807: Thanks Obama!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 57m
March 13th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Roy Pearce of Ancona Baron of the Treasure Coast, Andrew Goodman, David Ellis, Sir Scott Spencer Baron of North Georgia, Sir Don Tomaso Di Toronto

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

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Austin mayor encourages people to work from home Friday | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KEYE
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 01:28
AUSTIN, Texas '--The Austin mayor is encouraging people to work from home or take a half day Friday in anticipation of heavy traffic.
Friday traffic can be bad enough in Austin, but when you add SXSW and the president coming to town, it's a recipe for gridlock.
"Traffic on Friday is just going to be an absolute zoo," Austin mayor Steve Adler said.
That's why Adler sent out an e-newsletter Tuesday encouraging employers to allow people to work from home Friday. That way there will be less people downtown amid all the traffic.
Adler also said some city departments are having employees work from home. He also said people can stagger work hours or leave work early.
"People would see a remarkable difference on our streets," Adler said.
Adler has seen the presidential effect on traffic before.
"I found myself stopped dead in traffic along with all the other traffic around me," Adler said.
Adler said they clear a direct route for the president.
"And nobody moves until he's ready and then he starts his path and nobody moves again until he's virtually completed that path," Adler said.
The president is set to speak at 2:30 at the Long Center Friday afternoon. That means his motorcade will go through downtown early Friday afternoon. That's why in a city memo Tuesday, city manager Marc Ott said non-essential employees can leave Friday at noon.
"It's an honor to have the president come visit our city but it is a pain at some levels as well, one we willingly endure," Adler said.
The president will then go to the Opera House downtown and then head to a fundraiser at a private residence in West Austin.
Adler said, if enough people work from home then it would help a lot. However, if you do want to go downtown, then you can also ride your bike or take Cap Metro rail or bus which is expanding its service for SXSW.
Many businesses said they are not allowing people to work from home because SXSW is a busy time. Still, Adler said employers should consider letting people work from home if they can.
"I would say listen to your employees and don't make them spend the afternoon downtown on Friday, let them head home," Adler said.
Obama Next Door
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EMAIL: I'm not angry......
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:53
Hi Adam
I'm writing to out myself as an ex douchebag. I have listened to the No Agenda show for the past 6 six months or so and have found aspects of it really refreshing and entertaining.
Sadly, shows in recent weeks have forced a decision and I won't be listening any longer (If I did carry on then I would definitely have thrown you a few quid!).
It's just that you do have an agenda.....the Hitler/Trump idiocy irritates me as much as you but we have to acknowldge the guy has said, and done, some pretty stupid shit! As much as I enjoy the rapport and intelligent analysis between you and Dvorak, the persistent softness on DJT has become too much. I'm out.
Having said this, I have enjoyed many of your shows and not given you a penny. I'm sorry for this. In the future I may once again wash up on your internet broadcast shores and pay you for your hard work and obvious talent.
Peace, brother.
Dave
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SXSW
EMAIL: Talk about Favor with map uber intersect.
Thu, 18 Feb 2016 15:10
AC'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--K5ACCGovernments are reading your email.Slow them down with encryption.My public key:pubkey.curry.com'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--
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Elections 2016
Hacker 'Guccifer,' who uncovered Clinton's private emails, to be extradited to US '-- RT USA
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 17:38
Guccifer, the infamous Romanian hacker who accessed emails of celebrities and top US officials, will be extradited to the United States, after losing a case in his home country's top court.
Reuters reports that Lehel will come to the US under an 18-month extradition order, following a request made by the US authorities. Details of the extradition have not been made public, however.
Marcel Lehel, a 42-year-old hacker better known by his pseudonym ''Guccifer,'' achieved notoriety when he released an email with images of paintings by former President George W. Bush, including a self-portrait in a bathtub. He also hacked and published emails from celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Steve Martin and Mariel Hemingway.
Read more
Also released were emails between former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Corina Cretu, a Romanian member of European Parliament, prompting Powell to deny that the two had had an affair.
Perhaps most notably, Lehel was also the first source to uncover Hillary Clinton's improper use of a private email account while she was Secretary of State, which the FBI is investigating as a potential danger to national security.
In March 2013, the hacker released to RT and several other news outlets the four memos that had been sent to Clinton from her former political adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The memos contain information regarding the September 11, 2012 attacks on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, as well as the January 2013 hostage crisis in In Amenas, Algeria.
Lehel was indicted by the Department of Justice in 2014 on charges of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer, cyberstalking, aggravated identity theft and obstruction of justice.
In 2014 a Romanian court sentenced to four years in jail for hacking into the accounts of the country's public figures ''with the aim of getting'... confidential data'' as well as violating his parole. He is serving three years on top of that for other hacking-related offenses. After his extradition to the US, Lehel will return to Romania to serve out his sentences there.
The Romanian national, who goes by the pseudonym ''Small Fume'' in addition to Guccifer, is an unemployed taxi driver and paint salesman, and he says that he accessed the emails by using social engineering methods that included guessing the answers to security questions to access various accounts.
"I don't oppose. I go there to United States to fight. I know what I did and this is okay with me," Guccifer said in February to The Smoking Gun, where he published many of the documents he found.
Prosecutors have said that Lehel has a ''compulsive need to be famous,'' according to The Register.
The Trump Attacker:
Full name: Tommy DiMassimo
Hates white people: https://archive.is/zvB0Z
Youtube video of him (he's either a genuine terrorist or a very good troll):
Youtube channel:
He might be a Soros agent, he was at a Mike Brown rally in Ferguson too:
“There is a bubbling up of this new racism in this post-racial America,” college student Tommy DiMassimo told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. DiMassimo attends college in Dayton, Ohio, but returned to his Atlanta hometown with two friends to attend Monday’s rally.
Elderly Veteran Caught on Tape Pushing Black Trump Protester Pens Apology: 'I Am Not a Racist' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 16:26
The 75-year-old veteran who was caught on tape shoving a black protester at a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally has reportedly apologized for his actions.
In a letter to Korean War Veterans Association President Larry Kinard, Al Bamberger contended that the video in which he is seen pushing a black college student protesting the GOP front-runner does not show the whole story. Bamberger said he, too, had been pushed to the ground during the rally last week in Louisville, Kentucky, and his ''emotions got the best of'' him as he allowed himself to get ''caught up in the frenzy.''
''I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret,'' he wrote in the letter, which was obtained by WSCH-FM.
A U.S. Veteran apologized after shoving and yelling at a black protester at a Donald Trump rally in Kentucky last week. (Image source: YouTube)
The video of the incident has since gone viral '-- along with other videos depicting altercations between Trump rally attendees and protesters. Bamberger is seen pushing Shiya Nwanguma, a University of Louisville student, and shouting, ''Get out of here, we don't want you here!''
In his letter, Bamberger wrote:
I later found out that some of the ''Trump supporters'' involved in the incident (standing right next to me) were members of a white supremacy group. I cannot emphasize enough that I am in no way affiliated with a hate group like that and don't condone any of their actions. Unfortunately my state of mind after being knocked down and hurt myself, and being caught between a group of white supremacists and Black Lives Matter protestors contributed to my behavior however, there is no excuse for my actions.
I need everyone to know that I am not a racist as implied by many internet postings. I am not associated with any type of racist organizations and did not push the young lady because she was black. I went to the rally to have a good time, support the veterans, and see Donald Trump.
Unlike the people that surrounded me at the event, whose main purpose was to cause chaos and create videos, I went there with no intention of participating in a confrontation and I deeply regret my involvement. I have embarrassed myself, my family, and Veterans. This was a very unfortunate incident and it is my sincere hope that I can be forgiven for my actions.
WSCH reported that Bamberger is a member of the KWVA Chapter 4 in Aurora, Indiana.
Bamberger wrote that he enjoys attending political events '-- in particular presidential rallies '-- and said he was ''thrilled to have the opportunity to attend'' Trump's Kentucky event, ''especially since he is so supportive of veterans.''
Kinard toldMillitary.comthat Bamberger was not at the rally as a representative of the KWVA and asserted that the organization ''does not, in any way, condone his actions.'' He also said the KWVA would review all information regarding the altercation in order to determine if it should take any action toward the veteran.
According to Millitary.com, the KWVA's code states that members will be held responsible for their actions, cannot engage in unethical or unlawful behavior and should respect the rights of others when it comes to ethnic background, politics, race, religion and sex. Members are also expected to conduct themselves with proper dignity and decorum and shall not dishonor the KWVA.
Nwanguma did not respond to an emailed request for comment from TheBlaze Thursday afternoon.
Watch a video of the altercation below.
(H/T: WSCH-FM)
'--
Follow Kaitlyn Schallhorn (@K_Schallhorn) on Twitter
Donald Trump's ideology of violence - Vox
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 23:35
During a rally in St. Louis Friday, Donald Trump lamented that "nobody wants to hurt each other anymore."
Yes, lamented.
The topic was protesters, and Trump's frustration was clear. "They're being politically correct the way they take them out," he sighed. "Protesters, they realize there are no consequences to protesting anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore."
"Our country has to toughen up folks. We have to toughen up. These people are bringing us down. They are bringing us down. These people are so bad for our country, you have no idea."
This is more than an aside; this is the core of Trump's ideology. The protesters who interrupted his rally, the political correctness that kept the police from cracking their skulls, the press that takes the hippies' side '-- this is why America has stopped being great. We were strong, and we were tough, and we didn't take this kind of shit from anybody. And now we are weak, and we are scared, and we take this kind of shit from everybody.
How is a country that can't shut down a protester going to out-negotiate the Chinese? How is a country that that is so afraid of hurt feelings going to crush ISIS?
"We better toughen up, we better smarten up, and we better stop with this political correctness because it's driving us down the tubes," Trump said.
Hours after that speech, 32 people were arrested and several were injured as Trump's supporters clashed with anti-Trump protesters and police. That night, Trump had to cancel a rally in Chicago for safety reasons.
Violence is scary. But violence-as-ideology is terrifying. And that's where Trump's campaign has gone.
"Knock the hell out of them. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise."On February 1st, Trump made a promise to an angry crowd. You protect me, he said, and I'll protect you. "If you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Knock the hell out of them. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise."
No one threw a tomato at that rally. But a few weeks later, Donald Trump showed that he meant what he said '-- if you used force to protect him, he'd have your back.
Trump was leaving a rally when Michelle Fields, a reporter for the Trump-friendly Breitbart News, stepped forward to ask a question. Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, grabbed her by the arm and threw her out of the way. His grip was hard enough to leave bruises on her arm. The moment was witnessed by Ben Terris, a Washington Post reporter, and there's audio and video record of it.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty ImagesThere were simple ways Trump's campaign could have responded to this. Lewandowski could have apologized. He could have said Fields startled him, and he was protecting his candidate.
But this is the press we're talking about. "The most dishonest human beings on earth." No fucking way Trump was going to back down to them.
"The accusation which has only been made in the media and never addressed directly with the campaign is entirely false," Trump's spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement.
"Michelle Fields is an attention seeker," tweeted Lewandowski.
"This was, in my opinion, made up," Trump himself said. "Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up. I think that's what happened."
Donald Trump will pay your legal fees. He will believe your baldfaced lie. He is on your side against the protesters, the press, the losers who are bring America down. He knows things get rough sometimes. He's got your back.
"People who are following me are very passionate""The incidents are piling up," wrote Lucia Graves at the Guardian. "A Black Lives Matters protester was sucker-punched by a white bystander at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A young black woman was surrounded and shoved aggressively by a number of individuals at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky. A black protester was tackled, then punched and kicked by a group of men as he curled up on the ground in Birmingham, Alabama. Immigration activists were shoved and stripped of their signs by a crowd in Richmond, Virginia. A Latino protester was knocked down and kicked by a Trump supporter in Miami."
Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty ImagesI would add another "incident" to Graves' list. Back in August, two young Trump supporters, Scott and Steve Leader, were charged in the beating of a homeless Mexican man. They found him sleeping outside a subway station and began hitting him with a metal pole.
According to police, Scott Leader justified the assault by telling them, "Donald Trump was right '-- all these illegals need to be deported."
Asked to react to the beating, Trump said he had no knowledge of it, which would have been fine. But he didn't stop there. "I will say that people who are following me are very passionate," Trump replied. "They love this country and they want this country to be great again."
"These are the people that are destroying our country"The great mistake the media makes with Donald Trump is to pretend he has no ideology '-- that he's just a celebrity, a carnival barker, a reality star.
As my colleague Matt Yglesias has written, Trump does have an ideology. He does have an agenda. The core of Trumpism is "a revived and unapologetic American nationalism, which will stand for American interests abroad while defending the traditional conception of the American nation at home."
Like most nationalists, the emotional center of Trump's ideology is an Us vs. Them argument. "These are not the people who made our country great," Trump told the crowd in St. Louis. "We're going to make it great again, but these are not the people. These are the people that are destroying our country."
Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesThe Us must somehow defeat the Them '-- and the stakes are high, the future of the greatest country the world has ever known depends on the outcome. This is why nationalistic, Us vs. Them appeals lend themselves so easily and naturally to violence.
This is what Trump supporters hear at his rallies. They are told that America is no longer great. They are told who to blame. They are told that the reason these losers are dragging America down is we have become too politically correct, too scared, too weak, to stop them. They are told Trump will pay their legal fees if they want to do what's necessary. "There used to be consequences," Trump sighs. The crowd knows what he's asking. Make Consequences Real Again.
This is ugly, but it is coherent. What Trump is offering is an explanation and a solution; an argument and an ideology. It is dangerous, and it is violent, but it is not confusing, and it is not unclear.
And this is why Trump is something different and more dangerous in American life. He is a man with an evident appetite for suppressing dissent with violence, a man who believes America's problem is that it's too gentle to its dissidents. Trump is making an argument for a politics backed by force, for a security service unleashed from "political correctness," for a country where protesting has consequences. The results are playing out before us, night after night, on our televisions.
If Trump wins and this country goes down a dark path, we will never be able to say we didn't see it coming. We will never be able to say we weren't warned.
Bellamy salute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 23:06
The Bellamy salute is the salute described by Francis Bellamy, Christian socialist minister and author, to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "flag salute". Later, during the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a salute which had a similar form, and which was derived from the so-called Roman salute. This resulted in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.
The inventor of the Bellamy salute was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth's Companion.[1] Bellamy recalled Upham, upon reading the pledge, came into the posture of the salute, snapped his heels together, and said "Now up there is the flag; I come to salute; as I say 'I pledge allegiance to my flag,' I stretch out my right hand and keep it raised while I say the stirring words that follow."[1]
The Bellamy salute was first demonstrated on October 12, 1892 according to Bellamy's published instructions for the "National School Celebration of Columbus Day":
At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute -- right hand lifted, palm downward, to align with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, ''I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.'' At the words, ''to my Flag,'' the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.
'--'‰From The Youth's Companion, 65 (1892): 446''447.
The initial civilian salute was replaced with a hand-on-heart gesture, followed by the extension of the arm as described by Bellamy. Though the instruction called for the palm to be up, many found this awkward, and performed it with the palm down (see pictures above).
In the 1920s, Italian fascists adopted what they called the Roman salute to symbolize their claim to have revitalized Italy on the model of ancient Rome. This was quickly copied by the German Nazis, creating the Nazi salute. The similarity to the Bellamy salute led to confusion, especially during World War II. From 1939 until the attack on Pearl Harbor, detractors of Americans who argued against intervention in World War II produced propaganda using the salute to lessen those Americans' reputations. Among the anti-interventionist Americans was aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh. Supporters of Lindbergh's views would claim that Lindbergh did not support Adolf Hitler, and that pictures of him appearing to do the Nazi salute were actually pictures of him using the Bellamy salute. In his Pulitzer prize winning biography Lindbergh, author A. Scott Berg explains that interventionist propagandists would photograph Lindbergh and other isolationists using this salute from an angle that left out the American flag, so it would be indistinguishable from the Hitler salute to observers.[2]
In order to prevent further confusion or controversy, the United States Congress instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute.[3] This was done when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.[4][5]
There was initially some resistance to dropping the Bellamy salute, for example from the Daughters of the American Revolution,[6] but this opposition died down quickly following Nazi Germany's declaration of war against the United States on December 11, 1941.
ReferencesEdit^ abMiller, Margarette S. (1976). Twenty Three Words: A Biography of Francis Bellamy : Author of the Pledge of Allegiance. Natl Bellamy Award. ISBN 978-0-686-15626-0. ^Birkhead, L.M. "Is Lindbergh a Nazi?"charleslindbergh.com. Retrieved: January 19, 2011.^Section 7, Pub.L. 77''623, 56 Stat. 380, Chap. 435, H.J.Res. 303, enacted June 22, 1942. (WITH the Bellamy Salute)^Section 7, Pub.L. 77''829, 56 Stat. 1074, Chap. 807, H.J.Res. 359, enacted December 22, 1942. (WITHOUT the Bellamy Salute)^Leepson, Marc (2006). Flag: An American Biography. Macmillan. p. 171. ISBN 0-312-32309-3. ^Fried, Richard M. (1999). The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!: Pageantry and Patriotism in Cold-War America. New York: Oxford University Press (USA). p. 12. ISBN 0-19-513417-6. Further readingEditExternal linksEdit
Hillary Clinton Falsely Credits Reagans With Starting 'National Conversation' on HIV/AIDS
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 02:41
Photo: Charles Tasnadi/AP
Update: March 11, 2016
At 4:24 p.m. EST, Clinton tweeted out a short statement walking back her praise for the Reagans, saying that she ''misspoke'' about their record on HIV/AIDS. The statement was similar to one tweeted around an hour and a half earlier by Chad Griffin, president of the LGBT rights organization Human Rights Campaign. The HRC endorsed Clinton without asking its membership list to approve the endorsement.
During an appearance on MSNBC this afternoon, Hillary Clinton credited President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, with starting a ''national conversation'' on HIV/AIDS:
It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s, and because of both President and Mrs. Reagan '-- in particular Mrs. Reagan '-- we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it, and that, too, is something I really appreciate with her very effective low-key advocacy. It penetrated the public conscience and people began to say, ''Hey, we have to do something about this too.''
Clinton's telling of HIV/AIDS history doesn't align with the facts. President Reagan waited seven years to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, even as thousands of Americans died from the disease. Dr. C. Everett Koop, the administration's surgeon general, said the president dragged his feet on the issue ''because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs.'' Koop said their position was that AIDS victims were ''only getting what they justly deserve.''
In 1985, the Reagans' friend Rock Hudson, then dying of AIDS, traveled to Paris in a desperate attempt to be treated by a French military doctor. As BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner reported last year, Hudson's publicist sent the Reagan White House a telegram begging for help in getting Hudson moved to a French military hospital where the doctor could treat him. Nancy Reagan personally saw and rejected the request.
Nancy Reagan may have played a role in encouraging her husband to push for more funding for AIDS research, which Congress did appropriate. However, says Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, ''Shameful is not even strong enough a word for the record of the Reagan administration on this. Did she try and fail, or not try very hard? I really don't know.''
In fact, the Reagan White House even laughed off questions about the epidemic as it was spreading across America, which is the subject of the new documentary When AIDS Was Funny. That is hardly the conversation the victims of HIV/AIDS needed.
Top photo: President Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Nancy Reagan go over their joint address to the nation at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13, 1986.
People For Bernie on Twitter: "Remember the #TrumpRally wasn't just luck. It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work."
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:17
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Hacker Targets Clinton Confidant In New Attack | The Smoking Gun
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:00
MARCH 15--The hacker who has spent the past several months breaking into the e-mail accounts of family, friends, and political allies of the Bush family has crossed party lines and illegally accessed the AOL account of a former senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton.
The intrusion into Sidney Blumenthal's e-mail account apparently occurred this week, days after the hacker--who uses the alias ''Guccifer''--defaced Colin Powell's Facebook page and breached the former Secretary of State's AOL account.
The 64-year-old Blumenthal--who was unaware that he had been hacked by ''Guccifer''--worked as an assistant and senior adviser to Clinton for about 3-1/2 years, ending in January 2001. He worked as a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and has remained one of her closest confidants.
Blumenthal is pictured at right with the Clintons.
By breaching Blumenthal's account, ''Guccifer'' was able to access his correspondence (dating back to at least 2005) with an array of Washington insiders, including political operatives, journalists, and government officials. As with the hacker's other victims, it is unclear how Blumenthal's account was illegally accessed or why he was targeted.
However, based on screen grabs made by ''Guccifer,'' the hacker specifically zeroed in on Blumenthal's extensive correspondence with Hillary Clinton, sorting Blumenthal's account so as to single out all e-mail sent to Clinton. Additionally, ''Guccifer'' further sorted the mail to list (and presumably download) all Word files attached to e-mails sent to Clinton.
It is unknown what plans ''Guccifer'' has for these documents, which include foreign policy and intelligence memos that Blumenthal sent to Clinton while she served as Secretary of State.
Blumenthal told TSG that when he attempted to access his e-mail yesterday morning, he could not successfully log in. He then contacted an AOL representative and was told that his account had been compromised. Blumenthal said that he subsequently reset the password and regained control of his account.
In e-mail screeds, ''Guccifer'' seems to subscribe to dark conspiracies involving the Federal Reserve, the Council on Foreign Relations, and attendees of Bohemian Grove retreats. ''the evil is leading this fucked up world!!!!!! i tell you this the world of tomorrow will be a world free of illuminati or will be no more,'' the hacker declared.
Over the past few months, the list of ''Guccifer'' hacking victims has included several Bush family members and friends; Powell; U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski; a senior United Nations official; Rockefeller family members; former FBI agents; security contractors in Iraq; a former Secret Service agent; and John Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. A majority of these breaches have involved AOL e-mail accounts.
SXSW
High rise building can't use balconies during Obama visit | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 16:49
AUSTIN, Texas '--Security is going to be tight for President Obama in Austin, and some residents are being forced to stay inside.
The Austin Music Hall is president Obama's second stop in Austin Friday. So a Secret Service agent made his rounds around the area talking with businesses and the 360 Tower. After that talk, management at the Tower sent residents an email describing the situation. It talked about how 3rd Street will be closed along with Nueces to traffic. It also mentioned one restriction.
"The biggest surprise was we're not supposed to go out on the balcony," resident Robyn Dodge said.
The email said "No one on the balconies from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday afternoon." Dodge lives on the 36th floor and does have a slight view of the Music Hall.
"It's right down there, it's literally right across the street from us," Dodge said.
The view from Dodge's balcony is breathtaking. Dodge says it's like an extension to their living room and she loves to enjoy the view outside, especially during sunsets.
"It is a little bit disappointing not to be able to go out but what are you going to do, got to make accommodations for the president," Dodge said.
Dodge was also living in the building in 2012 when Obama last went to the Music Hall. She said it was tight security then as well, but she was allowed to go out on the balcony.
"Trying to make things a little bit more secure this time I guess," Dodge said.
They even watched with binoculars from the balcony, waving high to snipers on other skyscrapers.
Secret Service also went to businesses under the 360 Tower Wednesday. That includes Westlake Eyecare.
"I was kind of nervous because I thought I did something wrong," Westlake Eyecare employee Brooke Reisner said. "He basically said we should probably close down early and enjoy happy hour for the day."
Reisner said they are not planning on closing early, but they are putting appointments up before 11 a.m.
"Before all the hectic stuff starts to go down," Reisner said.
Other businesses on Nueces Street said the same thing. However, Ballet Austin, next door to the Austin Music Hall, said it will have any employees who can work from home and they'll have structured hours.
Dodge, who has a good view of MoPac and Lamar traffic, said she expects traffic to be crazy Friday.
"So I don't think we'll be going too far," Dodge said.
Still, she said it'll be fun to be a part of the national spotlight. She also said she will not go out on her balcony and risk a knock on her door from the Secret Service.
"Just happy to accommodate to keep everybody safe, especially the president," Dodge said.
High Rise Building Can't Use Balconies During Obama Visit >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 22:58
Security is going to be tight for President Obama in Austin, and some residents are being forced to stay inside.
The Austin Music Hall is president Obama's second stop in Austin Friday. So a Secret Service agent made his rounds around the area talking with businesses and the 360 Tower. After that talk, management at the Tower sent residents an email describing the situation. It talked about how 3rd Street will be closed along with Nueces to traffic. It also mentioned one restriction.
''The biggest surprise was we're not supposed to go out on the balcony,'' resident Robyn Dodge said.
The email said ''No one on the balconies from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday afternoon.'' Dodge lives on the 36th floor and does have a slight view of the Music Hall.
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RELATED: MAYOR TELLS RESIDENTS TO STAY HOME DURING OBAMA VISIT
Drone Nation
Drone Casualty Report Promised as U.S. Airstrike Kills 150 Al Shabaab Members
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 20:26
AFTER YEARS OF INTENSE SECRECY, the Obama administration on Monday announced that it will for the first time acknowledge the number of people it has killed in drone strikes outside of conventional war zones, including civilians. The report, administration officials said, will be released ''in the coming weeks,'' and will continue to be released annually. The news came as the Pentagon confirmed that it had carried out one of the largest airstrikes in the history of the war on terror.
Lisa Monaco, the president's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, described the plan in comments made during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations. ''We know that not only is greater transparency the right thing to do, it is the best way to maintain the legitimacy of our counterterrorism actions and the broad support of our allies,'' Monaco said, adding that the operations described in the report would not cover areas of ''active hostilities,'' such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Human rights groups and legal organizations acknowledged the significance of the move but said more needs to be done. ''This is an important step, but it should be part of a broader reconsideration of the secrecy surrounding the drone campaign,'' the ACLU's deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said in a statement. On Friday, the U.S. government, as part of a long-running legal battle with the ACLU, said it would release a redacted version of the Presidential Policy Guidance, the rules and law it relies on for so-called targeted killing. Jaffer argued such documents must be released in order to have a full accounting of the administration's drone program.
''The administration should also release the legal memos that supply the purported legal basis for drone strikes '-- particularly those carried out away from recognized battlefields,'' Jaffer said. ''The authority to use lethal force should be subject to more stringent oversight by the public, by Congress, and, at least in some contexts, by the courts.''
Amnesty International's Naureen Shah echoed the call for more precise information on the administration's legal standards. ''Today's announcement is a welcome and crucial step, but the upcoming disclosure must include information on the U.S. government's definitions and legal standards for these strikes,'' Shah said in a statement. ''Only then will policymakers, the human rights community, and the general public have the information necessary to assess the administration's numbers and the drone program's impact.''
For years, U.S. policymakers and national security officials have alluded to varying numbers of casualties resulting from drone strikes. Dianne Feinstein, a member of Senate Intelligence Committee, and John Brennan, the director of the CIA, have both described civilian casualty totals in the ''single digits.'' Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham once put the overall death toll at 4,700. Last year, in The Drone Papers, The Intercept published a cache of classified military documents revealing the technological limitations of the Pentagon's drone program outside of active war zones, its controversial reliance on electronic intelligence to trigger strikes, and, in the case of one campaign in Afghanistan, a tendency to kill large numbers of people in pursuit of a single target.
While the administration's newly announced drone report would mark a turning point in acknowledging some of its most controversial counterterrorism operations, its full scope was not immediately clear. The Obama administration has overseen targeted killing operations in several countries, including Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. Both the military and the CIA carry out the strikes. The CIA's drone strikes, however, are classified as covert, meaning they are not officially acknowledged by the administration.
The Intercept posed several questions to the White House regarding the administration's upcoming drone strike reports, including whether the data will reflect covert operations and strikes in Pakistan and whether it will incorporate the years of data gathered by NGOs. Those questions were not answered. A senior administration official said in an email, ''When deciding whether an operational area is an 'area of active hostilities' for purposes of the President's [counterterrorism] policy guidance, we take into consideration, among other things, the scope and intensity of the fighting.''
''We consider, for example, Iraq and Syria to be 'areas of active hostilities' based on what we are seeing on the ground right now,'' the official added. ''This is not the same as a determination that an armed conflict is taking place in the country at issue. Regardless of that determination, we are committed to being precise and discriminating in our use of lethal force; to complying with all applicable law, including the law of armed conflict; and to taking extreme care to minimize the risk of civilian casualties in all of our actions.''
Last month, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and the NSA, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times lavishing praise on drone warfare as ''the most precise and effective application of firepower in the history of armed conflict.'' Days later, the Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, published a report card evaluating the administration's transparency on drone policy. The administration received a string of failing grades.
As if to underscore how engrained the administration's approach to warfare has become, while Monaco spoke Monday, reports began to surface of a massive U.S. counterterrorism strike in Somalia. The Pentagon reported that more than 150 suspected members of al Shabaab had been killed roughly 120 miles north of the nation's capital of Mogadishu, making it one of the largest instances of U.S. airpower in recent memory, with a death toll that exceeded every U.S. counterterrorism mission in Somalia over the past nine years combined.
''We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to U.S. and [African Union] forces,'' said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson. ''Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated.'' Early reports attributed to the attack to a drone strike. The Pentagon later corrected itself, and the Associated Press reported that the strikes included multiple drones and manned aircraft launching missiles at the camp. The Pentagon spokesperson said he was confident the strikes would ''degrade al Shabaab's ability.''
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Migrants
The EU-Turkey Plan Won't Stop Migration, But It Could Make It More Dangerous
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:45
Every week, The WorldPost asks an expert to shed light on a topic driving headlines around the world. This week, we speak with The Guardian's migration correspondent Patrick Kingsley about the EU-Turkey plan on the refugee crisis.
As borders across Europeslammed shutto migrants and refugees this week, European Union leaders reached aprovisional dealwith Turkey to stem the flow of people fleeing to the continent.
The proposal outlined on Monday in the Belgian capital Brussels says all migrants who travel from Turkey to Greecewill be returned to the Turkish nation. However, for every person sent back to Syria, one Syrian already in Turkey would be resettled in a European country. In exchange, Turkey is seeking more aid to cope with their refugee crisis, visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to Europe and to speed up country's application to join the EU. Leaders intend to discuss the plan further next week.
The plan immediately raised concerns across Europe. Filippo Grandi, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said the blanket return of migrants to Turkeymight not be legalunder international law protecting refugees. Human rights group Amnesty Internationalcalledthe plan a "death blow to the right to seek asylum.'' Journalists facing a crackdown in Turkey worried the EU might be "turning a blind eye" to the country's human rights abuses to secure a deal on refugees.
Meanwhile, the border closures have stranded thousands of migrants in Greece.Some saythey have no other choice but to keep trying to reach a place of safety and dignity.
The WorldPost spoke toPatrick Kingsley, The Guardian's first migration correspondent, about the proposed deal. His bookThe New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis includes reporting from 17 countries along the European migration trail last year. It will be published in May.
Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The plan has raised concerns across Europe. Here, refugees stage a protest at the Idomeni camp on Friday.Do you think the EU-Turkey plan will deter migrants and refugees from making the journey to Europe?
If this plan goes ahead -- and that's a big if -- it could act as a deterrent. The EU are saying that under the term of the plan, people arriving on the Greek islands from now on will not only be sent back to Turkey, but sent to the back of the queue for resettlement.
However, it would be a deterrent only along that route [from Turkey to Greece via the Aegean Sea.] There are many other routes that people can try. If the plan goes ahead, we can expect a rise in irregular migration towards Europe via other routes over the coming months, including via Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, perhaps even through the Black Sea towards Ukraine.
The lesson we have learnt about migration over decades is that if you close one route, another opens up, and more and more people still come. For example, when it became difficult to get to Spain via the Canary Islands, people tried to reach Europe via Libya, and when Libya became hard, people came via Greece, and when Hungary's fences closed, people went via Croatia.
Besar Ademi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Idomeni camp pictured on Friday. Patrick Kingsley, the first-ever migration correspondent for The Guardian, said the deal will not stop migration flows to Europe.Would you expect some people to still try to come via the Aegean Sea, even if this plan was implemented?
I think there will be a decrease in the numbers of people crossing, but that's not hard given that the numbers are currently so high. I think we'll see fewer and fewer families, who are the majority of the flow at the moment --more than half are women and children. That will change because the routes will become more physically demanding and more expensive, making it harder for parents to pay for children to come. It will be harder for husbands to pay for their wives to come. I don't think it's going to end migration to Europe, however.
Is the proposal to return all migrants arriving in Greece back to Turkey feasible?
It's going to require trust from the EU and Turkey. I'm skeptical that both sides are going to believe that the other is really going to uphold this deal, given the lack of trust in the past.
It's also very tough to send back such a high number of people. How are you going to return tens of thousands of people? How are you going to house them in the meantime? How are you going to deal with the legal challenges? There's severe logistical challenges that have to be overcome.
The lesson we have learnt about migration over decades is that if you close one route, another opens up, and more and more people still come.
Is it legal to return migrants to Turkey en masse?
I think it's pretty clear it is illegal, because it goes against the U.N. convention on refugees, and against the EU's own legislation. There's also the overriding ethical point -- that these kind of international treaties were created in the aftermath of the Second World War, by quite enlightened statesmen who felt that no matter the administrative and financial cost, there are some values that are worth upholding, otherwise we end up back where we were in the 1930s. I think we have to think long and hard as a society about returning to those political nadirs.
What does this proposal mean for non-Syrians, such as Afghans and Iraqis, seeking asylum in Europe?
It makes things far worse for people who aren't Syrian. Under the terms of this agreement, if you're Syrian at least you still have the hope of being resettled in Europe. It says nothing about Iraqis and Afghans. It's suggesting that if you come from any country other than Syria your reasons for claiming asylum are not as valid. Obviously that's incorrect. People could be fleeing from Mosul in Iraq, or someone in Afghanistan who worked for the Americans is fleeing the Taliban as a result. We are saying these people are de facto less worthy of our help than people in Syria, and that's clearly wrong.
In practical terms, it will mean that they will create different routes in other places, creating a big problem six months to a year down the line. We may appear to have cleared up the situation in the Aegean Sea, but then there will be another hot spot opening up somewhere else.
Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Instead of curbing migration, the deal would push people to other routes and into the hands of smugglers, Kingsley says. Idomeni is pictured above.Does that increase the dangers of the journey, as the route shifts again?
It drives more people towards smugglers, which puts them more at risk. The reason why we had thissemi-formalized, almost humanitarian corridorthrough the Balkans -- until this week -- was in the aftermath of when 71 people were found dead,putrefying in the back of a truck on an Austrian motorway. We can expect more of these kinds of things if you close down semi-legal route into Europe.
Did Turkey get too much from the EU in return, as the current proposal stands?
I don't think what they have been offered is a massive deal for Turkey. They have been offered some money, which is helpful when you're trying to deal with a refugee crisis of half a million people, but its not the be-all and end-all. They have a promise of some kind of new visa regime -- which is going to be welcome in Turkey, but it's not going to help them cope with so many refugees, and its not even clear if Europe is really going to deliver on this.
What would really help Turkey would be if there was a large scale resettlement program bringing refugees directly from Turkey to Europe and the rest of the Western world. I've heard lots of talk about that, and it may yet happen. But that's not part of this deal.
The proposal may not even increase resettlement. It's been called "one-in one-out", but it's really none-in none-out, because if it succeeds in deterring Syrians from fleeing to Greece, there will be no obligation to resettle the Syrians in Turkey.
Vadim Ghirda/ASSOCIATED PRESS Conditions in Idomeni have deteriorated after days of rain. The proposed deal does not provide routes to resettlement for non-Syrians, such as Iraqis and Afghans.It seems like the failure to provide legal routes for resettlement was the "original sin" of the migrant crisis.
The original sin of the crisis was the Syrian war. But it is not widely understood how much the absence of a mass resettlement scheme played a role in creating a crisis of this scale.
Because Western countries did not set up a significant resettlement scheme within five years of the war starting, this created an environment in which it was inevitable that large numbers of people would eventually make their way to Europe in this very chaotic fashion. Western countries may have calculated there was a choice between resettlement, and no migration at all. Whereas in reality, if these types of conflicts go on long enough, the choice is between chaotic migration or orderly migration.
This was a real strategic error by Western governments two or three years ago. They thought they could get away without taking anyone to Europe, but people came anyway because they were fed up with spending five years in countries in the Middle East where they didn't have the right to work, access to education, a safe life or the kind of future that they are afforded under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Their situation showed no sign of abating because the war in Syria is getting worse, and the situation in Turkey has remained the same. Once they realized that if they took a boat to Greece and made their way through Europe they could claim asylum and get their rights as refugees under the Geneva Convention, it becomes a pretty obvious choice.
It's been called one-in one out-in, but it's really none-in none-out.
From your reporting over the past year, what do you think would be a more ethical and effective European response to the migration crisis?
Europe needs to step up mass resettlement schemes. While this is going to require great administrative and financial efforts, as far as I can see there's no alternative to it. People are going to try and come anyway, and the sooner we can try and manage that process, the easier it will become. If you create resettlement schemes, people feel like there is a point to staying put in the Middle East, because in the long term this might lead to them being given a safe and legal passage to the West, and then they don't have to risk death in the rolling seas.
There is also an advantage to Western governments of resettlement schemes because at least they can decide when people arrive, where they will go, and can screen people in advance to weed out anyone who they think might be a potential terrorist. For example, Canada's resettlement program has allowed the country to prepare, as people arrive at specific times to specific places. Germany can't currently do the same because they don't know who's coming, when they're coming or where exactly they're coming.
Once people who might have gone in a more chaotic fashion decide to stay in their countries in the hope of being resettled in a more orderly fashion, everyone wins. Refugees win because they don't drown. And Western countries win because they don't get people turning up in droves in an unmanageable way.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
France: Migrant Deal Will Not Budge on Rights Abuses in Turkey
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:17
French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that the EU must not grant Turkey any concessions on human rights or visas in exchange for guarantees to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
Under a controversial draft deal reached this week, Turkey would take back all migrants landing in Greece in a bid to reduce their incentive to pay people smugglers for dangerous crossings to the Greek islands in rickety boats.
In return for every Syrian sent back from Greece, the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey '-- which is hosting about 2.7 million people who have fled the conflict across the border.
Turkey is also demanding US$6.6 billion in aid, visa-free access for its nationals within Europe's passport-free Schengen zone and for swifter action to process its bid to join the EU.
The plan to expel migrants en masse from Greece has sparked international criticism, with the UN's top officials on refugees and human rights questioning whether it would be legal.
Officials have also expressed concern over the potential need for compromise with Ankara, as fears grow over freedom of expression and rights abuses under the rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Norwegian government: We will abandon international law if Sweden collapses
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 02:35
Norway is ready to abandon the Geneva Convention if Sweden collapses. The border will be closed by force, and Swedish refugees will be rejected without the possibility to seek asylum. "We are prepared for the worst," says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.There is such an imminent danger that the Schengen agreement, and the asylum system in Sweden will break down, that Norway must have an emergency legislation in place in case it happens, believes Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Therefore, she has crafted a law that will allow for Norwegian authorities to reject asylum seekers who do not come directly from a conflict area.
This means that asylum seekers who want to come to Norway from Russia, but also from the other Nordic countries, will be denied the right to seek asylum, which otherwise is anchored in the UN Refugee Convention.
"It is a force majeure proposal which we will have in the event that it all breaks down, that the flow (of refugees) just comes, and they all end up in Norway, because we are at the top of Europe. Norway is the end point, is not it," says Erna Solberg in an interview with Berlingske.
The legislation will soon be presented to the Parliament, where it is expected to meet broad support, like the government's other tightenings of the asylum policies lately.
According to Berlingske, the Norwegian government has been heavily criticized by several commentators. The Bar Association in Norway, says it is a clear violation of Norway's so-called "international obligations", since it is contrary to the Geneva Convention to reject Swedes seeking asylum, without examining their asylum applications.
But Solberg defends the policy.
- We must take certain steps to prepare for the worst of scenarios, said the Norwegian Prime Minister to Berlingske.
The Danish government rejects introducing a similar proposal in Denmark, but follows the Norwegian emergency law 'very carefully'.
Comment below.
EMAIL: elsevier comment shut down
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:53
Elsevier also shut down there commentsection,the reason given; to many hatefull comments in general.They are considdering , to re-open for subscribers only , maybe in the future.
CYBER!
Senate encryption bill expected next week
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:13
Congress
Senate encryption bill expected next weekBy Aisha ChowdhryMar 10, 2016The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is hopeful that his bipartisan, three-page encryption bill will be released next week.
The legislation is designed to give law enforcement access to encrypted communications with a warrant. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the new bill will "clarify that nobody is above the law in this country, that a legal court order applies equally and where there may have been not the need to be that explicit, we have tried to craft language that makes it very clear what potential crimes that applies to," Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told FCW on March 10.
"Everybody will understand," he added. "It's very clear. There won't be any question unless a company wants to say, 'no, we are above the law.'"
The bill has been in the works for some time in coordination with the ranking member of the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). It was sent to the White House for review March 9, Burr said.
Burr explained that as with any court order, a judge could apply penalties for non-compliance.
"Because this is such a huge issue, I think the ultimate pressure point is what do shareholders think? " he said. "Companies will respond if in fact their share price is adversely affected. So, I am willing to leave it up to the American people to decide whether they want to see a system where people can [stiff-arm] a legal court. I don't think they will be too appreciative of that."
Burr's encryption bill is set against the backdrop of an ongoing battle between the FBI and Apple, Inc. over access to the contents of a cell phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers. The FBI wants Apple's help in knocking out the security shields on the particular phone that are designed to prevent advanced hacking efforts.
In a March 10 legal filing replying to Apple, the Justice Dept. argued that the device manufacturer "has deliberately used its control over its software to block law-enforcement requests for access to the contents of its devices, and it has advertised that feature to sell its products."
The bill Burr plans to introduce presumably would be ex post facto to the Apple-FBI dispute, but would add a legislative framework for future, similar cases.
"The law applies equally and if the court says law enforcement or the court system needs this communication to make a case, there's nobody that can say no," Burr said.
A separate effort from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, calls for the creation of a commission consisting of experts in technology, cryptography, law enforcement, intelligence, privacy, global commerce and national security.
About the Author
Aisha Chowdhry is a staff writer covering Congress, the State Department, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to joining FCW, Chowdhry covered foreign policy for CQ Roll Call. Her overseas work prior to that took her to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has worked as a correspondent for Reuters based out of Islamabad. Chowdhry has also worked at the CBS affiliate in Washington as a multimedia journalist. She began her career as a freelance reporter for USA Today and covered stories from conflict zones. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Voice of America, among others.
Chowdhry received her masters in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Click here for previous articles by Chowdhry, or connect with her on Twitter: @aishach
Agenda 2030
It's official: We can now say global warming has made some weather events worse - The Washington Post
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:47
From Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy, to last year's devastating heat wave in India, the question never ceases to arise: Did global warming cause this?
That question has long made scientists squirm. They know the atmosphere is a complicated place. They know weather events are the result of a huge array of factors '-- like, say, the El Ni±o event that has been making weather really, really weird lately. And they know their notion of causation itself is far more complex and multifaceted than the colloquial understanding of the term ''cause.''
But now, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences exploring the attribution of extreme events to climate change, scientists can be at least a little bit less conservative about this.
[The hidden driver of climate change that we too often ignore]
In the past, a typical climate scientist's response to questions about climate change's role in any given extreme weather event was ''we cannot attribute any single event to climate change,'' says the report, which was composed by a committee of 10 scientists led by David Titley of Penn State University. ''The science has advanced to the point that this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement.''
Rather, the new report argues, careful studies can be conducted that suggest that the probability of a given event occurring was increased because of the current state of the planet. This can be done by observing how far a single event, like a heat wave, is outside the norm of prior events, or by using computer models to determine how often an event like it would occur with or without human greenhouse gas emissions (which can be included or excluded from the model).
As with most things in science, it's best to use several methods, combining the approaches above, to reach a stronger conclusion.
[Before his tragic death, nature photographer shot 'iconic' images of climate change's threat]
''In many cases, it is now often possible to make and defend quantitative statements about the extent to which human-induced climate change (or another causal factor, such as a specific mode of natural variability) has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of occurrence of specific types of events or event classes,'' says the report.
But this is also far easier for some types of events than others. Major heat waves and extreme heat events are the easiest to attribute, the report says. After all, the reasoning isn't difficult: With the world as a whole hotter, it's no surprise to see heat records being broken, or more precisely, the breaking of considerably more heat records than cold records.
When it comes to saying climate change influenced a weather event, ''our reports say that you can do this for some events now, especially heat/cold (higher confidence) and heavy rainfall/drought (medium confidence),'' said Titley, who headed the study.
[Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscars speech was about climate change, which could be worse than we thought]
Granted, such claims still have to be backed up by a serious scientific study. A great example of this kind of attribution occurred last year, when a study of Australian temperature records found both that vastly more hot records than cold records were being set (over 12 to 1 was the ratio from 2000 to 2014), but also that in a climate model only including greenhouse gases produced a similar pattern of record-breaking.
Then, there are events that are related to rainfall or precipitation. That includes both downpours and droughts. Here, too, the study says attribution can sometimes be done, because the physics is often rather simple, particularly for heavy rain events.
''Heavy rainfall is influenced by a moister atmosphere, which is a relatively direct consequence of human-induced warming, though not as direct as the increase in temperature itself,'' the report finds.
But there are also ''greater levels of uncertainty for events that are not directly temperature related,'' the research finds. It says that the uncertainty is highest when it comes to attributing wildfires (which, after all, can be started by human carelessness), extra-tropical cyclones (winter storms or blizzards), and severe-convective storms (thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes) to climate change.
There is ''little or no confidence in the attribution'' of the last two kinds of events, the study finds.
And there remain some other caveats, said J. Marshall Shepherd, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia who also served on the committee. ''We caution against extrapolating from one study to make big sweeping statements about all aspects of climate change,'' Shepherd said. ''We also caution that there is some selection bias in what events are studied.''
In the end, then, the report says you still can't say climate change ''caused'' an event, but it may well have made that type of event more likely, or worse. But you still have to do your homework to say even that.
Chris Mooney reports on science and the environment.
SnowJob
Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism - The Washington Post
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 23:18
A while back, we noted a report showing that the ''sneak-and-peek'' provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases. Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy. The ACLU of Massachusetts blog Privacy SOS explains why this is important:
What does this rule change mean for you? In short, domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. FBI agents don't need to have any ''national security'' related reason to plug your name, email address, phone number, or other ''selector'' into the NSA's gargantuan data trove. They can simply poke around in your private information in the course of totally routine investigations. And if they find something that suggests, say, involvement in illegal drug activity, they can send that information to local or state police. That means information the NSA collects for purposes of so-called ''national security'' will be used by police to lock up ordinary Americans for routine crimes. And we don't have to guess who's going to suffer this unconstitutional indignity the most brutally. It'll be Black, Brown, poor, immigrant, Muslim, and dissident Americans: the same people who are always targeted by law enforcement for extra ''special'' attention.
This basically formalizes what was already happening under the radar. We've known for a couple of years now that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS were getting information from the NSA. Because that information was obtained without a warrant, the agencies were instructed to engage in ''parallel construction'' when explaining to courts and defense attorneys how the information had been obtained. If you think parallel construction just sounds like a bureaucratically sterilized way of saying big stinking lie, well, you wouldn't be alone. And it certainly isn't the only time that that national security apparatus has let law enforcement agencies benefit from policies that are supposed to be reserved for terrorism investigations in order to get around the Fourth Amendment, then instructed those law enforcement agencies to misdirect, fudge and outright lie about how they obtained incriminating information '-- see the Stingray debacle. This isn't just a few rogue agents. The lying has been a matter of policy. We're now learning that the feds had these agreements with police agencies all over the country, affecting thousands of cases.
On the one hand, I guess it's better that this new data-sharing policy is acknowledged in the open instead of carried out surreptitiously. On the other hand, there's something even more ominous about the fact that they no longer feel as though they need to hide it.
It's all another sobering reminder that any powers we grant to the federal government for the purpose of national security will inevitably be used just about everywhere else. And extraordinary powers we grant government in wartime rarely go away once the war is over. And, of course, the nifty thing for government agencies about a ''war on terrorism'' is that it's a war that will never formally end.
Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."
Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That N.S.A. Intercepts - NYTimes.com
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 23:18
WASHINGTON '-- The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.
The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.
The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages '-- not only foreigners' phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.'s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.
Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally '-- which agency officials have said is hard to measure '-- and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.
''Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans' information,'' said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.
Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.
The goal for the final rules, Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement, is ''to ensure that they protect privacy, civil liberties and constitutional rights while enabling the sharing of information that is important to protect national security.''
Until now, National Security Agency analysts have filtered the surveillance information for the rest of the government. They search and evaluate the information and pass only the portions of phone calls or email that they decide is pertinent on to colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. And before doing so, the N.S.A. takes steps to mask the names and any irrelevant information about innocent Americans.
The new system would permit analysts at other intelligence agencies to obtain direct access to raw information from the N.S.A.'s surveillance to evaluate for themselves. If they pull out phone calls or email to use for their own agency's work, they would apply the privacy protections masking innocent Americans' information '-- a process known as ''minimization'' '-- at that stage, Mr. Litt said.
Executive branch officials have been developing the new framework and system for years. President George W. Bush set the change in motion through a little-noticed line in a 2008 executive order, and the Obama administration has been quietly developing a framework for how to carry it out since taking office in 2009.
The executive branch can change its own rules without going to Congress or a judge for permission because the data comes from surveillance methods that lawmakers did not include in the main law that governs national security wiretapping, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
FISA covers a narrow band of surveillance: the collection of domestic or international communications from a wire on American soil, leaving most of what the N.S.A. does uncovered. In the absence of statutory regulation, the agency's other surveillance programs are governed by rules the White House sets under a Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333.
Mr. Litt declined to make available a copy of the current draft of the proposed procedures.
''Once these procedures are final and approved, they will be made public to the extent consistent with national security,'' Mr. Hale said. ''It would be premature to draw conclusions about what the procedures will provide or authorize until they are finalized.''
Among the things they would not address is what the draft rules say about searching the raw data using names or keywords intended to bring up Americans' phone calls or email that the security agency gathered ''incidentally'' under the 12333 surveillance programs '-- including whether F.B.I. agents may do so when working on ordinary criminal investigations.
Under current rules for data gathered under a parallel program '-- the no-warrant surveillance program governed by the FISA Amendments Act '-- N.S.A. and C.I.A. officials may search for Americans' information only if their purpose is to find foreign intelligence, but F.B.I. agents may conduct such a search for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring the government to obtain a warrant before conducting such a search.
In 2013, The Washington Post reported, based on documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the N.S.A. and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had tapped into links connecting Google's and Yahoo's data centers overseas and that the American spy agency had collected millions of records a day from them. The companies have since taken steps to encrypt those links.
That collection occurred under 12333 rules, which had long prohibited the N.S.A. from sharing raw information gathered from the surveillance it governed with other members of the intelligence community before minimization. The same rule had also long applied to sharing information gathered with FISA wiretaps.
But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began an effort to tear down barriers that impeded different parts of the government from working closely and sharing information, especially about terrorism.
In 2002, for example, it won permission, then secret, from the intelligence court permitting the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. to share raw FISA wiretap information. The government did not disclose that change, which was first reported in a 2014 New York Times article based on documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden.
In August 2008, Mr. Bush changed 12333 to permit the N.S.A. to share unevaluated surveillance information with other intelligence agencies once procedures were developed.
Intelligence officials began working in 2009 on how the technical system and rules would work, Mr. Litt said, eventually consulting the Defense and Justice Departments. This month, the administration briefed the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent five-member watchdog panel, seeking input. Before they go into effect, they must be approved by James R. Clapper, the intelligence director; Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general; and Ashton B. Carter, the defense secretary.
''We would like it to be completed sooner rather than later,'' Mr. Litt said. ''Our expectation is months rather than weeks or years.''
Shut Up Slave!
Carl Bernstein- The Essay 1977
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 02:30
After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, is reprinted below.
THE CIA AND THE MEDIA
How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up
BY CARL BERNSTEIN
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty'‘five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services'--from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go'‘betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without'‘portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring'‘do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full'‘time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations.
The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:
'– The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence'‘gathering employed by the CIA. Although the Agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalist'‘operatives are still posted abroad.
'– Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIleCourier'‘Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps'‘Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald'‘Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
The CIA's use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress. The general outlines of what happened are indisputable; the specifics are harder to come by. CIA sources hint that a particular journalist was trafficking all over Eastern Europe for the Agency; the journalist says no, he just had lunch with the station chief. CIA sources say flatly that a well'‘known ABC correspondent worked for the Agency through 1973; they refuse to identify him. A high'‘level CIA official with a prodigious memory says that the New York Times provided cover for about ten CIA operatives between 1950 and 1966; he does not know who they were, or who in the newspaper's management made the arrangements.
The Agency's special relationships with the so'‘called ''majors'' in publishing and broadcasting enabled the CIA to post some of its most valuable operatives abroad without exposure for more than two decades. In most instances, Agency files show, officials at the highest levels of the CIA usually director or deputy director) dealt personally with a single designated individual in the top management of the cooperating news organization. The aid furnished often took two forms: providing jobs and credentials ''journalistic cover'' in Agency parlance) for CIA operatives about to be posted in foreign capitals; and lending the Agency the undercover services of reporters already on staff, including some of the best'‘known correspondents in the business.
In the field, journalists were used to help recruit and handle foreigners as agents; to acquire and evaluate information, and to plant false information with officials of foreign governments. Many signed secrecy agreements, pledging never to divulge anything about their dealings with the Agency; some signed employment contracts., some were assigned case officers and treated with. unusual deference. Others had less structured relationships with the Agency, even though they performed similar tasks: they were briefed by CIA personnel before trips abroad, debriefed afterward, and used as intermediaries with foreign agents. Appropriately, the CIA uses the term ''reporting'' to describe much of what cooperating journalists did for the Agency. ''We would ask them, 'Will you do us a favor?'''.said a senior CIA official. '''We understand you're going to be in Yugoslavia. Have they paved all the streets? Where did you see planes? Were there any signs of military presence? How many Soviets did you see? If you happen to meet a Soviet, get his name and spell it right .... Can you set up a meeting for is? Or relay a message?''' Many CIA officials regarded these helpful journalists as operatives; the journalists tended to see themselves as trusted friends of the Agency who performed occasional favors'--usually without pay'--in the national interest.
''I'm proud they asked me and proud to have done it,'' said Joseph Alsop who, like his late brother, columnist Stewart Alsop, undertook clandestine tasks for the Agency. ''The notion that a newspaperman doesn't have a duty to his country is perfect balls.''
From the Agency's perspective, there is nothing untoward in such relationships, and any ethical questions are a matter for the journalistic profession to resolve, not the intelligence community. As Stuart Loory, former Los Angeles Times correspondent, has written in the ColumbiaJournalism Review: 'If even one American overseas carrying a press card is a paid informer for the CIA, then all Americans with those credentials are suspect .... If the crisis of confidence faced by the news business'--along with the government'--is to be overcome, journalists must be willing to focus on themselves the same spotlight they so relentlessly train on others!' But as Loory also noted: ''When it was reported... that newsmen themselves were on the payroll of the CIA, the story caused a brief stir, and then was dropped.''
During the 1976 investigation of the CIA by the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church, the dimensions of the Agency's involvement with the press became apparent to several members of the panel, as well as to two or three investigators on the staff. But top officials of the CIA, including former directors William Colby and George Bush, persuaded the committee to restrict its inquiry into the matter and to deliberately misrepresent the actual scope of the activities in its final report. The multivolurne report contains nine pages in which the use of journalists is discussed in deliberately vague and sometimes misleading terms. It makes no mention of the actual number of journalists who undertook covert tasks for the CIA. Nor does it adequately describe the role played by newspaper and broadcast executives in cooperating with the Agency.
THE AGENCY'S DEALINGS WITH THE PRESS BEGAN during the earliest stages of the Cold War. Allen Dulles, who became director of the CIA in 1953, sought to establish a recruiting'‘and'‘cover capability within America's most prestigious journalistic institutions. By operating under the guise of accredited news correspondents, Dulles believed, CIA operatives abroad would be accorded a degree of access and freedom of movement unobtainable under almost any other type of cover.
American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against ''global Communism.'' Accordingly, the traditional line separating the American press corps and government was often indistinguishable: rarely was a news agency used to provide cover for CIA operatives abroad without the knowledge and consent of either its principal owner, publisher or senior editor. Thus, contrary to the notion that the CIA insidiously infiltrated the journalistic community, there is ample evidence that America's leading publishers and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. ''Let's not pick on some poor reporters, for God's sake,'' William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee's investigators. ''Let's go to the managements. They were witting.'' In all, about twenty'‘five news organizations including those listed at the beginning of this article) provided cover for the Agency.
In addition to cover capability, Dulles initiated a ''debriefing'' procedure under which American correspondents returning from abroad routinely emptied their notebooks and offered their impressions to Agency personnel. Such arrangements, continued by Dulles' successors, to the present day, were made with literally dozens of news organizations. In the 1950s, it was not uncommon for returning reporters to be met at the ship by CIA officers. ''There would be these guys from the CIA flashing ID cards and looking like they belonged at the Yale Club,'' said Hugh Morrow, a former Saturday Evening Post correspondent who is now press secretary to former vice'‘president Nelson Rockefeller. ''It got to be so routine that you felt a little miffed if you weren't asked.''
CIA officials almost always refuse to divulge the names of journalists who have cooperated with the Agency. They say it would be unfair to judge these individuals in a context different from the one that spawned the relationships in the first place. ''There was a time when it wasn't considered a crime to serve your government,'' said one high'‘level CIA official who makes no secret of his bitterness. ''This all has to be considered in the context of the morality of the times, rather than against latter'‘day standards'--and hypocritical standards at that.''
Many journalists who covered World War II were close to people in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime predecessor of the CIA; more important, they were all on the same side. When the war ended and many OSS officials went into the CIA, it was only natural that these relationships would continue. Meanwhile, the first postwar generation of journalists entered the profession; they shared the same political and professional values as their mentors. ''You had a gang of people who worked together during World War II and never got over it,'' said one Agency official. ''They were genuinely motivated and highly susceptible to intrigue and being on the inside. Then in the Fifties and Sixties there was a national consensus about a national threat. The Vietnam War tore everything to pieces'--shredded the consensus and threw it in the air.'' Another Agency official observed: ''Many journalists didn't give a second thought to associating with the Agency. But there was a point when the ethical issues which most people had submerged finally surfaced. Today, a lot of these guys vehemently deny that they had any relationship with the Agency.''
From the outset, the use of journalists was among the CIA's most sensitive undertakings, with full knowledge restricted to the Director of Central Intelligence and a few of his chosen deputies. Dulles and his successors were fearful of what would happen if a journalist'‘operative's cover was blown, or if details of the Agency's dealings with the press otherwise became public. As a result, contacts with the heads of news organizations were normally initiated by Dulles and succeeding Directors of Central Intelligence; by the deputy directors and division chiefs in charge of covert operations'--Frank Wisner, Cord Meyer Jr., Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Tracy Barnes, Thomas Karamessines and Richard Helms himself a former UPI correspondent); and, occasionally, by others in the CIA hierarchy known to have an unusually close social relationship with a particular publisher or broadcast executive.1
James Angleton, who was recently removed as the Agency's head of counterintelligence operations, ran a completely independent group of journalist'‘operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.
The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were ''taught to make noises like reporters,'' explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. ''These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told 'You're going to he a journalist,''' the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400'‘some relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency.
The Agency's relationships with journalists, as described in CIA files, include the following general categories:
'– Legitimate, accredited staff members of news organizations'--usually reporters. Some were paid; some worked for the Agency on a purely voluntary basis. This group includes many of the best'‘known journalists who carried out tasks for the CIA. The files show that the salaries paid to reporters by newspaper and broadcast networks were sometimes supplemented by nominal payments from the CIA, either in the form of retainers, travel expenses or outlays for specific services performed. Almost all the payments were made in cash. The accredited category also includes photographers, administrative personnel of foreign news bureaus and members of broadcast technical crews.)
Two of the Agency's most valuable personal relationships in the 1960s, according to CIA officials, were with reporters who covered Latin America'--Jerry O'Leary of the Washington Star and Hal Hendrix of the Miami News, a Pulitzer Prize winner who became a high official of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. Hendrix was extremely helpful to the Agency in providing information about individuals in Miami's Cuban exile community. O'Leary was considered a valued asset in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Agency files contain lengthy reports of both men's activities on behalf of the CIA.
O'Leary maintains that his dealings were limited to the normal give'‘and'‘take that goes on between reporters abroad and their sources. CIA officials dispute the contention: ''There's no question Jerry reported for us,'' said one. ''Jerry did assessing and spotting [of prospective agents] but he was better as a reporter for us.'' Referring to O'Leary's denials, the official added: ''I don't know what in the world he's worried about unless he's wearing that mantle of integrity the Senate put on you journalists.''
O'Leary attributes the difference of opinion to semantics. ''I might call them up and say something like, 'Papa Doc has the clap, did you know that?' and they'd put it in the file. I don't consider that reporting for them.... it's useful to be friendly to them and, generally, I felt friendly to them. But I think they were more helpful to me than I was to them.'' O'Leary took particular exception to being described in the same context as Hendrix. ''Hal was really doing work for them,'' said O'Leary. ''I'm still with the Star. He ended up at ITT.'' Hendrix could not be reached for comment. According to Agency officials, neither Hendrix nor O'Leary was paid by the CIA.
'– Stringers2 and freelancers. Most were payrolled by the Agency under standard contractual terms. Their journalistic credentials were often supplied by cooperating news organizations. some filed news stories; others reported only for the CIA. On some occasions, news organizations were not informed by the CIA that their stringers were also working for the Agency.
'– Employees of so'‘called CIA ''proprietaries.'' During the past twenty'‘five years, the Agency has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers'--both English and foreign language'--which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives. One such publication was the Rome Daily American, forty percent of which was owned by the CIA until the 1970s. The Daily American went out of business this year,
'– Editors, publishers and broadcast network executives. The CIAs relationship with most news executives differed fundamentally from those with working reporters and stringers, who were much more subject to direction from the Agency. A few executives'--Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times among them'--signed secrecy agreements. But such formal understandings were rare: relationships between Agency officials and media executives were usually social'--''The P and Q Street axis in Georgetown,'' said one source. ''You don't tell Wilharn Paley to sign a piece of paper saying he won't fink.''
'– Columnists and commentators. There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources. They are referred to at the Agency as ''known assets'' and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency's point of view on various subjects. Three of the most widely read columnists who maintained such ties with the Agency are C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times, Joseph Alsop, and the late Stewart Alsop, whose column appeared in the New York Herald'‘Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post and Newsweek. CIA files contain reports of specific tasks all three undertook. Sulzberger is still regarded as an active asset by the Agency. According to a senior CIA official, ''Young Cy Sulzberger had some uses.... He signed a secrecy agreement because we gave him classified information.... There was sharing, give and take. We'd say, 'Wed like to know this; if we tell you this will it help you get access to so'‘and'‘so?' Because of his access in Europe he had an Open Sesame. We'd ask him to just report: 'What did so'‘and'‘so say, what did he look like, is he healthy?' He was very eager, he loved to cooperate.'' On one occasion, according to several CIA officials, Sulzberger was given a briefing paper by the Agency which ran almost verbatim under the columnist's byline in the Times. ''Cycame out and said, 'I'm thinking of doing a piece, can you give me some background?''' a CIA officer said. ''We gave it to Cy as a background piece and Cy gave it to the printers and put his name on it.'' Sulzberger denies that any incident occurred. ''A lot of baloney,'' he said.
Sulzberger claims that he was never formally ''tasked'' by the Agency and that he ''would never get caught near the spook business. My relations were totally informal'--I had a goodmany friends,'' he said. ''I'm sure they consider me an asset. They can ask me questions. They find out you're going to Slobovia and they say, 'Can we talk to you when you get back?' ... Or they'll want to know if the head of the Ruritanian government is suffering from psoriasis. But I never took an assignment from one of those guys.... I've known Wisner well, and Helms and even McCone [former CIA director John McCone] I used to play golf with. But they'd have had to he awfully subtle to have used me.
Sulzberger says he was asked to sign the secrecy agreement in the 1950s. ''A guy came around and said, 'You are a responsible newsman and we need you to sign this if we are going to show you anything classified.' I said I didn't want to get entangled and told them, 'Go to my uncle [Arthur Hays Sulzberger, then publisher of the New York Times] and if he says to sign it I will.''' His uncle subsequently signed such an agreement, Sulzberger said, and he thinks he did too, though he is unsure. ''I don't know, twenty'‘some years is a long time.'' He described the whole question as ''a bubble in a bathtub.''
Stewart Alsop's relationship with the Agency was much more extensive than Sulzberger's. One official who served at the highest levels in the CIA said flatly: ''Stew Alsop was a CIA agent.'' An equally senior official refused to define Alsop's relationship with the Agency except to say it was a formal one. Other sources said that Alsop was particularly helpful to the Agency in discussions with, officials of foreign governments'--asking questions to which the CIA was seeking answers, planting misinformation advantageous to American policy, assessing opportunities for CIA recruitment of well'‘placed foreigners.
''Absolute nonsense,'' said Joseph Alsop of the notion that his brother was a CIA agent. ''I was closer to the Agency than Stew was, though Stew was very close. I dare say he did perform some tasks'--he just did the correct thing as an American.... The Founding Fathers [of the CIA] were close personal friends of ours. Dick Bissell [former CIA deputy director] was my oldest friend, from childhood. It was a social thing, my dear fellow. I never received a dollar, I never signed a secrecy agreement. I didn't have to.... I've done things for them when I thought they were the right thing to do. I call it doing my duty as a citizen.
Alsop is willing to discuss on the record only two of the tasks he undertook: a visit to Laos in 1952 at the behest of Frank Wisner, who felt other American reporters were using anti'‘American sources about uprisings there; and a visit to the Phillipines in 1953 when the CIA thought his presence there might affect the outcome of an election. ''Des FitzGerald urged me to go,'' Alsop recalled. ''It would be less likely that the election could be stolen [by the opponents of Ramon Magsaysay] if the eyes of the world were on them. I stayed with the ambassador and wrote about what happened.''
Alsop maintains that he was never manipulated by the Agency. ''You can't get entangled so they have leverage on you,'' he said. ''But what I wrote was true. My view was to get the facts. If someone in the Agency was wrong, I stopped talking to them'--they'd given me phony goods.'' On one occasion, Alsop said, Richard Helms authorized the head of the Agency's analytical branch to provide Alsop with information on Soviet military presence along the Chinese border. ''The analytical side of the Agency had been dead wrong about the war in Vietnam'--they thought it couldn't be won,'' said Alsop. ''And they were wrong on the Soviet buildup. I stopped talking to them.'' Today, he says, ''People in our business would be outraged at the kinds of suggestions that were made to me. They shouldn't be. The CIA did not open itself at all to people it did not trust. Stew and I were trusted, and I'm proud of it.''
MURKY DETAILS OF CIA RELATIONSHIPS WITH INDIVIDUALS and news organizations began trickling out in 1973 when it was first disclosed that the CIA had, on occasion, employed journalists. Those reports, combined with new information, serve as casebook studies of the Agency's use of journalists for intelligence purposes. They include:
'– The New York Times. The Agency's relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper's late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy'--set by Sulzberger'--to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.
Sulzberger was especially close to Allen Dulles. ''At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,'' said a high'‘level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. ''There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates.... The mighty didn't want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.
A senior CIA official who reviewed a portion of the Agency's files on journalists for two hours onSeptember 15th, 1977, said he found documentation of five instances in which the Times had provided cover for CIA employees between 1954 and 1962. In each instance he said, the arrangements were handled by executives of the Times; the documents all contained standard Agency language ''showing that this had been checked out at higher levels of the New York Times,'' said the official. The documents did not mention Sulzberger's name, however'--only those of subordinates whom the official refused to identify.
The CIA employees who received Times credentials posed as stringers for the paper abroad and worked as members of clerical staffs in the Times' foreign bureaus. Most were American; two or three were foreigners.
CIA officials cite two reasons why the Agency's working relationship with the Times was closer and more extensive than with any other paper: the fact that the Times maintained the largest foreign news operation in American daily journalism; and the close personal ties between the men who ran both institutions.
Sulzberger informed a number of reporters and editors of his general policy of cooperation with the Agency. ''We were in touch with them'--they'd talk to us and some cooperated,'' said a CIA official. The cooperation usually involved passing on information and ''spotting'' prospective agents among foreigners.
Arthur Hays Sulzberger signed a secrecy agreement with the CIA in the 1950s, according to CIA officials'--a fact confirmed by his nephew, C.L. Sulzberger. However, there are varying interpretations of the purpose of the agreement: C.L. Sulzberger says it represented nothing more than a pledge not to disclose classified information made available to the publisher. That contention is supported by some Agency officials. Others in the Agency maintain that the agreement represented a pledge never to reveal any of the Times' dealings with the CIA, especially those involving cover. And there are those who note that, because all cover arrangements are classified, a secrecy agreement would automatically apply to them.
Attempts to find out which individuals in the Times organization made the actual arrangements for providing credentials to CIA personnel have been unsuccessful. In a letter to reporter Stuart Loory in 1974, Turner Cadedge, managing editor of the Times from 1951 to 1964, wrote that approaches by the CIA had been rebuffed by the newspaper. ''I knew nothing about any involvement with the CIA... of any of our foreign correspondents on the New York Times. I heard many times of overtures to our men by the CIA, seeking to use their privileges, contacts, immunities and, shall we say, superior intelligence in the sordid business of spying and informing. If any one of them succumbed to the blandishments or cash offers, I was not aware of it. Repeatedly, the CIA and other hush'‘hush agencies sought to make arrangements for 'cooperation' even with Times management, especially during or soon after World War II, but we always resisted. Our motive was to protect our credibility.''
According to Wayne Phillips, a former Timesreporter, the CIA invoked Arthur Hays Sulzberger's name when it tried to recruit him as an undercover operative in 1952 while he was studying at Columbia University's Russian Institute. Phillips said an Agency official told him that the CIA had ''a working arrangement'' with the publisher in which other reporters abroad had been placed on the Agency's payroll. Phillips, who remained at the Times until 1961, later obtained CIA documents under the Freedom of Information Act which show that the Agency intended to develop him as a clandestine ''asset'' for use abroad.
On January 31st, 1976, the Times carried a brief story describing the ClAs attempt to recruit Phillips. It quoted Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the present publisher, as follows: ''I never heard of the Times being approached, either in my capacity as publisher or as the son of the late Mr. Sulzberger.'' The Times story, written by John M. Crewdson, also reported that Arthur Hays Sulzberger told an unnamed former correspondent that he might he approached by the CIA after arriving at a new post abroad. Sulzberger told him that he was not ''under any obligation to agree,'' the story said and that the publisher himself would be ''happier'' if he refused to cooperate. ''But he left it sort of up to me,'' the Times quoted its former reporter as saying. ''The message was if I really wanted to do that, okay, but he didn't think it appropriate for a Times correspondent''
C.L. Sulzberger, in a telephone interview, said he had no knowledge of any CIA personnel using Times cover or of reporters for the paper working actively for the Agency. He was the paper's chief of foreign service from 1944 to 1954 and expressed doubt that his uncle would have approved such arrangements. More typical of the late publisher, said Sulzberger, was a promise made to Allen Dulles' brother, John Foster, then secretary of state, that no Times staff member would be permitted to accept an invitation to visit the People's Republic of China without John Foster Dulles' consent. Such an invitation was extended to the publisher's nephew in the 1950s; Arthur Sulzberger forbade him to accept it. ''It was seventeen years before another Times correspondent was invited,'' C.L. Sulzberger recalled.
'– The Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS was unquestionably the CIAs most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS President William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well'‘known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of newsfilm to the CIA3; established a formal channel of communication between the Washington bureau chief and the Agency; gave the Agency access to the CBS newsfilm library; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents to the Washington and New York newsrooms to be routinely monitored by the CIA. Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.
The details of the CBS'‘CIA arrangements were worked out by subordinates of both Dulles and Paley. ''The head of the company doesn't want to know the fine points, nor does the director,'' said a CIA official. ''Both designate aides to work that out. It keeps them above the battle.'' Dr. Frank Stanton, for 25 years president of the network, was aware of the general arrangements Paley made with Dulles'--including those for cover, according to CIA officials. Stanton, in an interview last year, said he could not recall any cover arrangements.) But Paley's designated contact for the Agency was Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News between 1954 and 1961. On one occasion, Mickelson has said, he complained to Stanton about having to use a pay telephone to call the CIA, and Stanton suggested he install a private line, bypassing the CBS switchboard, for the purpose. According to Mickelson, he did so. Mickelson is now president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, both of which were associated with the CIA for many years.
In 1976, CBS News president Richard Salant ordered an in'‘house investigation of the network's dealings with the CIA. Some of its findings were first disclosed by Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times.) But Salant's report makes no mention of some of his own dealings with the Agency, which continued into the 1970s.
Many details about the CBS'‘CIA relationship were found in Mickelson's files by two investigators for Salant. Among the documents they found was a September 13th, 1957, memo to Mickelson fromTed Koop, CBS News bureau chief in Washington from 1948 to 1961. It describes a phone call to Koop from Colonel Stanley Grogan of the CIA: "Grogan phoned to say that Reeves [J. B. Love Reeves, another CIA official] is going to New York to be in charge of the CIA contact office there and will call to see you and some of your confreres. Grogan says normal activities will continue to channel through the Washington office of CBS News." The report to Salant also states: "Further investigation of Mickelson's files reveals some details of the relationship between the CIA and CBS News.... Two key administrators of this relationship were Mickelson and Koop.... The main activity appeared to be the delivery of CBS newsfilm to the CIA.... In addition there is evidence that, during 1964 to 1971, film material, including some outtakes, were supplied by the CBS Newsfilm Library to the CIA through and at the direction of Mr. Koop4.... Notes in Mr. Mickelson's files indicate that the CIA used CBS films for training... All of the above Mickelson activities were handled on a confidential basis without mentioning the words Central Intelligence Agency. The films were sent to individuals at post'‘office box numbers and were paid for by individual, nor government, checks. ..." Mickelson also regularly sent the CIA an internal CBS newsletter, according to the report.
Salant's investigation led him to conclude that Frank Kearns, a CBS'‘TV reporter from 1958 to 1971, "was a CIA guy who got on the payroll somehow through a CIA contact with somebody at CBS." Kearns and Austin Goodrich, a CBS stringer, were undercover CIA employees, hired under arrangements approved by Paley.
Last year a spokesman for Paley denied a report by former CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr that Mickelson and he had discussed Goodrich's CIA status during a meeting with two Agency representatives in 1954. The spokesman claimed Paley had no knowledge that Goodrich had worked for the CIA. "When I moved into the job I was told by Paley that there was an ongoing relationship with the CIA," Mickelson said in a recent interview. "He introduced me to two agents who he said would keep in touch. We all discussed the Goodrich situation and film arrangements. I assumed this was a normal relationship at the time. This was at the height of the Cold War and I assumed the communications media were cooperating'--though the Goodrich matter was compromising.
At the headquarters of CBS News in New York, Paley's cooperation with the CIA is taken for granted by many news executives and reporters, despite tile denials. Paley, 76, was not interviewed by Salant's investigators. "It wouldn't do any good," said one CBS executive. "It is the single subject about which his memory has failed."
Salant discussed his own contacts with the CIA, and the fact he continued many of his predecessor's practices, in an interview with this reporter last year. The contacts, he said, began in February 1961, "when I got a phone call from a CIA man who said he had a working relationship with Sig Mickelson. The man said, 'Your bosses know all about it.'" According to Salant, the CIA representative asked that CBS continue to supply the Agency with unedited newstapes and make its correspondents available for debriefingby Agency officials. Said Salant: "I said no on talking to the reporters, and let them see broadcast tapes, but no outtakes. This went on for a number of years'--into the early Seventies."
In 1964 and 1965, Salant served on a super-secret CIA task force which explored methods of beaming American propaganda broadcasts to the People's Republic of China. The other members of the four'‘man study team were Zbigniew Brzezinski, then a professor at Columbia University; William Griffith, then professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology., and John Haves, then vice'‘president of the Washington Post Company for radio'‘TV5. The principal government officials associated with the project were Cord Meyer of the CIA; McGeorge Bundy, then special assistant to the president for national security; Leonard Marks, then director of the USIA; and Bill Moyers, then special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and now a CBS correspondent.
Salant's involvement in the project began with a call from Leonard Marks, "who told me the White House wanted to form a committee of four people to make a study of U.S. overseas broadcasts behind the Iron Curtain." When Salant arrived in Washington for the first meeting he was told that the project was CIA sponsored. "Its purpose," he said, "was to determine how best to set up shortwave broadcasts into Red China." Accompanied by a CIA officer named Paul Henzie, the committee of four subsequently traveled around the world inspecting facilities run by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty both CIA'‘run operations at the time), the Voice of America and Armed Forces Radio. After more than a year of study, they submitted a report to Moyers recommending that the government establish a broadcast service, run by the Voice of America, to be beamed at the People's Republic of China. Salant has served two tours as head of CBS News, from 1961'‘64 and 1966'‘present. At the time of the China project he was a CBS corporate executive.)
'– Time and Newsweek magazines. According to CIA and Senate sources, Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly news magazines. The same sources refused to say whether the CIA has ended all its associations with individuals who work for the two publications. Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.
For many years, Luce's personal emissary to the CIA was C.D. Jackson, a Time Inc., vice'‘president who was publisher of Life magazine from 1960 until his death in 1964.While a Time executive, Jackson coauthored a CIA'‘sponsored study recommending the reorganization of the American intelligence services in the early 1950s. Jackson, whose Time'‘Life service was interrupted by a one'‘year White House tour as an assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower, approved specific arrangements for providing CIA employees with Time'‘Life cover. Some of these arrangements were made with the knowledge of Luce's wife, Clare Boothe. Other arrangements for Time cover, according to CIA officials including those who dealt with Luce), were made with the knowledge of Hedley Donovan, now editor'‘in'‘chief of Time Inc. Donovan, who took over editorial direction of all Time Inc. publications in 1959, denied in a telephone interview that he knew of any such arrangements. "I was never approached and I'd be amazed if Luce approved such arrangements," Donovan said. "Luce had a very scrupulous regard for the difference between journalism and government."
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Time magazine's foreign correspondents attended CIA "briefing" dinners similar to those the CIA held for CBS. And Luce, according to CIA officials, made it a regular practice to brief Dulles or other high Agency officials when he returned from his frequent trips abroad. Luce and the men who ran his magazines in the 1950s and 1960s encouraged their foreign correspondents to provide help to the CIA, particularly information that might be useful to the Agency for intelligence purposes or recruiting foreigners.
At Newsweek, Agency sources reported, the CIA engaged the services of' several foreign correspondents and stringers under arrangements approved by senior editors at the magazine. Newsweek's stringer in Rome in the mid'‘Fifties made little secret of the fact that he worked for the CIA. Malcolm Muir, Newsweek's editor from its founding in 1937 until its sale to the Washington Post Company in 1961, said in a recent interview that his dealings with the CIA were limited to private briefings he gave Allen Dulles after trips abroad and arrangements he approved for regular debriefing of Newsweek correspondents by the Agency. He said that he had never provided cover for CIA operatives, but that others high in the Newsweek organization might have done so without his knowledge.
"I would have thought there might have been stringers who were agents, but I didn't know who they were," said Muir. "I do think in those days the CIA kept pretty close touch with all responsible reporters. Whenever I heard something that I thought might be of interest to Allen Dulles, I'd call him up.... At one point he appointed one of his CIA men to keep in regular contact with our reporters, a chap that I knew but whose name I can't remember. I had a number of friends in Alien Dulles' organization." Muir said that Harry Kern, Newsweek's foreign editor from 1945 until 1956, and Ernest K. Lindley, the magazine's Washington bureau chief during the same period "regularly checked in with various fellows in the CIA."
"To the best of my knowledge." said Kern, "nobody at Newsweek worked for the CIA... The informal relationship was there. Why have anybody sign anything? What we knew we told them [the CIA] and the State Department.... When I went to Washington, I would talk to Foster or Allen Dulles about what was going on. ... We thought it was admirable at the time. We were all on the same side." CIA officials say that Kern's dealings with the Agency were extensive. In 1956, he left Newsweek to run Foreign Reports, a Washington'‘based newsletter whose subscribers Kern refuses to identify.
Ernest Lindley, who remained at Newsweek until 1961, said in a recent interview that he regularly consulted with Dulles and other high CIA officials before going abroad and briefed them upon his return. "Allen was very helpful to me and I tried to reciprocate when I could," he said. "I'd give him my impressions of people I'd met overseas. Once or twice he asked me to brief a large group of intelligence people; when I came back from the Asian'‘African conference in 1955, for example; they mainly wanted to know about various people."
As Washington bureau chief, Lindley said he learned from Malcolm Muir that the magazine's stringer in southeastern Europe was a CIA contract employee'--given credentials under arrangements worked out with the management. "I remember it came up'--whether it was a good idea to keep this person from the Agency; eventually it was decided to discontinue the association," Lindley said.
When Newsweek waspurchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.) Phil Graham was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graharn, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.
In 1965'‘66, an accredited Newsweekstringer in the Far East was in fact a CIA contract employee earning an annual salary of $10,000 from the Agency, according to Robert T. Wood, then a CIA officer in the Hong Kong station. Some, Newsweek correspondents and stringers continued to maintain covert ties with the Agency into the 1970s, CIA sources said.
Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of the arrangements.
All editors'‘in'‘chief and managing editors of the Post since 1950 say they knew of no formal Agency relationship with either stringers or members of the Post staff. ''If anything was done it was done by Phil without our knowledge,'' said one. Agency officials, meanwhile, make no claim that Post staff members have had covert affiliations with the Agency while working for the paper.6
Katharine Graham, Philip Graham's widow and the current publisher of the Post, says she has never been informed of any CIA relationships with either Post or Newsweek personnel. In November of 1973, Mrs. Graham called William Colby and asked if any Post stringers or staff members were associated with the CIA. Colby assured her that no staff members were employed by the Agency but refused to discuss the question of stringers.
'– The Louisville Courier'‘Journal. From December 1964 until March 1965, a CIA undercover operative named Robert H. Campbell worked on the Courier'‘Journal. According to high'‘level CIA sources, Campbell was hired by the paper under arrangements the Agency made with Norman E. Isaacs, then executive editor of the Courier'‘Journal. Barry Bingham Sr., then publisher of the paper, also had knowledge of the arrangements, the sources said. Both Isaacs and Bingham have denied knowing that Campbell was an intelligence agent when he was hired.
The complex saga of Campbell's hiring was first revealed in a Courier'‘Journal story written by James R Herzog on March 27th, 1976, during the Senate committee's investigation, Herzog's account began: ''When 28'‘year'‘old Robert H. Campbell was hired as a Courier'‘Journal reporter in December 1964, he couldn't type and knew little about news writing.'' The account then quoted the paper's former managing editor as saying that Isaacs told him that Campbell was hired as a result of a CIA request: ''Norman said, when he was in Washington [in 1964], he had been called to lunch with some friend of his who was with the CIA [and that] he wanted to send this young fellow down to get him a little knowledge of newspapering.'' All aspects of Campbell's hiring were highly unusual. No effort had been made to check his credentials, and his employment records contained the following two notations: ''Isaacs has files of correspondence and investigation of this man''; and, ''Hired for temporary work'--no reference checks completed or needed.''
The level of Campbell's journalistic abilities apparently remained consistent during his stint at the paper, ''The stuff that Campbell turned in was almost unreadable,'' said a former assistant city editor. One of Campbell's major reportorial projects was a feature about wooden Indians. It was never published. During his tenure at the paper, Campbell frequented a bar a few steps from the office where, on occasion, he reportedly confided to fellow drinkers that he was a CIA employee.
According to CIA sources, Campbell's tour at the Courier'‘Journal was arranged to provide him with a record of journalistic experience that would enhance the plausibility of future reportorial cover and teach him something about the newspaper business. The Courier'‘Journal's investigation also turned up the fact that before coming to Louisville he had worked briefly for the Hornell, New York, Evening Tribune, published by Freedom News, Inc. CIA sources said the Agency had made arrangements with that paper's management to employ Campbell.7
At the Courier'‘Journal, Campbell was hired under arrangements made with Isaacs and approved by Bingham, said CIA and Senate sources. ''We paid the Courier'‘Journal so they could pay his salary,'' said an Agency official who was involved in the transaction. Responding by letter to these assertions, Isaacs, who left Louisville to become president and publisher of the Wilmington Delaware) News & Journal, said: ''All I can do is repeat the simple truth'--that never, under any circumstances, or at any time, have I ever knowingly hired a government agent. I've also tried to dredge my memory, but Campbell's hiring meant so little to me that nothing emerges.... None of this is to say that I couldn't have been 'had.'''.Barry Bingham Sr., said last year in a telephone interview that he had no specific memory of Campbell's hiring and denied that he knew of any arrangements between the newspaper's management and the CIA. However, CIA officials said that the Courier'‘Journal, through contacts with Bingham, provided other unspecified assistance to the Agency in the 1950s and 1960s. The Courier'‘Journal's detailed, front'‘page account of Campbell's hiring was initiated by Barry Bingham Jr., who succeeded his father as editor and publisher of the paper in 1971. The article is the only major piece of self'‘investigation by a newspaper that has appeared on this subject.8
'– The American Broadcasting Company and the National Broadcasting Company. According to CIA officials, ABC continued to provide cover for some CIA operatives through the 1960s. One was Sam Jaffe who CIA officials said performed clandestine tasks for the Agency. Jaffe has acknowledged only providing the CIA with information. In addition, another well'‘known network correspondent performed covert tasks for the Agency, said CIA sources. At the time of the Senate bearings, Agency officials serving at the highest levels refused to say whether the CIA was still maintaining active relationships with members of the ABC'‘News organization. All cover arrangements were made with the knowledge off ABC executives, the sources said.
These same sources professed to know few specifies about the Agency's relationships with NBC, except that several foreign correspondents of the network undertook some assignments for the Agency in the 1950s and 1960s. ''It was a thing people did then,'' said Richard Wald, president of NBC News since 1973. ''I wouldn't be surprised if people here'--including some of the correspondents in those days'--had connections with the Agency.''
'– The Copley Press, and its subsidiary, the Copley News Service. This relationship, first disclosed publicly by reporters Joe Trento and Dave Roman in Penthouse magazine, is said by CIA officials to have been among the Agency's most productive in terms of getting ''outside'' cover for its employees. Copley owns nine newspapers in California and Illinois'--among them the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. The Trento'‘Roman account, which was financed by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, asserted that at least twenty'‘three Copley News Service employees performed work for the CIA. ''The Agency's involvement with the Copley organization is so extensive that it's almost impossible to sort out,'' said a CIA official who was asked about the relationship late in 1976. Other Agency officials said then that James S. Copley, the chain's owner until his death in 1973, personally made most of the cover arrangements with the CIA.
According to Trento and Roman, Copley personally volunteered his news service to then'‘president Eisenhower to act as ''the eyes and ears'' against ''the Communist threat in Latin and Central America'' for ''our intelligence services.'' James Copley was also the guiding hand behind the Inter'‘American Press Association, a CIA'‘funded organization with heavy membership among right'‘wing Latin American newspaper editors.
'– Other major news organizations. According to Agency officials, CIA files document additional cover arrangements with the following news'‘gathering organizations, among others: the New York Herald'‘Tribune, the Saturday'‘Evening Post, Scripps'‘Howard Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers Seymour K. Freidin, Hearst's current London bureau chief and a former Herald'‘Tribune editor and correspondent, has been identified as a CIA operative by Agency sources), Associated Press,9 United Press International, the Mutual Broadcasting System, Reuters and the Miami Herald. Cover arrangements with the Herald, according to CIA officials, were unusual in that they were made ''on the ground by the CIA station in Miami, not from CIA headquarters.
''And that's just a small part of the list,'' in the words of one official who served in the CIA hierarchy. Like many sources, this official said that the only way to end the uncertainties about aid furnished the Agency by journalists is to disclose the contents of the CIA files'--a course opposed by almost all of the thirty'‘five present and former CIA officials interviewed over the course of a year.
COLBY CUTS HIS LOSSESTHE CIA'S USE OF JOURNALISTS CONTINUED VIRTUALLY unabated until 1973 when, in response to public disclosure that the Agency had secretly employed American reporters, William Colby began scaling down the program. In his public statements, Colby conveyed the impression that the use of journalists had been minimal and of limited importance to the Agency.
He then initiated a series of moves intended to convince the press, Congress and the public that the CIA had gotten out of the news business. But according to Agency officials, Colby had in fact thrown a protective net around his valuable intelligence in the journalistic community. He ordered his deputies to maintain Agency ties with its best journalist contacts while severing formal relationships with many regarded as inactive, relatively unproductive or only marginally important. In reviewing Agency files to comply with Colby's directive, officials found that many journalists had not performed useful functions for the CIA in years. Such relationships, perhaps as many as a hundred, were terminated between 1973 and 1976.
Meanwhile, important CIA operatives who had been placed on the staffs of some major newspaper and broadcast outlets were told to resign and become stringers or freelancers, thus enabling Colby to assure concerned editors that members of their staffs were not CIA employees. Colby also feared that some valuable stringer'‘operatives might find their covers blown if scrutiny of the Agency's ties with journalists continued. Some of these individuals were reassigned to jobs on so'‘called proprietary publications'--foreign periodicals and broadcast outlets secretly funded and staffed by the CIA. Other journalists who had signed formal contracts with the CIA'--making them employees of the Agency'--were released from their contracts, and asked to continue working under less formal arrangements.
In November 1973, after many such shifts had been made, Colby told reporters and editors from the New York Times and the Washington Star that the Agency had ''some three dozen'' American newsmen ''on the CIA payroll,'' including five who worked for ''general'‘circulation news organizations.'' Yet even while the Senate Intelligence Committee was holding its hearings in 1976, according to high'‘level CIA sources, the CIA continued to maintain ties with seventy'‘five to ninety journalists of every description'--executives, reporters, stringers, photographers, columnists, bureau clerks and members of broadcast technical crews. More than half of these had been moved off CIA contracts and payrolls but they were still bound by other secret agreements with the Agency. According to an unpublished report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis Pike, at least fifteen news organizations were still providing cover for CIA operatives as of 1976.
Colby, who built a reputation as one of the most skilled undercover tacticians in the CIA's history, had himself run journalists in clandestine operations before becoming director in 1973. But even he was said by his closest associates to have been disturbed at how extensively and, in his view, indiscriminately, the Agency continued to use journalists at the time he took over. ''Too prominent,'' the director frequently said of some of the individuals and news organizations then working with the CIA. Others in the Agency refer to their best'‘known journalistic assets as ''brand names.'')
''Colby's concern was that he might lose the resource altogether unless we became a little more careful about who we used and how we got them,'' explained one of the former director's deputies. The thrust of Colby's subsequent actions was to move the Agency's affiliations away from the so'‘called ''majors'' and to concentrate them instead in smaller newspaper chains, broadcasting groups and such specialized publications as trade journals and newsletters.
After Colby left the Agency on January 28th, 1976, and was succeeded by George Bush, the CIA announced a new policy: ''Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contractual relationship with any full'‘time or part'‘time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station'' At the time of the announcement, the Agency acknowledged that the policy would result in termination of less than half of the relationships with the 50 U.S. journalists it said were still affiliated with the Agency. The text of the announcement noted that the CIA would continue to ''welcome'' the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists. Thus, many relationships were permitted to remain intact.
The Agency's unwillingness to end its use of journalists and its continued relationships with some news executives is largely the product of two basic facts of the intelligence game: journalistic cover is ideal because of the inquisitive nature of a reporter's job; and many other sources of institutional cover have been denied the CIA in recent years by businesses, foundations and educational institutions that once cooperated with the Agency.
''It's tough to run a secret agency in this country,'' explained one high'‘level CIA official. ''We have a curious ambivalence about intelligence. In order to serve overseas we need cover. But we have been fighting a rear'‘guard action to try and provide cover. The Peace Corps is off'‘limits, so is USIA, the foundations and voluntary organizations have been off'‘limits since '67, and there is a self'‘imposed prohibition on Fulbrights [Fulbright Scholars]. If you take the American community and line up who could work for the CIA and who couldn't there is a very narrow potential. Even the Foreign Service doesn't want us. So where the hell do you go? Business is nice, but the press is a natural. One journalist is worth twenty agents. He has access, the ability to ask questions without arousing suspicion.''
ROLE OF THE CHURCH COMMITTEE
DESPITE THE EVIDENCE OF WIDESPREAD CIA USE OF journalists, the Senate Intelligence Committee and its staff decided against questioning any of the reporters, editors, publishers or broadcast executives whose relationships with the Agency are detailed in CIA files.
According to sources in the Senate and the Agency, the use of journalists was one of two areas of inquiry which the CIA went to extraordinary lengths to curtail. The other was the Agency's continuing and extensive use of academics for recruitment and information gathering purposes.
In both instances, the sources said, former directors Colby and Bush and CIA special counsel Mitchell Rogovin were able to convince key members of the committee that full inquiry or even limited public disclosure of the dimensions of the activities would do irreparable damage to the nation's intelligence'‘gathering apparatus, as well as to the reputations of hundreds of individuals. Colby was reported to have been especially persuasive in arguing that disclosure would bring on a latter'‘day ''witch hunt'' in which the victims would be reporters, publishers and editors.
Walter Elder, deputy to former CIA director McCone and the principal Agency liaison to the Church committee, argued that the committee lacked jurisdiction because there had been no misuse of journalists by the CIA; the relationships had been voluntary. Elder cited as an example the case of the Louisville Courier'‘Journal. ''Church and other people on the committee were on the chandelier about the Courier'‘Journal,'' one Agency official said, ''until we pointed out that we had gone to the editor to arrange cover, and that the editor had said, 'Fine.'''
Some members of the Church committee and staff feared that Agency officials had gained control of the inquiry and that they were being hoodwinked. ''The Agency was extremely clever about it and the committee played right into its hands,'' said one congressional source familiar with all aspects of the inquiry. ''Church and some of the other members were much more interested in making headlines than in doing serious, tough investigating. The Agency pretended to be giving up a lot whenever it was asked about the flashy stuff'--assassinations and secret weapons and James Bond operations. Then, when it came to things that they didn't want to give away, that were much more important to the Agency, Colby in particular called in his chits. And the committee bought it.''
The Senate committee's investigation into the use of journalists was supervised by William B. Bader, a former CIA intelligence officer who returned briefly to the Agency this year as deputy to CIA director Stansfield Turner and is now a high'‘level intelligence official at the Defense Department. Bader was assisted by David Aaron, who now serves as the deputy to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser.
According to colleagues on the staff of the Senate inquiry, both Bader and Aaron were disturbed by the information contained in CIA files about journalists; they urged that further investigation he undertaken by the Senate's new permanent CIA oversight committee. That committee, however, has spent its first year of existence writing a new charter for the CIA, and members say there has been little interest in delving further into the CIA's use of the press.
Bader's investigation was conducted under unusually difficult conditions. His first request for specific information on the use of journalists was turned down by the CIA on grounds that there had been no abuse of authority and that current intelligence operations might he compromised. Senators Walter Huddleston, Howard Baker, Gary Hart, Walter Mondale and Charles Mathias'--who had expressed interest in the subject of the press and the CIA'--shared Bader's distress at the CIA's reaction. In a series of phone calls and meetings with CIA director George Bush and other Agency officials, the senators insisted that the committee staff be provided information about the scope of CIA'‘press activities. Finally, Bush agreed to order a search of the files and have those records pulled which deals with operations where journalists had been used. But the raw files could not he made available to Bader or the committee, Bush insisted. Instead, the director decided, his deputies would condense the material into one'‘paragraph sum­maries describing in the most general terms the activities of each individual journalist. Most important, Bush decreed, the names of journalists and of the news organizations with which they were affiliated would be omitted from the summaries. However, there might be some indication of the region where the journalist had served and a general description of the type of news organization for which he worked.
Assembling the summaries was difficult, according to CIA officials who supervised the job. There were no ''journalist files'' per se and information had to be collected from divergent sources that reflect the highly compartmentalized character of the CIA. Case officers who had handled journalists supplied some names. Files were pulled on various undercover operations in which it seemed logical that journalists had been used. Significantly, all work by reporters for the Agency under the category of covert operations, not foreign intelligence.) Old station records were culled. ''We really had to scramble,'' said one official.
After several weeks, Bader began receiving the summaries, which numbered over 400 by the time the Agency said it had completed searching its files.
The Agency played an intriguing numbers game with the committee. Those who prepared the material say it was physically impossible to produce all of the Agency's files on the use of journalists. ''We gave them a broad, representative picture,'' said one agency official. ''We never pretended it was a total description of the range of activities over 25 years, or of the number of journalists who have done things for us.'' A relatively small number of the summaries described the activities of foreign journalists'--including those working as stringers for American publications. Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side of the actual number who maintained covert relationships and undertook clandestine tasks.
Bader and others to whom he described the contents of the summaries immediately reached some general conclusions: the sheer number of covert relationships with journalists was far greater than the CIA had ever hinted; and the Agency's use of reporters and news executives was an intelligence asset of the first magnitude. Reporters had been involved in almost every conceivable kind of operation. Of the 400'‘plus individuals whose activities were summarized, between 200 and 250 were ''working journalists'' in the usual sense of the term'--reporters, editors, correspondents, photographers; the rest were employed at least nominally) by book publishers, trade publications and newsletters.
Still, the summaries were just that: compressed, vague, sketchy, incomplete. They could be subject to ambiguous interpretation. And they contained no suggestion that the CIA had abused its authority by manipulating the editorial content of American newspapers or broadcast reports.
Bader's unease with what he had found led him to seek advice from several experienced hands in the fields of foreign relations and intelligence. They suggested that he press for more information and give those members of the committee in whom he had the most confidence a general idea of what the summaries revealed. Bader again went to Senators Huddleston, Baker, Hart, Mondale and Mathias. Meanwhile, he told the CIA that he wanted to see more'--the full files on perhaps a hundred or so of the individuals whose activities had been summarized. The request was turned down outright. The Agency would provide no more information on the subject. Period.
The CIA's intransigence led to an extraordinary dinner meeting at Agency headquarters in late March 1976. Those present included Senators Frank Church who had now been briefed by Bader), and John Tower, the vice'‘chairman of the committee; Bader; William Miller, director of the committee staff; CIA director Bush; Agency counsel Rogovin; and Seymour Bolten, a high'‘level CIA operative who for years had been a station chief in Germany and Willy Brandt's case officer. Bolten had been deputized by Bush to deal with the committee's requests for information on journalists and academics. At the dinner, the Agency held to its refusal to provide any full files. Nor would it give the committee the names of any individual journalists described in the 400 summaries or of the news organizations with whom they were affiliated. The discussion, according to participants, grew heated. The committee's representatives said they could not honor their mandate'--to determine if the CIA had abused its authority'--without further information. The CIA maintained it could not protect its legitimate intelligence operations or its employees if further disclosures were made to the committee. Many of the journalists were contract employees of the Agency, Bush said at one point, and the CIA was no less obligated to them than to any other agents.
Finally, a highly unusual agreement was hammered out: Bader and Miller would be permitted to examine ''sanitized'' versions of the full files of twenty'‘five journalists selected from the summaries; but the names of the journalists and the news organizations which employed them would be blanked out, as would the identities of other CIA employees mentioned in the files. Church and Tower would be permitted to examine the unsanitizedversions of five of the twenty'‘five files'--to attest that the CIA was not hiding anything except the names. The whole deal was contingent on an agreement that neither Bader, Miner, Tower nor Church would reveal the contents of the files to other members of the committee or staff.
Bader began reviewing the 400'‘some summaries again. His object was to select twenty'‘five that, on the basis of the sketchy information they contained, seemed to represent a cross section. Dates of CIA activity, general descriptions of news organizations, types of journalists and undercover operations all figured in his calculations.
From the twenty'‘five files he got back, according to Senate sources and CIA officials, an unavoidable conclusion emerged: that to a degree never widely suspected, the CIA in the 1950s, '60s and even early '70s had concentrated its relationships with journalists in the most prominent sectors of the American press corps, including four or five of the largest newspapers in the country, the broadcast networks and the two major newsweekly magazines. Despite the omission of names and affiliations from the twenty'‘five detailed files each was between three and eleven inches thick), the information was usually sufficient to tentatively identify either the newsman, his affiliation or both'--particularly because so many of them were prominent in the profession.
''There is quite an incredible spread of relationships,'' Bader reported to the senators. ''You don't need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are Agency people at the management level.''
Ironically, one major news organization that set limits on its dealings with the CIA, according to Agency officials, was the one with perhaps the greatest editorial affinity for the Agency's long'‘range goals and policies: U.S. News and World Report. The late David Lawrence, the columnist and founding editor of U.S. News, was a close friend of Allen Dulles. But he repeatedly refused requests by the CIA director to use the magazine for cover purposes, the sources said. At one point, according to a high CIA official, Lawrence issued orders to his sub'‘editors in which he threatened to fire any U.S. News employee who was found to have entered into a formal relationship with the Agency. Former editorial executives at the magazine confirmed that such orders had been issued. CIA sources declined to say, however, if the magazine remained off'‘limits to the Agency after Lawrence's death in 1973 or if Lawrence's orders had been followed.)
Meanwhile, Bader attempted to get more information from the CIA, particularly about the Agency's current relationships with journalists. He encountered a stone wall. ''Bush has done nothing to date,'' Bader told associates. ''None of the important operations are affected in even a marginal way.'' The CIA also refused the staffs requests for more information on the use of academics. Bush began to urge members of the committee to curtail its inquiries in both areas and conceal its findings in the final report. ''He kept saying, 'Don't fuck these guys in the press and on the campuses,' pleading that they were the only areas of public life with any credibility left,'' reported a Senate source. Colby, Elder and Rogovin also implored individual members of the committee to keep secret what the staff had found. ''There were a lot of representations that if this stuff got out some of the biggest names in journalism would get smeared,'' said another source. Exposure of the CIA's relationships with journalists and academics, the Agency feared, would close down two of the few avenues of agent recruitment still open. ''The danger of exposure is not the other side,'' explained one CIA expert in covert operations. ''This is not stuff the other side doesn't know about. The concern of the Agency is that another area of cover will be denied.''
A senator who was the object of the Agency's lobbying later said: ''From the CIA point of view this was the highest, most sensitive covert program of all.... It was a much larger part of the operational system than has been indicated.'' He added, ''I had a great compulsion to press the point but it was late .... If we had demanded, they would have gone the legal route to fight it.''
Indeed, time was running out for the committee. In the view of many staff members, it had squandered its resources in the search for CIA assassination plots and poison pen letters. It had undertaken the inquiry into journalists almost as an afterthought. The dimensions of the program and the CIA's sensitivity to providing information on it had caught the staff and the committee by surprise. The CIA oversight committee that would succeed the Church panel would have the inclination and the time to inquire into the subject methodically; if, as seemed likely, the CIA refused to cooperate further, the mandate of the successor committee would put it in a more advantageous position to wage a protracted fight .... Or so the reasoning went as Church and the few other senators even vaguely familiar with Bader's findings reached a decision not to pursue the matter further. No journalists would be interviewed about their dealings with the Agency'--either by the staff or by the senators, in secret or in open session. The specter, first raised by CIA officials, of a witch hunt in the press corps haunted some members of the staff and the committee. ''We weren't about to bring up guys to the committee and then have everybody say they've been traitors to the ideals of their profession,'' said a senator.
Bader, according to associates, was satisfied with the decision and believed that the successor committee would pick up the inquiry where he had left it. He was opposed to making public the names of individual journalists. He had been concerned all along that he had entered a ''gray area'' in which there were no moral absolutes. Had the CIA ''manipulated'' the press in the classic sense of the term? Probably not, he concluded; the major news organizations and their executives had willingly lent their resources to the Agency; foreign correspondents had regarded work for the CIA as a national service and a way of getting better stories and climbing to the top of their profession. Had the CIA abused its authority? It had dealt with the press almost exactly as it had dealt with other institutions from which it sought cover '-- the diplomatic service, academia, corporations. There was nothing in the CIA's charter which declared any of these institutions off'‘limits to America's intelligence service. And, in the case of the press, the Agency had exercised more care in its dealings than with many other institutions; it had gone to considerable lengths to restrict its role to information'‘gathering and cover.10
Bader was also said to be concerned that his knowledge was so heavily based on information furnished by the CIA; he hadn't gotten the other side of the story from those journalists who had associated with the Agency. He could be seeing only ''the lantern show,'' he told associates. Still, Bader was reasonably sure that he had seen pretty much the full panoply of what was in the files. If the CIA had wanted to deceive him it would have never given away so much, he reasoned. ''It was smart of the Agency to cooperate to the extent of showing the material to Bader,'' observed a committee source. ''That way, if one fine day a file popped up, the Agency would be covered. They could say they had already informed the Congress.''
The dependence on CIA files posed another problem. The CIA's perception of a relationship with a journalist might be quite different than that of the journalist: a CIA official might think he had exercised control over a journalist; the journalist might think he had simply had a few drinks with a spook. It was possible that CIA case officers had written self'‘serving memos for the files about their dealings with journalists, that the CIA was just as subject to common bureaucratic ''cover'‘your'‘ass'' paperwork as any other agency of government.
A CIA official who attempted to persuade members of the Senate committee that the Agency's use of journalists had been innocuous maintained that the files were indeed filled with ''puffing'' by case officers. ''You can't establish what is puff and what isn't,'' he claimed. Many reporters, he added, ''were recruited for finite [specific] undertakings and would be appalled to find that they were listed [in Agency files] as CIA operatives.'' This same official estimated that the files contained descriptions of about half a dozen reporters and correspondents who would be considered ''famous'''--that is, their names would be recognized by most Americans. ''The files show that the CIA goes to the press for and just as often that the press comes to the CIA,'' he observed. ''...There is a tacit agreement in many of these cases that there is going to be a quid pro quo'''--i.e., that the reporter is going to get good stories from the Agency and that the CIA will pick up some valuable services from the reporter.
Whatever the interpretation, the findings of the Senate committees inquiry into the use of journalists were deliberately buried'--from the full membership of the committee, from the Senate and from the public. ''There was a difference of opinion on how to treat the subject,'' explained one source. ''Some [senators] thought these were abuses which should be exorcized and there were those who said, 'We don't know if this is bad or not.'''
Bader's findings on the subject were never discussed with the full committee, even in executive session. That might have led to leaks'--especially in view of the explosive nature of the facts. Since the beginning of the Church committee's investigation, leaks had been the panel's biggest collective fear, a real threat to its mission. At the slightest sign of a leak the CIA might cut off the flow of sensitive information as it did, several times in other areas), claiming that the committee could not be trusted with secrets. ''It was as if we were on trial'--not the CIA,'' said a member of the committee staff. To describe in the committee's final report the true dimensions of the Agency's use of journalists would cause a furor in the press and on the Senate floor. And it would result in heavy pressure on the CIA to end its use of journalists altogether. ''We just weren't ready to take that step,'' said a senator. A similar decision was made to conceal the results of the staff's inquiry into the use of academics. Bader, who supervised both areas of inquiry, concurred in the decisions and drafted those sections of the committee's final report. Pages 191 to 201 were entitled ''Covert Relationships with the United States Media.'' ''It hardly reflects what we found,'' stated Senator Gary Hart. ''There was a prolonged and elaborate negotiation [with the CIA] over what would be said.''
Obscuring the facts was relatively simple. No mention was made of the 400 summaries or what they showed. Instead the report noted blandly that some fifty recent contacts with journalists had been studied by the committee staff'--thus conveying the impression that the Agency's dealings with the press had been limited to those instances. The Agency files, the report noted, contained little evidence that the editorial content of American news reports had been affected by the CIA's dealings with journalists. Colby's misleading public statements about the use of journalists were repeated without serious contradiction or elaboration. The role of cooperating news executives was given short shrift. The fact that the Agency had concentrated its relationships in the most prominent sectors of the press went unmentioned. That the CIA continued to regard the press as up for grabs was not even suggested.
Former 'Washington Post' reporter CARL BERNSTEIN is now working on a book about the witch hunts of the Cold War.
Footnotes:
1 John McCone, director of the Agency from 1961 to 1965, said in a recent interview that he knew about "great deal of debriefing and exchanging help" but nothing about any arrangements for cover the CIA might have made with media organizations. "I wouldn't necessarily have known about it," he said. "Helms would have handled anything like that. It would be unusual for him to come to me and say, 'We're going to use journalists for cover.' He had a job to do. There was no policy during my period that would say, 'Don't go near that water,' nor was there one saying, 'Go to it!'" During the Church committee bearings, McCone testified that his subordinates failed to tell him about domestic surveillance activities or that they were working on plans to assassinate Fidel Castro. Richard Helms was deputy director of the Agency at the time; he became director in 1966.
2 A stringer is a reporter who works for one or several news organizations on a retainer or on a piecework basis.
3 From the CIA point of view, access to newsfilm outtakes and photo libraries is a matter of extreme importance. The Agency's photo archive is probably the greatest on earth; its graphic sources include satellites, photoreconnaissance, planes, miniature cameras ... and the American press. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Agency obtained carte'‘blanche borrowing privileges in the photo libraries of literally dozens of American newspapers, magazines and television, outlets. For obvious reasons, the CIA also assigned high priority to the recruitment of photojournalists, particularly foreign'‘based members of network camera crews.
4 On April 3rd, 1961, Koop left the Washington bureau to become head of CBS, Inc.'s Government Relations Department '-- a position he held until his retirement on March 31st, 1972. Koop, who worked as a deputy in the Censorship Office in World War II, continued to deal with the CIA in his new position, according to CBS sources.
5 Hayes, who left the Washington Post Company in 1965 to become U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, is now chairman of the board of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty '-- both of which severed their ties with the CIA in 1971. Hayes said he cleared his participation in the China project with the late Frederick S. Beebe, then chairman of the board of the Washington Post Company. Katharine Graham, the Post's publisher, was unaware of the nature of the assignment, he said. Participants in the project signed secrecy agreements.
6 Philip Geyelin, editor of the Post editorial page, worked for the Agency before joining the Post.
7 Louis Buisch, presidentof the publishing company of the Hornell, New York, Evening Tribune, told the Courier'‘Journal in 1976 that he remembered little about the hiring of Robert Campbell. "He wasn't there very long, and he didn't make much of an impression," said Buisch, who has since retired from active management of the newspaper.
8 Probably the most thoughtful article on the subject of the press and the CIA was written by Stuart H. Loory and appeared in the September'‘October 1974 issue of Columbia Journalism Review.
9 Wes Gallagher, general manager of the Associated Press from 1962 to 1976, takes vigorous exception to the notion that the Associated Press might have aided the Agency. "We've always stayed clear on the CIA; I would have fired anybody who worked for them. We don't even let our people debrief." At the time of the first disclosures that reporters had worked for the CIA, Gallagher went to Colby. "We tried to find out names. All he would say was that no full'‘time staff member of the Associated Press was employed by the Agency. We talked to Bush. He said the same thing." If any Agency personnel were placed in Associated Press bureaus, said Gallagher, it was done without consulting the management of the wire service. But Agency officials insist that they were able to make cover arrangements through someone in the upper management levelsof Associated Press, whom they refuse to identify.
10 Many journalists and some CIA officials dispute the Agency's claim that it has been scrupulous in respecting the editorial integrity of American publications and broadcast outlets.
Four-year-old who 'mispronounced the word cucumber' threatened with counter-terrorism measures - Independent.ie
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 13:58
David Barrett
Published 12/03/2016 | 11:04
Nursery workers suggested a four-year-old boy who mispronounced the word ''cucumber'' as ''cooker bomb'' should be referred to a counter-terrorism project, his family has claimed.
The Asian family said concerns were raised with them after the child drew a picture of a man cutting the vegetable with a large knife.
Nursery staff in Luton, Beds, told the child's mother they believed he was saying "cooker bomb" when he was asked about the drawing, and discussed referring the case to the Home Office's 'Prevent' deradicalisation scheme.
However, the case was eventually referred to police and social services panel instead, who decided not to take further action, the BBC Asian Network reported.
The boy's mother, who has not been named, said: "[The member of nursery staff] kept saying it was this one picture of the man cutting the cucumber, which she said to me is a 'cooker bomb'.
''I was baffled. It was a horrible day.''
She added that she feared her children would be taken away from her.
In January it was claimed a 10-year-old Muslim boy was visited by police after he wrote "terrorist house" - instead of "terraced house" during a school lesson.
His father, from Accrington, Lancashire, branded it a "joke" although council sources later claimed action was taken because it was not an isolated incident.
Since July teachers and other workers have been obliged to report any suspicious activity ever since the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act became law.
Just under 2,000 under-15s were referred between January 2012 and December 2015.
Teaching unions say there is confusion over the government's counter-terrorism strategy in schools.
Alex Kenny from the National Union of Teachers said: "Teachers are scared of getting it wrong.
"They think Ofsted is going to criticise them if they haven't reported these things, and you end up [with] the boy making the spelling mistake, or the boy saying something in Arabic - that then gets reported on."
Telegraph.co.uk
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JAMA Network | JAMA Pediatrics | Academic Outcomes 2 Years After Working Memory Training for Children With Low Working Memory: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 22:41
Importance Working memory training may help children with attention and learning difficulties, but robust evidence from population-level randomized controlled clinical trials is lacking.
Objective To test whether a computerized adaptive working memory intervention program improves long-term academic outcomes of children 6 to 7 years of age with low working memory compared with usual classroom teaching.
Design, Setting, and Participants Population-based randomized controlled clinical trial of first graders from 44 schools in Melbourne, Australia, who underwent a verbal and visuospatial working memory screening. Children were classified as having low working memory if their scores were below the 15th percentile on either the Backward Digit Recall or Mister X subtest from the Automated Working Memory Assessment, or if their scores were below the 25th percentile on both. These children were randomly assigned by an independent statistician to either an intervention or a control arm using a concealed computerized random number sequence. Researchers were blinded to group assignment at time of screening. We conducted our trial from March 1, 2012, to February 1, 2015; our final analysis was on October 30, 2015. We used intention-to-treat analyses.
Intervention Cogmed working memory training, comprising 20 to 25 training sessions of 45 minutes' duration at school.
Main Outcomes and Measures Directly assessed (at 12 and 24 months) academic outcomes (reading, math, and spelling scores as primary outcomes) and working memory (also assessed at 6 months); parent-, teacher-, and child-reported behavioral and social-emotional functioning and quality of life; and intervention costs.
Results Of 1723 children screened (mean [SD] age, 6.9 [0.4] years), 226 were randomized to each arm (452 total), with 90% retention at 1 year and 88% retention at 2 years; 90.3% of children in the intervention arm completed at least 20 sessions. Of the 4 short-term and working memory outcomes, 1 outcome (visuospatial short-term memory) benefited the children at 6 months (effect size, 0.43 [95% CI, 0.25-0.62]) and 12 months (effect size, 0.49 [95% CI, 0.28-0.70]), but not at 24 months. There were no benefits to any other outcomes; in fact, the math scores of the children in the intervention arm were worse at 2 years (mean difference, ''3.0 [95% CI, ''5.4 to ''0.7]; P'‰='‰.01). Intervention costs were A$1035 per child.
Conclusions and Relevance Working memory screening of children 6 to 7 years of age is feasible, and an adaptive working memory training program may temporarily improve visuospatial short-term memory. Given the loss of classroom time, cost, and lack of lasting benefit, we cannot recommend population-based delivery of Cogmed within a screening paradigm.
Trial Registration anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12610000486022
How teenage pregnancy collapsed after birth of social media - Telegraph
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:37
Teenage pregnanciesYearConception rate196947.1197052.7197154.9197254.5197353197448.9197544.6197641.1197740.1197841.4197941.9198039.3198138.8198239198340198443.1198544.4198644.1198745.1198846.3198946.9199047.7199144.6199243.5199342.5199441.9199541.9199646.3199745.9199847.1199945.1200043.9200142.7200243200342.3200441.8200541.6200640.8#Facebook goes global200741.6200839.9200937.2201034.3201130.9201227.9201324.5201422.9Source: ONSThe drop in teenage pregnancies has been accompanied by evidence of decreases in other traditionally risky behaviours such as drinking and drug taking.
Children's charities and experts have repeatedly warned that the explosion of social media is exposing young people to new dangers from online bullying to ''sexting'' and sexual exploitation by strangers.
But the new figures suggest that the change in how teenagers conduct their social lives could also be helping make them safer.
' Whatever happened to feckless youth? Young people more cultured than ever
Overall 22,653 girls under 18 got pregnant in England and Wales in 2014 - a drop of almost seven per cent in a single year. Among under-16s it fell by 10 per cent in the same period.
The rate of conceptions among under-18s dropped from 41.6 per 1,000 girls in the age-group in 2007 to 22.9 per 1,000 in 2014.
Prof David Paton, an economist at Nottingham University Business School '' who was among the first to suggest a social media effect on pregnancies '' said it was striking that a similar pattern is emerging in other countries such as New Zealand.
''It does potentially fit in terms of timing,'' he said.
"Rather than sitting at bus stops with a bottle of vodka they are doing it remotely with their friends."
Prof David Paton
''People [appear to be] spending time at home - rather than sitting at bus stops with a bottle of vodka they are doing it remotely with their friends.''
He argued that better access to contraception could not explain the fall as it coincides with cuts to sexual health services in many areas amid a period of major austerity.
One other possibility, he said, was that major improvements in schools in areas such as London around the same time might have played a part.
But he added: ''Nobody really knows why we've got this sudden change around about 2007 to 2008.''
Meanwhile the number of pregnancies among older women rose, continuing a long-term trend towards later motherhood.
Notably, the figures also show that 7.8 per cent of pregnancies involving married women ended in an abortion '' the highest level for 12 years.
Yet among unmarried women the abortion rate fell slightly from 31.2 per cent of conceptions to 31 per cent.
Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the abortion provider British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) said access to contraception and sex education had ''undoubtedly'' played a part in the declining teenage pregnancy rate but she agreed with Prof Paton's suggestion of a social media effect.
''The plummeting level of teenage drinking, for example, may be reducing the likelihood of unprotected sex, and teenagers are also increasingly socialising online, limiting the opportunities for sexual activity,'' she said.
She added: ''As we have seen decreases in conception rates among the under-25s, the largest rise was for women aged 35-39 (a percentage increase of 2.3 per cent).
''Women are increasingly being chivvied about starting their families in their 20s, but the reality is many will wait until their 30s to do so.
''The reasons for this are diverse and will include the time it takes to obtain financial and career security, and not least finding the right person to embark on parenthood with.
''Rather than chastising women, we should support their choices.
''There may be some increased risks with later motherhood, but these need to be kept well in perspective, and women respected as the best judges of when it is best for them to have children.''
Caliphate!
Bataclan owners condemn Eagles of Death Metal frontman's suggestion their guards were complicit in massacre
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:34
Controversial statement '... Jesse Hughes earlier this year. Photograph: Gustav Maartensson/AFP/Getty Images
The owners of the Bataclan in Paris have reacted angrily to the suggestion by Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes that its security guards were complicit in the massacre that left 89 concertgoers dead on 13 November 2015, calling his remarks ''insane''.
''Jesse Hughes spread some very grave and defamatory accusations against the Bataclan teams,'' the Bataclan's owners said in a statement. ''A judicial investigation is undergoing. We wish to let justice proceed serenely. All the testimonies gathered to this day demonstrate the professionalism and courage of the security agents who were on the ground on 13 November. Hundreds of people were saved thanks to [their] intervention.''
In a video interview with Fox Business Network, Hughes had been asked if anything had seemed unusual when he arrived at the venue that evening.
''When I first got to the venue and walked in, I walked past the dude who was supposed to be the security guard for the backstage,'' he said. ''He didn't even look at me. I immediately went to the promoter and said, 'Who's that guy? I want to put another dude on.' He says, 'Well, some of the other guards aren't here yet.' And eventually I found out that six or so wouldn't show up at all.''
He added: ''Out of respect for the police still investigating, I won't make a definite statement, but it seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up.''
Hughes also said he had noticed people at the venue who didn't look like regular Eagles of Death Metal fans. ''Right before we walked onstage, there were two dudes in shorts and trench coats, [who] were standing, without talking, heads down in the corner, by where the entrance out into the venue is from backstage,'' he said. ''We have a joke that if you're not smiling at one of our shows, you surely can't be there to see the Eagles of Death Metal, because you don't know what you're in for. Shawn [London, the group's sound engineer] looked at me and said, 'They certainly don't look like they're here for one of our shows.'''
This is not the first time Hughes has commented on the events of 13 November in surprising fashion. During an interview with the French TV station iT(C)l(C) in February, he said the killings had not made him reconsider his attitudes to gun ownership.
''Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan?'' he said. ''And if anyone can answer yes, I'd like to hear it, because I don't think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men I've ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.
''I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal,'' he said. ''And I hate it that it's that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe until nobody has guns everybody has to have them.
''Because I've never seen anyone that's had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived, I don't know.''
The Californian hard-rock band were on stage at the Bataclan when three terrorists entered the venue and began shooting with assault rifles and throwing hand grenades. It was one of a series of attacks in Paris that night that left 130 people dead. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murders.
23&Me
There's No Guarantee That Genetic Tests Are Accurate | Popular Science
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:58
Doctors rely on genetic tests to help soon-to-be parents determine if their unborn child has Down Syndrome, or if a woman has a particularly high risk for developing breast cancer. But what if those tests got the answer wrong? That might be surprisingly common, according to a story published in the Boston Globe yesterday by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR).
In the U.S., 13,000 lab-based genetic tests are currently available, and they're given to millions of people per year. Yet there's no guarantee that they work'--the companies that make them don't have to prove to the FDA that the tests are accurate, according to the NECIR investigation. Late last year, the FDA itself released a report about these tests.
Inaccurate results can cause improper diagnoses and unnecessary treatments for disease. One prenatal genetic test for Edwards syndrome, a condition in which an extra chromosome drastically delays a fetus' development, was found to be accurate only 40 percent of the time, according to a 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. For another test that uses a patient's genetic information to determine if she is more likely to develop breast cancer, every false negative costs $775,278 ''because the patient was probably given the wrong treatment,'' according to a NECIR story from November. Parents who learn that their child might have Down Syndrome may choose to end the pregnancy.
As it stands now, the FDA has limited oversight over these tests; as a result of the report, the organization called for greater regulation of genetic tests, which the test manufacturers vehemently opposed, stating that more oversight would thwart innovation.
Patients often have no easy way to know whether their counselor has a possible conflict of interest.
When patients receive these tests, they might not understand the likelihood of a false result. Most of these genetic tests are done under the advisory of a genetic counselor as well as a medical professional that helps families select the right tests and decide on what to do with the results. But according to the NECIR investigation, genetic counselors are likely pushing patients towards tests in which they have personal financial stakes: ''There's little question that genetic counselors are operating in a more free-wheeling environment than other healthcare professionals'...Most medical companies must report how much they pay doctors for research, royalties, travel, and speaking fees, but the federal law doesn't cover payments to genetic counselors. As a result, patients often have no easy way to know whether their counselor has a possible conflict of interest,'' the piece reads. That's important because it's a genetic counselor's job to explain the caveats and risks associated with each genetic test, which they might not be doing if they want more people to be taking the tests.
In some ways, these genetic tests aren't too different from direct-to-consumer tests like 23andMe, which ran into trouble with the FDA in 2013 for marketing unjustified claims to consumers (the company is now approved to sell some types of genetic tests). The distinction, it seems, is the genetic counselor: The deficiencies of lab-based tests are (in theory) explained to consumers by genetic counselors, while direct-to-consumer tests have no such intermediary.
But if the genetic counselors aren't being forthright with patients, as the NECIR piece claims, then patients are still being misled about their genetic information. To fix the problem, regulators must crack down on genetic counselors disclosing their financial relationships, or require stronger proof that the genetic tests themselves are accurate for patients to understand on their own.
To read the entire NECIR investigation, click here.
Oregon Oathers
A dead Finicum and a living FBI scapegoat
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:43
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
With Inspector General Horowitz of the Justice Department involved in full scale criminal investigation of the FBI tactical sniper team lying in a cover up over events in Oregon in the Bundy Patriots on the night of the murder of LaVoy Finicum, I desire to point out something which all of you have missed.
The first thing you have to develop in this, is not to have your innocent mindset, but to become the mind of Internal Affairs, which is a law enforcement investigate unit in the police state which hunts the rogue cops.There was something released in the press which made absolutely no sense, and I will begin this by asking you, "How many times while brushing your teeth do you miss your mouth and jam your toothbrush into your ear?"
What happened in just seconds after that crash could lead to criminal charges against the FBI agents.Cox's video showed that one shot hit the truck's left rear passenger window as Finicum stepped out. At the time, Finicum appeared to have his hands at least at shoulder height.Investigators later established that the bullet entered the truck through the roof before shattering the window and concluded it was fired by an FBI agent. Another bullet from the same FBI agent apparently went wild and missed the truck altogether, the investigation showed.
Let me guide you through this now in something which has made absolutely no sense to those who know the situation with trained sniper units, and it is the fact that an agent who fires thousands of rounds each month in training to bring about one shot one kill, not only missed LaVoy Finicum twice, but missed an object as large as a pick up. This is an impossibility, and yet a sniper who is trained to hit a quarter size target at any range, from any position, in any lighting, in any weather.....missed.......twice.
An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.The bullets didn't hit Finicum and didn't contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.
There has been a great deal of lying, deception and cover up, by Special Agent Gregory Bretzing as he bragged about his multiple level operation being employed against the Americans in the Bundy Group, but it appears that we can ascertain that Ammon Bundy was to be a court trophy, led into a sting where he was arrested.LaVoy Finicum, was to be stopped and from the reported actions, was fired upon at a traffic stop by someone opening up on him and his vehicle.Fleeing Mr. Finicum as this blog showed, had a red laser dot aimed at his vehicle from above.His vehicle in fleeing toward the Sheriff of Grant County, then encountered a BLIND CURVE. Meaning the FBI had created a roadblock on a curve that a vehicle would come upon and not be able to stop without crashing into the vehicles or crashing into the ditch, which Mr. Finicum did in trying to save law enforcement lives.
We know from the first flush firing, the subsequent two shots fired into the direction of LaVoy Finicum as he exited the vehicle, that the first shot was meant to flush Mr. Finicum and the second shot is reported to have "gone wild". Store that in your memory for few moments as we will return to that wild shot.Next we have the assassin shots by two Oregon State Troopers who murdered LaVoy Finicum.Lastly we have the 10 minute barrage of the law enforcement using bean bags and stun grenades in which LaVoy Finicum was allowed to bleed out internally in dying and why it was ruled a homicide by Oregon medical examiners.
Let us now return to that "wild shot", for it is important. We know that the FBI snipers do not miss, and yet they did miss........or did they actually hit exactly what they were shooting at.What you have missed is the first shot was a flushing shot to get LaVoy Finicum out of the vehicle and to produce return fire from the pick up, which did not take place.
The second shot was not fired at LaVoy Finicum as the footage does not show him reacting to any close miss. That means that the FBI which does not miss, was not firing at the pick up, nor at Mr. Finicum in his vicinity. That was not a wild shot in the least, but in understanding "the flinch factor" in those situations, it is reasonable to conclude that the FBI sniper had fired upon someone in the Oregon State Police, in a near miss, to induce a reaction from them to get them to fire at LaVoy Finicum as exactly took place.
Once the FBI had suckered the Oregon State Police into murdering Mr. Finicum, then a criminal cover up was necessary, as there was a dying LaVoy Finicum on the ground, who should have had medical treatment which would have saved his life, left to expire, as more rounds were poured at him in misses by the Oregon State Police, while "non lethal" bean bags and flash grenades were volleyed at the pick up to induce the occupants to fire at the police state.That event did not take place for cover of this criminal act, and somehow a 9 mm pistol appeared on LaVoy Finicum, when his family swears he never owned such a weapon, and he never carried concealed, but wore his handgun on his hip, and that gun was back at the Malheur Refuge.
Next appears the major criminal problem in the FBI sniper team is well aware, as is every open mic that recorded this that shots were fired by law enforcement at the execution site first. The Oregon State Police know they did not fire first, but in an interesting psychological bitch slap, Gregory Bretzing started pointing the entire blame at the Oregon State Police, who were being high fived by the democratic governor, but that group trying to process what had happened in setting this all off, and they were exposed to the world in showing they murdered an unarmed LaVoy Finicum.
Enter the Oregon State Police forensics in the medical examination which lists Robert LaVoy Finicum as a homicide with three shots into Mr. Finicum's back. One life threatening, but if he had received immediate medical treatment, he would have survived.
In projection Oregon State Police must have started examining the evidence and reports, and discovered that someone was shooting to start this murder spree, and it was not them nor was it the Patriots. This then points to the FBI sniper team, who knew exactly the crime which had been committed, and went into criminal cover up mode, as what took place in Oregon was flushing LaVoy Finicum three times by UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT who had not any FBI or State Police logos displayed.The last stop was the kill zone if the other zones failed. No FBI agent or law enforcement just opens fire on people. There are ear wigs, and coordination. For this FBI sniper to have opened up on this vehicle, he was under orders from a chain of command. There was an understanding in this that as has been shown that LaVoy Finicum had to be flushed, that the Patriots had to be induced to fire, to give cover to the murders which were being planned.
We know for certain that the FBI sniper did this and it was on orders. We do not know if this was the team leader or if it was one of their subordinates. We do know that afterwards that all 5 members of this team created a cover up, as Gregory Bretzing went before America lying in spin control in placing focus on blaming the Oregon State Police and the Patriots, both scapegoats in this.
Somewhere in this someone talked and that is why Inspector General Horowitz has been unleashed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which appears as part of the leverage operation to save Hillary Clinton in another smear of Director James Comey to force blackmail him over the Hillary Clinton email crimes. It would be better to force Comey to comply than resign, in where this would be a lengthy indictment and smear process of Comey, because all it would take in one sniper confessing there was an understanding with the higher ups and Director Comey would be in prison.
That is what the evidence absolutely points to. At core group, Special Agent Gregory Bretzing was running a carte blanche multi level operation, including Paiute Indians to smear the Patriots, disrupting and intimidating the Citizens of Burns Oregon to make them turn on the Patriots, and then the massive lying and cover up afterwards.We know that the FBI had at least two moles in the Patriot group. We know that Ammon Bundy and LaVoy Finicum were about to vacate the refuge and move to Grant Count to be protected there. That in Internal Affairs investigations then points to the FBI struck first, and in premeditation singled out Ammon Bundy for show trial and to murder LaVoy Finicum, in an interesting repeat of the Little Big Horn massacre in 1876 where George Custer was led into a trap, and the Indian Ring had the Indians murder Custer, in this case in Oregon the FBI had the Oregon State Police murder LaVoy Finicum, in leaving the regime's hands clean.
There has been an entire process all through the West in murdering ranchers, criminalizing them and seizing their property for the Obama Clinton mining interests. There was an agenda to make an example in a final solution in Oregon to stop this, and that is what constructed the operations which Gregory Bretzing oversaw.
Let us be frank in this, that Hillary Clinton, Barack Hussein Obama, Loretta Lynch and the billionaires behind this from Canadian interests to Bush fam, are not going to jail over this. If this is about blackmailing James Comey at FBI to stop the Clinton investigation, then this will all disappear, just like Ruby Ridge ended up with the FBI throwing a grand party for the criminals involved in those homicides in Idaho.
If this is legitimate by the Inspector General, then these 5 snipers were involved in a criminal cover up. They were under orders from someone higher up and that is where it becomes a matter of "Who is an NSA minder in the FBI who is going to be protected and who is going to be scapegoated."
There is a forensic unity of thought in those screened to be in the FBI. It is a collective mindset, and that is what took place in the Oregon cover up. There is reason these people all look the same in their George Jetson hair cuts, there same dark sunglasses, same never in the sun complexions, same predatory stance and always huddled up in their compartmentalized groups.
These are brainwashed operatives who follow orders. They arrive at the FBI for validation in thinking there is a higher order which will glorify them, and soon enough are made cells in a body, of some being laws unto their own selves and all programmed to protect the unit and to follow the orders issued written and implied, to advance.They are told Americans are the enemy and that the system must be protected as the highest order. It is why the intelligence community uses the FBI against Americans to protect the continuity.
We already know that the crimes of the FBI in Oregon has nothing to do with protecting Americans from the FBI in it's police state operations. There would not be a dead LaVoy Finicum or piles of people in jail on trumped up charges, if this was about protecting Americans. This is about the system in protecting it, and the FBI snipers have just discovered that they are like the entire FBI, nothing but Ammon Bundy, to be dealt with for a higher agenda in a game of bigger stakes.You are seeing who is expendable at the FBI for a political agenda and who are the political minders who will walk away from this with promotions, when they gave the order.
agtG
By Les Zaitz | The Oregonian/OregonLiveEmail the author | Follow on Twitteron March 08, 2016 at 10:10 AM, updated March 08, 2016 at 8:13 PM
BEND '' An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.The bullets didn't hit Finicum and didn't contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.The remarkable disclosure came as a team of local investigators released findings that two state troopers shot Finicum three times in the back during the chaotic scene at a police roadblock Jan. 26. One bullet pierced his heart, an autopsy showed.A prosecutor ruled the fatal shooting was legally justified, saying state law allows use of deadly force when officers believe a person is about to seriously injure or kill someone. Finicum kept moving his hands toward a pocket that contained a loaded handgun. Although he was shot from behind, Finicum had a trooper in front of him armed with a Taser who was thought to be in danger.Finicum, 54, an Arizona rancher, was one of the leaders of the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.Investigators gave no details to explain why the one FBI agent, a member of the Hostage Rescue Team, wouldn't report the two shots. They also didn't indicate what his four colleagues did to warrant investigation other than saying it was related to conduct after the shooting."The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved," said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland. The federal agency is cooperating with the inspector general's investigation, he said at a news conference.
The revelation is certain to inflame suspicions about Finicum's death and shake confidence in the FBI, which came under intense fire for botched handling of violent sieges at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and Waco, Texas.Some supporters have claimed Finicum was shot while surrendering, that he was unarmed and that he was shot nine times. The sheriff in neighboring Grant County, Glenn Palmer, described the police operation as an "ambush."Finicum's family said in a statement a month ago that he was "executed in cold blood" and accused police agencies of deliberately misleading the public about what happened. His widow, Jeanette Finicum, didn't retreat from that stance after watching the news conference."My husband was murdered," she said in a statement.The attorney for Ammon Bundy, the occupation's now-jailed leader, found the news of the FBI shots troubling."I'm going to have to go back and reconsider all the conspiracy theories that I've written off," said the lawyer, Mike Arnold.Investigators had planned to release police reports, interview transcripts, photographs, the autopsy report and new video to allow the public to evaluate the police findings in Finicum's death.But they ended up releasing only one video and 19 photographs, citing the new criminal investigation for the change in plans. They also withheld the names of the involved troopers and FBI agents, saying they've tracked up to 80 threats against them, mostly on social media.The shooting happened after police stopped a Jeep and a pickup carrying the key figures of the occupation along a remote stretch of U.S. 395 north of Burns.Finicum was driving the truck that carried carried Ryan C. Bundy, 43, Ryan W. Payne, 32, Shawna Cox, 59, and Victoria Sharp, 18. In the Jeep behind them was driver Mark McConnell, 37, Brian D. Cavalier, 44, and Ammon Bundy, 40, the public face of the occupation. They were bound for a community meeting 100 miles north of the refuge in John Day.
Officer statements and cellphone video taken by Cox from inside the truck showed that Finicum repeatedly ignored police orders, first at the traffic stop and then after he crashed trying to elude officers. He nearly ran over an FBI agent before stalling in a roadside snowbank.What happened in just seconds after that crash could lead to criminal charges against the FBI agents.Cox's video showed that one shot hit the truck's left rear passenger window as Finicum stepped out. At the time, Finicum appeared to have his hands at least at shoulder height.Investigators later established that the bullet entered the truck through the roof before shattering the window and concluded it was fired by an FBI agent. Another bullet from the same FBI agent apparently went wild and missed the truck altogether, the investigation showed.Finicum then moved toward the back of his truck and out of view of Cox's phone, but she was still able to record what was said outside the truck.Officers repeatedly ordered Finicum to get on the ground, according to the video. The investigation found that Finicum first faced a state trooper taking cover in nearby trees, then turned toward two troopers advancing from the highway.Those two state troopers fired when Finicum turned back toward the trooper in the trees while reaching for a loaded 9 mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol inside his jacket, investigators said.Finicum was struck from behind in the left shoulder, the left upper back near his neck and the right lower back, a state autopsy found. The bullet in his lower back migrated up and hit several organs, including his heart. He died at the scene.One of those two troopers moments earlier had fired at Finicum's truck as it barreled toward the police roadblock. That trooper hit the truck with three rounds, investigators concluded."All six shots fired by the Oregon State Police, the three into the truck and the three that struck Mr. Finicum, are justified," said Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris. The shots were "in fact, necessary," he said.Although Norris cleared the troopers of wrongdoing, the entire operation remains under a cloud with the disclosure of possible misconduct by the FBI agents. Law enforcement officials tried to blunt the impact, noting that investigating officers discovered and reported the alleged cover-up.Just days before announcing the investigation results, hundreds of people gathered for weekend demonstrations scheduled in at least 35 states to protest Finicum's death. They repeated claims that police murdered the occupation spokesman and condemned what many said is the federal government's renewed effort to silence self-described patriots and militia members.They were reacting in part to 12 more arrests last week related to the 2014 armed standoff in Nevada involving rancher Cliven Bundy, the father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy. So far, 37 people face federal charges related to the Oregon and Nevada standoffs.
The Finicum shooting investigation showed that the FBI and state police jointly planned the operation when they learned on Sunday, Jan. 24, through media reports that many of the occupation leaders would be on the road to John Day two days later.State troopers were tasked with conducting the traffic stop at a predesignated area, near a U.S. Forest Service road where police forces could wait out of sight. A squad of FBI agents and troopers was assigned to set up the road block roughly two miles north to contain any fleeing suspects and to stop other motorists from driving into the operation.The teams expected Finicum to be armed. He was photographed repeatedly at the refuge with a holstered handgun.Investigators determined that five of the eight people in the Jeep and truck carried loaded handguns. Detectives also recovered three rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the vehicles.Ammon Bundy didn't mention the weapons in a jailhouse interview last week with The Oregonian/OregonLive. "We were headed with weapons of laptops, projectors and PA systems,'' Bundy said. "We were going peacefully to a community meeting.''The reports showed that Bundy wasn't armed. He, Cavalier and McConnell surrendered without incident.Finicum stopped his 2015 Dodge pickup a short distance away. Payne, the tactical leader of the occupation, surrendered after a state trooper fired a plastic tipped 40mm pepper spray round that struck the truck's canopy. The other four people stayed in the idling pickup and Finicum launched into a back-and-forth shouting match with troopers, the investigation found.He told troopers he was leaving to reach the sheriff in John Day. He referred to Palmer six times at the initial stop."The sheriff is waiting for us," he said at one point. "I'm going over to meet the sheriff in Grant County," he said moments later.He taunted troopers to shoot him or otherwise let him go to Palmer. The sheriff has become something of a national hero among anti-government protesters for appearing to support the armed occupiers and opposing federal government control of public land."You want my blood on your hands?" Finicum shouted out the window of his truck.
Finicum then sped away, hitting up to 70 mph, the investigative reports showed. Two FBI pickup trucks and one from the state police were parked in his path down the highway, with agents and troopers arrayed around them.After Finicum crashed into the snowbank and left his truck, state troopers told him at least three times to get on the ground, according to the video. The trooper with the Taser stepped through the snow toward Finicum."He was attempting to control or subdue Mr. Finicum with less lethal force after Mr. Finicum refused orders to get on the ground," said Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, who led the investigation into the shooting.Finicum repeatedly challenged police to shoot him as he moved toward them."You're going to have to shoot me," he said and was told again to get on the ground, the video showed."In the midst of that command, Mr. Finicum grabs his jacket with his left hand and reaches with his right hand for his gun," Nelson said.That's when the two troopers behind Finicum fired the fatal shots."Mr. Finicum repeatedly and knowingly made choices that put him in this situation," said Harney County District Attorney Tim Colahan. "It was not the outcome that any of us wanted but one he, alone, is responsible for."
Apple Crack
San Bernardino DA Amicus Curiae Application
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 05:21
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Apple - Press Info - Amicus Briefs in Support of Apple
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 05:19
Amicus Briefs32 Law ProfessorsAccess Now and Wickr Foundation | Press ReleaseACT/The App Association | Medium PostAirbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr | Automattic & WordPress.com Blog Post | Kickstarter Blog Post | Meetup Blog Post | Tweet from TwitterAmazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Yahoo | Tweet from Box | Cisco Blog Post | Evernote Blog Post | Facebook Statement | Microsoft Blog Post | Mozilla Blog Post | Snapchat Blog Post | WhatsApp Facebook Post | Yahoo Tumblr PostAmerican Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties | Blog PostAT&T | Public Policy Blog PostAVG Technologies, Data Foundry, Golden Frog, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the Internet Association, and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition | Golden Frog Blog | CCIA NewsBSA|The Software Alliance, the Consumer Technology Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, and TechNet | Press ReleaseCenter for Democracy & Technology | Press Release | Blog Post | PodcastElectronic Frontier Foundation and 46 technologists, researchers, and cryptographers | Blog Post | Press ReleaseElectronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and eight consumer privacy organizations | EPIC Top NewsIntel | Blog PostiPhone security and applied cryptography experts including Dino Dai Zovi, Dan Boneh (Stanford), Charlie Miller, Dr. Hovav Shacham (UC San Diego), Bruce Schneier (Harvard), Dan Wallach (Rice) and Jonathan Zdziarski | Blog PostLavabitThe Media Institute | Press ReleasePrivacy International and Human Rights WatchLetters to the CourtThose providing a brief must first apply for permission to file.
WWP
Wounded Warrior Board Ousts Top Two Executives - NYTimes.com
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 06:45
The Wounded Warrior Project fired its top two executives Thursday after accusations of lavish spending and financial irregularities by the charity.
The group's chief executive, Steven Nardizzi, and its chief operating officer, Al Giordano, were fired by the nonprofit organization's board of directors, according to a news release from the board distributed by Abernathy MacGregor, a crisis-management public-relations firm hired by the charity.
Mr. Nardizzi and Mr. Giordano were instrumental in building the organization into a fund-raising juggernaut that took in more than $372 million in 2015.
But the leadership came under fire after former employees said the charity spent recklessly and became overly focused on fund-raising at the expense of veterans' programs. Mr. Nardizzi was given $473,000 in compensation in 2014. A staff meeting at a five-star hotel in Colorado, in which he rappelled into a crowd, cost nearly $1 million.
In reports by CBS News and The New York Times in January, current and former employees described the organization's spending millions on employee retreats and first-class airfare while building programs for veterans that were useful for marketing but did little to serve veterans' needs. The group spent 40 percent of donations on overhead, according to charity watchdog groups.
As scrutiny of the group's spending grew in recent years, the Wounded Warrior Project spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on public relations and lobbying campaigns to deflect criticism of its spending and to fight legislative efforts to restrict how much nonprofits spend on overhead.
Leaders also grew intolerant of criticism, employees said. Several former employees said they had been fired for raising concerns. Many of them were themselves wounded veterans.
In February, the group's board hired the New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to perform an independent review.
The review confirmed many of the findings by The Times and CBS, according to a news release from the public relations firm, and the board has instituted changes to limit first-class travel, track changes and increase accountability.
''To best effectuate these changes and help restore trust in the organization among all of the constituencies WWP serves, the board determined the organization would benefit from new leadership, and WWP CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano are no longer with the organization,'' the news release said.
The board chairman, Anthony Odierno, will temporarily take control of the charity, according to the release. Mr. Odierno, a retired Army captain who was wounded in Iraq, is the son of Gen. Raymond Odierno, a former chief of staff of the Army.
''It is now time to put the organization's focus directly back on the men and women who have so bravely fought for our country and who need our support,'' Mr. Odierno said in a statement.
Board members and Wounded Warrior Project officials did not return calls seeking comment. But Erick Millette, a former employee who was quoted about his disillusionment with the organization in the January article, said a board member, Richard Jones, had contacted him Thursday and thanked him for speaking out about problems at the charity. He said Mr. Jones had told him ''there were going to be some changes.''
Mr. Millett said he had left the organization after growing disturbed about wasteful spending.
''I hope now it can get back on track,'' he said. ''The challenge now is to regain trust '-- the trust of donors and of veterans.''
Obama Nation
Why the National Archives needs punch-card readers
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:12
Data
Why the National Archives needs punch-card readersBy Zach NobleMar 10, 2016
Scruffy Millennials covet old record players because they dig the format; the National Archives and Records Administration keeps old file players around because legacy digital data demand them.
"I am preserving every file format that has ever existed on the web, or that any of you have ever used in your work on a daily basis," said Leslie Johnston, NARA's director of digital preservation, who spoke at a March 10 FedScoop event. "In one transfer from one agency, we received not only their email, their Word documents, their PDFs, their PowerPoints -- we actually received the entire contents of their hard drives."
NARA faces a problem of sheer scale, Johnston said, as it will need to manage 500 petabytes of data by 2020.
But diverse file formats are a challenge all their own.
"If our records are not accessible, then they have not been properly preserved and managed," Johnston noted. The Obama administration has pushed for electronic record-keeping wherever possible, but Johnston noted NARA's dual mandate to both offer records in modern, accessible formats and to maintain the original, "authentic" file formats.
The agency gets requests for data in all manner of formats '' Johnston said she'd recently received a request for data on punch cards '' and sometimes receives records in surprisingly outdated formats.
NARA must be able to read and process the information, so the agency maintains a stable of "vintage media readers" that include various disc and tape players.
For NARA, the management struggle will be constant in coming years, said Brian Houston, engineering VP at Hitachi Data Systems' federal outfit.
Houston said Hitachi has been working with NARA on versioning files, so that a record can be linked to both modern and its original formats instead of having to be copied into a completely separate file.
The many formats, many readers problem isn't going away, Houston acknowledged, but the private sector may see an opportunity: thanks to federal record-keeping, there will always be a market for CD players and the like.
"I'm sure there's somebody in the industry who'd love to be able to have that niche," Houston said.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
Bill May Finally Make Congressional Research Reports Public
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:20
Bill May Finally Make Congressional Research Reports PublicMarch 11, 2016
Last week bipartisan legislation was introduced in both the Senate and House that would require the Government Printing Office to post all Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports online for general public access. The legislation excludes custom products and research prepared in response to a direct request from a congressional office, as well as any materials already being made publicly available on another website.
As we have previously mentioned the formal reports by the CRS are unavailable to the public. That in the midst of our modern information age Congress continues to withhold hundreds of relevant and informative CRS reports produced each year'--produced with millions of taxpayer dollars'--is as shocking as it is disappointing.
But all of that may be about to change.
The legislation, called the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016, was introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) in the Senate and by Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) in the House.
Leahy emphasized the fairness of posting these reports, explaining that ''Outside of Congress, for decades these reports have been 'public' only for insiders who can afford to pay a subscription fee.'' McCain noted how the information would empower the public, stating, ''By making these taxpayer-funded reports free and publicly available'...voters will have access to an invaluable tool to make informed decisions on topics ranging from Obamacare and federal spending to tax reform and other important issues.''
Lance said ''It is 2016, any student, reporter, taxpayer or interested citizen should be able to view these reports online,'' underscoring how out of step the current policy is with modern-day norms.
A coalition of 40 civil society organizations, libraries, think tanks, and other groups (including the Project On Government Oversight) issued a statement of support thanking the co-sponsors and urging relevant committees to quickly approve the legislation.
There is no indication yet whether the legislation will pass during this session. All too often the best bills can become permanently stuck in some part of the legislative process for reasons ranging from lack of genuine interest to partisan gridlock. But the CRS bill has a few things that could help it move. First, it is a change that is long overdue. POGO and other groups have been advocating for the posting of CRS reports since at least 2003, and with each passing year the secrecy around CRS reports becomes more and more difficult to justify. Second, the proposal has bipartisan support, both among its cosponsors in Congress and from the outside groups supporting the idea. Most notably the outside support includes former CRS employees that represent more than 500 years of combined CRS experience. And finally, the change would be neither costly nor disruptive (despite the claims made by CRS) since these reports are already made widely available to staff online. Furthermore, the bill would not make confidential memos to Congress public, and would not infringe on CRS's ability to provide counsel to staff and Members of Congress. Other government research organizations such as the Government Accountability Office have long publicly posted their materials without harming their ability to support Congress. Here's hoping this is enough to finally convince Congress to shed some sunlight on CRS reports.
Sean Moulton is the Open Government Program Manager at POGO.
Topics:Open Government
Related Content:Information Access
Authors:Sean Moulton
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Latest PodcastPodcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for LawmakersThe Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.
TSA
TSA: False Premise Theater
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:31
By Chris Bray | March 11, 2016
Arguments made in support of the TSA are invariably a toxic stew of strawmen, question-begging, and self-refuting premises. This week's winning pile of gibberish is from the American Federation of Government Employees, which warns on its website that the Atlanta airport may return to ''Pre-9/11 Era Airport Security'' by dumping smurfs and hiring private security staff.
Pull on a pair of your very tallest boots, cowboys, 'cause we're about to wade deep into the bullshit.
Most ridiculously, the AFGE '' like the TSA officers it represents '' insists on dramatizing a job that mostly requires low-status employees with minimal training to make Madge and the kids hold up their hands in submission posture for a silly piece of security magic. Quote:TSA officers have one of the most stressful jobs in the world.They are responsible for millions of lives a day. They know that one mistake could lead to a tragedy. Their job is also incredibly dangerous. A bomb in an innocent-looking bag could go off, or an anti-government lunatic could walk up to the check point and open fire, just like what happened at the Los Angeles Airport in 2013 where a TSA officer was killed.
The TSA is almost 15 years old, now, and has had one employee killed on the job. It's far more dangerous to sell blouses in the suburbs, or to do just about anything else. The most commonly performed functions of the TSA officer '-- sighing, eye-rolling, petulant shuffling, sullenly smoking cigarettes in front of the airport '-- are almost perfectly injury-proof, except (over the long term) for the last one.
To be sure, a new killing spree at an airport checkpoint could bring the TSA's number of violent workplace deaths surging to an average of almost .1 per year, making it, apparently, ''incredibly dangerous.'' It's like being a lumberjack, except without the labor or the productivity or the plaid.
And about that ''one mistake'' that ''could lead to a tragedy'': The TSA invariably makes more mistakes than that. People who achieve three successes out of 70 security tests don't get to brag about how they can't afford to make a single mistake at work.
Then there are the moments that make you wonder if smurf apologists can use their eyes to read the things their fingers are typing. Getting warmed up, the AFGE first warns of a dark plot to ''return airport security to the pre-9/11 era in which screeners were poorly trained and paid.'' And then, a few paragraphs later, the same blog post on the same website from the same organization sadly informs readers that ''TSA screeners' average salary is only $32,000 a year. They are among the lowest paid federal employees.''
So you can't replace TSA officers, because then airport security screenings would be done by poorly paid screeners, which is very dangerous, so you should insist instead on having airport security screenings done by TSA officers, who are poorly paid. Hold the smoke in your lungs when you inhale, and that reasoning will get you high as a kite.
And then, a few sentences later: ''When airports are understaffed, screeners often times cannot attend training they're supposed to go to. They cannot do their jobs properly if they are not trained properly.''
So TSA officers should be replaced by private-sector security employees, who are poorly trained, but the irreplaceable TSA officers are themselves ''not trained properly.'' I said hold the smoke. No coughing! Hold it! Hold it! (pause) Okay, let it out. How are you feeling?
Equally absurd '' on its face, right up front, not in any hard-to-detect way '' is the entire premise that the use of private-sector security screeners represents a ''return to pre-9/11 era airport security,'' since private screeners run checkpoints to standards set and enforced by the TSA.
But whatever. A careful reader could find a dozen more reasons to laugh out loud at the AFGE's defense of its lowest-status members. Or you could just sigh at how familiar the whole mess has become, and pour yourself another drink.
NA-Tech News
Amazon Echo, home alone with NPR on, got confused and hijacked a thermostat - Quartz
Fri, 11 Mar 2016 23:12
Next time you listen to NPR, you might want to turn off your Amazon Echo.
Earlier this month, NPR's Weekend Edition ran a story on its Listen Up segment about Amazon Echo and how the voice-activated assistant was helping customers extend the power of the internet into their homes.
But, ironically, the radio program triggered Amazon Echos in the homes of a few listeners.
The show's host, Rachel Martin, explained in an update on the story:
Listener Roy Hagar wrote in to say our story prompted his Alexa to reset his thermostat to 70 degrees. It was difficult for Jeff Finan to hear the story because his radio was right next to his Echo speaker, and when Alexa heard her name, she started playing an NPR News summary. Marc-Paul Lee said his unit started going crazy too and wrote in to tell us this '' let's just say we both enjoyed the story. So Alexa, listen up '' we want you to pledge to your local member station. You hear me? Lots and lots of money. Did you get that, Alexa?
Random things, like TV programs, have a tendency to set off Echo's voice functions. It seems like it's something that Amazon customer support knows about'--and it annoys them too.
Yet the new internet-enabled speaker has stuck a chord with techie consumers, and is making its way into the mainstream. Echo added API integration so owners can call an Uber or activate their Spotify playlists by just commanding their device. Amazon also announced two new Echo models'--the Tap, a portable Bluetooth speaker, and the Dot, which lets you add Echo's voice-activation technology to your old speakers.
This post was updated to note that Listen Up is a segment of Weekend Edition.
As Amazon Echo Takes Off, Sonos Announces Layoffs And Preps For A Voice-Controlled Future - Forbes
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 06:47
Forbes WelcomeHTTP/1.1 200 OK Content-Type: text/html;charset=utf-8 Content-Language: en-US Content-Encoding: gzip Vary: Accept-Encoding Server: Backend: templates Content-Length: 1448 Accept-Ranges: bytes X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN X-Cnection: close Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 06:47:44 GMT Connection: keep-alive
Watsa Decries `Unicorpse' Collapse as Tech Companies Lose Value - Bloomberg Business
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 18:29
Prem Watsa, the investor who heads Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and foretold a drop in technology company shares two years ago, is now saying ''I told you so.''
In his annual letter to shareholders, Watsa said he expects tech stocks from Twitter Inc. to Yelp Inc. to fall even further -- as much as 90 percent from their peak in the last two years. And the damage will extend to closely held startups, said Watsa, Fairfax's chief executive officer.
''The speculation in private high-tech companies (the most valuable of which are known as 'unicorns') has also ended with a thud,'' he said in the letter issued Friday. ''A friend of mine said the new name for these companies is 'unicorpse' as many of them cannot fund their losses internally for more than a few months and now have almost no access to external funding.''
In 2014, Watsa highlighted what he said was overvaluation of technology companies. In the past year, Twitter has dropped 64 percent, Yelp is down 55 percent and LinkedIn Corp. slipped 56 percent. Watsa said he continues to support smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. and its CEO, John Chen. Fairfax is the second-largest investor in the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Investment StyleWatsa, 65, founded Toronto-based Fairfax in 1985. He's modeled his investment style and strategy after value investor Warren Buffett. Fairfax gained from the 2008 financial crisis when Watsa bet on declines in the creditworthiness of U.S. banks and insurers. This year, he's been piling into inflation-linked securities and short positions on stocks and markets.
Investors look to Watsa's annual letter to gauge his outlook on the world economy, markets and any changes to company strategy. He said on Friday that Canada's housing market was due for a correction amid record consumer borrowing and a lack of regulation, comparing the environment to the U.S. before the crisis.
Canadian housing prices "have gone up significantly, driven by lax policies'' at Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., the nation's equivalent to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Watsa said. ''Canadians have accessed their increasing real estate wealth through lines of credit easily available from the banks. Sounds familiar? This is exactly what happened in the United States before the financial crisis."
Fairfax will probably lose its entire investment in Sandridge Energy Inc., an Oklahoma City-based energy producer, as the company recently stopped paying interest and didn't fully hedge oil production, Watsa said. He reiterated in the annual report that he will continue to receive C$600,000 ($454,000) in compensation, without bonuses or equity incentives.
Fairfax gained 1.4 percent to C$715 Friday in Toronto, and has advanced 8.8 percent this year.
Statement on ICANN Plan to Transition IANA Functions
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:44
Washington, DC '' Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on the Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers' (ICANN) plan to transition stewardship of the Internet Assignment Numbers Authority (IANA) from the U.S. Government to the Internet community:
''The Internet Association congratulates the ICANN community on this outcome and the hard work that went into the proposal. The Internet industry is evaluating the proposal and looks forward to supporting a transition plan that preserves a multistakeholder governance model that implements strong accountability measures and controls. Such a model must treat all stakeholders equitably. Internet companies look forward to working with Congress and the NTIA as they review ICANN's plan and look to set ICANN on a path that will allow the Internet to continue to thrive.''
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CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Did The Washington Post Lie About The Michelle Fields Incident? - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 14:27
VIDEO-President Obama Participates in South by Southwest Interactive - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 06:06
VIDEOS-Obama's Call for Encryption 'Compromise' Is Hypocritical | Motherboard
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 05:24
Image: screengrab
During his keynote speech at South By Southwest, President Barack Obama addressed the ongoing debate over encryption. Although he declined to discuss the specifics of the San Bernardino case, in which Apple is currently fighting a court order to hack its own device, the president spoke in more general terms about privacy and security. Obama joined several other political figures in calling for the tech industry to enable expanded law enforcement access to encrypted data.
Obama also advocated for the use of encryption by the government, saying that the technology is crucial to preventing terrorism and protecting the financial and air traffic control systems. But the president argued argued that ordinary citizens also need to expect some intrusion into their phones in order to ensure a safe society. Obama compared the weakening of encryption to going through security at the airport'--an intrusive process, but a necessary sacrifice for citizens to make. (Obama's own devices are, of course, secured with strong encryption.) In his speech, Obama said:
So we've got two values, both of which are important. And the question we now have to ask is, if technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there's no key. There's no door at all. Then how do we apprehend the child pornographer? How do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot? What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement? Because if, in fact, you can't crack that at all, government can't get in, then everybody's walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. So there has to be some concession to the need to be able get into that information somehow.
Obama said the tech community should ''balance these respective risks,'' suggesting that the industry had not been proactive enough in compromising on encryption and that, if it failed to compromise, it risks being cut out of the conversation entirely by Congress. ''I'm confident that this is something we can solve, but we're going to need the tech community, software designers, people who care deeply about this stuff, to help us solve it,'' Obama said. He added:
Because what will happen is, if everybody goes to their respective corners, and the tech community says, 'You know what, either we have strong perfect encryption, or else it's Big Brother and Orwellian world,' what you'll find is that after something really bad happens, the politics of this will swing and it will become sloppy and rushed and it will go through Congress in ways that have not been thought through. And then you really will have dangers to our civil liberties, because the people who understand this best and who care most about privacy and civil liberties have disengaged, or have taken a position that is not sustainable for the general public as a whole over time.
In Obama's telling, the tech industry is painted as a spoiled child who runs back to his corner and disengages with the debate, snatching up his toys and taking them back to his mansion when he realizes he doesn't like the way the game is being played. It's a compelling image, and one that the industry, which is widely perceived as elitist and uninclusive, will have a tough time combatting.
But the industry has compromised on this issue, collaborating with law enforcement to provide access to data for criminal prosecutions. In the San Bernardino case, Apple has provided access to iCloud backups of the shooter's phone and offered suggestions on how to create additional backups before it was revealed that the shooter's iCloud password had been reset at the behest of the FBI.
Tech companies also routinely provide unencrypted metadata to law enforcement, which can provide a detailed portrait of a suspect's life: where he's been, where he is currently, who he communicates with, how regularly he communicates with others and how long the conversations last.
The government also wields a powerful investigative tool in CALEA (the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act). CALEA compels service providers like AT&T and Verizon to build backdoors into their systems to allow for real-time monitoring of suspects by law enforcement.
Yet another instance of compromise is Apple's encryption of iCloud. As security expert Jonathan Zdziarski pointed out in post on his blog, iCloud offers an example of the type of ''warrant-friendly'' encryption that Obama called for in his SXSW keynote.
''I suspect that the answer is going to come down to how do we create a system where the encryption is as strong as possible. The key is as secure as possible. It is accessible by the smallest number of people possible for a subset of issues that we agree are important,'' Obama said. His suggestion for solving the encryption debate mirrors the solution Apple has already developed for securing iCloud data: that data is encrypted, but Apple maintains access so that it can comply with warrants.
But, Zdziarski notes, the 2014 hack of celebrities' iCloud accounts illustrates the dangers of ''compromise'' encryption.
''The iCloud's design for 'warrant friendliness' is precisely why the security of the system was also weak enough to allow hackers to break into these women's accounts and steal all of their most private information,'' Zdziarski wrote. ''The data stored in iCloud is stored in a weaker way that allows Apple to service law enforcement requests, and as direct result of this, hackers not only could get into the same data, but did. And they did it using a pirated copy of a law enforcement tool'--Elcomsoft Phone Breaker.''
Obama mentioned this particular concern in his speech. ''Now, what folks who are on the encryption side will argue, is any key, whatsoever, even if it starts off as just being directed at one device, could end up being used on every device. That's just the nature of these systems,'' he said. ''That is a technical question. I am not a software engineer. It is, I think, technically true, but I think it can be overstated.''
Obama is right'--it's technically true that any key can end up being used on every device.
The president isn't the only politician to call for compromise on encryption and he certainly won't be the last, but what the FBI is asking for in the San Bernardino case (and beyond it) isn't compromise'--it's total compliance. Compromise suggests that tech companies and law enforcement agencies will meet in the middle, each conceding some of their demands in order to find common ground. The industry has made an effort to do so by providing metadata, real-time surveillance, and data backups to law enforcement.
But Obama's comments suggest that none of this information is enough'--encryption needs to be completely backdoored in order for there to be ''compromise.'' If the government refuses to acknowledge the concessions that have been made and continues to demand universal access to encrypted data while clinging onto strong encryption for itself, there is no compromise at all. It's just the government getting exactly what it wants, snatching up all its toys and heading back to its mansion.
VIDEO-Turkish First Lady: harem was 'school' for women | euronews, world news
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 05:02
Turkey's First Lady has called the harem of Ottoman sultans a ''school'' preparing women for life, according to local media.
Westerners often think of harems as the sultan's sexual playground, but Emine Erdogan called it an educational institution for members of the Ottoman dynasty. She was speaking at an official event on Ottoman sultans in Ankara, according to Turkish TV stations.
The sultans who ruled the Ottoman empire for six centuries had a harem at Istanbul's Topkapi Palace, which was turned into a museum after the birth of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
The harem did have strict rules on the recruitment and education of courtesans. Each woman would receive an education in a discipline in which she showed promise '' for example calligraphy, decorative arts, music or foreign languages '-- and the most capable could rise to wield enormous influence over the court.
But Emine Erdogan's comments came under fire on social media, just a day after her husband marked International Women's Day by saying he believed ''a woman is above all a mother'', which prompted street protests in Istanbul.
The Erdogans regularly speak of their attachment to the values of the Ottoman empire, which collapsed in the early twentieth century. Critics accuse the pair and the conservative government of trying to impose a strict Islam and curtailing women's rights. Erdogan has in the past urged Turkish women to have at least three children and labeled efforts to promote birth control ''treason''.
VIDEO-Migrants fight for free bread and eggs at Greek-Macedonian border | euronews, world news
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:57
Europe: a place where migrants battle each other for free bread, potatoes and eggs thrown at them from the back of a lorry.
Conditions at Idomeni's muddy tent city at Greece's northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia show little signs of improving.
Babies, some just weeks old, lie down on damp cardboard boxes.
Continues below
Aid groups say more than a third of the people at the camp are children. Many struggle to sleep in their cold and flooded tents.
''We are in Europe from 20 days ago,'' explained Ali. ''I am in Europe but I cannot even find a safe place now I am fighting the nature [cold weather]. In Syria we are fighting ISIS, now we are fighting the nature and I think its worse that ISIS.''
About 14,000 people are camped in the mud at Idomeni, or housed in an overflowing official camp, hoping that Macedonia will allow them to continue their trek north to central Europe, but officials say the border will stay closed to migrants.
Greek authorities have urged the refugees to move to other organised shelters in northern Greece, as there is no immediate prospect of the border reopening.
Many have run out of money and are unable to take a bus elsewhere therefore they wait at the camp and try to stay warm, rising early to look for firewood and food.
VIDEO-Erdogan warns Turkey's top courts over freed journalists | euronews, world news
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:53
Turkey's president warned the country's top court that it's survival would be up for debate if it repeated rulings that were against the country. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was refering to a decision that led to the release of two detained newspaper editors.
''Excuse me but I said: I do not respect the decision of an institution that does not respect the rights and interests of the people of this country,'' said Erdogan. ''I hope the constitutional court will not act in such a way again that will leave its existence and legitimacy up for debate.''
The release of the journalists was described by one of them as a ''clear defeat'' for Erdogan.
Both were released on bail last week after the constitutional court ruled that their rights had been violated.
The two journalists were detained after their newspaper published material it said showed intelligence officials trucking arms to Syria.
They face trial and if convicted potential life sentences.
VIDEO-No match for mere mortals: Google's AlphaGo wins Go series | euronews, world news
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:48
Machine has triumphed over man in the complicated board game Go.
The man in question, South Korean professional Lee Sedol, is one of the world's top players but he proved no match for a computer.
Losing 3-0 on Saturday in a best of five contest in Seoul, Lee was consoled by Google subsidiary DeepMind which designed the AlphaGo programme.
''AlphaGo can compute tens of thousands of positions per second, but what's really incredible is that Lee Sedol can compete with that just with the power of his mind and ingenuity and stretched AlphaGo to its limit in the last three games,'' said Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.
As for the result, he said:''To be honest we are a bit stunned and speechless''.
Hassabis earlier tweeted that AlphaGo's victory was an ''historic moment''.
Google executives say that Go offers too many possible moves for a machine to win simply through brute-force calculations, unlike chess, in which IBM's Deep Blue famously beat former world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
The AlphaGo computer programme therefore sought to approximate human intuition in tackling the game, most popular in countries like China, South Korea and Japan, in which contestants move black and white stones on a square grid, with the aim of seizing the most territory.
VIDEO-Large anti-government protests in Poland over 'rule of law' | euronews, world news
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:30
Tens of thousands of Poles have marched through Warsaw, demanding that the right-wing government respect the constitution.
Its controls on the media and other institutions have been criticised by the EU, the US and human rights groups.
At the rally which was organised by opposition parties, protesters called on the government to recognise a court ruling that declared judicial reforms illegal.
On Saturday the Law and Justice government rejected a ruling by the Constitutional Court outlawing some of the reforms, saying it would not take it as valid.
Earlier in the week the court declared illegal the government's decision to increase the number of judges needed to make rulings. The reforms also change the order in which cases are heard in the country's top court, and are said to make it difficult for judges to challenge '' or even review '' the government's legislation.
The European Council watchdog the Venice Commission had also called on the Polish government to recognise the court ruling.
The row has deepened a crisis that has stirred concerns about the state of democracy and the rule of law in Poland.
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders Supporters Stir Up Unrest at Trump Rally, Yell for Sanders - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:20
VIDEO-Video Filmed Inside LaVoy Finicum's Car Right Up To The Moment He Is Shot By Police! - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:18
VIDEO-CEO Of Wounded Warrior Project FIRED! After Investigation Finds Donations Spent On Lavish Parties! - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:04
VIDEO-West Virginia Lawmakers Sickened After Celebrating Legalization Of RAW Milk! - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 04:03
VIDEO-Pentagon Using Military Drones To Spy On Americans In The U.S.! - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 03:59
VIDEO-NBC's Katy Tur Unloads on Trump Over Violence at Rallies, Michelle Fields Incident | MRCTV
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 03:25
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
The usually even-keeled NBC News Trump correspondent Katy Tur seemed to have had enough on Thursday night as following the Republican presidential debate, Tur took to MSNBC to air a multitude of concerns about the growing number of violent incidents at Trump rallies to go along with Tuesday's alleged bruising of Breitbart's Michelle Fields by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Prior to Tur's comments, she was asked by host Chris Matthews a brief but open-ended question about what she's seen in terms of Trump's ''changes of mood'' and ''reactions to any legitimate questions from the press.''
VIDEO-NBC Touts 'Civility' at GOP Debate Then Calls for More Attacks | MRCTV
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 03:07
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Friday's NBC Today began by condescendingly congratulating Republicans on having a ''civil'' debate Thursday night that ''finally'' covered ''substantive'' issues. However, only minutes later, the same broadcast called on the candidates to attack each other more.
At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer announced: ''Playing nice...The Republican presidential hopefuls abandon nasty insults and stick to the issues at last night's debate.'' Moments later, he noted how the ''surprising display of civility'' at the event was a ''striking turnaround from their 11 previous clashes.''
VIDEO-ABC Yawns at 'Mysterious Death' of Former Putin Advisor; NBC Covers | MRCTV
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 03:01
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
ABC's morning and evening newscasts, as of the evening of 11 March 2016, have yet to cover the announcement by Washington, D.C. law enforcement officials on 10 March 2106 that Mikhail Lesin, a former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in November 2015 of "blunt force injuries of the head." The 11 March 2016 edition of NBC Nightly News devoted a full report on the Lesin's death, while earlier in the day, CBS This Morning aired a 21-second news brief on the story.
VIDEO-Obama scolds SXSW audience for laughing when he claims U.S. makes it hard to vote
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 02:40
VIDEO-President Obama Participates in South by Southwest Interactive - YouTube
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:43
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders Supporters Start Riot at Trump Rally, Yell for Sanders
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:34
VIDEO-Escalating aggression marks Trump's rally rhetoric | MSNBC
Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:29
Millions spent in FL Trump attack ads
With 99, winner take all, delegates at stake in Florida on Tuesday, it is no surprise that millions of dollars have been spent in advertisements against Donald Trump. Founder of CateComm, Kevin Cate joins MSNBC's Kate Snow to discuss these political...
MSNBC Live with Kate Snow
03/12/16
Duration: 2:58
VIDEO-Donald Trump Attacked by Protestor during rally - YouTube
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 19:45
VIDEO-Ted Cruz: Donald Trump is Responsible for Chicago Chaos! - YouTube
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 18:00
VIDEO-Boris Johnson speech on Brexit - YouTube
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 17:56
VIDEO-Charlie Rose | charlierose.com
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 17:51
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VIDEO-Donald Trump: I have no regrets - CNN Video
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 14:03
Trump supporters, protesters clash after Chicago rally postponedBy Jeremy Diamond and Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Donald Trump's campaign on Friday postponed a rally in Chicago amid fights between supporters and demonstrators, protests in the streets and concerns that the environment at the event was no longer safe.
VIDEO-Video: President Obama Unloads On Trump And The GOP | Crooks and Liars
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:49
President Obama made a trip to Austin, Texas today to speak at the SxSW Conference about the intersection of technology and government and then headed out to a fundraiser. At that fundraiser, he unloaded on Republicans, and Donald Trump in particular.
It was delicious. Via Twitter:
There's a debate inside of the other party that is fantasy, and school yard taunts, and sellin' stuff like it's the home shopping network," Obama said.
Obama also again mocked establishment Republicans who he argues say, "We're shocked someone is fanning anti-immigrant or anti-muslim sentiment! We're shocked! We're shocked that someone could be loose with the facts. Or distort someone's record. Shocked!"
"How could you be shocked? This was the guy who was sure I was born in Kenya. And wasn't letting go...As long as it was being directed at me they were fine with it. It was a hoot...and suddenly they're shocked that gambling's going on in this establishment," he said.
Obama called Trump "A distillation of what has been going on in their party for more than a decade. This is the message that's been fed, that you just deny the evidence of science. That compromise is a betrayal. That the other side isn't simply wrong, we disagree. The other side is destroying the country. Or treasonous. Look it up, that's what they've been saying. So they can't be surprised when somebody says, "I can make up stuff better than that.'"
"The reaction is something they have to take responsibility for and then make an adjustment," Obama insisted.
VIDEO-Steve Wozniak: Amazon Echo is next big platform
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:36
AP
Apple founder Steve Wozniak loves the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker that users can talk to.Inan interview with CNBCthat aired Friday, he said he thought it was "the next big platform for the near future."
"It's become such a wonderful part of our life, not having to lift anything up and speak to things, and just speak to it anywhere across a room," he said. "That is such a luxury and freedom."
"I fell in love with speaking because I hate to memorize," the Apple founder said, mentioning that he liked to use Apple's Siri voice assistant as well. "With the Amazon Echo, you can just say, 'Send me an Uber,' and it does it."
Wozniak is not the only one who thinks there's a lot of potential in the voice-controlled speaker. Tech Insider's Dave Smith says it's one of his favorite tech gadgets ever, and lots of other commentators agree. Though the Echo launched quietly in 2014, Amazon has recently been promoting its "sleeper hit" with television commercials as well.
It all adds up to a product with a cult-like following that regularly sells out.
Business Insider
Though Amazon doesn't release sales data, some estimates peg Echo sales as outpacing speakers from established audio brands like Bose, Sonos, and Logitech.
Amazon released two new Echo speakers last week: the Echo Dot, which is a smaller version of the first Echo, and the Amazon Tap, a portable version.
Here's the whole clip of Woz's comments on the Echo:
VIDEO-Caitlyn Jenner: "Country Is Over" If Hillary Clinton's Elected President (VIDEO) | Gossip Cop
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:32
(E)
Caitlyn Jenner goes on a tirade against Hillary Clinton on this Sunday's episode of ''I Am Cait,'' insisting that the Democratic presidential candidate is a ''f***ing liar'' and the ''country is over,'' if she's elected. Watch the video below!
As Gossip Cop reported, Season 2 of Jenner's reality show sees her embarking on a bus tour with her transgender friends. During their trip, the women begin to argue politics after Chandi Moore asks Caitlyn her opinion of Donald Trump. ''I think he would have a hard time with women,'' says Jenner, who further offers, ''It doesn't mean he wouldn't be good for women's issues. I think he would be very good for women's issues.''
The rest of the women groan at the lifelong Republican's statement, but Jenner explains in a confessional, ''Just because I'm a woman now doesn't make me all of a sudden liberal.'' The debate escalates when the women bring up Clinton, to which Jenner says, ''I would never, ever, ever vote for Hillary'... If Hillary becomes president, the country is over.''
Jenner's friend Candis Cayne attempts to argue that there's ''a lot to love about Hillary,'' and that she's ''an amazing woman,'' but an annoyed Jenner starts yelling, ''What has she done in her life?! What has she done?'' The former Olympian adds, ''She was a lousy senator. She was horrible. Look at all of the things that are going on in the Middle East, all because of what she did. Look at Benghazi. She lied to us! She's a f***ing liar!''
Despite the other women trying to refute her points, Jenner wasn't having it, and went on to express, ''You want a person that's going to lie to you?'... She's a political hack. That's all she is. She's done nothing!'' Watch the clip below from this Sunday's episode of ''I Am Cait.''
VIDEO-Pentagon report justifies deployment of military spy drones over the U.S.
Sat, 12 Mar 2016 00:10
Pentagon report justifies deployment of military spy drones over the U.S.17510
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The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade according to a new report. USA TODAY
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), carrying a Hellfire air-to-surface missile lands at a secret air base in the Persian Gulf region on January 7, 2016. Such aircraft have been used over the U.S.(Photo: John Moore)
The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.
The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.
The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon takes the issue of military drones used on American soil "very seriously."
The Pentagon has publicly posted at least a partial list of the drone missions that have flown in non-military airspace over the United States and explains the use of the aircraft. The site lists nine missions flown between 2011 and 2016, largely to assist with search and rescue, floods, fires or National Guard exercises.
USA TODAY
Pentagon developed 'unique' policy to ensure drones used legally
A senior policy analyst for the ACLU, Jay Stanley, said it is good news no legal violations were found, yet the technology is so advanced that it's possible laws may require revision.
"Sometimes, new technology changes so rapidly that existing law no longer fits what people think is appropriate," Stanley said. "It's important to remember that the American people do find this to be a very, very sensitive topic."
Other federal agencies own and operate drones. The use of unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) drones over the USA surfaced in 2013 when then-FBI director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that the bureau employed spy drones to aid investigations but in a "very, very minimal way, very seldom."
The inspector general analysis was completed March 20, 2015, but not released publicly until last Friday.
It said that with advancements in drone technology along with widespread military use overseas, the Pentagon established interim guidance in 2006 governing when and whether the unmanned aircraft could be used domestically. The interim policy allowed spy drones to be used for homeland defense purposes in the U.S. and to assist civil authorities.
But the policy said that any use of military drones for civil authorities had to be approved by the Secretary of Defense or someone delegated by the secretary. The report found that defense secretaries have never delegated that responsibility.
The report quoted a military law review article that said "the appetite to use them (spy drones) in the domestic environment to collect airborne imagery continues to grow, as does Congressional and media interest in their deployment."
Military units that operate drones told the inspector general they would like more opportunities to fly them on domestic missions if for no other reason than to give pilots more experience to improve their skills, the report said. "Multiple units told us that as forces using the UAS capabilities continue to draw down overseas, opportunities for UAS realistic training and use have decreased," the report said.
A request for all cases between 2006 and 2015 in which civil authorities asked the military for use of spy drones produced a list of "less than twenty events," the report said. The list included requests granted and denied.
The list was not made public in the report. But a few examples were cited, including one case in which an unnamed mayor asked the Marine Corps to use a drone to find potholes in the mayor's city. The Marines denied the request because obtaining the defense secretary's "approval to conduct a UAS mission of this type did not make operational sense."
Shortly before the inspector general report was completed a year ago, the Pentagon issued a new policy governing the use of spy drones. It requires the defense secretary to approve all domestic spy drone operations. It says that unless permitted by law and approved by the secretary, drones "may not conduct surveillance on U.S. persons." It also bans the use of armed drones over the United States for anything other than training and testing.
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The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade according to a new report. USA TODAY
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), carrying a Hellfire air-to-surface missile lands at a secret air base in the Persian Gulf region on January 7, 2016. Such aircraft have been used over the U.S.(Photo: John Moore)
The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.
The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.
The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon takes the issue of military drones used on American soil "very seriously."
The Pentagon has publicly posted at least a partial list of the drone missions that have flown in non-military airspace over the United States and explains the use of the aircraft. The site lists nine missions flown between 2011 and 2016, largely to assist with search and rescue, floods, fires or National Guard exercises.
USA TODAY
Pentagon developed 'unique' policy to ensure drones used legally
A senior policy analyst for the ACLU, Jay Stanley, said it is good news no legal violations were found, yet the technology is so advanced that it's possible laws may require revision.
"Sometimes, new technology changes so rapidly that existing law no longer fits what people think is appropriate," Stanley said. "It's important to remember that the American people do find this to be a very, very sensitive topic."
Other federal agencies own and operate drones. The use of unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) drones over the USA surfaced in 2013 when then-FBI director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that the bureau employed spy drones to aid investigations but in a "very, very minimal way, very seldom."
The inspector general analysis was completed March 20, 2015, but not released publicly until last Friday.
It said that with advancements in drone technology along with widespread military use overseas, the Pentagon established interim guidance in 2006 governing when and whether the unmanned aircraft could be used domestically. The interim policy allowed spy drones to be used for homeland defense purposes in the U.S. and to assist civil authorities.
But the policy said that any use of military drones for civil authorities had to be approved by the Secretary of Defense or someone delegated by the secretary. The report found that defense secretaries have never delegated that responsibility.
The report quoted a military law review article that said "the appetite to use them (spy drones) in the domestic environment to collect airborne imagery continues to grow, as does Congressional and media interest in their deployment."
Military units that operate drones told the inspector general they would like more opportunities to fly them on domestic missions if for no other reason than to give pilots more experience to improve their skills, the report said. "Multiple units told us that as forces using the UAS capabilities continue to draw down overseas, opportunities for UAS realistic training and use have decreased," the report said.
A request for all cases between 2006 and 2015 in which civil authorities asked the military for use of spy drones produced a list of "less than twenty events," the report said. The list included requests granted and denied.
The list was not made public in the report. But a few examples were cited, including one case in which an unnamed mayor asked the Marine Corps to use a drone to find potholes in the mayor's city. The Marines denied the request because obtaining the defense secretary's "approval to conduct a UAS mission of this type did not make operational sense."
Shortly before the inspector general report was completed a year ago, the Pentagon issued a new policy governing the use of spy drones. It requires the defense secretary to approve all domestic spy drone operations. It says that unless permitted by law and approved by the secretary, drones "may not conduct surveillance on U.S. persons." It also bans the use of armed drones over the United States for anything other than training and testing.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1pg4V11
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Via Free Beacon:
President Obama scolded the audience at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, for taking amusement in his pronouncement that the U.S. makes it too difficult for citizens to vote.
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