse in memory) when he told Fox News host Bret Baier that he didn't tell Congressional investigators what McCabe told them; that the two FBI agents who interviewed former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn didn't think he was lying to them.
''Director Comey testified to the Committee that 'the agents'...discerned no physical indications of deception," reads the new report. "They didn't see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.''
Here's what Comey told Fox's Baier last week:
Baier: Did you tell lawmakers that FBI agents didn't believe former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was lying intentionally to investigators?
Comey: No. And I saw that in the media. I don't know what - maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn't believe that, and didn't say that.
See pages 53 & 54 of the Russia report (those two pages just had redactions lifted from the IC) https://t.co/YoFZsfwp6V pic.twitter.com/6EClGdL4Hu
'-- Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) May 5, 2018As Sean Davis of The Federalist notes, the DOJ and FBI "demanded significant redactions to the document not to protect national security or sources and methods, but to protect potentially corrupt officials from accountability"
It's clear that DOJ/FBI demanded significant redactions not to protect national security or sources/methods, but to protect potentially corrupt officials from accountability for their actions before and after Trump's election.
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 5, 2018The Flynn redactions appear to have been done to protect a false statements case with no evidentiary basis. Others were done to hide apparent conspiracy to spy on and leak against Trump officials out of spite over the election results.
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 5, 2018In one section, initially redacted material suggests an investigation against Flynn that, per Comey, should have been closed was kept open because he may have *thwarted* Obama admin plans to provoke Russia into disproportionately attxkinf the U.S.
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) May 5, 2018House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) weighed in, pointing out to Fox News's Laura Ingraham that his committee had "been fighting with the Department of Justice and the FBI, for six weeks, to release this information to the American people."
It took the DOJ and the FBI 6 weeks to lift redactions on 2 pages of the Russia report. What info was initially redacted? Comey & McCabe saying that agents did not believe Flynn was lying. @DevinNunes explains. See Pg 53 & 54 of Russia report https://t.co/VjsrPX2dkh pic.twitter.com/DYlNlBOOGc
'-- Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) May 5, 2018Flynn, who has been cooperating with Mueller's investigation, was forced to resign as Trump's National Security Advisor last February after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about perfectly legal and to-be-expected conversations he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition.
So why would Flynn plead guilty?
Some have suggested that Flynn pleaded guilty due to the fact that federal investigations tend to bankrupt people who aren't filthy rich - as was the case with former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo, who told the Senate Intelligence Committee "God damn you to hell" after having to sell his home due to mounting legal fees over the inquiry.
''Your investigation and others into the allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia are costing my family a great deal of money '-- more than $125,000 '-- and making a visceral impact on my children."
Thus, it's entirely possible Flynn pleaded guilty in order to avoid financial ruin - though like Caputo, he didn't escape having to sell his house in March.
Is it not possible he just plead guilty because of the financial burden it created and is creating on our family?? https://t.co/gx5sLLa1K9
'-- 🇺🇸MFLYNNJR🇺🇸 (@mflynnJR) April 23, 2018Another thought is that the FBI simply called Flynn's bluff and said they caught him in a lie. While perhaps a stretch at this point and certainly unconfirmed, some have suggested that Andrew McCabe instructed Peter Strzok and the other FBI agent who interviewed Flynn to alter their "302" forms - the document FBI investigators use to document an interview.
Investigative journalist Sara Carter has reported that FBI sources maintain the FBI's deputy director under Comey, Andrew G. McCabe, may have asked FBI agents to alter or change their findings in their 302s; Carter alleges that OIG Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into this. -The Hill
So we know that innocent people plead guilty all the time, and that Flynn faced significant financial pressure were he to remain in the Trump administration and fight the claims against him. Also recall that during December 2016, when Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador, the Russiagate narrative was in a full frenzy. It's possible that although Flynn and Kislyak's contact was perfectly legal and to-be expected, he may have been hesitant to tell the FBI about some or all of his communications out of an abundance of caution. It should also be noted that Flynn may have considered the obviously pro-Clinton top brass of the US intelligence community to be "the enemy" and been hesitant to tell them the full truth.
Until we know more, we can only speculate.
In other FBI news - Lisa Page and James Baker quit on Friday
Two top Comey advisors announced their departure from the FBI on Friday, leading to speculation that some bad information is about to come out regarding the pair.
Resignations were handed in by James Baker - former top lawyer for the NSA specializing in FISA matters before becoming the FBI's top lawyer, and lawyer Lisa Page - one of the two "lovebirds" who sent anti-Trump text messages with her co-worker with whom she was having an extramarital affair - special agent Peter Strzok (who spearheaded the Clinton email investigation, the early Trump investigation and interviewed Mike Flynn).
Mollie Hemmingway of The Federalist notes that Page and Baker quit as a highly anticipated report by the DOJ's Inspector General is "looming," suggesting that the report will reveal violations of the law egregious enough to call for both of them to hand in their resignations on the same day.
Lisa Page quit today. James Baker quit today. IG report looming. https://t.co/ppU5aNb8w5
'-- Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 5, 2018One Twitter user takes it a step further...
Baker was NSA Gen Counsel specializing in FISA matters. After you hired him, the @FBI engaged in a palace coup attempting to rig a presidential election, then overthrow a President via FISC abuse. Baker was instrumental. You're both going to prison. https://t.co/hxa45CrAvx
'-- NameRedacted8 (@nameredacted8) May 5, 2018And, oddly, James Comey forgot to mention Page's name when he was praising Baker on Friday night:
Now do a tweet about Lisa Page https://t.co/Dx9nBetRqG
'-- Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) May 5, 2018Perhaps Page and Baker can set up legal defense funds like Andy McCabe and convince people to give them a half-million dollars to cover upcoming expenses.
2054. Synopsis Of Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) | USAM | Department of Justice
Sun, 06 May 2018 10:08
DEFINITIONS, PRETRIAL CONFERENCE, PROTECTIVE ORDERS AND DISCOVERYAfter a criminal indictment becomes public, the prosecutor remains responsible for taking reasonable precautions against the unauthorized disclosure of classified information during the case. This responsibility applies both when the government intends to use classified information in its case-in-chief as well as when the defendant seeks to use classified information in his/her defense. The tool with which the proper protection of classified information may be ensured in indicted cases is the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA). See Title 18, U.S.C. App III.
CIPA is a procedural statute; it neither adds to nor detracts from the substantive rights of the defendant or the discoery obligations of the government. Rather, the procedure for making these determinations is different in that it balances the right of a criminal defendant with the right of the sovereign to know in advance of a potential threat from a criminal prosecution to its national security. See, e.g., United States v. Anderson, 872 F.2d 1508, 1514 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1004 (1989); United States v. Collins, 720 F.2d 1195, 1197 (11th Cir. 1983); United States v. Lopez-Lima, 738 F. Supp. 1404, 1407 (S.D.Fla. 1990). Each of CIPA's provisions is designed to achieve those dual goals: preventing unnecessary or inadvertent disclosures of classified information and advising the government of the national security "cost" of going forward.Definitions of TermsSection 1 of CIPA defines "classified information" and "national security," both of which are terms used throughout the statute. Subsection (a), in pertinent part, defines "classified information" as:[A]ny information or material that has been determined by the United States Government pursuant to an Executive order, statute, or regulation, to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security.Subsection (b) defines "national security" to mean the "national defense and foreign relations of the United States."
Pretrial ConferenceSection 2 provides that "[a]t any time after the filing of the indictment or information, any party may move for a pretrial conference to consider matters relating to classified information that may arise in connection with the prosecution." Following such a motion, the district court "shall promptly hold a pretrial conference to establish the timing of requests for discovery, the provision of notice required by Section 5 of this Act, and the initiation of the procedure established by Section 6 (to determine the use, relevance, or admissibility of classified information) of this Act."
Protective OrdersOf critical importance in any criminal case, once there exists any likelihood that classified information may be at issue, is the entering of a protective order by the district court. CIPA Section 3 requires the court, upon the request of the government, to issue an order "to protect against the disclosure of any classified information disclosed by the United States to any defendant in any criminal case." The government's motion for a protective order is an excellent opportunity to begin educating the Court, including the judge's staff, about CIPA and related issues. It is essential that the motion include a memorandum of law that provides the court with an overview on national security matters and sets forth the authority by which the government may protect matters of national security, including the general authority of the Intelligence Community (IC) pursuant to the National Security Act of 1947, the Central Intelligence Act of 1949, and various Executive orders issued by the President. For sample motions and protective orders or to discuss any problems you may have with the court on CIPA issues, please contact the ISS. The protective order must be sufficiently comprehensive to ensure that access to classified information is restricted to cleared persons and to provide for adequate procedures and facilities for proper handling and protection of classified information during the pre-trial litigation and trial of the case.
The requirement of security clearances does not extend to the judge or to the defendant (who would likely be ineligible, anyway). Some defense counsel may wish to resist this requirement by seeking an exemption by order of the court. The prosecutor should advise defense counsel that, because of the stringent restrictions imposed by federal regulations, statutes, and Executive Orders upon the disclosure of classified information, such tack may prevent, and will certainly delay, access to classified information. In any case in which this issue arises, the prosecutor should notify the Internal Security Section immediately.
An essential provision of a protective order is the appointment by the court of a Court Security Officer (CSO). The CSO is an employee of the Department's Justice Management Division; however, the court's appointment of a CSO makes that person an officer of the court. In that capacity, the CSO is responsible for assisting both parties and the court staff in obtaining security clearances (not required for the judge); in the proper handling and storage of classified information, and in operating the special communication equipment that must be used in dealing with classified information.
Discovery of Classified Information by DefendantSection 4 provides in pertinent part that "[t]he court, upon a sufficient showing, may authorize the United States to delete specified items of classified information from documents to be made available to the defendant through discovery under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, to substitute a summary of the information for such classified documents, or to substitute a statement admitting the relevant facts that classified information would tend to prove." Like Rule 16(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, section 4 provides that the Government may demonstrate that the use of such alternatives is warranted in an in camera, ex parte submission to the court.
By the time of the section 4 proceeding, the prosecutor should have completed the government's review of any classified material and have identified any such material that is arguably subject to the government's discovery obligation. Where supported by law, the prosecutor, during the proceeding, should first strive to have the court exclude as much classified information as possible from the government's discovery obligation. Second, to the extent that the court rules that certain classified material is discoverable, the prosecutor should seek the court's approval to utilize the alternative measures described in section 4, i.e., unclassified summaries and/or stipulations. The court's denial of such a request is subject to interlocutory appeal. See Section III.A, infra.
SECTIONS 5 AND 6: NOTICE AND PRETRIAL EVIDENTIARY RULINGSNOTICE OF INTENT TO USE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
Following the discovery process under section 4, there are three critical pretrial steps in the handling of classified information under sections 5 and 6 of CIPA. First, the defendant must specify in detail, in a written notice, the precise classified information he reasonably expects to disclose. Second, the Court, upon a motion of the Government, shall hold a hearing pursuant to section 6(a) to determine the use, relevance and admissibility of the proposed evidence. Third, following the 6(a) hearing and formal findings of admissibility by the Court, the Government may move to substitute redacted versions of classified documents from the originals or to prepare an admission of certain relevant facts or summaries for classified information that the Court has ruled admissible.The Section 5(a) Notice RequirementPRETRIAL EVIDENTIARY HEARING, SUBSTITUTIONS AND STIPULATIONS
The linchpin of CIPA is section 5(a), which requires a defendant who reasonably intends to disclose (or cause the disclosure of) classified information to provide timely pretrial written notice of his intention to the Court and the Government. Section 5(a) expressly requires that such notice "include a brief description of the classified information," and the leading case under section 5(a) holds that such noticemust be particularized, setting forth specifically the classified information which the defendant reasonably believes to be necessary to his defense.United States v. Collins, 720 F.2d 1195, 1199 (11th Cir. 1983) (emphasis added) See also United States v. Smith, 780 F.2d 1102, 1105 (4th Cir. 1985) (en banc). This requirement applies both to documentary exhibits and to oral testimony, whether it is anticipated to be brought out on direct or on cross-examination. See, e.g., United States v. Collins, supra, (testimony); United States v. Wilson, 750 F.2d 7 (2d Cir. 1984) (same).
If a defendant fails to provide a sufficiently detailed notice far enough in advance of trial to permit the implementation of CIPA procedures, section 5(b) provides for preclusion. See United States v. Badia, 827 F.2d 1458, 1465 (11th Cir. 1987). Similarly, if the defendant attempts to disclose at trial classified information which is not described in his/her section 5(a) notice, preclusion is the appropriate remedy prescribed by section 5(b) of the statute. SeeUnited States v. Smith, supra, 780 F.2d at 1105 ("A defendant is forbidden from disclosing any such information absent the giving of notice").
The Section 6(a) HearingThe purpose of the hearing pursuant to section 6(a) of CIPA is for the court "to make all determinations concerning the use, relevance, or admissibility of classified information that would otherwise be made during the trial...." 18 U.S.C. App. III § 6(a). The statute expressly provides that, after a pretrial section 6(a) hearing on the admissibility of evidence, the court shall enter its rulings prior to the commencement of trial. If the Attorney General or his/her designee certifies to the court in a petition that a public proceeding may result in the disclosure of classified information, then the hearing will be held in camera. CIPA does not change the "generally applicable evidentiary rules of admissibility," United States v. Wilson, supra 750 F.2d at 9, but rather alters the timing of rulings as to admissibility to require them to be made before the trial. Accord, United States v. Smith, supra, 780 F.2d at 1106.
At the section 6(a) hearing, the court is to hear the defense proffer and the arguments of counsel, and then rule whether the classified information identified by the defense is relevant under the standards of Fed.R.Evid. 401. United States v. Smith, supra, 780 F.2d at 1106. The court's inquiry does not end there, for under Fed.R.Evid. 402, not all relevant evidence is admissible at trial. The Court therefore must also determine whether the evidence is cumulative, prejudicial, confusing, or misleading," United States v. Wilson, supra, 750 F.2d at 9, so that it should be excluded under Fed.R.Evid. 403.
At the conclusion of the section 6 (a) hearing, the court must state in writing the reasons for its determination as to each item of classified information. 18 U.S.C. App..III section 6(a).
Substitution Pursuant to Section 6(c)If the court rules any classified information to be admissible, section 6(c) of CIPA permits the Government to propose unclassified "substitutes" for that information. Specifically, the Government may move to substitute either (1) a statement admitting relevant facts that the classified information would tend to prove or (2) a summary of the classified information instead of the classified information itself. 18 U.S.C. App. III section 6(c)(1). See United States v. Smith, supra, 780 F.2d at 1105. In many cases, the government will propose a redacted version of a classified document as a substitution for the original, having deleted only non-relevant classified information. A motion for substitution shall be granted if the "statement or summary will provide the defendant with substantially the same ability to make his defense as would disclosure of the specified classified information." 18 U.S.C. App. III section 6(c).
If the district court will not accept a substitution proposed by the government, an interlocutory appeal may lie to the circuit court under CIPA section 7. If the issue is resolved against the government, and classified information is thereby subject to a disclosure order of the court, the AUSA must immediately notify the ISS. Thereafter, the Attorney General may file an affidavit effectively prohibiting the use of the contested classified information. If that is done, the court may impose sanctions against the government, which may include striking all or part of a witness' testimony, resolving an issue of fact against the United States, or dismissing part or all of the indictment. See CIPA section 6(e). The purpose of the relevance hearings under 6(a) and the substitution practice under 6(c), however, is to avoid the necessity for these sanctions.
OTHER RELEVANT CIPA PROCEDURESInterlocutory AppealAPPEAL FROM INTERLOCUTORY ORDER
Section 7(a) of the Act provides for an interlocutory appeal by the government from any decision or order of the trial judge authorizing the disclosure of classified information, imposing sanctions for nondisclosure of classified information, or refusing a protective order sought by the United States to prevent the disclosure of classified information. Section 7 appeals must be approved by the Solicitor General. The term "disclosure" within the meaning of section 7 includes both information which the court orders the government to divulge to the defendant or to others as well as information already possessed by the defendant which he or she intends to disclose to unapproved people. Section 7(b) provides that the court of appeals shall give expedited treatment to any interlocutory appeal filed under subsection (a). As a matter of fairness, the policy of the Department shall be that the defense be given notice of the government's appeal under section 7.
Introduction of Classified InformationSection 8(a) provides that "writings, recordings, and photographs containing classified information may be admitted into evidence without change in their classification status." This provision simply recognizes that classification is an executive, not a judicial, function. Thus, section 8(a) implicitly allows the classifying agency, upon completion of the trial, to decide whether the information has been so compromised during trial that it could no longer be regarded as classified.
In order to prevent "unnecessary disclosure" of classified information, section 8(b) permits the court to order admission into evidence of only a part of a writing, recording, or photograph. Alternatively, the court may order into evidence the whole writing, recordings, or photograph with excision of all or part of the classified information contained therein. However, the provision does not provide grounds for excluding or excising part of a writing or recorded statement which ought in fairness to be considered contemporaneously with it. Thus, the court may admit into evidence part of a writing, recording, or photograph only when fairness does not require the whole document to be considered.
Section 8(c) provides a procedure to address the problem presented during a pretrial or trial proceeding when the defendant's counsel asks a question or embarks on a line of inquiry that would require the witness to disclose classified information not previously found by the court to be admissible. If the defendant knew that a question or line of inquiry would result in disclosure of classified information, he/she presumably would have given the government notice under section 5 and the provisions of section 6(a) would have been used. Section 8(c) serves, in effect, as a supplement to the hearing provisions of section 6(a) to cope with situations which cannot be handled effectively under that section, e.g., where the defendant does not realize that the answer to a given question will reveal classified information. Upon the government's objection to such a question, the court is required to take suitable action to avoid the improper disclosure of classified information.
Security ProceduresSection 9 required the Chief Justice of the United States to prescribe security procedures for the protection of classified information in the custody of Federal courts. On February 12, 1981, Chief Justice Burger promulgated these procedures. For further information regarding those procedures, please contact the Justice Management Division Office of Security, (202) 514-2094.
Public Testimony By Intelligence OfficersAlthough the IC is committed to assisting law enforcement where it is legally proper to do so, it must also remain vigilant in protecting classified national security information from unauthorized disclosure. Just as with law enforcement agencies, the successful functioning of the IC turns in significant part upon the ability of its intelligence officers covertly to obtain information from human sources. In carrying out that task, the intelligence officers must, when necessary, be able to operate anonymously, that is, without their connection to an intelligence agency of the United States being known to the persons with whom they come in contact. For that reason, an intelligence agency is authorized under Executive Order 12958 to classify the true name of an intelligence officer.
During the pre-trial progression of an indicted case, as the court enters its CIPA rulings under sections 4 and 6, it may become apparent to the prosecutor that testimony may be required from an intelligence officer or other agency representative engaged in covert activity, either because the Court has ruled under CIPA that certain evidence is relevant and admissible in the defense case, or because such testimony is necessary in the government's rebuttal. Just as the substance of that testimony, to the extent it is classified and is being offered by the defense, must be the subject of CIPA determinations by the court, the prosecutor must also ensure that the same considerations are afforded to the true names of covert intelligence community personnel, if those true names are classified information. That is, the prosecutor must seek the court's approval, under either CIPA section 4 or section 6, of an alternative method to the witness' testimony in true name that will provide the defendant with the same ability that he would have otherwise had to impeach, or bolster, the credibility of that witness.
In any criminal case in which it becomes likely that an intelligence agency employee will testify, the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) assigned to the case shall immediately notify the Internal Security Section (ISS). That office, in consultation with the general counsel at the appropriate intelligence agency, will assist the AUSA during pretrial motion practice and litigation on the issue of whether the witness should testify in true name and other issues related to the testimony of intelligence agency personnel.
[cited in USAM 9-90.240]
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Former Reddit CEO Asks Silicon Valley CEOs to Crackdown on 'Incel' Employees | Breitbart
Sat, 05 May 2018 14:02
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
by Charlie Nash 4 May 2018 0
4 May, 20184 May, 2018Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, who was referred to as ''Chairman Pao'' by critical users during her time at Reddit, asked Silicon Valley tech company CEOs to crackdown on ''incel'' employees on Wednesday.''CEOs of big tech companies: You almost certainly have incels as employees,'' declared Pao in a Twitter post, Wednesday. ''What are you going to do about it?''
CEOs of big tech companies: You almost certainly have incels as employees. What are you going to do about it?
'-- Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) May 2, 2018
Incel, or involuntary celibacy, is an increasingly popular label used to describe men who are unable to find a partner to have sex with.
After alleged incel Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd of people in Toronto last month, killing ten people, the phrase has populated the mainstream media who have portrayed incels as women-hating extremists.
Patheos published an article on the ''threat of incel terrorism,'' the Sun claimed incels are ''vile'... lonely weirdos,'' and NPR described them as ''violent misogynists,'' however these outlets have greatly generalized and stereotyped the community.
According to Wiktionary, an incel is simply a ''person who inadequately or never has sex despite wishing to,'' and being an incel doesn't necessarily make you a misogynist, a terrorist, or vile.
Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.
Caitlyn Jenner Set To Marry Student 47 Years Her Junior - Goodfullness
Sat, 05 May 2018 14:05
Since the publication of her tell-all memoir, Caitlyn Jenner has been completely ostracized by the Kardashians. Her own children have even turned their backs on the 68-year-old former Olympian. One gal pal Cait has appeared to bond with is 21-year-old, Sophia Hutchins. The two trans women, according to Radar Online and the Hollywood Gossip are engaged.
The pair has yet to confirm their relationship or wedding plans. A bond between the two isn't impossible to imagine. They've been inseparable for weeks, months even since they were seen vacationing in Mexico. Are things serious? Fans hope so.
Cait intends to marry the much younger Sophia. ''They consider each other soulmates and freely admit they couldn't imagine a life with anyone else at this point.'' as for the drastic age difference? It, ''doesn't seem to matter at all.''
The push toward the altar reportedly comes from Cait missing milestones in her former step-childrens lives. ''Caitlyn would have loved to have helped Khlo(C) through the tough time in the delivery room.''
Cait will never see her stepchild's daughter, True Thompson. ''But the Kardashians have kicked her out of the family.'' So sad that Cait's memoir destroyed all her ties with the Kardashians.
As for the supposed nuptuals, she has a wedding planner in charge of everything. The guest list will include close friends and family; no Kardashians though. ''This is a dream come true for Cait because her rejection by the Kardashians '-- and even her own daughters '-- had left her feeling isolated and suffering from a crippling depression. ''Sophia has changed all that.''
Cait and Sophia have forged a strong bond. ''She and Sophia have a lot in common.'' Both are trans and politically conservative. this is in stark contrast to the broader trans community.
Whether the gossip is true or not, there are plenty of reasons for keeping this relationship secretive. Firstly, it's no one's business. Second, Sophia isn't a celebrity. Could she be using Cait for boosting her own image? Third, many people will have something to say about Cait dating a woman younger than her own children. If they married, Sophia would be Stormi's step-grandmother.
The only confirmation of this relationship came from social media when James Corden approved it on Instagram. It's rumored though, that Cait and Sophia are living together. Of course, it all could be true. We might not learn of a relationship or wedding until after the fact. The summer season starts in June. That would be the perfect time for a wedding.
FaceBag Analytica
Facebook's Double Standard on Privacy: Employees vs. Everyone Else - WSJ
Sun, 06 May 2018 11:13
A small group of Facebook Inc. employees have permission to access users' profiles without the users finding out.
Yet any time a Facebook employee accesses a colleague's personal profile, the colleague is notified through what is often referred to within the company as a Sauron alert'--a reference to the all-seeing eye in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, people familiar with the matter say.
Similar protections don't exist for the two billion-plus Facebook users who don't work for the company, the people said.
The dual standard for employees versus regular users is a window on Facebook's struggle over how much to disclose to users about how their data is handled'--an issue Facebook has recently tried to address with a raft of changes to the platform.
A Facebook spokesman said the company has had discussions about issuing these types of alerts to all users. ''In thinking about how we could do something similar for everyone, there are a number of important considerations that come into play'--for example, how we can avoid tipping off bad actors or hindering our work to prevent real world harm in cases of abuse or other sensitive situations,'' the spokesman added.
The system can be abused: Earlier this week, Facebook fired a security engineer who had bragged to a woman he met on a dating app about his access to private user information, according to a person familiar with the matter.
''Employees who abuse these controls will be fired,'' Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said of this week's incident.
Facebook alerts users if they've been hacked by outsiders but doesn't inform them about employees' access. ''Anyone can get alerts about unrecognized logins from other users and check for suspicious activity.'' the FB spokesman said.
The ability to log into Facebook as a user without needing that person's password is limited to a small group of security personnel and other employees. Their actions are closely monitored, current and former employees say.
The privilege entitles these personnel to view information that users typically consider private, such as pictures and posts they have shared only with friends, or unencrypted private messages, one of the people said.
Employees with such permission can access others' accounts to diagnose technical errors, test new features or investigate possible criminal behavior in response to a legal request, according to Facebook officials and former employees.
When using the internal software, Facebook employees must give a legitimate reason for accessing the profile; the explanations are read by managers later. It is considered best to have written permission, former employees said.
Multiple Facebook employees have been fired for improperly accessing user profiles over the years, according to former employees. Unauthorized access of others' profiles, even if the spouse or minor child of an employee, is a fireable offense, one of the people said.
Employees, though, are always notified when Facebook engineers access their accounts, even when the company is investigating a possible crime or wrongdoing, the person said.
The internal alert system was created because Facebook engineers were routinely testing future products or fixing technical issues using employee profiles, the person said. The official name of the tool was changed in 2015 to ''Security Watchdog,'' but the Sauron name is still widely used, the person added.
The Sauron notification for Facebook employees has been available for years, the people familiar with the matter said. Employees typically get an email or a notice to their Facebook account. Once notified, employees can often uncover the reasons for that access through an internal bug report or by flagging it to Facebook's security team.
Lawmakers, Facebook users and others have voiced concern about the company's sometimes lax policies for controlling the vast stores of information it collects on people.
Partly in response to those concerns, Facebook has provided users with more information about the kind of data it tracks as well as more options to remove that data. It redesigned its app and tried make it simpler for users to examine and change some of the data Facebook tracks. This week, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would provide a way for users to see and delete web activity that Facebook tracked.
But there remains a large gulf between what Facebook knows about its users and what many of them understand about the company's capabilities.
Three years ago, Paavo Siljam¤ki, a director at the record label Anjunabeats and part of the dance music group Above & Beyond, said in a Facebook post that an engineer for Facebook had accessed his account during his visit to the company's Los Angeles office. Mr. Siljam¤ki said he had given his permission, but not his login credentials.
''A Facebook engineer can then log in directly as me on Facebook seeing all my private content without asking me for the password,'' Mr. Siljam¤ki wrote. ''Just made me wonder how many of Facebook's staff have this kind of 'master' access to anyone's account?''
At the time, Facebook responded by explaining the controls were in place to prevent abuse. Mr. Siljam¤ki didn't respond to a request for comment this week.
The latest incident in which the Facebook employee was fired was surfaced publicly in a tweet Sunday by security consultant Jackie Stokes that included a photo of what appeared to be a text exchange between the woman from the dating site and the engineer.
The engineer told her his job involved tracking hackers and finding their identities, according to an apparent transcript of the conversation posted on Twitter by Ms. Stokes.
Ms. Stokes said in an interview that the woman told her, ''I'm terrified. I think he has things on me.''
The woman, asked via Ms. Stokes, declined to be interviewed.
After Ms. Stokes's tweets, Facebook employees including Mr. Stamos contacted her about the episode.
'--Robert McMillan contributed to this article.
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com
CGI
Judicial Watch: New Clinton Emails Reveal Classified Docs, Clinton Foundation Connections - Judicial Watch
Sat, 05 May 2018 13:10
April 25, 2018(Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch today released 281 pages of newly uncovered emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the U.S. Department of State sent and received over her unsecure, non-''state.gov'' email system. The emails, dated 2010 through 2013, contain classified information and detail collusion between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation.
Ten emails contain classified information redacted ''in the interest of national defense or foreign policy,'' including confidential sources, and concern Israel and the Middle East. Most of the emails include exchanges with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The emails show Hillary Clinton conducted classified and sensitive negotiations about the Israel-Arab conflict on her unsecure, non-governmental server.
A document labeled ''plan'' was completely redacted as classified.A November 2012 email chain discusses the ''Mid East'' and includes then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, Blair as ''aclb'' and Clinton.Another November 2012 email chain discusses the ''Mid East'' and includes Sullivan, Clinton's office manager Claire Coleman, Blair and Clinton.A November 2012 email chain fully redacted is titled ''Mid East Peace'' and includes Blair, Clinton, Obama's Special Envoy to the Middle East David Hale as ''haledm2@state.gov,'' Sullivan and Blair's Chief of Staff and former Downing Street aide Catherine Rimmer.In an April 2011 email exchange between Blair, Clinton and Sullivan concerning ''Israel,'' Blair says he ''had another long session with BB [Netanyahu].''A May 2011 exchange concerns ''Israel'' and includes Blair, Clinton and Sullivan.A May 2011 email concerns ''Palestinians'' and includes Blair, Clinton and Sullivan. Blair says, ''I've also sent you a paper.''A June 2011 email regarding ''Israel'' includes Blair, Sullivan and Clinton. Blair says, ''Saw Israeli PM. Put the concept of a Q statement. He was receptive. Palestinians interested too. I know there are discussions also you guys are having. And the French initiative'....''In a July 2011 email '' with several national security redactions '' written by Blair to Clinton and Sullivan, Blair says, ''I saw BB'..... Molcho [chief negotiator in the Israeli negotiating team with the Palestinians] will speak to David Hale. I can see Cameron and Sarkozy with David'.... I saw Egyptians'....''A September 2010 email exchange is titled ''Info for you,'' and includes Sullivan, Blair and Clinton. Blair writes that he just spent three hours with Netanyahu, and Sullivan, using his Sprint BlackBerry, he writes ''We have pitched this to [redacted].''These new classified and other emails appear to be among those that Clinton had attempted to delete or had otherwise failed to disclose. The documents are part of the November 2017 accelerated schedule of production ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg. The State Department must now complete processing the remaining documents by September 28, 2018. There were 72,000 pages recovered by the FBI in its investigation into Hillary Clinton's illicit email server. The State Department's original production rate would have put the completion date into 2020.
The newly obtained documents came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to a March 4, 2015, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)) seeking:
All emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-''state.gov'' email address.
Many of the emails involve Abedin, who joined the State Department as deputy chief of staff in 2009. From June 2012-February 2013, she was granted status as a ''special government employee,'' allowing her to work as a consultant to clients like Teneo and served as a paid consultant to the Clinton Foundation.
Several of the emails demonstrate the commingling of Clinton State Department and Clinton family foundation business:
In a November 2010 email with subject line, ''How do I get through to Bill Clinton,'' Rafael Anchia, a lawyer with Haynes Boone, asks Clinton campaign official Ed Meier if he could get to the ''gatekeepers'' to get Bill Clinton to give a speech in Spain, noting that ''a large bank is willing to pay for it.''Meier forwarded the email to former State Department Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan who forwarded it to former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin. Abedin sent it to Bill Clinton's scheduler at the Clinton Foundation, Terry Krinvic, who provided Clinton's contact information, to which Sullivan responded, ''Awesome.''
In September 2011, Abedin sent Sullivan an email concerning the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) with ''Potential questions for Closing Plenary conversation between Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton'' in which Abedin included some ''proposed questions'' to put to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Four days later, Sullivan forwards a revised list of questions (completely redacted as interagency deliberative process) to Abedin and Clinton's Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, saying, ''Here are my proposed questions.''In a September 2010 email containing subject line, ''President Banda's MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with Clinton Global Initiative,'' U.S. Ambassador Jeanine Jackson writes to Clinton Development Initiative official Walker Morris, (cc'd to Clinton Foundation official Amitabh Desai) discussing State Department spending in the country of Malawi. In the email, Jackson says, ''we will be anxious to collaborate once you have an idea of the MOU's intent.'' Morris responds that ''we are very excited about CDI's [Clinton Development Initiative] future work in Malawi and certainly see great opportunity to collaborate.''The Clinton Foundation work in Malawi involved a Clinton Foundation owned ''for-profit agribusinesses including Tukula Farming Company which operates 7200 acres of commercial farms'' in the impoverished country.
Other emails show that Bill Clinton appears to conduct State Department and Clinton Foundation business simultaneously:
In a September 2012 email with subject line ''Burma,'' Desai briefs Jake Sullivan on Bill Clinton's discussions in Burma. Desai reports, in part: ''WJC mentioned work of CF [Clinton Foundation] and offered to help in any way. TS [Than Shwe, president of Burma] said he already had asked HRC about WJC foundation and wanted to invite WJC foundation to work in myanmar in collaboration with gov agencies and other ngos '... TS invited WJC to open offices in Rangoon and Mandelay.'' That same day, Abedin writes Desai (cc's Mills, Sullivan, Fuchs and three other persons whose email address are redacted) with subject line ''Re: He had v good meeting with Libya and Burma:'' ''hrc looking forward to hearing about Burma. We meet at 545. I believe you have downloaded to jake?''In a September 2012 email with subject line ''Columbia / President Santos,'' Desai and Toiv discuss a request by Colombian president, Manuel Santos, that Bill Clinton say some positive words about Santos' initiative reaching out to the FARC terrorist group. Santos provided the Clinton Foundation with suggested language. Toiv said that she would ''check'' and also mentioned that she was working on a ''visa issue.''According to a report in the New York Post, the Santos request came not long after Clinton ''jetted in for a Pacific Rubiales golf tournament at the Bogota Country Club'... Accompanied by Giustra, he played a few holes with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.'' The event reportedly raised one million dollars for the Clinton Foundation.
''It is shameful that Hillary Clinton attempted to delete or hide classified information and that Obama appointees James Comey and Loretta Lynch refused to prosecute her,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''It is clear that the Clintons were using the State Department to run an extensive influence peddling scheme. Americans should be concerned that while untold resources are devoted to the abusive Mueller special counsel investigation of President Trump, this Justice Department seems uninterested in prosecuting the Clintons.''
###
Hillary Clinton | Live Event | Auckland
Sun, 06 May 2018 11:33
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former Secretary of State and Former U.S. Senator from New YorkFirst Female Presidential Nominee | 67th United States Secretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton has spent four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 26, 1947. After graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she began her life-long work on behalf of children and families by joining the Children's Defense Fund. In 1974, she moved to Arkansas, where she married Bill Clinton and became a successful attorney while also raising their daughter, Chelsea. During her 12 years as First Lady of Arkansas, she was Chairwoman of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital, and the Children's Defense Fund.
As First Lady of the United States, from 1993 to 2001, Hillary Clinton championed health care for all Americans and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and create the Children's Health Insurance Program. She traveled to more than 80 countries standing up for human rights, democracy, and civil society. Her speech in Beijing in 1995 '' where she declared that "human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights" '' inspired women worldwide and helped galvanize a global movement for women's rights and opportunities. In 2000, Clinton made history as the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate, and the first woman elected to statewide office in New York. As Senator, she worked across party lines to expand economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she secured funding to rebuild New York and provide health care for first responders who risked their lives working at Ground Zero. She also championed the cause of our nation's military and fought for better health care and benefits for wounded service members, veterans, and members of the National Guard and Reserves. In 2006, Clinton was reelected to the Senate, winning 58 out of New York's 62 counties. In 2007, she began her historic campaign for president, winning 18 millions votes and becoming the first woman to ever win a presidential primary or caucus state. In the 2008 general election, she campaigned for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and in December, she was nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of State. In her four years as America's chief diplomat and the President's principal foreign policy adviser, Clinton played a central role in restoring America's standing in the world and strengthening its global leadership, visiting 112 countries over 4 years, restoring America's standing in the world. Her "smart power" approach to foreign policy elevated American diplomacy and development and repositioned them for the 21st century '' with new tools, technologies, and partners, including the private sector and civil society around the world. She led the effort to impose crippling sanctions on Iran, laying the foundation for a historic agreement to curb its nuclear program, and negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that prevented a new war in the Middle East. Across the world, she defended universal values and pushed the frontiers of human rights. In 2016, Clinton made history again by becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. As the Democratic candidate for president, she campaigned on a vision of America that is ''stronger together'' and an agenda to make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. She won the national popular vote, earning the support of nearly 66 million Americans. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the author of five best-selling books, including her groundbreaking book on children, It Takes A Village (1996); Dear Socks, Dear Buddy (1998); An Invitation to the White House (2000); her memoir, Living History (2003), and Hard Choices (2014). She and President Clinton reside in New York, have one daughter, Chelsea, and are the proud grandparents of Charlotte and Aidan.
Hate Trumps Love
McCain doesn't want Trump at funeral, friends tell White House
Sun, 06 May 2018 09:50
WASHINGTON '-- People close to Sen. John McCain have told the White House that the ailing Arizona Republican does not want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral and would like Vice President Mike Pence to come instead, a source close to McCain confirmed to NBC News.
McCain, 81, has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for nearly a year and is back home in Arizona after he underwent surgery last month for an intestinal infection.
The senator, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said in an audio excerpt this week of his forthcoming memoir, "I don't know how much longer I'll be here," according to a clip aired by NPR.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
Trump did not attend the recent funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston, Texas, in order "to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service," the White House said last month. First lady Melania Trump attended the service instead, along with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush plan to be eulogists at McCain's funeral service, which is to be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the source close to McCain said.
McCain's wish for Trump to skip his funeral, first reported Saturday by The New York Times, comes as the two men have had a turbulent relationship, particularly since the 2016 presidential primary when Trump said McCain was considered a war hero only "because he was captured" during the Vietnam War and that Trump preferred military figures who avoided being taken prisoner by the enemy.
Last summer, Trump blasted McCain for his "no" vote that helped doom a key Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate.
When Axios reported Trump had been "physically mocking" McCain for the thumbs down gesture the senator indicated during his vote, McCain's daughter Meghan tweeted, "What more must my family be put through right now? This is abhorrent."
Meghan McCain tweeted Friday that she was heading home to Arizona "to be with my family" and plans to return to her job on "The View" on Tuesday. She added, "Thank you all again for your prayers, patience, understanding and compassion during this time. It means the world to me and my entire family."
Friends of McCain have visited him recently in Arizona, including former Vice President Joe Biden. McCain, who has served in the Senate since 1987 and in the House before that, has not returned to Capitol Hill for several months due to his cancer treatment.
Russian Bots!
Jade Helm drills conspiracy fueled by'... Russian bots, claims ex-CIA top spook '-- RT US News
Sun, 06 May 2018 10:33
The almighty Russian bots were to blame for panic and paranoia around military drills held in Texas and six other states in 2015, claims former CIA head Michael Hayden. As is the tradition with bot theories, he cites zero proof.
Claims of impending martial law and other nefarious plots floated around the internet ahead of eight weeks of military exercises held by US Army Special Operations Command in seven states across the southwest. Known as Jade Helm 15, the special forces exercises were held on ''private and public'' land, and were nearly completely off-limits to the press. To add to the paranoia smorgasbord, Obama-loathing, gun-toting Texas was labeled ''hostile'' territory for the purposes of the drills.
Read more
In Hayden's expert, ex-spook opinion, there's only one reason why Texans distrusted Jade Helm. Hint: It starts with an ''R'' and ends with ''ussia.''
''There was an exercise in Texas called Jade Helm 15 that Russian bots and the American alt-right media convinced most '' many '' Texans that [Barack] Obama planned to round up political dissidents,'' Hayden told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday. ''At that point I'm figuring the Russians are saying: 'We can go big time.' And at that point I think they made the decision: we're going to play in the electoral process,'' he added.
It's unclear whether Hayden can read minds, or just didn't find it necessary to provide evidence for his claim.
Dubious theories about Jade Helm's hidden objectives received widespread coverage in the mainstream media, which at the time seemed to unanimously blame conspiracy-minded websites such as InfoWars for fanning the paranoia flames.
But suspicion about the drills was not limited to the more imaginative corners of the internet. Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman from Texas, also voiced concern over the drills.
''Once I observed the map depicting 'hostile,' 'permissive' and 'uncertain' states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, who 'cling to their guns and religion' and believe in the sanctity of the United States constitution,'' he said, making reference to a comment Barack Obama made about conservative voters during his 2008 election campaign.
Texas senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz took a similar line, telling Bloomberg at the time that he could "understand" why people were worried about the drills.
Texas's Republican Governor Greg Abbott later ordered the Texas state guard to monitor Jade Helm ''to safeguard Texans' constitutional rights, private property and civil liberties.''
READ MORE: Chuck Norris karate-kicks trust in govt ahead of US military drills
Even legendary action star Chuck Norris weighed in on Jade Helm. ''The US government says, 'It's just a training exercise.' But I'm not sure the term 'just' has any reference to reality when the government uses it,'' Norris wrote in a column shortly before the drills began.
Wait a minute '' is Russia now responsible for what Kanye West and Chuck Norris write on the internet?
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
OTG
Twitter "Bug
When you set a password for your Twitter
account, we use technology that masks it so no one at the company can see it.
We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal
log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of
breach or misuse by anyone.
Out of an abundance of caution, we ask
that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used
this password. You can change your Twitter password anytime by going to the
password settings page.
About The Bug
We mask passwords through a process
called hashing using a function known as bcrypt, which replaces the actual
password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in
Twitter's system. This allows our systems to validate your account credentials
without revealing your password. This is an industry standard.
Due to a bug, passwords were written to
an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error
ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this
bug from happening again.
Tips on Account Security
Again, although we have no reason to
believe password information ever left Twitter's systems or was misused by
anyone, there are a few steps you can take to help us keep your account safe:
1.
Change your password on Twitter and on
any other service where you may have used the same password.
2.
Use a strong password that you don't
reuse on other services.
3.
Enable login verification,
also known as two factor authentication. This is the single best action you
can take to increase your account security.
4.
Use a password manager to make sure
you're using strong, unique passwords everywhere.
We are very sorry this happened. We
recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us, and are committed to
earning that trust every day.
Team Twitter
A Mobile Terminal for Guerrilla Communications | Hackaday
Sat, 05 May 2018 13:46
We use the Internet to do everything from filing our taxes to finding good pizza, but most critically it fulfills nearly all of our communication needs. Unfortunately, this reliance can be exploited by those pulling the strings; if your government is trying to do something shady, the first step is likely to be effecting how you can communicate with the outside world. The Internet is heavily censored and monitored in China, and in North Korea the entire country is effectively running on an intranet that's cutoff from the wider Internet. The need for decentralized information services and communication is very real.
While it might not solve all the world's communication problems, [::vtol::] writes in to tell us about a very interesting communication device he's been working on that he calls ''Hot Ninja''. Operating on the principle that users might be searching for accessible Wi-Fi networks in a situation where the Internet has been taken down, Hot Ninja allows the user to send simple messages through Wi-Fi SSIDs.
We've all seen creatively named Wi-Fi networks before, and the idea here is very much the same. Hot Ninja creates a Wi-Fi network with the user's message as the SSID in hopes that somebody on a mobile device will see it. The SSID alone could be enough depending on the situation, but Hot Ninja is also able to serve up a basic web page to devices which actually connect. In the video after the break, [::vtol::] even demonstrates some rudimentary BBS-style functionality by presenting the client devices with a text field, the contents of which are saved to a log file.
In terms of hardware, Hot Ninja is made up of an Arduino Mega coupled to three ESP8266 boards, and a battery to keep it all running for up to eight hours so you can subvert a dictatorship while on the move. The user interface is provided by a small OLED screen and a keyboard made entirely of through-hole tactile switches, further reinforcing the trope that touch-typing will be a must have skill in the dystopian future. It might not be the most ergonomic device we've ever seen, but the fact it looks like something out of a Neal Stephenson novel more than makes up for it in our book.
This is not the first time we've seen Wi-Fi SSIDs used as a method of communication, thanks largely to how easy the ESP8266 makes it. For his part, [::vtol::] has previously experimented with using them to culturally enrich the masses.
Algos
Why Not All Tolls Rise to Nearly $50 - WSJ
Sun, 06 May 2018 13:02
States are increasingly turning to a free-market solution for highway congestion, putting in demand-based tolls that rise in price as traffic builds.
The goal is to keep more cost-conscious drivers in the free but slower lanes, and the priced express lanes humming for those willing to pay for speed.
There is one hitch. Some places like Los Angeles and Miami have put caps on tolls to spare drivers potential sticker shock. Such price limits make jams more likely in express lanes, eroding their efficacy and prompting driver complaints. Without a cap, tolls on a 9-mile stretch in Virginia have almost hit $50.
''There is congestion occurring almost on a recurring basis for those [capped] facilities,'' said Nick Wood, an assistant research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
In Washington state, outside experts recommend raising or eliminating the $10 cap on the 15-mile Interstate 405 express lanes east of Seattle. In Utah, the state transportation commission last year gave officials authority to quadruple the top express-lane toll on I-15, though only a doubling is planned. And in Southern California, the top toll on the I-10 and I-110 express lanes has risen six times since 2016, most recently in March, and now stands at $2 per mile.
''Someone paying a premium should get a safe, congestion-free ride on nice, new, smooth pavement,'' said Greg Cohen, president and chief executive of the American Highway Users Alliance, which represents drivers. ''You're expecting a level of service that's better than a tax-based road.''
Mr. Cohen said the answer may be to add a lane'--an expensive approach'--instead of allowing higher tolls if most drivers won't be able to afford them. ''You're just going to make people really angry,'' he said.
Political considerations are a factor in setting tolls, said Reema Griffith, executive director of the Washington State Transportation Commission. She said I-405 tolls would rise ''exorbitantly'' without a cap, fueling perceptions that they are ''Lexus lanes'' intended for wealthy motorists.
''From a public acceptance standpoint that just wouldn't be acceptable. We already have a lot of pushback from it hitting $10,'' Ms. Griffith said.
The express lane with demand-based tolls on I-394 in Minneapolis opened in 2005, and was among the first. Mr. Wood said there are now more than 30 such roadways in the U.S., most with a cap, and 13 others where tolls vary by time of day. Most express lanes are former high-occupancy lanes and usually can be used by carpoolers free or at a discount, he said.
About six months ago, new express lanes fully opened on the MoPac freeway in Austin, Texas'--with no toll limit. During planning, officials at the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority heard capped projects elsewhere struggled with congestion, spokesman Steve Pustelnyk said.
''We were advised that it would be best to avoid a cap if possible,'' he said. So far, the highest toll on the 11-mile stretch has been $10.13, or just under $1 per mile.
Also uncapped is a 9-mile express lane that opened in December on I-66 in Northern Virginia. Tolls have spiked to $47.50, and in March, 674 trips cost at least $40, though state officials note those trips were 0.17% of that month's total.
Through March, I-66 express-lane drivers had paid about $6 million in tolls. State officials expect that to hit $12 million by the end of June, and said nearly half will go to a regional transportation commission, with the rest paying for operations, maintenance and enforcement of high-occupancy vehicle restrictions.
Mr. Wood said the top I-66 tolls are the highest he knows of in the U.S., at more than $5 per mile, followed by capped tolls in Los Angeles and in Miami, where the $10.50 limit on 7 miles of I-95 comes to $1.50 a mile.
The L.A. express lanes ''are very, very popular,'' said Rick Jager, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He said when speeds dip below 45 mph, the authority can bar paying solo drivers and temporarily revert the lanes to free carpool-only status.
In Washington State, officials said the I-405 express lanes, which opened in 2015, aren't meeting a state legislative target for traffic to go 45 miles an hour or faster at least 90% of the time in peak periods. They blame a seven-mile, one-lane segment that often bottlenecks.
''There is a lot of people paying $10 in the morning to use that,'' said Ed Barry, director of the state's toll division. He said the region's booming economy and growing population are severely taxing area roads.
University of Minnesota researchers hired by the Washington legislature found speeds are higher than when the I-405 lanes were toll-free carpool lanes, and that more traffic is moving through the corridor.
But they also found that during rush hour, the toll cap kicked in 15% of the time, far too often, said Matt Schmit, a senior researcher at the university's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, adding, ''There's no congestion management at that point.''
One commenter on a state transportation department blog post wondered why he pays a $10 toll to go ''no faster'' than cars in the free lanes.
The state has tweaked its algorithm so tolls can rise more quickly, as the Minnesota experts had recommended. The state also has used toll revenue to relieve a different bottleneck.
But the suggestion to alter the $10 cap hasn't been embraced. Ms. Griffith said transportation commission members first want to see how other changes play out. One measure Mr. Barry cited is stepped-up police enforcement against solo drivers who falsely set their in-car transponders to indicate they are carpooling.
''We don't feel like we've hit that point where we have to do something,'' Ms. Griffith said, adding that I-405 functions much better than it did before the express lanes, when it was ''completely failing.''
Write to Scott Calvert at scott.calvert@wsj.com
Corrections & Amplifications The express lane with demand-based tolls on I-394 in Minneapolis was among the first of its kind. A previous version of this article said it was the first. (May 4, 2018)
ISIS
Verwarde man steekt drie mensen neer in Den Haag | Binnenland | AD.nl
Sat, 05 May 2018 18:13
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SSRI's
California's Number Of Inmates Prescribed Psychiatirc Drugs Shoots Skyward : Shots - Health News : NPR
Fri, 04 May 2018 09:57
An average of 13,776 inmates in the 45 California counties were on psychotropic medications in 2016-2017, a recent report found. That's up from 10,999 five years ago. erwin rachbauer/imageBROKER RM/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption erwin rachbauer/imageBROKER RM/Getty Images An average of 13,776 inmates in the 45 California counties were on psychotropic medications in 2016-2017, a recent report found. That's up from 10,999 five years ago.
erwin rachbauer/imageBROKER RM/Getty Images When 47-year-old Edward Vega arrived in jail, he couldn't quiet the voices in his head. He felt paranoid, as though he was losing control. "I knew if I didn't get my medication, I was going to hurt someone," says Vega.
He was right. A week after being arrested for alleged drug possession, Vega says, he assaulted a fellow inmate and ended up in isolation, which only made him feel worse.
Finally, a doctor prescribed medicines that Vega says helped. He'd been taking them on the outside until he ran out '-- just before he was arrested.
"The medication hasn't totally taken away the voices, but I am able to differentiate reality from fiction," says Vega, who was released three months ago.
The number of inmates in California who've been prescribed psychiatric drugs has jumped about 25 percent in five years, according to a recent analysis of state data. These inmates now account for about a fifth of the county jail population across the state.
The increase might be a reflection of the growing number of inmates with mental illness, though it also might stem from better identification of people in need of treatment, say researchers from California Health Policy Strategies, a Sacramento-based consulting firm.
Amid a severe shortage of psychiatric beds and community-based treatment throughout the state and nation, jails have become repositories for people in the throes of acute mental health crises.
The number of people with mental illness in jails and prisons in the U.S. is "astronomical," says Michael Romano, director of Three Strikes & Justice Advocacy Project at Stanford Law School, who was not involved in the research. "In many ways, the whole justice system is overwhelmed with mental illness."
Contributing to the problem in California is a 2011 federal court order, and a state decision a few years later, that had unintended consequences.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the prison population because of overcrowding that the judges said constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Three years later, a state proposition reclassified some felony crimes as misdemeanors. Taken together, that led to a huge influx of offenders going to county jails instead of state prisons.
The CHPS analysis, based on survey data from 45 of California's 58 counties, opens a window into how the largest state is coping with the influx.
"We think this is the first part of a more systematic discussion about what is going on in the jails and in the broader community with respect to mental health," says David Panush, a co-author of the report, which was funded in part by the California Health Care Foundation.
Far more people with mental illness are housed in jails and prisons than in psychiatric hospitals. Insufficient staff training and poor patient treatment have contributed to inmate suicides, self-mutilation, violence and other problems, say advocates for the mentally ill.
One oft-cited complaint is that inmates have poor access to psychiatric prescriptions to treat such conditions as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder.
Jail officials in California say they are trying to better identify incarcerated people who could benefit from such drugs. The numbers suggest the strategy may be working. According to the CHPS report, an average of 13,776 inmates in the 45 California counties were on psychotropic medications in 2016-2017, up from 10,999 five years ago.
But the portion of inmates taking psychotropic medicine varies widely by county '-- from 8 percent in Glenn County to 32 percent in Sonoma and Napa, according to the analysis. The report is based on data from the Board of State and Community Corrections, an independent state agency.
In Los Angeles County, whose jails have been described as the largest mental institution in the country, about 30 percent of the roughly 18,000 inmates are mentally ill and most of those diagnosed are on medication, says Dr. Joseph Ortego, chief psychiatrist for correctional health services in L.A. County.
Although some still are missed in the screening process, he says, the county jails have improved identification and treatment of inmates and expanded staffing as part of the department's 2015 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The department had alleged inadequate mental health care and suicide prevention in the jails.
Overall, medications are likely under-prescribed in jails, psychiatrists say.
"You need enough mental health professionals to treat the very large numbers of mentally ill people in jails," says Dr. H. Richard Lamb, professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. "There probably aren't enough."
And the medications these doctors prescribe are a crucial aspect of treatment, Lamb says.
Some advocates for the mentally ill worry that the drugs are at times prescribed inappropriately. Zima Creason, president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America of California, says psychoactive medicines, though sometimes necessary, are no substitute for comprehensive care for jail inmates.
"Sadly, they just throw a bunch of pills at them because there is nothing else," she says, adding that jails should also be providing individual and group therapy, more time outside of cells and sufficient recreation time.
"Jail is not conducive for real recovery," Creason says. "We are never going to put a dent in the numbers unless we provide a therapeutic environment."
Like people who live outside the correction facilities, inmates can be subject to involuntary drug treatment, officials say, but only if a court deems that step appropriate.
County jail officials, including Dr. Alfred Joshua, chief medical officer for the Sheriff's Department in San Diego County, say the influx of mentally ill inmates and the rising need for psychotropic drugs stems from a lack of resources for patients in the community.
"When they have [an] exacerbation of mental illness, they do many times come into contact with law enforcement," Joshua says.
Some of the most common charges that bring people with mental illness to jail are drug offenses and parole violations. Those who are homeless frequently get charged with panhandling, public urination and related crimes.
In addition to trying to improve treatment inside the jails, Los Angeles and San Diego county officials say they are working more closely with community organizations to ensure inmates with mental illness get the services they need after their release.
Vega says a local community group, the Neighborhood House Association, was able to help in his case, ensuring he got his meds and other treatment.
"Without the medication," Vega says, "I would probably be right back in jail."
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can follow Anna Gorman on Twitter: @annagorman.
Vegas Massacre
Mandalay Bay Shooting Body Camera Footage Released: No Broken Windows Reported | Zero Hedge
Fri, 04 May 2018 11:40
The Las Vegas Police Department has released nearly three hours of footage from the October, 2017 shooting at Mandalay Bay, in which Stephen Paddock, 64, killed 58 and wounded over 500 more.
The footage shows a group of officers as they prepare to enter Stephen Paddock's 32nd floor room, when one shouts "Breach, breach, breach," before a loud explosion can be heard nearby.
The footage is the first peek into the actions of the LVPD on the fateful evening of October 1.
Officers move slowly and quietly out of the 32nd floor stairwell as a fire alarm blares - due to the explosive charge that blew the door of Paddock's room. As one officer rounds a corner, he spots one of the 23 rifles strewn about Paddock's suite.
''On the ground, with a bipod, to the right,'' the officer says, describing the weapon.
EXCLUSIVE: photo from inside #MandalayBay shooter's hotel room shows gun, ammo, hammer, bipod, optics @boston25 pic.twitter.com/4B2iRhquq5
'-- Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) October 3, 2017More photos can be found here.
The first officer to enter the suite, Levi Hancock, did not activate his body camera, so the public will never see those first few seconds inside the room from which Paddock wreaked much of his havoc.
Instead, the footage comes from two K-9 officers '-- Sgt. Joshua Bitsko and David Newton. Both entered Paddock's rooms a short time after Hancock. Paddock's body already had been found on the floor.
Police did not say which videos belonged to which officer. -Las Vegas Review Journal
The videos, released in eight segments - four for each officer, begin with a race to the scene starting at each officer's respective squad car shortly after the shooting began.
In one clip, through an officer's windshield, the golden glow of Mandalay Bay grows brighter and brighter as he races closer and closer to the scene. In the background, police radio traffic describes the mass shooting scene as it grows progressively more dire.
Once inside the hotel, the officers walk the casino floor, guns drawn. They can be heard directing people to take cover and lock doors.
Keep looking at these people coming out,'' one says to another officer. ''Watch for weapons. Watch for weapons of the people coming out.'' Shortly after, the police in the casino coordinate with the teams before beginning their ascent on a guest elevator to the 28th floor.
No broken windows?
Strangely, officers in the video above can be heard contradicting the official narrative, reports Intellihub.
''We do not have a broken window,'' one of the officers named Cory clearly states after making entry into room 32-135.
''Standby, we've got curtains open on a window that's not broken,'' another voice can be heard saying in the video as officers frantically pull back the curtains.
''It's not, it's not, it's not [broken] '-- Corey it's not,'' one officer makes clear.
Additionally, another officer makes a rather odd statement which alludes to the fact that the shooter had merely set something up by the window. -Intellihub
''There is another one [gun] over here by the window he was setting up with,'' he stated, as if no shooting took place from the room which may have just been some type of command center to control the air assault via helicopters.
Online conspiracy theorists began focusing on the windows in the aftermath of the attack, suggesting that an inverted photograph of police at the scene of the shooting shows no broken windows - however others have pointed out that the broken windows would not be obvious due to the fact that the dark spots on the building are actually lights inside of rooms. Paddock's darkened suite therefore may not have been visible.
That said, reports of no broken windows are sure to fuel a new round of analysis.
Tense confrontation between police
The released body cam footage reveals that as officers worked to clear floors and evacuate guests, two teams of police confronted each other as one team rounded the hallway of the 29th floor, running into another team of Metro officers with their guns drawn.
''Metro police, Metro police, Metro police!'' an officer from the first team shouts. ''Police, police, police! Guns down, guns down!''
''Friendly, friendly, friendly,'' another officer says, indicating that the group they encountered was in fact made up of other officers.
''OK, it's friendly, friendly!'' another shouts.
''Friendly,'' another clarifies.
After the brief moment of tension, an officer from the first team instructs the other team to stay on the 29th floor and finish clearing rooms ''so we're not aiming guns at each other.''
''Copy that!'' another says.
Then the first team heads to the 32nd floor. -LVRJ
Following the first breach of Paddock's door, police then set off a second explosion on the connecting door between Paddock's suite and a second room he rented. After the breach, the first officer on the scene, Hancock, fires what police described as a "negligent three-round burst" from his rifle - which can be heard on the body cam footage.
''Where did that other shot come from?'' an officer asks. ''Was that us?''
As an aside, one of the SWAT officers involved in the breach of Paddock's room was arrested in February on counts of sexually assaulting a child and kidnapping. Bret Thiel, 38, was jailed on four counts each of sex assault against a child under 14, sex assault against a child under 16, six counts of kidnapping, five counts of lewdness against a child under 14, and two counts of child abuse or neglect.
(h/t anon)
The two-hour police scanner audio feed for the shooting can be heard below:
In March, CCTV footage from the Mandalay Bay of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock finally emerged, showing the gunman who killed 58 people casually gambling, walking around, buying snacks, eating and chatting with staff - reported the New York Times.
The footage spanning several days also shows Paddock checking in and bringing several bags of luggage.
"In the interest of providing greater context around Stephen Paddock's actions in the days leading up to October 1, MGM Resorts has released these security videos and images," MGM Resorts in a statement. "As the security footage demonstrates, Stephen Paddock gave no indication of what he planned to do and his interactions with staff and overall behavior were all normal."
And yet, as we wrote in March, despite the CCTV footage of Paddock "acting normal" before to the shooting, we still don't know what his motive was - a vacuum which several conspiracy theories have filled, including speculation that Paddock was actually an arms dealer in a sale gone wrong. As the theory goes, this might explain the 23 firearms he had in his hotel room. When the deal went sideways - Paddock's buyers killed him, staged his body, and opened fire on the crowd.
***
Others have noted that Paddock's death certificate - made public in February, indicates his date of death as October 2, the day after the shooting.
As the Baltimore Post Examiner notes:
Why was Paddock's autopsy conducted six days after the massacre and not sooner?Why didn't Clark County Coroner, John Fudenberg release Paddock's autopsy report immediately when ordered by the judge to do so on January 30?Why did it take so long to send Paddock's brain to Stanford University Medical Center since the autopsy was performed on October 6 and SUMC state they did not receive it until November 27?How can the coroner's office make a monumental mistake and list the date of Paddock's death as for Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 at 12 o'clock noon (1200 hours)?Paddock is the worst mass shooter in American history and once again an official report from the authorities involved in the investigation indicates false information.Did anybody even proofread the autopsy report at the coroner's office before it was released or was it thrown together in haste because the coroner believed it would never be made public?Then again, authorities said that the 64-year-old high-stakes gambler had lost a lot of "significant amount of wealth" since September 2015, and had suffered from "bouts of depression," according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Investigators found 23 firearms in Paddock's room - several of which were outfitted with "bump-fire" stocks, a large quantity of ammunition, high capacity magazines, a handgun, a bulletproof vest and a "breathing apparatus" in Paddock's room. 1,600 round of additional ammunition along with 50 pounds of explosives and ammonium nitrate - often used to manufacture explosives, were found in his Hyundai Tucson SUV. Investigators say he planned to survive the assault and escape, and had set up several surveillance cameras in various locations throughout the room, the peep hole of his door, and in the hallway outside.
Primary findings from the LVPD's report:
Paddock acted alone. Thousands of hours of digital media were reviewed and after all the interviews conducted, no evidence exists to indicate Paddock conspired with or acted in collusion with anybody else. This includes video surveillance, recovered DNA and analysis of cellular phones and computers belonging to Paddock.No suicide note or manifesto was found. Of all the evidence collected from rooms 32-135 and 32-134, there was no note or manifesto stating Paddock's intentions. The only handwritten documentation found in either room was the small note indicating measurements and distances related to the use of rifles.There was no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations. Despite numerous interviews with Paddock's family, acquaintances and gambling contacts, investigators could not link Paddock to any specific ideology.Paddock committed no crimes leading up to the October 1st mass shooting.Nothing was found to indicate motive on the part of Paddock or that he acted with anyone elseUpon searching Paddock's Mesquite, NV home, police recovered approximately 18 firearms, more ammonia nitrate, several pounds of the explosive tannerite, several rounds of ammunition, and "electronic devices" - while a "large quantity of ammunition and multiple firearms" were recovered from Paddock's Reno residence.
Paddock also reportedly attempted to buy a large quantity of tracer ammunition in the month prior to the attack, however the dealer he approached did not have any in stock.
As we reported in January, Paddock seemingly emailed himself discussing firearms, as revealed in an unsealed warrant;
"Investigators have been unable to figure out why Stephen Paddock would be exchanging messages related to weapons that were utilized in the attack between two of his email accounts. Conversely, if the Target Account was not controlled by Stephen Paddock, investigators need to determine who was communicating with him about weapons that were used in the attack," according to a warrant.
In an email sent from Paddock's Microsoft Live email account, "centralpark1@live.com" to "centralpark4804@gmail.com," Paddock wrote "try and ar before u buy. we have huge selection. located in the las vegas area." The "centralpark4804" account wrote back "we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try." Paddock emailed back "for a thrill try out bumpfire ar's with a 100 round magazine.
While breaching Paddock's room at approximately 10:55 pm, an officer accidentally fired one round from his sidearm, reportedly not hitting anyone. Paddock, meanwhile, was found laying awkwardly over a rifle with what investigators reported to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Recordings of the incident do not contain Paddock's final "suicide shot."
Sadly, we appear to be no closer to an answer in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Laura Loomer | Illuminate Media | We Need To Talk About ISIS and The Las Vegas Shooting
Fri, 04 May 2018 11:42
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War on Men
Restaurant settles lawsuit after allegedly discriminating against 'old white guys'
Sun, 06 May 2018 10:48
A national restaurant chain that allegedly wanted only ''fresh'' employees and rejected ''old white guys'' has settled an age discrimination class-action lawsuit to the tune of nearly $3 million, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday.
Orlando, Fla.-based Seasons 52 is a member of the Darden family of restaurants, which include the Olive Garden, Yard House and LongHorn Steakhouse. The chain was accused of disproportionately rejecting applicants over 40 years old from both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions.
The alleged incidents occurred at 35 locations across the country, and the lawsuit includes some 254 plaintiffs, the EEOC said '-- although more employees are eligible to come forward to claim a part of the settlement money.
A total of 135 applicants told the EEOC in sworn testimony that managers made a variety of discriminatory comments, such as: ''Seasons 52 girls are younger and fresh,'' ''Most of the workers are younger,'' and ''Seasons 52 hires young people.''
A manager even told the EEOC matter-of-factly that ''old white guys'' are not employable at the company, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The settlement, in the form of a consent decree monitored by a court, will provide compensation to Seasons 52 applicants over age 40 who experienced discrimination. A claims process will also be established to identify other employees who may have been victimized.
Additionally, the EEOC will require the restaurant chain to change its hiring practices and hire a compliance monitor to ensure that the terms of the agreement are followed.
''We are pleased to resolve this EEOC matter,'' Darden spokesman Hunter Robinson said in a statement, according to the Orlando Sentinel. ''Putting this behind us is good for Seasons 52, good for our team members and good for our shareholders.''
The EEOC emphasized that age discrimination is a particularly prevalent form of illegal workplace discrimination. Ordinarily, employers are eligible to discriminate among applicants only on the basis of characteristics considered ''essential'' to the job.
''Although ageism is among the most common forms of employment discrimination, applicants who are turned down rarely know the reason why,'' EEOC trial attorney Kristen Foslid said in a statement. ''When an employer has a trend of rejecting older applicants, the EEOC will respond aggressively to combat age stereotypes.''
BTC
Bitcoin : A New Form Of Life? '' Arnav Vohra '' Medium
Sat, 05 May 2018 13:04
Ralph Merkle, founder of the Merkle tree & a cryptography legend quoted :'' Bitcoin is the first example of a new form of life.''
''It lives and breathes on the internet. It lives because it can pay people to keep it alive. It lives because it performs a useful service that people will pay it to perform. It lives because anyone, anywhere, can run a copy of its code. It lives because all the running copies are constantly talking to each other. It lives because if any one copy is corrupted it is discarded, quickly and without any fuss or muss. It lives because it is radically transparent: anyone can see its code and see exactly what it does.''
IS HE CORRECT?If we look at life, biologists have had a hard time defining what is living & what is non-living.
How do you define: This is living and This is not, for a human it is super easy but how you do define it in proper rules'Š'--'Šit's a genuine difficulty.
But generally people settle down into a couple of different heuristics :
1) The first kind of heuristic is that life forms are configurations of matter that utilise energy in order to preserve information inside themselves. Even if we look at our own body, each cell has DNA and we are eating food and the major thing our body is doing is it's digesting that food and converting it into cells thereby preserving our DNA.
Even the simplest bacteria is doing the same, eating food/energy, utilising that energy and preserving the information that is in it's own DNA'Š'--'Šso this is the characteristic of life i.e. life always seeks to preserve some information in the form of DNA.
When we see Bitcoin, if we think of it'Š'--'Šit's a configuration of matter i.e. mining machines that utilise electricity (energy) in order to preserve information i.e. the bitcoin core code base and the bitcoin blockchain'Š'--'Šso bitcoin totally matches this.
2) The second characteristic of life is that living organisms have a method of self replication with variation and they undergo natural selection'Š'--'Ša bacteria splits into two daughter cells, they are a little different from the parent and then these two cells they will live in the environment and split further and one line succeeds more than the other.
This is Darwin's idea, we replicate & we reproduce the information into other configurations and then there is natural selection which creates survival of the fittest.
The strange thing is Bitcoin totally follows that.
In bitcoin, the mining machines are consuming energy to preserve information & they split into bitcoin core & bitcoin cash, it's like a bacteria splitting into two. Bitcoin core & Bitcoin cash have different DNA (block size is a different), core code base is different & once these networks split they undergo natural selection. These 2 would compete with each other, one will win much more than the other, so there is notion of splitting, replication, variation and natural selection, so crypto networks follow Darwin's Theory Of Evolution : Totally!
3) The third thing is that, forms of life can have an objective function, like in a bacteria, the objective function is to survive and replicate. Ever since we are young our body is optimising that we survive and we replicate by producing children. There is an objective behind us in that sense.
Crypto networks today don't have objective functions'Š'--'Šbitcoin as a network doesn't have any objective, human that is owning the coin has an objective'Š'--'Šhe wants to see the price of bitcoin go up but the network as a whole doesn't have any objective'Š'--'Šit's just 'existing'!
The ultimate strange thing that is happening is smart contracts allow us to build crypto networks with objective function : Imagine that there is a protocol on ethereum say a decentralised exchange on ethereum and there is this internal smart contract which has an objective function to maximise the number of orders that are being processed by the system and this smart contract is willing to pay the humans (developers) money if they contribute code which improves its functionality i.e. allows it to process more orders. The smart contract measures the total number of orders passing through the system and the developers are committing code to the system and the smart contract calculates that because a certain developer committed certain code, the number of orders increased as the user experienced improved so let's reward this developer with ether.
We can build an AI like agent at the centre of each of these crypto networks that is going to pay the developers to propagate the system. We don't have it yet but we could and then this crypto network would be alive'Š'--'Šit would have an objective to achieve a certain thing and then replicate.
More we think about it, we find Ralph Merkle is right'Š'--'Šin 50 years we will think of the new digital life forms and this is unexpected because as technologists we always thought artificial life would have a physical form just like we have one but mistakenly not even realising it, Satoshi has created the first digital life in the form of bitcoin and not even he thought of doing that.
Note : The above piece is inspired from my interview of the amazing Meher Roy, co-host of the best podcast in the Blockchain space, Epicenter!
Join our telegram community for discussion on core Blockchain projects : https://t.me/inchained
War on Guns
London struggles to fight crime spike, murders soar in 2018
Sun, 06 May 2018 10:56
A woman carries a flower to a crime scene in Link Street, Hackney, east London, Thursday April 5, 2018. This week, 18-year-old Israel Ogunsola became London's 53rd murder victim of 2018. The British capital is being shaken by a spike in deadly violence, much of it involving young people caught up in gang feuds. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP) Police attend the scene in Link Street and Morning Lane, Hackney, east London, Thursday April 5, 2018. This week, 18-year-old Israel Ogunsola became London's 53rd murder victim of 2018. The British capital is being shaken by a spike in deadly violence, much of it involving young people caught up in gang feuds. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP) April 05, 2018The causes are disputed and so are the solutions. But the pain is raw. "I'm still in disbelief, because I don't understand why," said 19-year-old Nella Panda, standing beside a police cordon in the east London borough of Hackney, yards (meters) from where Ogunsola collapsed on Wednesday evening. Police and an off-duty paramedic battled to save him, but he was pronounced dead 25 minutes later.
"He was just a nice bubbly person," Panda said Thursday. "He made friends with everybody ... it was always a good time when you was with him." Ogunsola was the 12th teenager to die violently in London since January. Many of those arrested for the killings are also in their teens and 20s.
Most of the city's murder victims were stabbed to death. Guns are tightly restricted in Britain and shootings are relatively rare. If the bloody trend continues, London will far surpass the 130 murders in 2017 and reach a number not seen since the early 2000s.
In February and March, London hit the unwanted milestone of recording more homicides than New York. The cities are roughly the same size, with more than 8 million people, and have similar extremes of poverty and wealth, but London has never recorded more murders in a year than the U.S. metropolis. New York had 290 homicides in 2017, the lowest number in decades.
Police and community workers say London's surge in violence is partly driven by battles over control of the illegal drug trade and a "postcode war" between street gangs. Some victims were targeted, while others may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time '-- such as 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne, killed in a drive-by shooting on Monday as she hung out with friends.
As well as multiple causes, there are multiple candidates to blame for the city's rising homicide rate. Some have criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who oversees London's Metropolitan Police. But most of the police budget comes from the British government, which has cut funding to police forces by more than 20 percent since 2010.
Khan said Thursday that rising crime is a national problem and "I can't solve it by myself." "Since I first became mayor, I have been saying to the government that it's not sustainable to make the level of cuts they have been making to London," he said.
The deficit-cutting Conservative government has also slashed funding to local councils, which run many social services, leading to the closure of youth clubs, libraries and programs for young people. Money is not the only concern. Some argue that crime-fighting has been hampered by curbs to police stop-and-search powers '-- a decision made by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, who is now prime minister.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick has blamed social media for allowing disputes to escalate rapidly, taking young people "from slightly angry with each other to 'fight' very quickly." Labour Party lawmaker David Lammy, whose Tottenham constituency in north London has seen four murders this year, blamed international gangs supplying the multi-billion dollar cocaine trade that he said made Britain "the drugs market of Europe."
"Drugs are prolific," Lammy told the BBC. "It's like (food-delivery service) Deliveroo. They're as prolific as ordering a pizza. You can get them on Snapchat, WhatsApp. That in the end is driving the turf war and it's driving the culture of violence."
Former police officer John Carnochan has seen a city in the grip of violence, and thinks he knows how it can be turned around. In the early 2000s, the Scottish city of Glasgow was known as the murder capital of Britain. In 2005, Carnochan co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit, which decided to treat violence as a public health issue, rather than simply as a law-and-order problem.
"It gave us a new language. We could start to speak about prevention," said Carnochan. "Because law and order, criminal justice, didn't think about prevention. Our idea of prevention was an alarm, or bars on your windows."
In Glasgow, prevention meant police working alongside teachers, social workers and others to "share the problem out" and find solutions. It also meant going to the young men involved in violence and offering alternatives '-- something many eagerly seized.
"When you say it out loud it seems so obvious," Carnochan said. "If you are a young man leaving home every night and you feel you have to put a knife down the waistband of your trousers to go out, that can't be a good thing."
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of murders in Glasgow fell by half. Carnochan thinks a similar approach would work in London. But solutions seem a long way off in Hackney, an area of poverty and gentrification, where public-housing blocks stand alongside million-pound ($1.4 million) Victorian houses and fashionable boutiques. Police have arrested two 17-year-olds in Ogunsola's death, but young people worry that more tit-for-tat violence will follow.
"People are just angry with life, and with this it's just going to make more people angry and it's just a continuous cycle of anger," said Panda, the victim's friend. She is mourning a friend she ran into just a few hours before he died and asking unanswerable questions. What if he had not been on that spot at that time? What if medical help had come sooner?
"His mum and his dad could have been holding their son today in the hospital, instead of getting ready to bury him six feet under," she said.
Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
Fake News
Interview: The Zuckerberg News Doctrine '-- The Information
Sat, 05 May 2018 18:08
In-depth articles. Daily Briefings. Conference calls. Special events.
I'm coming to you after spending an hour with Mark Zuckerberg talking on the record about the news industry. My takeaway: Zuckerberg is trying to get serious about news and hatching a doctrine around it that may take Facebook in some new directions.
As a little context, I invited Zuckerberg to join an annual event I organize, along with Kevin Delaney from Quartz and Ben Smith from BuzzFeed, to compare notes with interesting leaders from the news business. Editors from the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, BuzzFeed, CNN, NBC and many other news organizations attended.
But I think Zuckerberg surprised some people with his level of interest in news and openness to models to support it. One gets a sense that this dance between Facebook and the news industry is far from over.
Armageddon
For some, student loan debt is doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling
Sun, 06 May 2018 12:06
Gina Pricope | Getty Images
Rick Tallini didn't worry much about the $55,000 in federal student loans he took out for law school in the 1990s. His future seemed bright.
Yet in the decades since he graduated, he's struggled to find employment and pay the bills. His original student loan balance, meanwhile, has soared to well over $300,000.
"They'll tack this thing to my coffin at this point," Tallini, 61, said.
Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade, surpassing auto and credit card debt and only second to housing debt, and now stands at almost $1.5 trillion. That's in part because many people are seeing their individual balances spiral out of control.
"Loans doubling, tripling, quadrupling, it really does happen all the time," said Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
"There are ways these loans are structured that encourage this ballooning," Yu said.
Want to postpone repayment? You'll owe more Emily Rose Bennett | The New York Times
Many student loan borrowers thought they were paying their way toward student loan forgiveness, only to learn they are not eligible for one technical reason or another.
Schools can lose their ability to participate in financial aid programs if too many of their students default on their loans within their first three years of repayment. In 2016, 10 schools were subject to the Education Department's sanctions.
In response, many schools hire consultants to encourage struggling borrowers to put their loans into forbearance '-- a temporary postponement of their payments, for that three-year window, according to an April report by the Government Accountability Office.
Although forbearance does avoid a default, the solution is temporary, and is sometimes suggested over other, potentially more affordable options for borrowers, such as income-driven repayment plans, the GAO found.
Nearly 70 percent of people who began repaying their student loans in 2013 had their debt in forbearance for at least a period of time.
When student loan borrowers take their loans out of forbearance, they're often startled by the new, higher balance.
Debbie Baker took out $35,000 in federal student loans while at the University of Tulsa in the 1990s, to become a music teacher in Oklahoma's public schools.
"I graduated and I got a bill for $500, but I was only making $27,000 a year," Baker, 55, said.
Her student loan servicer, Sallie Mae '-- which now operates as Navient, one of the nation's biggest student loan servicers, encouraged her to put her loans into forbearance, she said.
Her loans stayed that way for three years.
When she had to start making payments on them, her monthly bill had swelled to $700, she said.
"Student loan rehabilitation is one of the cruelest of all tricks being played on the citizens by the Department of Education and its financial partners. " -Alan Collinge, founder of the advocacy group Student Loan Justice Struggling borrowers can be tempted by the option to hold off payments, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert, but it's always going to mean a higher bill in the end.
"A forbearance is bad because interest continues to accrue and will be capitalized, digging the borrower into a deeper hole," Kantrowitz said.
The Department of Education did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Nikki A. Lavoie, a spokeswoman for Navient, said the majority of customer complaints over student loans are related to federal loan policies, that as a servicer, Navient cannot control.
"As a servicer, we are proud of our track record to assist customers in successfully managing their student loans," Lavoie said.
Attempts to get out of default trigger hefty fees Source: Rick Tallini
Rick Tallini
The biggest reason Tallini's student loan debt increased so much is because of his extended periods of nonpayment, during which his debt was growing at between 8 percent and 9 percent interest. (Tallini provided his student loan records to CNBC, which were analyzed by Kantrowitz).
Back in the 1990s, he said he was told by staff at his law school that he'd pay back his education debt within two years.
"You're looking at your education, and you're not focusing on the money," Tallini said. "All the while, you're being told, 'Don't worry about it. Whatever you borrowed will go away quickly'."
But his job searches never led to a high-paying position, he said. Instead, he ended up working on and off for the government.
Around a decade after he graduated, his loans were in default, a fate expected to claim 40 percent of student loan borrowers by 2023, according to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Tallini was starting his own law practice, and desperate to bring his loans back into good standing.
"I couldn't have that over my head," he said.
"Consolidation" and "rehabilitation" are the ways student loan borrowers can rescue their debt from default '-- but the processes can come with hefty fees.
Tallini consolidated his federal education debt, and when he saw his new balance he was taken aback. He learned that he now owed the government more than $150,000, more than three times what he'd originally borrowed.
Kantrowitz provided the math of a hypothetical rehabilitation to illustrate how the process leads to a larger debt.
Imagine a person has borrowed $40,000 in federal student loans, at a 7 percent interest rate and with a 25-year repayment period. If she made four years of on-time payments, but then fell into default, interest would accrue at a rate of around $230 a month during her nonpayment.
If the borrower then went through rehabilitation to take her loan out of default, a collection fee of 16 percent would be added to her new loan, increasing her debt to around $50,000.
In other words, even after the four years of on-time payments, her debt would still be $10,000 more than she'd first borrowed.
And more than 40 percent of borrowers who go through rehabilitation will fall back into default within three years, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Student loan rehabilitation is one of the cruelest of all tricks being played on the citizens by the Department of Education and its financial partners," said Alan Collinge, founder of the advocacy group Student Loan Justice.
When loan forgiveness never comes, payments continue Source: Debbie Baker
Debbie Baker
It wasn't just forebearances that resulted in Baker, the public school teacher, owing more than she had expected.
Baker said she was going to enroll in the standard repayment plan, which comes with higher monthly payments but less interest because the debt is paid off in 10 years.
However, in 2007, she was ecstatic to learn about a new program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows student loan borrowers in government or non-profit public service jobs to wipe out their remaining debt after 10 years of on-time payments.
The program allowed her to be on an income-driven repayment plan, which caps monthly loan bills at a percentage of the borrowers' income. Repayment takes longer and comes with more interest, but Baker didn't worry about that because she believed her debt would be erased after 10 years.
"Year after year I would tell them, 'Now I'm going after Public Service Loan Forgiveness,' and they'd say, 'Okay. Well you can't apply until 2017,'" Baker said, about her conversations with Navient.
"A forbearance is bad because interest continues to accrue and will be capitalized, digging the borrower into a deeper hole. " -Mark Kantrowitz , student loan expert In July, after she'd made 10 years of payments, she tried to certify her forgiveness, but was told that she didn't qualify because she had the wrong type of federal student loan.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a report last year about how many people believe they're paying their way toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness only to learn they don't actually qualify for one technical reason or another.
"I almost threw up," Baker said. "I've been teaching 18 years and I still don't make $40,000 '-- and now I have to start all over."
Today, Baker still owes nearly $80,000 in student loans, double what she originally borrowed.
Food
Sainsbury's, Asda agree £13bn UK supermarket mega-merger
Sat, 05 May 2018 20:27
London (AFP) - Britain's second and third biggest supermarket chains, Sainsbury's and Walmart-owned Asda, have agreed to merge, the pair announced Monday, hoping to create a £13-billion ($18-billion, 15-billion-euro) retail king and leapfrog UK number one Tesco.
The blockbuster deal -- which is effectively a takeover bid with Sainsbury's acquiring a 58-percent stake in the combined group and Walmart the remainder -- comes as long-established UK supermarkets battle fierce competition from German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl and online US titan Amazon.
Britain's Competition and Markets Authority regulator warned that the deal will 'likely' be subject to a review -- despite terms of the deal saying both brands would be retained and no stores shut.
The government informed parliament that Business Secretary Greg Clark had held talks with Sainsbury's, Asda and unions over preserving jobs.
Analysts said the new group could be forced to sell off some existing stores, most likely in areas where they'd be left with no rival competition.
- Sainsbury's soars -
News of the tie-up sent Sainsbury's share price surging 14.5 percent to 309 pence by the close of trading in London.
Tesco slipped 0.9 percent to 235.9 pence on concerns the group could lose its supermarket crown and possibly also the title of Britain's biggest retailer.
"Sainsbury's and Walmart Inc. are pleased to announce that they have agreed terms in relation to a proposed combination of Sainsbury's and Asda Group Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart, to create an enlarged business," they said in a statement.
The transaction values Asda at £7.3 billion. Sainsbury's market capitalisation stood at £5.9 billion at the close of business on Friday.
"This is a transformational opportunity to create a new force in UK retail, which will be more competitive and give customers more of what they want," said Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe.
However the CEO was forced to apologise after he was caught on camera singing "we're in the money" between interviews following the merger announcement, blaming the episode on "an unguarded moment".
"It was an unfortunate choice of song, from the musical 42nd Street which I saw last year and I apologise if I have offended anyone," added Coupe, a large shareholder in Sainsbury's.
The company's statement earlier Monday said: "The retail sector is going through significant and rapid change, as customer shopping habits continue to evolve.
"This has led to increased competition across grocery, general merchandise and clothing, as customers seek ever greater value, choice and convenience."
The combined business would have total revenues of £51 billion.
"We believe the combination offers a unique and exciting opportunity that benefits customers and colleagues," said Doug McMillon, chief executive of US retail behemoth Walmart.
"We look forward to working closely with Sainsbury's to deliver the benefits of the combination."
'Lower prices'
Sainsbury's said the new group would seek to lower prices by around 10 percent on many popular products, and anticipates cost savings of at least £500 million.
It would meanwhile have a combined 24 percent of the British grocery market, beating Tesco on 22 percent, according to data published by retail consultancy Euromonitor.
Simran Jagdev, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, added: "The deal points to the highly competitive UK grocery market, which has long been concentrated in the hands of the top four players -- Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons -- but is now facing an onslaught from new challengers.
"The transaction will, however, attract regulatory scrutiny, given that the merged companies will become the largest grocery retailer in the UK."
In Britain's fast-changing retail landscape, Sainsbury's previously bought catalogue retailer Argos in 2016 for £1.4 billion.
In March, Tesco completed the purchase of wholesaler Booker -- Britain's biggest cash-and-carry operator -- for £3.7 billion.
At the same time, Amazon has ramped up its 'Fresh' delivery service in Britain, amid speculation that it could decide to buy a UK supermarket group.
Sainsbury's was launched by a young couple, John James Sainsbury and Mary Ann Staples, when they opened a small London dairy shop on the day they married in 1869, according to the company's website.
Asda traces its roots back to the 1920s and was bought by Walmart in 1999.
Ottomania
From Ankara, Without Love: The Battle for Turkey Reaches Texas Charter Schools | The Politic
Sun, 06 May 2018 12:08
''It is a conspiracy. But it's a conspiracy of facts.''
Along a half-mile stretch of cleared trees between a veterinary hospital and a mortuary in Sugar Land, Texas, a Houston suburb, a new middle school is being built. When Harmony School of Excellence-Sugar Land opens this August, it will be funded by the state but, as a charter school, privately operated by a nonprofit. And it will be caught in a power struggle between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his nemesis, Pennsylvania preacher Fethullah G¼len.
To some, G¼len is an inspiration; to others, he is a terrorist.
The middle school will be the newest addition to Harmony Public Schools , which, with 54 campuses, 3,800 staff, 33,500 students, and more than 258 million dollars in annual revenue from state and local funding, is Texas's largest charter network. It is also part of a group of about 170 American charter schools, spread across 26 states and the District of Columbia, founded and still operated by Turkish immigrants who rank among G¼len's millions of followers.
***
Robert Amsterdam is a high-flying London-based Canadian lawyer who thinks G¼len-linked charters in the U.S. exist first and foremost to funnel tax dollars to the cleric's global movement, Hizmet (''Service'').
Last year, Amsterdam's firm published a 647-page book, Empire of Deceit , that lays out allegations of grievous wrongdoings by the schools. ''Misuse of taxpayer funds totaling at least 243 million dollars,'' read emails the firm sent various state attorneys general this January. ''More than 6,504 H-1B visas to import unqualified Turkish teachers. Widespread manipulation of state-mandated testing, grades, and attendance figures.'' (Harmony and its counterparts in other states have denied all of these claims.)
Amsterdam, whose firm has been hired by Erdoğan's government, has set out to convince states to take action against the schools and Hizmet. ''It is a cult that have [ sic ] made a massive investment in U.S. politicians,'' Amsterdam told The Politic in an email.
Formally, Hizmet operates in the U.S. through various nonprofits, most of which are organized under the umbrella of the New York-based Alliance for Shared Values . Yuksel Alp Aslandoğan, the Alliance's executive director, is also G¼len's aide and translator.
''Our local affiliates'--we have six of them'--they focus on intercultural, interfaith, interideological dialogue [and] cultural activities,'' Aslandoğan told The Politic . For some affiliates, such as Houston's Dialogue Institute of the Southwest , that mission has included paying for politicians to visit Turkey on educational trips.
Schools like Harmony are not part of the Alliance. ''[These schools] were established by Hizmet sympathizers,'' Aslandoğan acknowledged, although they regularly deny institutional links to G¼len's movement.
Harmony's Board of Directors maintains that the charters were established to help American kids learn science and math. Comparable to statistics for Texas's traditional public school system, half of Harmony's students are Hispanic, another fifth are black, and 61 percent qualify for free or reduced-price meals, according to Texas Education Agency (TEA) data.
Year after year, the network reports a 100 percent college acceptance rate.
''They push the kids to succeed and provide them with the kind of support that they need,'' William Martin, a professor emeritus of religion and public policy at Houston's Rice University, told The Politic in an interview.
Martin's opinion is fairly common, particularly among Texas politicians. In 2017, the state's charter school association named Soner Tarim, Harmony's then CEO, its Leader of the Year . Harmony was also one of three finalists nationwide for last year's Broad Prize, which annually ''honors the public charter management organization that has demonstrated the best academic outcomes, particularly for low-income students and students of color.''
After 18 years of rapid growth, the network's campuses now appear from El Paso to Beaumont, though most are located in the Houston, Austin, or Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Some are K-12 academies; others resemble traditional elementary, middle, or high schools. Some occupy drab buildings in industrial parks; others are giant multi-story structures that Harmony admits were built at costs approaching ten million dollars apiece. All fill their seats by lottery, and collectively, they report a waitlist 30,000 names long. None charge tuition.
***
G¼len, who began preaching in Turkey in the late 1960s, is revered by his followers as one of the Muslim world's foremost intellectuals and a tireless proponent of dialogue, tolerance, and selflessness.
''That people are talking with each other, guns are not talking. That is one idea'--one core idea,'' Aslandoğan told The Politic as he described G¼len's philosophy.
G¼len also has a long history with education. ''Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God,'' he likes to say, according to The Washington Post . His followers were known for decades in Turkey for running highly successful cram schools that prepared students for university entrance examinations.
But Joshua Hendrick, a sociologist at Loyola University Maryland who has spent over a decade studying Hizmet, told The Politic that the tutoring centers served a strategic purpose.
''The objective of the organization in the '70s was to cultivate an elite cadre'--what was referred to by G¼len himself as a 'golden generation''--that could, in a vanguard sort of way, lead the masses out of the darkness into the light,'' Hendrick said.
University degrees in hand, G¼len's supporters could ascend to the highest levels of influence in Turkish society over time. By the late 2000s, they had built a media empire that included the country's most widely read newspaper, Zaman , and multiple television stations. Hizmet sympathizers also held key positions in the military, police, and judiciary; ran Bank Asya and Istanbul's Fatih University; and operated at least a half dozen hospitals and hundreds of fully-fledged private schools, most of which were in Turkey.
Rice professor William Martin visited some of them on a Hizmet-sponsored trip in 2006. He makes no secret of his ''warm feelings'' toward the movement.
''We met some students who were very impressive kids,'' he told The Politic .
But over the past three decades, wealthy G¼len-supporting businessmen also founded Hizmet schools abroad, winning the movement admirers from Argentina to the Philippines.
Today, according to lists compiled by G¼len's opponents, schools established by Hizmet sympathizers can be found in at least 100 countries. But only in the U.S. are they funded with public money.
***
In Turkey, the cleric G¼len and the Islamic conservative politician Erdoğan were once allies. For a decade, they used Hizmet sympathizers in Turkey's courts to target their common secularist enemies, often in trials with doctored evidence.
But around 2013, their relationship soured.
''The authoritarian tendencies were probably in [Erdoğan] all along'...but he found the opportunity,'' the pro-G¼len Aslandoğan told The Politic .
Erdoğan accused G¼len of directing an extralegal parallel state, closed Hizmet cram schools, and converted the Turkish newspaper, Zaman, into a pro-government mouthpiece.
On the night of July 15, 2016, while Erdoğan was on vacation, a faction of the Turkish military tried to take government buildings and key infrastructure by force. When, within hours, the president regained control, he knew exactly who he wanted to blame.
''They were receiving their instructions from Pennsylvania,'' Erdoğan said of the coup plotters, claiming one of them had called the U.S.-based G¼len their leader. G¼len himself condemned the attempted coup and even suggested it may have been staged.
Hendrick, a fairly impartial observer, told The Politic , ''There's some truth to both scenarios, of some culpability with the G¼len movement'...and some efforts to take advantage of these events by Erdoğan and his regime to stamp out all forms of dissent.''
Within weeks, more than 80,000 soldiers, judges, doctors, teachers, and other civil servants lost their jobs for links to G¼len'--some for connections as minor as holding accounts at Hizmet-associated banks. The purges are ongoing, now primarily targeting other Erdoğan opponents like leftists and Kurds. By presidential decree, every Hizmet school and pro-G¼len media outlet in Turkey has been shuttered.
''About 50,000 Hizmet sympathizers are in jail, including around 4,000 women and 600 or so children together with their mothers,'' Aslandoğan told The Politic .
''Without an exception, all of the Hizmet-associated institutions have been shut down by Erdoğan, including 35 hospitals, 15 universities, and 500 K-12 schools,'' he said.
Erdoğan is also targeting schools linked to Hizmet'--he calls it the G¼lenist Terror Organization'--in other countries. Morocco has closed its Hizmet schools, while Afghanistan and Ethiopia have turned theirs over to a foundation run by the Turkish government. Last month, Turkish intelligence services apprehended five Hizmet teachers and a doctor in Kosovo.
In the U.S., after over a year of ineffectual lobbying, G¼len's extradition remains the Turkish government's ultimate prize. But neither the Obama nor Trump administrations believed that G¼len directed the failed coup or that he would get a fair trial in Turkey. So Erdoğan might have to settle for a different target'--the charter schools.
***
He might find some local support. Austin attorney and independent filmmaker Mark Hall, for example, produced the 2016 documentary, Killing Ed , which claims corruption, discrimination, and academic fraud are commonplace at Harmony and other G¼len-linked charters.
''I've seen no evidence that the schools are teaching Islam,'' Hall acknowledged when he spoke with The Politic , countering a claim commonly made by more conspiracy-prone Harmony opponents.
But the schools do place a strong emphasis on Turkish language and culture, Hall said. Some offer Turkish as their only foreign language, and many used to take students on trips to Turkey to participate in the Hizmet-sponsored International Turkish Language Olympiads.
''There's no document with Fethullah G¼len's signature on it that establishes a charter school in California or Texas or Ohio or wherever,'' Hall noted. ''So a lot of people in the G¼len movement itself have said, 'We have no formal, legalistic connection between Harmony and Fethullah G¼len.' And that probably is not true.''
Aslandoğan, the Alliance for Shared Values director, previously worked in Houston. When he spoke with The Politic , he described his involvement with Hizmet in Texas.
''Together with a group of friends we formed the Texas Gulf education center, which later grew to become North American University,'' he said. ''So I was its first president.''
As noted in a 2010 TEA report , Texas Gulf helped Harmony certify its teachers. And according to two separate interviews in Killing Ed , North American University plays a key role in maintaining Harmony's public image.
''They force the kids to apply to college, and then the North American [University] accepts them all,'' says ''Linda,'' a former teacher at Harmony School of Innovation-Houston who appears anonymously in the film. ''So they create their own 100 percent acceptance rate.''
The Politic asked Aslandoğan what he made of allegations of wrongdoing against schools like Harmony with links to G¼len.
''It is of course possible that'--being run by human beings'--some teachers or administrators might have done some things that are unethical or inappropriate,'' Aslandoğan said. ''And it is possible it might have reached a certain level. But so far, despite the decades of operation and multiple inquiries, not a single individual was charged with any crime.''
***
Harmony and its counterparts across the country have, however, faced civil rights lawsuits from former employees alleging a particular pattern of discrimination.
In a case in 2008, a female Hispanic teacher at Harmony Science Academy-El Paso claimed that her male coworkers of Turkish origin, despite being uncertified and struggling with English, were being paid over 50 percent more than she was, and that she lost her job for complaining. The principal she unsuccessfully sued, Fatih Ay, is now Harmony's CEO. (Ay and other members of Harmony's board corresponded with The Politic but did not agree to interviews.)
''There's been a lot of cases that have been settled,'' Hall said. ''The G¼len movement does not like to have cases go beyond the early stages because, I think, they're fearful of discovery'--at the ability to go and use the court system to look further into their operations.''
Still, Hall and Amsterdam are convinced there is widespread preferential treatment for the schools' Turkish male employees.
''One of the Turkish male teachers who had worked there for only two years in the same pay grade as I was'--he had left his paycheck on the copier machine, and it said that he had brought home that month 4,300 dollars,'' ''Linda'' recalls in Killing Ed .
''Meanwhile, I'm making about 1,000 dollars a paycheck. He was under the section that said you would be paid that much if you had been working there for 22 years,'' she says.
In 2016, Amsterdam's firm filed a TEA complaint against Harmony that references an anonymous 2011 review of Harmony Science Academy-Austin left on the website, GreatSchools.
''It is sad and frustrating that there are only two qualifications to meet in order to advance as faculty,'' wrote a self-identified former employee. ''One is to be male, the second is to be Turkish. Unfortunately, I did not meet the second qualification, so I spent all of my years working under Turkish first year teachers who were somehow made department chair.''
Harmony responded to the complaint saying that only seven percent of its employees'--mostly men from Turkey'--were in the U.S. on H-1B visas to fill STEM teaching jobs for which qualified Americans could not be found. This is a common refrain among G¼len-linked schools in multiple states.
Texas State Representative Dan Flynn (R-Canton) is skeptical. ''I heard that there was a carpenter that came here to teach American history. That bothered me a little bit,'' he told journalist and anti-G¼len activist Sibel Edmonds in an interview last December.
Hizmet-linked schools' strongest critics, including Amsterdam, believe the schools have little interest in finding qualified teachers and instead provide a convenient vehicle for mass immigration fraud.
Even the pro-Harmony Martin told The Politic , ''They certainly have used the visas in a much more aggressive way than, I think it's fair to say, pretty much any other organization.''
Mustafa Emanet, a former H-1B holder who worked as an IT administrator at the Hizmet-associated Horizon Science Academy Denison Middle School in Cleveland, Ohio between 2006 and 2009, would go a step further.
''Ninety-nine percent of [Turkish employees at Hizmet-associated schools in the U.S.] are in this movement,'' Emanet, who received his job at Horizon through a friend in Hizmet, told The Politic in an interview.
And when Emanet worked at Horizon, he said, he and other Turkish employees did not take home their full publicly-funded salaries. Instead, the school's business manager used Hizmet bylaws to determine their actual pay.
''He makes the calculation and tells you, 'You owe the organization [the difference],''' Emanet said, explaining that managers would collect tithes at regular meetings. ''They are stealing U.S. taxpayers' money, I can say that.''
Over his bosses' objections, Emanet married one of his American coworkers, Mary Addi, who convinced him to come forward about the alleged forced tithing'--amounting to about 40 percent of his official salary, according to an interview he gave to CBS This Morning last March. He left the school and provided a copy of the bylaws to the FBI, which has since raided G¼len-linked charters in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
The raids did not result in any arrests. ''What was it, 2012, or '11, they did the FBI raids?'' Addi said, exasperated. ''I mean, I went on 60 Minutes in 2012. Nothing has changed. Instead, their schools continue to grow.''
But when Emanet visited Turkey in 2009, he was arrested (and eventually acquitted) on heroin trafficking charges. He is convinced he was framed by G¼len supporters in the Turkish police.
''Either you are with them or you are against them,'' Emanet told The Politic . ''If you are against them, they will do anything to destroy you.''
***
Turkey is against them. Texas might not be.
''The charter school lobby, which is very defensive of Harmony, is very strong in Texas,'' explained Liz Whyte, a journalist who has covered Robert Amsterdam's efforts for the Center for Public Integrity, in an interview with The Politic .
Amsterdam's firm's TEA complaint against Harmony from two years ago alleged not only discrimination and visa fraud but also misuse of taxpayer funds, including through favoritism for G¼len-linked companies when awarding tens of millions of dollars' worth of publicly-funded construction contracts.
In 2011, according to a change order document shown in Killing Ed , Harmony paid a contractor owned by a former employee 37,500 dollars for a ''Dome change to resemble Texas Capitol'' on its School of Political Science and Communication in Austin'--but the finished building had no dome .
The TEA ruled that most of the violations listed in Amsterdam's complaint were outside of its jurisdiction and dismissed the favoritism claims, noting that the majority of Harmony's contracts between 2014 and 2016 were with non-Turkish-owned companies.
''Essentially, the TEA is a charter school lobbying arm,'' Amsterdam told The Politic . ''They're not a regulator.''
Flynn, one of Harmony's most vocal critics in the Texas Legislature, called on state Attorney General Ken Paxton's office to investigate the schools instead.
''Texans deserve better and they deserve to be protected from organizations that may be funneling funds to illegal foreign activity and terror,'' reads a constituent newsletter sent on July 25, 2016, ten days after the attempted coup in Turkey, that also claims Harmony overpaid a front group at least 18 million dollars in taxpayer money for leases on its buildings.
''You know, we're so worried about keeping people out of our country and building walls and everything,'' Addi remarked to The Politic . ''Let's look internally at what's going on with publicly-funded schools run by an alleged terrorist organization.''
Paxton did not open an investigation. (Both his office and the TEA declined to comment for this story.) This January, Amsterdam's firm requested to meet with him; so far, he has not responded.
''If the attorney general's not looking at it, he's either got a good legal reason not to look at it or he's got a good political reason not to look at it,'' said Scott Milder, who unsuccessfully challenged Texas's incumbent and strongly pro-charter Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in March's Republican primary, in an interview with The Politic .
Milder acknowledged he was not familiar with all of the allegations against Harmony and Hizmet, but he centered his campaign on attacking Patrick's support for redirecting public school funds toward charters and voucher programs. While Milder does not oppose charters, he believes they need more oversight. ''Public schools are an open book,'' he said. ''Who are the donors [affiliated with] the charter schools? Who is G¼len donating to in our Texas Legislature?''
Last year, an investigation by Whyte found that ten Texas state lawmakers, along with 141 of their colleagues from other states, took trips to Turkey between 2006 and 2015 that were funded in part by Hizmet nonprofits like Houston's Raindrop Turkish House and the Dialogue Institute.
''I think the number is probably much more. Those were just the ones we could confirm,'' Whyte told The Politic . Similar trips, thousands in total nationwide, were offered to members of Congress, mayors, law enforcement officials, and academics like Martin.
''Anyone that could speak well of the movement publicly was generally someone that nonprofits invited,'' Whyte said.
In January 2011, the Texas Senate adopted a resolution to ''commend Fethullah G¼len for his dedication to working toward a better world through education, service, tolerance, and the free exchange of ideas and extend to him best wishes for continued success.'' At least three of its five cosponsors'--two Democrats and a Republican'--had taken Hizmet trips.
The following year, State Representative Alma Allen (D-Houston) was confronted by a right-wing activist concerned about foreigners teaching at Harmony's schools. ''I think they are fabulous,'' Allen responded. ''Because they are from Turkey, wonderful Turkey. I've been there twice. It's beautiful. You should go. You want to go? I'll take you.''
The sponsored trips were never illegal, but they have now stopped due to Erdoğan's crackdown on Hizmet.
''Now that they've lost power in Turkey and a great amount of their revenue, they're trying to further expand the schools in the United States,'' Addi told The Politic . ''Because they've got the perfect, perfect formula here for pillaging our tax funds.''
She continued, ''And how they've been allowed to get away with it? I have no clue'--well, actually, I do. They pay off the politicians, who readily accept their campaign contributions and look the other way.''
But in the 2017 session of the usually charter-friendly Texas Legislature, State Representative James White (R-Hillister) introduced a bill that would have effectively banned non-U.S. citizens from serving on the governing boards of most Texas charter schools.
The bill, which stalled in committee, did not mention Harmony specifically. But in an interview with The Politic , White indicated that he knew of allegations that many of the network's schools are controlled by Turkish nationals in Hizmet. ''I think if Harmony wants to get away from these allegations,'' White said, ''they should have supported my bill.''
Still, White was unfamiliar with Amsterdam's lobbying campaign. ''I haven't dealt with anyone on investigating Harmony,'' he said.
Amsterdam's point person in Texas is Jim Arnold, an Austin-based former Republican operative who is now registered as a foreign agent working for Turkey's government. In an email to The Politic , Flynn admitted meeting with Amsterdam's firm but denied coordinating with the firm's anti-Harmony efforts. Instead, he maintained he was focused on concerns about the schools he had heard from Texas voters.
''People want to know something is being done and Harmony is being made to be subject to the same transparency standards as public schools,'' Flynn wrote.
If legislative efforts will be stymied by the charter lobby, Amsterdam's other option is law enforcement. There, he will face a distinct challenge: proving beyond doubt that organic connections between the schools and G¼len exist.
''The organizational model allows for a mechanism of plausible deniability that is intentional,'' Loyola's Hendrick told The Politic , explaining that no one would ever find a paper trail linking G¼len to any American charter school or, for that matter, to any Hizmet-associated company.
Hendrick said the tactic was perfected in late-20th century Turkey, when that country was controlled by secularists and association with a religious figure like G¼len was a liability. Now, the same defense mechanism has proven useful against a different enemy.
''Something that bedevils the Turkish government right now [is that] when it comes to the G¼len community, all evidence that can be gathered about anything they do, whether it's these various alleged nefarious activities or any other positive activities they do'--it's very difficult to find a direct connection,'' Hendrick said.
None of that may matter to the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders who enroll at Harmony School of Excellence-Sugar Land in the fall. But for a president and a preacher, a London lawyer and a Texas filmmaker, the students will become the latest characters in a battle for the future of Turkey.
''It is a conspiracy,'' Mark Hall said at a lightly attended anti-G¼len protest in Austin last December. ''But it's a conspiracy of facts.''
Correction: May 4, 2018
An earlier version of this article stated that the Hizmet-associated Horizon Science Academy in Ohio claims Mustafa Emanet forged a document providing evidence of forced tithing at Horizon schools. While Horizon officials have publicly denied knowledge of the document in question, they have not claimed Emanet forged it.
CLIPS
VIDEO - Employers Dropping Marijuana From List Of Substances They Drug Test For! - YouTube
Sun, 06 May 2018 13:39
VIDEO - Facebook investigating claim employee used access to stalk women - CBS News
Sun, 06 May 2018 12:55
Last Updated Apr 30, 2018 10:46 PM EDT
Facebook is investigating an accusation that one of its employees used access to company data to stalk women online, the Silicon Valley giant said in a statement Monday.
"Although we can't comment on any individual personnel matters, we are aware of the situation and investigating," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News, adding that it maintains "strict technical controls" and "policies to restrict employee access to user data." The statement came in response to a story about the claim by the website Motherboard.
The accusation surfaced when Spyglass Security founder Jackie Stokes tweeted she learned a security engineer currently employed at Facebook was "likely using privileged access to stalk women online." She later said multiple multiple senior Facebook employees had contacted her about her tweet.
I've been made aware that a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online.
I have Tinder logs. What should I do with this information?
'-- Jackie Stokes ðŸ‹ðŸ½ (@find_evil) April 30, 2018 Thank you to the multiple senior @Facebook employees who have reached out to me with concern over this issue. https://t.co/pWkboorUl5
'-- Jackie Stokes ðŸ‹ðŸ½ (@find_evil) April 30, 2018Stokes told Motherboard that she provided relevant information she obtained to Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos.
In its statement, Facebook said, "Access is scoped by job function, and designated employees are only allowed to access the amount of information that's necessary to carry out their job responsibilities, such as responding to bug reports, account support inquiries, or valid legal requests."
It said the company has a "zero-tolerance approach to abuse" and "improper behavior results in termination."
Gisela Perez contributed to this report.
(C) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - SHOCKING!!! - "Men Are Disposable" - Rudi Giuliani On Hannity - MGTOW - MG513 - YouTube
Sun, 06 May 2018 12:44
VIDEO - Phoneliness is Just a Word - Secret Agent Paul - YouTube
Sun, 06 May 2018 12:01
VIDEO - Fresh Air: Comic Michelle Wolf On The Correspondents' Dinner
Sun, 06 May 2018 11:24
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Fresh AirFresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
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May 1, 2018
In an exclusive interview after the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Wolf addresses the backlash to her set. "I wouldn't change a single word. I'm very happy with what I said, and I'm glad I stuck to my guns." Also, we remember Iranian photographer Abbas, who spoke with Terry Gross in 2015.
VIDEO - Giuliani: Trump is 'committed to' regime change in Iran - POLITICO
Sun, 06 May 2018 11:19
Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks at the Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights and Democracy at the Grand Hyatt in Washington on May 5. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Rudy Giuliani pushed for regime change in Iran on Saturday, saying President Donald Trump is "as committed to regime change as we are."
It's "the only way to peace in the Middle East" and "more important than an Israeli-Palestinian deal," Trump's newest attorney in the ongoing Russia probe and former mayor of New York City told reporters after giving a speech to the Iran Freedom Convention for Democracy and Human Rights in Washington.
Story Continued Below
The speech was hosted by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, a group that aims to promote democracy in the Islamic Republic and was supportive of the December protests there.
At one point in his speech, Giuliani, who has served as an informal adviser to Trump and had been under consideration to be his secretary of state, pretended that his notes were the Iran nuclear deal, ripping them up and spitting on them.
The White House is considering the future of the Iran nuclear agreement struck between Iran and Obama administration, five other countries and the European Union.
During the December protests in the country, Trump tweeted that it was "TIME FOR CHANGE!," adding "the great Iranian people have been repressed for many years."
"Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration," Trump wrote on Twitter on Jan. 1. "The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!"
As a congressman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a Fox News op-ed "... Congress must act to change Iranian behavior, and, ultimately, the Iranian regime." His predecessor Rex Tillerson also voiced explicit support for regime change telling CNN "we always support a peaceful transition of power." A top State Department official later said that the administration was not pursuing regime change.
Giuliani caused confusion earlier this week when he said that three Americans being held in North Korea were going to be released on Thursday. As of Friday morning, CNN reported that the National Security Council had no update on the situation. Trump told reporters Friday afternoon that he has been "constant contact" with North Korea.
Amid the focus on his comments about the release, Giuliani told reporters Saturday "the less said about it, the better," adding he does not know anything about the status of the prisoners.
"Nothing has changed, they're working on it," Giuliani added. "I'm not privy to what they are doing. I'm reading the newspapers just like you are."
Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning '-- in your inbox.
VIDEO - Proposed SC bill would crack down on fake service animals - YouTube
Sun, 06 May 2018 10:27
VIDEO - Twin ISIL suicide blasts kill 29 in Afghanistan's Kabul | News | Al Jazeera
Sat, 05 May 2018 20:40
At least 29 people, including nine journalists, have been killed and dozens wounded after two explosions hit Kabul, according to Afghan health officials.
The blasts went off during rush hour on Monday morning in the Shash Darak area of the Afghan capital.
Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the first explosion, a motorcycle-riding attacker detonated himself close to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the main Afghan intelligence agency, TOLOnews quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying.
In the explosion that followed about half an hour later, a second suicide bomber targeted emergency medical workers and journalists who had arrived near the scene of the first blast.
Al Jazeera's Glasse said the second suicide bomber was posing as a journalist.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee reported that nine journalists who rushed to cover the aftermath of the first explosion were killed in the second blast.
A spokesperson for the Afghan health ministry said the two attacks killed at least 29 people and wounded 49 others, according to TOLOnews.
TOLOnews also reported that its cameraman, Yar Mohammad Tokhi, who had worked for the company for 12 years, was among those who were killed in the attack.
Meanwhile, AFP news agency reported that its chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, was also killed.
#UPDATE Agence France-Presse's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, has been killed. He died in a blast that was targeting a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of a suicide attack in the Afghan capital pic.twitter.com/rOa4rg24x9
'-- AFP news agency (@AFP) April 30, 2018 Reporter, Ghazi Rasooli, and cameraman, Nowroz Ali Rajabi, of the Afghan 1TV television channel were also reported killed.
We have lost two of our staff members in today's suicide bombing in #Kabul. Our reporter Ghazi Rasooli and cameraman Nowroz Ali Rajabi were covering an earlier suicide blast when they lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/Nnd8jGvIAB
'-- 1TVNewsAF (@1TVNewsAF) April 30, 2018As was two staff members of Azadi Radio, the Dari language service of Radio Free Europe .
Radio Free Europe identified the two journalists who died as Abadullah Hananzai and Moharram Durrani. A third staffer, Sabwoon Kakar, was injured.
An Al Jazeera photographer, Seyyed Nasser Hashemi, was also hurt in the incident. He is currently in the hospital recovering from his injuries, Al Jazeera's Glasse said.
TOLOnews also reported that two other journalists were wounded in the second blast.
The death of the nine journalists is considered as the worst attack on Afghan media in modern history, Glasse said.
"It's a very grim morning here," she said describing the situation in the Afghan capital.
She added that there are many fortified streets near the site of the attack.
"There's a lot of security in that area - it's not far from NATO headquarters - and security has been beefed up around the Afghan capital, but clearly they haven't been able to stop these kinds of attacks."
The explosions on Monday come just a week after a blast hit a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others.
Separately, at least 11 Afghan schoolchildren were killed in Kandahar province on Monday when a suicide car bomber hit a convoy of Romanian troops patrolling the area as part of the NATO force.
Attacks have multiplied in recent days in advance of the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20 this year.
"The series of attacks here in Kabul have made the Afghan capital most dangerous place in Afghanistan to be," Al Jazeera's Glasse said.
The second blast targeted emergency workers and journalists who arrived at the scene [AP]
VIDEO - House Intel report: Comey testified FBI agents saw no 'physical indications of deception' by Flynn | Fox News
Sat, 05 May 2018 12:34
Former FBI Director James Comey testified to the House Intelligence Committee that FBI agents did not believe that Michael Flynn, who was national security adviser, intentionally lied about talks with Russia's ambassador, according to a newly unredacted report from the committee.
''Director Comey testified to the Committee that 'the agents'...discerned no physical indications of deception," said a new version of the report obtained by Fox News on Friday. "They didn't see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.'''
But Flynn later pleaded guilty plea in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of alleged Russian election meddling to making false statements to the FBI. He also lost his White House job over the Russia contacts controversy.
Fox News on Friday asked the special counsel's office for comment, and about whether it had uncovered new evidence against Flynn. There had been no response by the time of publication. Fox News will update the reporting if a response becomes available.
Comey, who has been on tour promoting his new book, has suggested his testimony about Flynn had been misunderstood.
''No, I saw that in the media,'' Comey said last week on Fox News' ''Special Report.'' ''Someone misunderstood something I said. I didn't believe that and didn't say that.''
But the House report also states that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said FBI didn't ''detect deception'' from Flynn in the interview.
INTEL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN BLASTS 'SLOPPY REDACTIONS' IN RUSSIA REPORT
''Deputy Director McCabe confirmed the interviewing agent's initial impression and stated that the 'conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn't detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview '... the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador,''' the report states.
McCabe then acknowledged that "the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case."
Last week, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their report on its investigation of Moscow's role in the 2016 election. Much of the detail was redacted, providing no information to back up its conclusion about Flynn's interactions with the agents.
A congressional source told Fox News the committee is still fighting over dozens of redactions in the report and, with the Flynn section now public, the source questioned why it was redacted in the first place.
The new version also reveals that Flynn ''met alone with two FBI agents at the White House'' following a call from McCabe to Flynn, at Comey's direction.
The report states the committee ''received conflicting testimony'' from then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Comey, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord and McCabe about the purpose of the Flynn interview.
It listed several possible reasons for the interview, including whether the FBI was investigating Flynn's "potentially misleading" statements to Vice President Pence, a possible violation of the Logan Act or to obtain more information about the Russia counterintelligence investigtion.
Earlier this week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes blasted the FBI and the Department of Justice for ''excessive and sloppy redactions,'' amid efforts to unseal the redacted section having to do with Flynn.
''The excessive and sloppy redactions applied to the House Intelligence Committee's Russia report deny the American people the opportunity to know and understand the report's full findings and conclusions,'' Nunes told Fox News.
Fox News' Judson Berger contributed to this report.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
VIDEO - Federal judge rebukes Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team - YouTube
Fri, 04 May 2018 22:08
VIDEO - Federal judge accuses Mueller's team of 'lying,' trying to target Trump: 'C'mon man!' | Fox News
Fri, 04 May 2018 21:54
A federal judge on Friday harshly rebuked Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team during a hearing for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort '' suggesting they lied about the scope of the investigation, are seeking ''unfettered power'' and are more interested in bringing down the president.
"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort,'' U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III told Mueller's team. ''You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever."
Further, Ellis demanded to see the unredacted ''scope memo,'' a document outlining the scope of the special counsel's Russia probe that congressional Republicans have also sought.
The hearing, where Manafort's team fought to dismiss an 18-count indictment on tax and bank fraud-related charges, took a confrontational turn as it was revealed that at least some of the information in the investigation derived from an earlier Justice Department probe '' in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Manafort's attorneys argue the special counsel does not have the power to indict him on the charges they have brought '' and seemed to find a sympathetic ear with Ellis.
The Reagan-appointed judge asked Mueller's team where they got the authority to indict Manafort on alleged crimes dating as far back as 2005.
Judge T.S. Ellis III rebuked Robert Mueller's team.
The special counsel argues that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted them broad authority in his May 2, 2017 letter appointing Mueller to this investigation. But after the revelation that the team is using information from the earlier DOJ probe, Ellis said that information did not ''arise'' out of the special counsel probe '' and therefore may not be within the scope of that investigation.
''We don't want anyone with unfettered power,'' he said.
Mueller's team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo '' and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that cannot be publicly disclosed.
Ellis seemed amused and not persuaded.
He summed up the argument of the Special Counsel's Office as, "We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we were lying."
He referenced the common exclamation from NFL announcers, saying: "C'mon man!"
Attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort argue that the special counsel does not have the power to indict their client on the charges they brought. (AP)
Trump himself drew attention to the judge's comments later Friday afternoon, during an NRA convention in Texas.
''It's a witch hunt,'' he said. ''I love fighting these battles.''
The judge also gave the government two weeks to hand over the unredacted ''scope memo'' or provide an explanation why not -- after prosecutors were reluctant to do so, claiming it has material that doesn't pertain to Manafort.
''I'll be the judge of that,'' Ellis said.
House Republicans have also sought the full document, though the Justice Department previously released a redacted version, which includes information related to Manafort but not much else.
The charges in federal court in Virginia were on top of another round of charges in October. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to both rounds. The charges filed earlier this year include conspiring against the United States, conspiring to launder money, failing to register as an agent of a foreign principal and providing false statements.
Earlier this year, Ellis suggested that Manafort could face life in prison, and ''poses a substantial flight risk'' because of his ''financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large.''
Fox News' Brooke Singman and Judson Berger contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Fox News on Twitter: ".@PressSec to reporter April Ryan: "With all due respect, you actually don't know much about me."'... "
Fri, 04 May 2018 11:43
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VIDEO - CNN's Chalian: Sarah Huckabee Sanders 'has lost credibility with the American people' | TheHill
Fri, 04 May 2018 00:06
May 03, 2018 - 04:04 PM EDT By Josh Delk CNN's political director on Thursday said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has "lost credibility with the American people" after her responses to questions regarding a hush money payment made by President Trump's personal lawyer to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
In an appearance on CNN Thursday afternoon, David Chalian said the briefing marked a turning point for Sanders, who claimed she gave reporters all the information she had at the time regarding Trump's knowledge of the payment by his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen.
"Circle May 3rd on your calendar, because this is the day that we will look back on, in this briefing, where Sarah Sanders made it so painfully clear that she has lost credibility with the American people, with the reporters in that room," Chalian said.
Rudy Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York City who recently joined Trump's legal team, said Wednesday night on Fox News that the president had repaid Cohen for the $130,000 the personal lawyer paid to keep Stormy Daniels silent about an alleged affair she'd had with the president. Giuliani's statement contradicted Sanders's previous statement that Trump had no knowledge of the money or the nondisclosure agreement signed just weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
"This was information the president didn't know at the time, but eventually learned," Sanders said at the Thursday briefing in response to a barrage of questions from reporters. "We give the very best information we have at the time."
"She's acknowledged that she can only go out there with information [that is] the best available," Chalian continued. "Well if the best available is false, bad, untrue information, she's failing at her job, and I think we saw that time and time again in today's press briefing."
Sanders said she only became aware Trump repaid Cohen during Giuliani's interview, but did not clarify when the president became aware of the payment.
VIDEO - The Wreck called Hillary Clinton - YouTube
Thu, 03 May 2018 21:09
VIDEO - DOD Training Exercise Terrifies Unprepared Totowa Residents CBS New York
Thu, 03 May 2018 20:26
War Games On Night Of April 16 Ultimately Proved To Be Exciting, But Locals Say They Could've Used A Head's Up May 2, 2018 at 6:30 pmTOTOWA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) '-- It started off as a well-kept secret, but the explosions and helicopters ended up giving it away.
Members of the U.S. Department of Defense were conducting training recently in a New Jersey neighborhood, and the result was plenty of residents with frayed nerves, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported Wednesday.
MORE: NYC, 2 Other Cities Sue Department Of Defense Over Gun Check Reporting
Cellphone video captured the moment a helicopter flew above Totowa. There was excitement in the photographer's voice, but that's because the video was taken on the second night of action.
''I have never seen anything like this before,'' resident Michael Melograno said.
A military helicopter is seen flying over a New Jersey neighborhood. (Photo: Michael Melograno)
Melograno took the video from his backyard on Rutherford Court. The chopper was flying right above the North Jersey Developmental Center, which is under construction.
''There was a Blackhawk helicopter flying right over here,'' Melograno says on the clip.
He can now laugh and even brag about what happened, but in the heat of the moment he said his entire block was petrified.
''I was really scared. I had no idea what was going on,'' Melograno said.
At around 10 p.m. on April 16, the community was rocked by piercing explosions.
''We were scared about that, you know? It happened at night time,'' resident Mauricio Gallardo said.
''First it was explosions and then the chopper was so low that our house was vibrating,'' resident Larry Pizzichetta added.
Most of the residents on the block came running outside in panic. John Emmolo said his daughter called 9-1-1 to find out what was happening, but got a short answer.
''They said, 'Well, you have to talk to state police about it,''' Emmolo said.
Eventually, they learned members of the U.S. Armed Forces were training in secret for three nights. So CBS2 went to both local and state police to find out why the residents weren't informed.
Neighbors said they should have been informed, and next time they are hoping they get a head's up before they have to look up.
Both local and state police wouldn't go on camera, and CBS2 is still waiting for a call back from the Department of Defense.
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VIDEO - New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad
Thu, 03 May 2018 20:21
Fire Weather WARNING in effect for:Atlantic, NJCamden, NJCape May, NJCumberland, NJGloucester, NJMercer, NJMiddlesex, NJNorthwestern Burlington, NJOcean, NJSalem, NJWestern Monmouth, NJSpecial Weather STATEMENT in effect for:Eastern Passaic, NJHudson, NJWestern Bergen, NJWestern Essex, NJWestern Union, NJEAST HANOVER - A group of high school cheerleaders addressed officials at a board of education meeting in East Hanover Wednesday evening about their disappointment over a new policy for the team.
After cheerleading tryouts at Hanover Park High School in East Hanover were held April 13, some cuts were made.
But when a parent complained about their child not being allowed on the team, the athletic director changed the policy to allow anyone who wants to be on the team to join. But this new policy is not seeing well with some cheerleaders.
The administration says that the change came due to an ''irregularity in the selection process.''
The parents tell News 12 New Jersey that they sent letters to the principal and athletic director complaining about the policy. They say that the principal then threatened to disband the squad all together.
So 10 members of the squad, backed by their parents, came to ask the board to reverse the policy so that team members are forced to earn their spot through hard work and tryouts.
''I came up here to state that I did not put in 18 months of work to lead up to this moment, just to be told it didn't matter anymore,'' says sophomore Jada Alcontara.
''I tried my hardest. Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team. And their parent complained so now all my hard work has been thrown out the window,'' student Stephan Krueger says.
The school board says in a statement, ''In order to facilitate a more inclusive program, the alignment between the various cheerleading squads would be modified to allow all interested students to be able to participate. This decision was made in the best interest of all students and was made to be as inclusive as possible.''
The board president says that they will discuss the matter and make a decision at a later date.
New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad Updated: Wednesday, May 2 2018 10:04 PM EDT 2018-05-03 02:04:41 GMT
New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad A group of high school cheerleaders addressed officials at a board of education meeting in East Hanover Wednesday evening about their disappointment over a new policy for the team.
A group of high school cheerleaders addressed officials at a board of education meeting in East Hanover Wednesday evening about their disappointment over a new policy for the team.
4 Newark students to participate in prestigious 'Speed Debating' tournament 4 Newark students to participate in prestigious 'Speed Debating' tournament Updated: Thursday, April 26 2018 9:00 PM EDT 2018-04-27 01:00:40 GMT
4 Newark students to participate in 'Speed Debating' tournament 4 Newark students to participate in 'Speed Debating' tournament Four high school students from Newark will be completing in a prestigious high school debating tournament in Kentucky this weekend.
Four high school students from Newark will be completing in a prestigious high school debating tournament in Kentucky this weekend.
Metuchen students stage mock 'drunken driving' crash, trial Metuchen students stage mock 'drunken driving' crash, trial Updated: Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:55 PM EDT 2018-04-25 22:55:52 GMT
Metuchen students stage mock 'drunken driving' crash, trial Students at Metuchen's St. Joseph's High School staged a fake drunken driving crash and held a mock trial as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Students at Metuchen's St. Joseph's High School staged a fake drunken driving crash and held a mock trial as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Students hold gun violence rally outside Hoboken City Hall Students hold gun violence rally outside Hoboken City Hall Updated: Friday, April 20 2018 5:34 PM EDT 2018-04-20 21:34:23 GMT
Students hold gun violence rally outside Hoboken City Hall Students rallied outside Hoboken City Hall Friday afternoon as part of a nationwide rally against gun violence in schools.
Students rallied outside Hoboken City Hall Friday afternoon as part of a nationwide rally against gun violence in schools.
E Street Band member to raise awareness for music education E Street Band member to raise awareness for music education Updated: Tuesday, April 17 2018 9:15 PM EDT 2018-04-18 01:15:34 GMT
E Street Band member to raise awareness for music education A member of a legendary New Jersey rock and roll band will be performing concerts in an effort to raise awareness for music education.
A member of a legendary New Jersey rock and roll band will be performing concerts in an effort to raise awareness for music education.
County College of Morris wins college case competition County College of Morris wins college case competition Updated: Monday, April 16 2018 9:21 PM EDT 2018-04-17 01:21:20 GMT
The County College of Morris won first place in the annual New Jersey County College Case Competition. T
The County College of Morris won first place in the annual New Jersey County College Case Competition. T
NJ high schooler accepted to all 8 Ivy colleges NJ high schooler accepted to all 8 Ivy colleges Updated: Thursday, April 12 2018 10:20 PM EDT 2018-04-13 02:20:47 GMT
A New Jersey high school student's hard work has rewarded her with acceptances to all eight Ivy League schools.
A New Jersey high school student's hard work has rewarded her with acceptances to all eight Ivy League schools.
Lincroft students chosen as finalists in national math competition Lincroft students chosen as finalists in national math competition Updated: Thursday, April 12 2018 8:47 PM EDT 2018-04-13 00:47:24 GMT
The team of five from High Technology High School in Lincroft was chosen out of over 4,000 11th- and 12th-graders to compete in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge.
The team of five from High Technology High School in Lincroft was chosen out of over 4,000 11th- and 12th-graders to compete in the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge.
Lawsuit: Bergen Catholic HS covered up wrestling coaches' abuse Lawsuit: Bergen Catholic HS covered up wrestling coaches' abuse Updated: Tuesday, April 10 2018 10:07 PM EDT 2018-04-11 02:07:01 GMT
File photo - Bergen Catholic HS covered up wrestling coaches' abuse, lawsuit alleges. A former high school wrestler has sued his Catholic high school, claiming that the school and church officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program.
A former high school wrestler has sued his Catholic high school, claiming that the school and church officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program.
Gov. Murphy wishes to see pre-K programs at all NJ schools Gov. Murphy wishes to see pre-K programs at all NJ schools Updated: Monday, April 9 2018 9:26 PM EDT 2018-04-10 01:26:34 GMT
Gov. Murphy wishes to see pre-K programs at all NJ schools Gov. Murphy wishes to see pre-K programs at all NJ schools Gov. Phil Murphy says that he would like to see all New Jersey school districts have a pre-K program within the next four years.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that he would like to see all New Jersey school districts have a pre-K program within the next four years.
News Forecast: Conditions remain hot, temperatures stay in high-80s Forecast: Conditions remain hot, temperatures stay in high-80s News 12 New Jersey Weather on the 1s Temperatures are expected to remain the same as Wednesday across parts of New Jersey, and conditions will be hot throughout the day.
Temperatures are expected to remain the same as Wednesday across parts of New Jersey, and conditions will be hot throughout the day.
New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad Updated: Wednesday, May 2 2018 10:04 PM EDT 2018-05-03 02:04:41 GMT
New policy for cheerleading team angers girls who made the squad A group of high school cheerleaders addressed officials at a board of education meeting in East Hanover Wednesday evening about their disappointment over a new policy for the team.
A group of high school cheerleaders addressed officials at a board of education meeting in East Hanover Wednesday evening about their disappointment over a new policy for the team.
News Report: Jersey City most diverse city in US Report: Jersey City most diverse city in US Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 8:40 AM EDT 2018-05-03 12:40:51 GMT
Report: Jersey City most diverse city in US Report: Jersey City most diverse city in US Jersey City has topped the list of the Most Diverse Cities in America, according to Wallet Hub's annual report.
Jersey City has topped the list of the Most Diverse Cities in America, according to Wallet Hub's annual report.
News Officials: 2 people fatally struck by NJ Transit train in Hackensack Officials: 2 people fatally struck by NJ Transit train in Hackensack Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 6:02 AM EDT 2018-05-03 10:02:44 GMT
Officials: 2 people fatally struck by NJ Transit train in Hackensack Officials: 2 people fatally struck by NJ Transit train in Hackensack Transportation officials say two people have been fatally struck by a NJ Transit train in Hackensack.
Transportation officials say two people have been fatally struck by a NJ Transit train in Hackensack.
News So-called bicycle-riding bandit arrested in Belmar So-called bicycle-riding bandit arrested in Belmar Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 7:23 AM EDT 2018-05-03 11:23:34 GMT
So-called bicycle-riding bandit arrested in Belmar So-called bicycle-riding bandit arrested in Belmar A man, known as the bicycle-riding bandit who is wanted for two bank robberies, has been arrested in Belmar.
A man, known as the bicycle-riding bandit who is wanted for two bank robberies, has been arrested in Belmar.
News Surveillance video released of military plane crash in Georgia Surveillance video released of military plane crash in Georgia Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 6:25 AM EDT 2018-05-03 10:25:00 GMT
Surveillance video released of military plane crash in Georgia Surveillance video released of military plane crash in Georgia Surveillance video has been released of a military plane moments before it crashed in Georgia, killing all nine people on board.
Surveillance video has been released of a military plane moments before it crashed in Georgia, killing all nine people on board.
News 1 body found after explosion during standoff 1 body found after explosion during standoff Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 9:59 AM EDT 2018-05-03 13:59:15 GMT
1 body found after explosion during standoff Authorities say that a body has been found in a Connecticut building after an explosion during a standoff with police that left nine officers injured.
Authorities say that a body has been found in a Connecticut building after an explosion during a standoff with police that left nine officers injured.
News Fire chief: Man, dog rescued from fire at Parsippany apartment complex Fire chief: Man, dog rescued from fire at Parsippany apartment complex Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 5:59 AM EDT 2018-05-03 09:59:30 GMT
Fire chief: Man, dog rescued from fire at Parsippany apartment complex Fire chief: Man, dog rescued from fire at Parsippany apartment complex A fire at an apartment complex in Parsippany leaves several people displaced.
A fire at an apartment complex in Parsippany leaves several people displaced.
1st death reported in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak 1st death reported in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak Posted: Thursday, May 3 2018 6:37 AM EDT 2018-05-03 10:37:29 GMT
Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 4:11 PM EDT 2018-05-03 20:11:26 GMT
1st death reported in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak Health officials say a death in California has been linked to a national romaine lettuce food poisoning outbreak.
Health officials say a death in California has been linked to a national romaine lettuce food poisoning outbreak.
'John Madden Football' scores spot in World Video Game hall 'John Madden Football' scores spot in World Video Game hall Posted: Thursday, May 3 2018 11:01 AM EDT 2018-05-03 15:01:33 GMT
Updated: Thursday, May 3 2018 11:04 AM EDT 2018-05-03 15:04:50 GMT
'John Madden Football' scores spot in World Video Game hall Some popular video games are about to be recognized for their impact on the multibillion-dollar industry.
Some popular video games are about to be recognized for their impact on the multibillion-dollar industry.
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