7:48 AM 11/30/2017 – Hezbollah in America’s Backyard

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Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Politico

How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard

Politico2 hours ago
The Trump administration is pushing back aggressively against what the intelligence community often refers to as the “Iran Threat Network” or ITN, and as part of that campaign it is especially keen to focus on the activities of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian Lebanese militia, in Latin America. Now, new revelations …
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Breitbart News

Terror Task Force Chair: Jihadists ‘Are Teaming Up with Violent …

Breitbart NewsNov 23, 2017
Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist groups are joining forces with “violent drug lords” in Latin America to raise money to fund their nefarious activities, posing a “grave threat” to U.S. national security, warned Rep. … Islamic Terrorist are teaming up with violent drug lords located in America’s backyard.
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Newsmax

Iran Plans Naval Excursion Into Western Hemisphere

NewsmaxNov 27, 2017
They have political support from some Latin American countries that purportedly offered them assistance with Iran’s Lebanese Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah. The Middle East situation and Iran’s excursion into America’s backyard hold the classic elements for another Cold War between Russia and the …
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Haaretz

While America’s AWOL on Coordinating anti-Iran Allies, Saudi …

HaaretzNov 18, 2017
In Yemen, Saudi Arabia faces a legitimate Iranian-sponsored threat in its backyard in the form of the Houthi rebels. The November 4 … Will such a Saudi-led strategy – toward a clearly legitimate objective – succeed in getting Hezbollah to reduce its involvement in regional affairs? Could it, on the way, spark …

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How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Politico
‘Evil racist’: how the UK reacted to Trump’s Theresa May Twitter attack
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How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Politico
 


Politico
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard
Politico
In May 1996, the three border countries launched a Tripartite Command of the Tri-Border to coordinate their law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat organized crime and terrorist activities in the area. The next monthjust days before  

‘Evil racist’: how the UK reacted to Trump’s Theresa May Twitter attack

Politicians and the public in Britain woke up to news that the US president had verbally attacked the leader of its closest ally and many were not happyBritain woke up on Thursday morning to find the British-American special relationship under threat after Donald Trump launched a scathing overnight attack on Theresa May, dismissively telling her not to criticise him.

The presidents public outburst was a response to Downing Streets earlier statement calling him out for retweeting videos from the far-right group Britain First, which the prime ministers spokesman said used hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.

.@Theresa_May, dont focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!

So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing

Well said Saj. This is a sad & low moment for the West, & AngloAmerican relations, which betrays a deep ignorance of the very real challenges of tackling the insidious rise of extremism and prejudice that threatens us all. https://t.co/0Yc3q1ShGB

New @realDonaldTrump insult to @theresa_may. She must end humiliating dependence of #BrexitBritain on goodwill of evil racist. Cancel visit

I hope the Prime Minister will now summon the United States Ambassador and tell him the Presidents statements are unacceptable. I cannot think of a more insulting or destructive public communication from a US President to a British PM since the American civil war!

Wrong twitter handle. And that’s just the start pic.twitter.com/Vzw3mA905v

Trump has now deliberately and knowingly lined himself up behind the fascist group Britain First. He is not welcome.

Enough is enough. Trump was offered a state visit with unseemly haste. After the events of the past 24 hours the idea it can go ahead is preposterous. The Prime Minister must cancel it. Simple as that.

Think when Trump comes over, if he does come over, he should get to meet some of the locals!

So this is the ‘Special Relationship’ between US & UK? – involves promoting UK facist hate groups, then telling UK PM where to go when she offers the mildest of rebukes?

You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you cant pass anything through a congress that you control. I would focus on that. https://t.co/SNcqOZGvLQ

PM @theresa_may is one of the great world leaders, I have incredible love and respect for her and for the way she leads the United Kingdom, especially in the face of turbulence. -OGH

(Photo: Hatch at 10 Downing Street last Tuesday) pic.twitter.com/KQoH2LoRe9

Me: I hate Theresa May
[Trump attacks Theresa May]
Me: LEAVE THERESA MAY THE FUCK ALONE

Continue reading…

The Self-Destruction of American Democracy – New York Times
 


New York Times
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New York Times
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Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’ – U.S. News & World Report
 


U.S. News & World Report
Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visit the Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery at Istra, outside Moscow, Russia November 15, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS Reuters. MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian and more »

The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
 

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RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
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US seeks to deny China market economy status in WTO – Financial Times
 


Financial Times
US seeks to deny China market economy status in WTO
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Donald Trump dominates Yahoo’s list of top UK searches in 2017 – ITV News
 


ITV News
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Special relationship? Theresa May discovers she has no friend in Donald Trump | Julian Borger

The US presidents Twitter attack on Britains prime minister leaves her with a toxic diplomatic dilemma how to respond to a contemptuous US presidentIt is some poor officials job this morning to tell Theresa May that while she slept, the relationship with the US became special for all the wrong reasons.

It is at least historic. No US president in modern times has addressed a UK prime minister with the open peevishness and contempt of Donald Trumps tweet telling May to mind her own business.

Related: Donald Trump attacks British PM Theresa May over her criticism of his far-right retweets

Continue reading…

After Michael Flynn flips on Donald Trump, his son Michael Flynn Jr flips out

On Wednesday it was revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has paused his grand jury against Michael Flynn, the surest sign yet that Mueller and Flynn are hammering out a plea deal in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Flynn is widely believed to be reluctantly cutting a deal in order to protect his son Michael Flynn Jr, who also faces serious exposure to criminal charges in the scandal. Now that Flynn Sr is flipping, Flynn Jr isn’t taking the news well. In fact he’s flipping out.Michael Flynn Jr has spent the past few days making vague Twitter posts suggesting that things may or may not be what they seem. However, shortly after it was revealed that his father really is wheeling and dealing with the Special Counsel, we got this tweet from Flynn Jr:

It’s not entirely clear how we’re supposed to interpret the animated GIF of Jim Carrey screaming and ripping his hair out. Is this what he expects society’s reaction to be to the Michael Flynn deal? Donald Trump’s base may be nervously tearing out its hair, as Flynn has the goods to take down Trump and everyone else involved, but mainstream Americans are celebrating the news that Flynn is flipping. In any case, Flynn Jr’s other tweets of the day suggests that he’s the one flipping out.

At one point Michael Flynn Jr attacked Fox News host Geraldo Rivera for defending Matt Lauer. At another point Junior retweeted a completely nonsensical tweet from Donald Trump about contempt citations. The other day he retweeted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a key suspect in the Trump-Russia conspiracy. This guy is all over the place. We’re continuing to monitor Flynn Jr’s Twitter account because once his father formally signs a deal that gets his son off the hook, we’ll see the son being forced to suddenly stop tweeting altogether.

The post After Michael Flynn flips on Donald Trump, his son Michael Flynn Jr flips out appeared first on Palmer Report.

In SF, Russian ambassador to US speaks of cooperation – SFGate
 


SFGate
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SFGate
The closure was the latest move in a long tit-for-tat it came in response to Putin ejecting hundreds of American diplomats fromRussia, which in turn had been a reaction to sanctions approved by Congress to punish Russia for interfering in the U.S  
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Roger Stone apologizes, admits hes been lying about Trump-Russia the entire time

Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone has long portrayed himself as a bully in the public square. Stone sells conspiratorial political books for a living, and loves to play the part. In fact he’s been such a misbehaving bully, he’s been permanently banned from CNN and Twitter. But now that he finds himself firmly in the crosshairs of the Trump-Russia scandals, he’s revealing himself to be very much a coward.Rather than face contempt of Congress or worse, Roger Stone has coughed up the name of the WikiLeaks go-between he was using during the election: his friend Randy Credico. In so doing he’s sold out Credico, who has just been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee as a result (link). As it turns out, that’s just the beginning of the story, because now Stone is admitting he’s been lying the entire time, and he’s apologizing for it.

Ryan Lizza, who writes for the New Yorker and appears on CNN, tweeted this after the news broke: “I asked Roger Stone in March if Randy Credico was his Wikileaks contact and he lied to me and said no. He just texted me, ‘A misguided effort to protect Credico who I felt had helped me on an off the record basis. Sorry.’” So now, not only is Stone giving up his friend to try to save himself, he’s also confessing to his lies and apologizing to the media. Has he turned over a new leaf? Probably not. He may be more worried about obstruction of justice charges.

Lying to a journalist is not a crime in and of itself. But if it can be demonstrated that Roger Stone lied to the media (and thus the public) for the purpose of trying to throw off investigators, that can meet the legal definition of obstruction of justice. Now that Stone is panicking and caving, he may be caving all the way.

The post Roger Stone apologizes, admits he’s been lying about Trump-Russia the entire time appeared first on Palmer Report.

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman insteadDonald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Trump tried to start World War III with Great Britain, and couldn’t even get it right
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Esquire.com
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Al-Arabiya
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Its stroke of luck was to discover the potency of emotional and divisive political communication on social media, which it used to great effect in Eastern Europe before the EU referendum or Trump election campaign were ever thought of. It is certainly 

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6:33 AM 11/28/2017 – FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – Washington Post

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Investigate the investigators!

Save America!

Reform the FBI now!

__________________________________

“Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has learned.” 

FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – The Washington Post

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Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building Wednesday night, Nov. 1, 2017.

Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has learned. 

(J. David Ake/Associated Press)

 

November 27 at 9:21 PM

WASHINGTON — The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found.

Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, a situation some described as bizarre and dispiriting.

“It’s utterly confounding,” said Philip Reiner, a former senior director at the National Security Council, who was notified by the AP that he was targeted in 2015. “You’ve got to tell your people. You’ve got to protect your people.”

FBI policy calls for notifying victims, whether individuals or groups, to help thwart both ongoing and future hacking attempts. The policy, which was disclosed in a lawsuit filed earlier this year against the FBI by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, says that notification should be considered “even when it may interfere with another investigation or (intelligence) operation.”

Last week, the FBI declined to discuss its investigation into Fancy Bear’s spying campaign, but did provide a statement that said in part: “The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information.”

Three people familiar with the matter — including a current and a former government official — said the FBI has known for more than a year the details of Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into Gmail inboxes. A senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, declined to comment on when it received the target list, but said that the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks.

“It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.

In the face of a tidal wave of malicious phishing attempts, the FBI sometimes passes on information about the attacks to service providers and companies, who can then relay information to clients or employees, he added.

The AP, which acquired a list of about 4,700 targeted email accounts, has reported in recent weeks on the global reach of the hacking operation and strategy used to break into emails of the Democratic Party and presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Tens of thousands of those emails were leaked online in advance of the November election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Fancy Bear works for the Russian government and meant to push the election in favor of Donald Trump. The Russian government has denied interfering.

The AP did its own triage, dedicating two months and a small team of reporters to go through a hit list of Fancy Bear targets provided by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks.

Previous AP investigations based on the list have shown how Fancy Bear worked in close alignment with the Kremlin’s interests to steal tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party . The hacking campaign disrupted the 2016 U.S. election and cast a shadow over the presidency of Donald Trump, whom U.S. intelligence agencies say the hackers were trying to help . The Russian government has denied interfering in the American election.

The Secureworks list comprises 19,000 lines of targeting data . Going through it, the AP identified more than 500 U.S.-based people or groups and reached out to more than 190 of them, interviewing nearly 80 about their experiences.

Many were long-retired, but about one-quarter were still in government or held security clearances at the time they were targeted. Only two told the AP they learned of the hacking attempts on their personal Gmail accounts from the FBI. A few more were contacted by the FBI after their emails were published in the torrent of leaks that coursed through last year’s electoral contest. But to this day, some leak victims have not heard from the bureau at all.

Charles Sowell, who previously worked as a senior administrator in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was targeted by Fancy Bear two years ago, said there was no reason the FBI couldn’t do the same work the AP did.

“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data,” Sowell said. “Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying, ‘It’s too much’? That’s ridiculous.”

___

“IT’S CURIOUS”

The AP found few traces of the bureau’s inquiry as it launched its own investigation two months ago.

In October, two AP journalists visited <a href=”http://THCServers.com” rel=”nofollow”>THCServers.com</a> , a brightly lit, family-run internet company on the former grounds of a communist-era chicken farm outside the Romanian city of Craiova. That’s where someone registered <a href=”http://DCLeaks.com” rel=”nofollow”>DCLeaks.com</a>, the first of three websites to publish caches of emails belonging to Democrats and other U.S. officials in mid-2016.

DCLeaks was clearly linked to Fancy Bear. Previous AP reporting found that all but one of the site’s victims had been targeted by the hacking group before their emails were dumped online.

Yet THC founder Catalin Florica said he was never approached by law enforcement.

“It’s curious,” Florica said. “You are the first ones that contact us.”

THC merely registered the site, a simple process that typically takes only a few minutes. But the reaction was similar at the Kuala Lumpur offices of the Malaysian web company Shinjiru Technology , which hosted DCLeaks’ stolen files for the duration of the electoral campaign.

The company’s chief executive, Terence Choong, said he had never heard of DCLeaks until the AP contacted him.

“What is the issue with it?” he asked.

Questions over the FBI’s handling of Fancy Bear’s broad hacking sweep date to March 2016, when agents arrived unannounced at Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn to warn her campaign about a surge of rogue, password-stealing emails.

The agents offered little more than generic security tips the campaign had already put into practice and refused to say who they thought was behind the attempted intrusions, according to a person who was there and spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was meant to be confidential.

Questions emerged again after it was revealed that the FBI never took custody of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server after it was penetrated by Fancy Bear in April 2016. Former FBI Director James Comey testified this year that the FBI worked off a copy of the server, which he described as an “appropriate substitute.”

___

“MAKES ME SAD”

Retired Maj. James Phillips was one of the first people to have the contents of his inbox published by DCLeaks when the website made its June 2016 debut.

But the Army veteran said he didn’t realize his personal emails were “flapping in the breeze” until a journalist phoned him two months later.

“The fact that a reporter told me about DCLeaks kind of makes me sad,” he said. “I wish it had been a government source.”

Phillips’ story would be repeated again and again as the AP spoke to officials from the National Defense University in Washington to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.

Among them: a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes; a former head of Air Force Intelligence, retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula; a former defense undersecretary, Eric Edelman; and a former director of cybersecurity for the Air Force, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Schissler.

Retired Maj. Gen. Brian Keller, a former director of military support at the Geospatial Intelligence Agency, was not informed, even after DCLeaks posted his emails to the internet. In a telephone call with AP, Keller said he still wasn’t clear on what had happened, who had hacked him or whether his data was still at risk.

“Should I be worried or alarmed or anything?” asked Keller, who left the spy satellite agency in 2010 and now works in private industry.

Not all the interviewees felt the FBI had a responsibility to alert them.

“Perhaps optimistically, I have to conclude that a risk analysis was done and I was not considered a high enough risk to justify making contact,” said a former Air Force chief of staff, retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, who was targeted by Fancy Bear in 2015.

Others argued that the FBI may have wanted to avoid tipping the hackers off or that there were too many people to notify.

“The expectation that the government is going to protect everyone and go back to everyone is false,” said Nicholas Eftimiades, a retired senior technical officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who teaches homeland security at Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg and was himself among the targets.

But the government is supposed to try, said Michael Daniel, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House cybersecurity coordinator.

Daniel wouldn’t comment directly on why so many Fancy Bear targets weren’t warned in this case, but he said the issue of how and when to notify people “frankly still needs more work.”

___

“CLOAK-AND-DAGGER”

In the absence of any official warning, some of those contacted by AP brushed off the idea that they were taken in by a foreign power’s intelligence service.

“I don’t open anything I don’t recognize,” said Joseph Barnard, who headed the personnel recovery branch of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command.

That may well be true of Barnard; Secureworks’ data suggests he never clicked the malicious link sent to him in June 2015. But it isn’t true of everyone.

An AP analysis of the data suggests that out of 312 U.S. military and government figures targeted by Fancy Bear, 131 clicked the links sent to them. That could mean that as many as 2 in 5 came perilously close to handing over their passwords.

It’s not clear how many gave up their credentials in the end or what the hackers may have acquired.

Some of those accounts hold emails that go back years, when even many of the retired officials still occupied sensitive posts.

Overwhelmingly, interviewees told AP they kept classified material out of their Gmail inboxes, but intelligence experts said Russian spies could use personal correspondence as a springboard for further hacking, recruitment or even blackmail.

“You start to have information you might be able to leverage against that person,” said Sina Beaghley, a researcher at the RAND Corp. who served on the NSC until 2014.

In the few cases where the FBI did warn targets, they were sometimes left little wiser about what was going on or what to do.

Rob “Butch” Bracknell, a 20-year military veteran who now works in Norfolk, Virginia, said an FBI agent visited him about a year ago to examine his emails and warn him that a “foreign actor” was trying to break into his account.

“He was real cloak-and-dagger about it,” Bracknell said. “He came here to my work, wrote in his little notebook and away he went.”

Left to fend for themselves, some targets have been improvising their cybersecurity.

Retired Gen. Roger A. Brady, who was responsible for American nuclear weapons in Europe as part of his past role as commander of the U.S. Air Force there, turned to Apple support this year when he noticed something suspicious on his computer. Hughes, a former DIA head, said he had his hard drive replaced by the “Geek Squad” at a Best Buy in Florida after his machine began behaving strangely. Keller, the former senior spy satellite official, said it was his son who told him his emails had been posted to the web after getting a Google alert in June 2016.

A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who like many others was repeatedly targeted by Fancy Bear but has yet to receive any warning from the FBI, said the lackluster response risked something worse than last year’s parade of leaks.

“Our government needs to be taking greater responsibility to defend its citizens in both the physical and cyber worlds, now, before a cyberattack produces an even more catastrophic outcome than we have already experienced,” McFaul said.

___

Donn reported from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Associated Press writers Vadim Ghirda in Carcea, Romania, Chad Day in Washington, Frank Bajak in Houston, Justin Myers in Chicago and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

___

Satter, Donn and Butler can be reached at:

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___

EDITOR’S NOTE — Raphael Satter’s father, David Satter, is an author and Russia specialist who has been critical of the Kremlin. His emails were published last year by hackers and his account is on Secureworks’ list of Fancy Bear targets. He was not notified by the FBI.

EDITOR’S NOTE _ One in a series of stories on the findings of an Associated Press investigation of the Russian hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election in 2016

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – Washington Post

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Washington Post
FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets
Washington Post
Tens of thousands of those emails were leaked online in advance of the November election. U.S.intelligence agencies have concluded that Fancy Bear works for the Russian government and meant to push the election in favor of Donald Trump. The Russian …
FBI leaves US targets of Russian hackers in the darkABC News
FBI hides dozens of Russian hackers’ attempts to gain access to US officials’ datahttps://en.crimerussia.com/all 103 news articles »

 Russian Intelligence services – Google News

1:21 PM 11/27/2017 – Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post The pathetic neediness of Trump – Washington Post Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report – Raw Story McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of … Continue reading “1:21 PM 11/27/2017 – Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post”

Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News

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POLITICO Magazine
Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal
ABC News
The lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn met Monday morning with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team — the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal, ABC News 
Turkey’s Torrid Love Affair With Michael FlynnPOLITICO Magazine
Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller dealThe Hill
Mueller and NY AG Schneiderman teaming up on Mike Flynn as Turkey hangs him out to dryRaw Story
The Week Magazine –HuffPost –Napa Valley Register –New York Times
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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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Egyptian security forces targeted militants in the Sinai peninsula after an attack on a mosque in a local village killed 305 people, the New York Times reported. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledged to get vengeance against a group of 25-30 armed men that Egyptian authorities said carried an Islamic State flag during their massacre at the mosque in Bir al-Abed. According to Egyptian security officials, warplanes struck vehicles associated with the fighters. The attack is the latest escalation in the long-brewing conflict in Sinai, where the Egyptian military has struggled to contain an insurgency that took hold after the 2013 coup in which President Sisi took power.

Pakistan’s justice minister will step down after accusations of blasphemy against him sparked protests and violence from Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Times reported. After Zahid Hamid, the law minister, attempted to change religious language in an oath that Pakistani lawmakers take upon entering parliament, protests erupted that have paralyzed Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, for weeks. Following military-led negotiations, Hamid agreed to step down, and a hard-line Islamic party promised not to issue an edict of blasphemy against him, an accusation that has led to killings in the past.

Pope Francis met the head of Myanmar’s military during an official visit, as the pontiff faces pressure to address the violence against the Rohingya Muslim population, Reuters reported. The pope discussed religious freedom and the country’s transition to democracy with General Min Aung Hlaing. Advisers have warned the pope against even using the word “Rohingya,” as Myanmar’s government says they are not a separate ethnic group. The pope will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, on Tuesday.

Michael Flynn’s lawyers told President Donald Trump’s legal team they were halting their correspondence about the special counsel’s investigation, according to the Times. Flynn’s lawyers cancelled an agreement concluded between Trump and Flynn’s legal teams to share information about the investigation and their responses. Trump’s lawyers said this development suggested Flynn was working on a deal with the special counsel. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is looking into Flynn’s work on a Turkish documentary film, the Wall Street Journal reported. Flynn paid consultants to create a currently unfinished film attacking exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The FBI is probing Flynn’s business connections to the Turkish government in connection with the film. Separately, Congressional officials referred allegations about Flynn’s role in a scheme to provide nuclear power to Middle East countries to the special counsel’s investigation, the Washington Post reported. Rep. Trey Gowdy sent a letter to Mueller referring congressional democrats’ concerns about Flynn’s sponsorship of a plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East while he was in office.

The U.S. will cease arming Kurdish fighters in Syria, CBS News reported. President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the U.S. would stop its arms shipments to the YPG, a Kurdish group that forms an integral part of the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has called the YPG a terrorist organization because of its connections to rebel groups in Turkey’s eastern mountains. The White House did not explicitly confirm the change in policy, but Turkish officials called on the U.S. to uphold its pledge, according to Reuters.

Aid shipments entered Yemen for the first time in the weeks since the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels blockaded major ports, the Times reported. A shipment of flour reached the seaport at Al Hudaydah and aid planes landed at Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. The U.N. said the Saudi coalition must continue to allow supplies to arrive as Yemen faces a devastating famine and health crisis. A cholera epidemic has threatened vulnerable members of Yemen’s population  as over 17 million people lack reliable access to food.

The FBI failed to inform dozens of current and former U.S. officials that the Russian hacking operation Fancy Bear had targeted their email accounts, the AP reported. Of more than 80 officials whose emails the Russian group aimed to compromise, the FBI notified only two of the potential threat. Many former intelligence and military officials learned about the attempted hacking only when journalists contacted them about the matter.

The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to take steps to ensure the security of Polish parliamentarians after far-right groups staged mock hangings of the politicians, Reuters reported. Extremists hanged the portraits of Polish representatives to Brussels who backed a resolution condemning a Polish far-right march in early November as fascist. The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to condemn the attacks on the politicians.

The Pentagon is likely to admit that there are over 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Syria, revising upwards its previously estimate of 500 troops on the ground, according to Reuters. The Department of Defense is expected to announce the revised number to reflect a more accurate accounting of troops present in Syria and not to announce an increase in troop commitments.

 

ICYMI: This holiday weekend on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes posted the “Mother May I Launch a Missile” edition of Rational Security.

Orin Kerr argued that the Fourth Amendment does not guarantee a general right to be secure against government surveillance.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Alina Polyakova and Arkady Ostrovsky on Russia’s far east.

In the Foreign Policy Essay, Kim Cragin argued that foreign fighters who are transferred to third countries that are not their homes are a major security risk.

 

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

 Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

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Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – Washington Post
Palmer Report: Michael Flynn Jr doesnt seem too happy about his fathers plea deal against Donald Trump
At Harvard, Maine senator says he thinks the Russians will be back – The Boston Globe
trump, russia and the mob – Google News: Fox’s Gregg Jarrett slams Trump/Russia investigators in DOJ as a “syndicate,” and “cartel, the equivalent of the mob” – Media Matters for America
Donald Trump – Google News: Seth Meyers: Donald Trump Will Go Down As Neediest And Most Insecure President – Deadline
Palmer Report: Hope Hicks is days away from selling out Donald Trump
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Palmer Report: Stephen Miller is suddenly in huge trouble in Trump-Russia scandal
trump electorate – Google News: Readers’ Forum, Nov. 28, 2017: For sake of US, Trump must go – Terre Haute Tribune Star
Donald Trump: Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez Won’t Seek Re-Election: Reports
Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Rep. Devin Nunes Demolishes The Russian Collusion Delusion – FrontPage Magazine
trump and putin – Google News: The US sanctions bill is a timebomb for Donald Trump and Vladimir … – The Guardian
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Has anyone ever heard of disinformation? – Tri County Sentry (blog)
Russian Intelligence, organized crime and war on police – Google News: Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG – Yeni Şafak English
Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Russia’s lies are aimed at undermining European democracies – Progress Index
russian organized crime in us – Google News: Atlantic Council proposes new US strategy for Balkans – B92
Putin Trump – Google News: Commentary: Putin’s proposal for Ukraine another trap for Trump – Fairfield Daily Republic
Trump and the Mob – Google News: Trump’s Fate – National Review
Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Why Is Venezuela Waging Cyber War in Europe? – Daily Beast
Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Using disinformation, Russia undermining European nations – Las Vegas Sun
A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society – The Atlantic
Trump anxiety – Google News: It’s Not the Economy, Stupid! – Atlantic Sentinel
trump and republican party – Google News: Party of Trump passes Party of Lincoln torch to the Democrats – Orlando Sentinel
trump anxiety – Google News: A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society – The Atlantic
Palmer Report: Additional developments confirm Michael Flynn really is flipping on Donald Trump

 

Saved Stories – None
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets
Washington Post
Tens of thousands of those emails were leaked online in advance of the November election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Fancy Bear works for the Russian government and meant to push the election in favor of Donald Trump. TheRussian
FBI leaves US targets of Russian hackers in the darkABC News
FBI hides dozens of Russian hackers’ attempts to gain access to US officials’ datahttps://en.crimerussia.com/ 
Donald TrumpCNET
International Business Times UKAP NewsAP News
all 103 news articles »

 Russian Intelligence services – Google News

Palmer Report: Michael Flynn Jr doesnt seem too happy about his fathers plea deal against Donald Trump

The younger Michael Flynn appears to have quite a high opinion of his father, to the point that he calls himself “Michael Flynn Jr” even though he has a different middle name. However, now that the elder Michael Flynn has signaled he’s cutting a plea deal against Donald Trump, the younger Flynn doesn’t appear to be too happy about the matter even though dad is cutting the deal to keep his son out of prison.Michael Flynn will plead guilty to reduced charges and rat out everyone involved in the Trump-Russia scandal, including Donald Trump himself, in order to get a free pass for his own son. Junior was caught up in some of the more bizarre Flynn Intel Group plots, including an alleged kidnapping conspiracy. Once Flynn formalizes that deal, his son will have to agree to be a part of it and he will, because the other option would be to end up in prison. But for now, Junior doesn’t seem too pleased about what’s going down.Michael Flynn Jr has continued to use his Twitter account to tweet and retweet far-right conspiracy theories from the likes of Sean Hannity and the Pizzagate guy. Earlier today he tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton’s face on toilet paper, which is repugnant, but it’s unlikely to cause any trouble for the deal being negotiated. But then Junior did something far more reckless: he retweeted Julian Assange, the leader of Russian-controlled cyberterrorist group WikiLeaks.There is no evidence that Michael Flynn or Michael Flynn Jr was involved in the Donald Trump campaign’s conspiracy with WikiLeaks to illegally rig the election in Trump’s favor. However, Flynn was knee-deep in other Trump campaign conspiracies with Russia. His son knows this full well. Junior’s decision to retweet the WikiLeaks terrorist can only be interpreted as a sign of rebellion against the deal his father is negotiating. But in the end, it’s not up to him.The post Michael Flynn Jr doesn’t seem too happy about his father’s plea deal against Donald Trumpappeared first on Palmer Report. Palmer Report
At Harvard, Maine senator says he thinks the Russians will be back – The Boston Globe
 


The Boston Globe
At Harvard, Maine senator says he thinks the Russians will be back
The Boston Globe
Maine Senator Angus King said Monday he had no doubt that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and warned that the Kremlin would try to interfere in future US elections, according to the Harvard Gazette. Speaking at a Harvard University 
trump, russia and the mob – Google News: Fox’s Gregg Jarrett slams Trump/Russia investigators in DOJ as a “syndicate,” and “cartel, the equivalent of the mob” – Media Matters for America
 


Media Matters for America
Fox’s Gregg Jarrett slams Trump/Russia investigators in DOJ as a “syndicate,” and “cartel, the equivalent of themob”
Media Matters for America
… the equivalent of the mob. It’s composed of that man Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller, James Comey who has now lost his job and Rod Rosenstein who is the Deputy Attorney General. And the fact that all four of them are involved in theTrump/Russia …and more »

 trump, russia and the mob – Google News

Donald Trump – Google News: Seth Meyers: Donald Trump Will Go Down As Neediest And Most Insecure President – Deadline
 


Deadline
Seth Meyers: Donald Trump Will Go Down As Neediest And Most Insecure President
Deadline
President Donald Trump is now all-in on backing the accused sexual predator running for the Senate in Alabama, with the White House arguing they need his vote to give corporations a giant tax cut, Seth Meyers said to open Monday night’s Late Night …and more »

 Donald Trump – Google News

Palmer Report: Hope Hicks is days away from selling out Donald Trump

Who is Hope Hicks? She’s a high ranking adviser in the Trump White House who keeps a low public profile. She’s long been the conduit for anyone in the campaign or administration who has wanted to get a message to Donald Trump. She’s the one who made the decision what to tell Trump about his campaign’s collusion with WikiLeaks and other Russians. She’s also days away from selling Donald Trump out.Special Counsel Robert Mueller will interview Hope Hicks by the end of November, according to reports from multiple major news outlets. November ends this Thursday. So we’re just days away from Hicks sitting down to be grilled by Mueller and his agents. If she outright lies about anything, she’s guilty of a felony. If she purposely leaves anything out that she knows is relevant, she risks being charged with obstruction of justice.It always seemed likely that Hicks would sell Trump out when it came down to it, because she’s still in her twenties and she has her entire life ahead of her, and there’s no good reason for her to throw it away. Moreover, if she doesn’t quickly give Mueller what he wants, she’ll end up getting stuck with the kind of massive and prolonged legal bills that she can’t afford to pay. So the odds already seemed stacked in favor of Hicks giving up Trump to protect herself. Then Michael Flynn happened.Flynn decided last week to begin negotiating a plea deal with Robert Mueller. This means Flynn will end up ratting out everyone about everything that went on between the campaign and Russia. It will give Mueller the knowledge he needs to nail people like Hope Hicks for lying, or for leaving out important details. Hicks hasn’t gotten this far at this young of an age by being stupid. She knows that Flynn’s deal leaves her no choice but to sell Donald Trump out when Mueller comes calling and that’s now just days away.The post Hope Hicks is days away from selling out Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report. Palmer Report
Russian Intelligence services – Google News: The Unbelievable Story of How the CIA Helped Foil a Russian Spy Ring in London – Politico
 


Politico
The Unbelievable Story of How the CIA Helped Foil a Russian Spy Ring in London
Politico
This story is revealed in remarkable tranche of records declassified on Tuesday by the British Security Service, better known as MI5, about a major Russian spy network that operated in Britain in the post-war years, known as the Portland Spy Ring. Itsand more »

 Russian Intelligence services – Google News

Palmer Report: Stephen Miller is suddenly in huge trouble in Trump-Russia scandal

To the public at large, Stephen Miller is best known as the Donald Trump adviser with the big forehead who periodically steps forward to say racist things before receding back into his shadowy life as a human goblin. Within the context of the Trump-Russia scandal, Miller is the guy who had the bad luck to draw the short straw and now he’s suddenly in deep trouble no matter how he’s decided to handle things behind the scenes.As far as the media and the public are aware, Stephen Miller is the only current Trump White House senior adviser who has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It’s a bad sign in general when the prosecutor decides to single you out first, because it means the prosector thinks he has something on you that can force you to quickly cut a deal and cooperate. That “something” is likely the confession from Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who named Miller among those he kept informed of his own efforts to conspire with the Russian government. But it just got much, much worse than that for Miller.Over the holiday weekend, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn decided to negotiate a plea deal with Robert Mueller. This makes things difficult for any White House adviser who is interviewed by Mueller going forward, because if they lie or omit anything, they know Flynn’s testimony will trip them up, and they could be charged with lying to a federal agent or obstruction of justice. But at least they’ll go into their interviews knowing that Flynn is ratting them all out.Then there’s Stephen Miller, who had the misfortune to be interviewed by Robert Mueller before learning that Michael Flynn was going to flip. If Miller lied to Mueller or left out anything important, and Flynn’s confession exposes it, he’s screwed. If Miller was fully honest in his testimony, it might leave him in the clear legally. But in such case he’ll have helped to take Donald Trump down, meaning that his own White House job will vanish when Trump is ousted. This will be a familiar no-win pattern going forward for Trump’s people. Miller just had the bad luck to draw the short straw first.The post Stephen Miller is suddenly in huge trouble in Trump-Russia scandal appeared first on Palmer Report. Palmer Report
trump electorate – Google News: Readers’ Forum, Nov. 28, 2017: For sake of US, Trump must go – Terre Haute Tribune Star
 

Readers’ Forum, Nov. 28, 2017: For sake of US, Trump must go
Terre Haute Tribune Star
Let’s hope that the electorate will not allow a contest like we had last time. The two presidential candidates we had were controversial and destined to be ineffectual if elected due to the nature of the electorate criticisms. Donald Trump has and more »

 trump electorate – Google News

Donald Trump: Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez Won’t Seek Re-Election: Reports

The prominent pro-immigrant, anti-Trump representative was first elected in 1992. Donald Trump
Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Rep. Devin Nunes Demolishes The Russian Collusion Delusion – FrontPage Magazine
 


FrontPage Magazine
Rep. Devin Nunes Demolishes The Russian Collusion Delusion
FrontPage Magazine
So I get on the airplane and, I’m not kidding you, it’s Donald Trump, it’s Priebus, it’s Rudy Giuliani, a couple other guys, his Twitter guy, and that was it on the whole plane other than security. And so I said, “Oh my gosh. I’ve never seen a campaign 

 Rudy Giuliani – Google News

trump and putin – Google News: The US sanctions bill is a timebomb for Donald Trump and Vladimir … – The Guardian
 


The Guardian
The US sanctions bill is a timebomb for Donald Trump and Vladimir 
The Guardian
‘Those
 Putin
The Guardian
Those
 
sanctions stand at the heart of the investigation into the Trump-Putin TrumpPutin relationship, and whether there was collusion: Trump’s potential ‘Russiagate’.
Trump’s Russian SchizophreniaPOLITICO Magazine
Odds Are, Russia Owns Trump – The New York TimesNew York Times
 Russiagate. Seeking sanctions relief was part of the infamous June 2016 meeting between Russian emissaries 
Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: reportRaw Story
Trump picked an odd time to target US media’s global reachMSNBC

John Kass: Putin’s great American spy novelBaltimore Sun 
Raw Story
 
QNS.comNew York Times
 –The News-Press Warren Tribune Chronicle
all 58 

all 190
 news articles »

 trump and putin – Google News

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Has anyone ever heard of disinformation? – Tri County Sentry (blog)
 


QNS.com
Has anyone ever heard of disinformation?
Tri County Sentry (blog)
Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, the U.S. had an anti-fossil fuel energy policy, and Clinton seemed likely to carry on the same policies. … If Putin didn’t want Trump to win, then it means he wanted Clinton to win, right? No. … In the 
Op-Ed: Trump thinking backwards again, believes Putin over US Intelligence sourcesQNS.com
Trump sides with Putin; School board’s ‘reckless spending’: Letters, Nov. 26The News-Press
Michael Flynn’s role in Middle Eastern nuclear project could compound legal issuesChicago Tribune
Washington Examiner –POLITICO Magazine –New York Times –Wall Street Journal
all 162 news articles »

 putin won US 2016 election – Google News

Russian Intelligence, organized crime and war on police – Google News: Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG – Yeni Şafak English
 


Yeni Şafak English
Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG
Yeni Şafak English
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, National Intelligence Organization Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın, Chief of Cabinet Hasan Doğan and Senior Advisor Hamdi Kılıç were photographed.PM Yıldırım: US … We have to find and more »

 Russian Intelligence, organized crime and war on police – Google News

Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Russia’s lies are aimed at undermining European democracies – Progress Index
 

Russia’s lies are aimed at undermining European democracies
Progress Index
Russia is waging its war with Europe, using new tools, like social media, but with old KGB tactics, according to Marius Laurinavicius, senior expert at the Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis. We are at war with Russia. It’s a different war: There 

 Russian propaganda on social media – Google News

russian organized crime in us – Google News: Atlantic Council proposes new US strategy for Balkans – B92
 

Atlantic Council proposes new US strategy for Balkans
B92
Atlantic Council’s Executive Vice President Damon Wilson told the broadcaster that this US NGO is committed to promoting a historic process of reconciliation with Serbia and to being a genuine mediator in making real progress on the political front 

 russian organized crime in us – Google News

Putin Trump – Google News: Commentary: Putin’s proposal for Ukraine another trap for Trump – Fairfield Daily Republic
 

Commentary: Putin’s proposal for Ukraine another trap for Trump
Fairfield Daily Republic
After playing into Russia’s hands on Syria, the Trump administration now risks repeating the error in Ukraine, where diplomatic discussions over a Russian initiative are heating up. Moscow’s plan is to legitimize its invasion and control over parts of 

 Putin Trump – Google News

Trump and the Mob – Google News: Trump’s Fate – National Review
 


National Review
Trump’s Fate
National Review
Trump’s fate in the 2018 midterms aside from the fact that first-term presidents always seem to lose congressional seats after about two years of exposure and his reelection in 2020 supposedly hinge on whether Trump’s popular message trumps the 

 Trump and the Mob – Google News

Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Why Is Venezuela Waging Cyber War in Europe? – Daily Beast
 


Daily Beast
Why Is Venezuela Waging Cyber War in Europe?
Daily Beast
Here’s a chilling fact: At the height of the Catalan separatist crisis, analysis of more than 5 million messages about Catalonia posted on social networks between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, shows that only 3 percent come from real profiles outside the 

 Russian propaganda on social media – Google News

Russian propaganda on social media – Google News: Using disinformation, Russia undermining European nations – Las Vegas Sun
 

Using disinformation, Russia undermining European nations
Las Vegas Sun
Russia is waging its war with Europe, using new tools, like social media, but with old KGB tactics, according to Marius Laurinavicius, senior expert at the Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis. We are at war with Russia. It’s a different war: There and more »

 Russian propaganda on social media – Google News

A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society – The Atlantic
 


The Atlantic
A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society
The Atlantic
In the latest episode of The Atlantic Interview, Gessen speaks with The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, about the similarities between Putin and Trump, the way intergenerational trauma can shape a political movement, and why the United
Trump anxiety – Google News: It’s Not the Economy, Stupid! – Atlantic Sentinel
 

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid!
Atlantic Sentinel
The votes for Brexit, European populism and Donald Trump weren’t working-class revolts. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Serwer have argued that mostly-white elites are drawn to the economic anxiety thesis because it absolves them of responsibility for more …

 Trump anxiety – Google News

trump and republican party – Google News: Party of Trump passes Party of Lincoln torch to the Democrats – Orlando Sentinel
 


Orlando Sentinel
Party of Trump passes Party of Lincoln torch to the Democrats
Orlando Sentinel
I know there are cynics who will accuse me of shilling for the Democrats here, but let me assure you my party loyalty is decidedly shallow. Just consider my roots: I was raised in a moderately conservative Republican household in Lakeland (Queen City 

 trump and republican party – Google News

trump anxiety – Google News: A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society – The Atlantic
 


The Atlantic
A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society
The Atlantic
Goldberg: Which one is worse: the idea that the Trump people would want to collude, or that Russia was engaged in an effort to create dissension and anxiety in America? Gessen: One can actually argue that no matter what happens with the investigation, …

 trump anxiety – Google News

Palmer Report: Additional developments confirm Michael Flynn really is flipping on Donald Trump

On Thanksgiving, Michael Flynn sent a signal that legal experts agreed could only mean he was preparing to cut a plea deal in the Trump-Russia scandal: he had his attorneys terminate the information sharing agreement they’d had in place with Donald Trump’s attorneys. Still, that didn’t mean Flynn actually would cut a deal, only that he was planning to. However, additional developments have surfaced today which confirm Flynn really is going down that path.Michael Flynn’s attorneys have now met with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to an ABC News report (link). The only reason for such a meeting is so that the two sides can each share what they have. Mueller’s team will lay out the evidence it has against Flynn, in order to convince him that he really is screwed if he doesn’t cut a deal. In turn, Flynn will lay out the evidence he has against the bigger fish in the Trump-Russia scandal, in what’s called a proffer session, in order to prove to Mueller that he’s worthy of a lenient deal.As Palmer Report explained last night, once a suspect gets as far as holding a proffer session, legally speaking, there’s no going back (link). Even if Donald Trump were then able to convince Flynn not to formally agree to a deal, Mueller would still be able to use everything that Flynn said about Trump. In fact, Mueller would be able to indirectly use some of Flynn’s own words against him, thus increasing the odds of Flynn being convicted if he doesn’t cut a deal.So at this point Michael Flynn’s deal is all but inevitable. Donald Trump is clearly panicking, as he brought former campaign adviser James Woolsey to Mar-a-Lago over the weekend to discuss the matter. But Woolsey is a key cooperating witness against Flynn (link), meaning he was likely acting on Mueller’s behalf during the meeting, thus nailing Trump on yet another instance of obstruction of justice.The post Additional developments confirm Michael Flynn really is flipping on Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report. Palmer Report

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

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fbi criticism – Google Search
Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia
Rutherford Institute – Google Search
Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink
‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story
Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe – Scottish Daily Record
FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails – Washington Post
It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov Johnson’s Russia List
How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents
NEWSWATCH: Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ pic.twitter.com/wfdbXX4H7s
Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide Johnson’s Russia List
US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscows Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets Johnson’s Russia List
Russian President Signs ‘Foreign Agents’ Media Legislation
Beware the Russian Elephant – Google Search
Beware the Russian Elephant – The American Interest
Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America
BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing – Google Search
Russia law on media not based on reciprocity
John F. Lansing – BBG
Statement from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing Regarding the Russian
Broadcasting Board of Governors – Google Search
CAATSA – Google Search
caatsa russia – Google Search
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act – Wikipedia
New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
fbi criticism – Google Search

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Story image for fbi criticism from The Guardian

Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted

The Guardian3 hours ago
The FBI has faced continuing criticism over its handling of Fancy Bear. … The FBI failed to notify scores of US officials that Russian hackers …
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Review of FBI’s action during election coming early next year

CNNNov 15, 2017
Washington (CNN) A watchdog review of how the FBI handled its investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on track for …
Story image for fbi criticism from Chambersburg Public Opinion

Former Waynesboro man writes book about what it’s really like in the …

Chambersburg Public Opinion25 minutes ago
Larsh alleged that many current and former FBI agents have told him they … to include more intelligence-gathering following criticism after 9/11.
Story image for fbi criticism from New York Times

‘Very Frustrated’ Trump Becomes Top Critic of Law Enforcement

New York TimesNov 3, 2017
He spent Friday berating the Justice Department and F.B.I. for not investigating his political opponents. He then turned to the military justice …
Rutherford Institute – Wikipedia

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The Rutherford Institute is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, US dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights. The organization was founded in 1982 by John W. Whitehead, who continued to be its president as of 2015.[1] The Rutherford Institute offers free legal services to those who have had their rights threatened or violated. The Rutherford Institute has a network of affiliate attorneys across the United States and funds its efforts through donations. In addition to its offer of legal services, the organization offers free educational materials for those interested in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Rutherford Institute also publishes a weekly commentary by Whitehead which is published in hundreds of newspapers and web publications, including The Huffington Post and LewRockwell.com.[2]

Rutherford Institute – Google Search

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Rutherford Institute Taking Up Albemarle County Case in US …

NBC 29 NewsNov 22, 2017
The Rutherford Institute is getting involved in a 2013 case out of Albemarle County that has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawyers …

Opinion/Commentary: Don’t just give thanks — pay it forward

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John W. Whitehead is president and founder of the Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute, a civil-liberties organization, and author of …
Story image for Rutherford Institute from WND.com

Courts accused of expanding Prohibition-era search rule

<a href=”http://WND.com” rel=”nofollow”>WND.com</a>Nov 23, 2017
Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute and author of “Battlefield America: The War on the American …
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Rutherford Institute founder responds to rally violence

The Charlottesville NewsplexAug 15, 2017
The Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead said he doesn’t regret taking the case and notes that it’s about defending the First Amendment …
Jared Kushners Vast Duties, and Visibility in White House, Shrink

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Mr. Kelly disputed that in an interview on Friday. “There was honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka,” Mr. Kelly said. He also said the Office of American Innovation, run by Mr. Kushner, had demonstrated its value, noting that he had recently sent some members of its team to Puerto Rico to report back on conditions on the hurricane-ravaged island.

And in an email forwarded by the White House, the president said on Friday that he still relied on Mr. Kushner. “Jared is working very hard on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the last thing I would ever do is get in the way of that possibility,” Mr. Trump said. “Jared has been very effective since the earliest days of the campaign and the same is true today. He understood the movement then and has been helpful implementing the agenda the American people voted for since.”

Determining anyone’s place in Mr. Trump’s orbit, of course, is a hazardous exercise. The president’s affections are fickle, and he tends to keep relationships open even if they are strained. At one point, Mr. Trump is said to depend less on Mr. Kushner, and the next he checks in with his son-in-law about the Roy Moore Senate race in Alabama to gauge his own potential reactions, according to one person familiar with the conversations.

But even Mr. Kushner’s supporters acknowledged that his role had evolved. In their view, that reflected his success, not failure. By helping to push out Mr. Priebus and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist and acerbic nationalist infighter, they said, Mr. Kushner helped stabilize the White House, allowing him to focus on his own projects rather than feeling compelled to weigh in on so many different issues.

In the first months of the administration, Mr. Kushner typically would spend five or six hours a day with the president in what his advocates described as playing defense, making sure others were not gaming the system by persuading Mr. Trump to make decisions without consulting others who had interest in the issues. Now under a less freewheeling system, Mr. Kushner and other aides are expected to stay in their own lanes.

Critics take a less generous view. Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist, said the “magical powers” ascribed to Mr. Kushner early on seemed to have faded. “As long as Jared was seen and not heard, he was able to play the role of wonder boy,” he said. “But now he is no longer seen, and we are only left to wonder about the boy whose father-in-law placed the hope of unraveling the world’s most intractable public policy puzzles from peace in the Middle East to reinventing government” in him.

Speculation about Mr. Kushner’s role comes as the long shadow of the special counsel’s investigation darkens the White House. Investigators have asked witnesses about Mr. Kushner’s foreign policy role during the campaign and the presidential transition, including his involvement in a debate over a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, as The Wall Street Journal has reported.

One person familiar with the questioning, who asked not to be identified discussing the investigation, said the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, appeared to be exploring Mr. Kushner’s role as part of his examination of Michael T. Flynn, who went on to become Mr. Trump’s national security adviser before being forced out after 24 days for not being forthcoming about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

Mr. Kushner has yet to be interviewed by Mr. Mueller’s team. Worried that his conversations might have been picked up on a government-authorized wiretap or perhaps by Russia or China, Mr. Kushner has become increasingly cautious about how he communicates, even with friends.

The scrutiny by Mr. Mueller upended Mr. Kushner’s initial hopes, according to some colleagues. Mr. Kushner expressed relief over Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May, assuming that the prosecutor’s inquiry would effectively freeze congressional investigations and therefore free up the White House to pursue its legislative agenda.

To some, that suggested he did not get it, that he did not fully grasp how the special counsel would scrutinize every single thing he had done in business, during the transition and during the campaign. And the emergence of Mr. Mueller has not halted the House or Senate inquiries; Mr. Kushner has since been interviewed by congressional investigators.

Some friends said Mr. Kushner and his wife were at times so discouraged by their brief White House careers — and their shrinking social circle — that they would leap at a chance to gracefully return to New York. At one point this fall, a scenario circulated in which Ms. Trump could replace Nikki R. Haley as ambassador to the United Nations if Ms. Haley replaced Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. (Aides to Mr. Trump said they never heard that discussed internally, and the latest betting now has Ms. Haley staying put.)

Others in the couple’s orbit, however, said that whatever their frustrations, they have found more satisfaction in recent months now that Mr. Bannon is no longer inside the West Wing fighting them, and that they are likelier to stay for the foreseeable future. Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles, has urged his son to hang on, arguing that otherwise he will become the fall guy for White House mistakes, according to someone in Jared Kushner’s circle.

“Jared’s role working for President Trump is just as important as it was Day 1, only now he doesn’t have to worry about babysitting others,” said Jason Miller, a campaign adviser who remains close to the White House. “His focus was always supposed to be the president’s big-picture, long-term projects, and now Jared can work on those uninterrupted.”

New York is not exactly a trouble-free zone for Mr. Kushner either. He would presumably resume running his family’s real estate empire, now struggling to save its crown jewel, a Manhattan skyscraper. The building at 666 Fifth Avenue is awash in $1.2 billion in debt, and a key business partner recently declared that a redevelopment plan created by Mr. Kushner before he joined the government is unfeasible.

Mr. Kushner arrived in the White House with an expansive portfolio. In addition to Middle East peace, he served as the president’s intermediary with MexicoChina and the Arab world. He traveled to Iraqwearing a flak vest over his blue blazer and button-down shirt. His high profile generated magazine covers and late-night comic riffs. Even some inside the West Wing began referring to him as “the secretary of state.”

In the early months, Mr. Kushner brokered a tense telephone call between Mr. Trump and Mexico’s president and arranged a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of China that transformed his father-in-law’s approach toward Beijing. He organized Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip with an opening stop in Saudi Arabia, where the president aligned himself with Sunni Arabs confronting Iran.

Mr. Kushner has since stepped back from the China relationship. He joined Mr. Trump in Beijing this month but did not accompany the president on his entire Asia trip. He remains the point person with Saudi Arabia, where he recently visited and talked late into the night with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is also working with the team renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and developing a plan to overhaul re-entry into American society for prisoners.

But Mr. Kushner, new to government, has found it confounding at times. And Mr. Priebus’s early question about the mandate of Mr. Kushner’s innovation office was never fully resolved. Sometimes called “Jared’s island” by White House aides, it has remained a jumble of seemingly random projects, ranging from addressing the nation’s opioid crisis and infrastructure needs to trying to modernize the government’s antiquated computer systems.

Corporate leaders were recruited to give input at round-table discussions organized by Mr. Kushner. But by last summer, some executives were fed up with talk-a-thons. They complained to Gary D. Cohn, the president’s national economic adviser, who in turn told Mr. Kushner’s aides not to convene another listening session unless it had a compelling purpose and produced results.

Two White House councils of business leaders were disbanded in August after an exodus of members upset with the president’s failure to more forcefully condemn violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Other initiatives backed by Mr. Kushner have proved more fruitful. Congress appears to be on the verge of creating a $500 million fund to help agencies modernize outdated information technology systems, some of which are at least 40 years old.

With Mr. Kushner’s support, the Department of Veterans Affairs also developed a plan to erase a longstanding electronic gap between the medical records of service members and veterans that has hurt patient care for years.

But Mr. Kushner’s push for technological advances is hobbled by a lack of permanent officials to carry out policy changes at the agency level. The White House has failed to name chief information officers for nine major agencies, including Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security. Even the federal chief information officer is only an acting official, and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy is largely a ghost town.

The innovation office is providing political cover and “a push from the top,” said Max Stier, the president of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the effectiveness of the government. “But at the end of the day, what the White House does doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get implemented at the agencies where the real action takes place.”

Continue reading the main story

‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations – Raw Story

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Raw Story
‘Better than the Game of Thrones’: Ex-CIA officer Phil Mudd fascinated by timing of Mike Flynn revelations
Raw Story
Former CIA agent Phil Mudd explained to CNN’s Jim Acosta that the timing of revelations from special counsel Robert Mueller has been sequenced to increase pressure during each subsequent phase of the investigation. ‘Let’s focus on not only what he can …

Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe – Scottish Daily Record

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Scottish Daily Record
Top firearms cops suspended in crime and misconduct probe
Scottish Daily Record
He was responsible for operational support, custody and criminal justice, which included firearms and counter terrorism. Both Kinnell and Glass reported to him on a daily basis. The new complaints are not linked to the separate PIRC investigations into …

and more »

FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails – Washington Post

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Washington Post
FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails
Washington Post
EDITOR’S NOTE _ One in a series of stories on the findings of an Associated Press investigation of the Russian hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not 

and more »

It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov Johnson’s Russia List

mikenova shared this story from Johnson’s Russia List.

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commonsMOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“It is not yet unclear whether Putin will run for the re-election. As you know, he did not say anything about it,” Peskov told reporters, replying to a question as to whether the possibility of involving Alexei Kudrin in writing the economic section of the president’s electoral program was discussed at Putin’s meeting with him.

Peskov described this question as inappropriate in this regard.

Related

Interfax: Putin has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2018 – PeskovJanuary 29, 2016In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

Issue of Putin’s nomination as candidate in 2018 presidential elections not yet on Kremlin agenda – PeskovJuly 6, 2017In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

Denying Putin Wedding, Peskov Says Leave the President AloneSeptember 26, 2013In “Politics, Government, Protests, Elections”

How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents

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November 13, 2017

Flowers were laid at the site where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in Moscow on February 27, 2015. Nemtsov was a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (steven_n_maher, Flickr)

On August 2, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump

signedH.R. 3364, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),

 into law. Section 241 of the Act calls on “the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State” to submit to Congress a detailed report—with the option of making part of it classified—including “identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” Section 241 mandates that the report address the relation of these persons with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and identify their corruption, estimated net worth, and known sources of income. The section also poses similar questions about Russian parastatal entities of diffuse ownership but serving the state. The Kremlin Report, as it might be termed, is due on or around February 1, 2018.

Section 241 has generated intense interest, even anxiety, within Moscow’s political and business classes, more so than any other section of H.R. 3364. It is clear why.

Speculation is abundant in Moscow

 about who among political figures, oligarchs, and others may be listed, and what that might mean for them, for Russia’s ruling political and business elite in general, and for Russia’s already beleaguered standing in the West.

These anxieties suggest that the Kremlin Report can serve US, Western, and genuine Russian interests in two ways:

 First, it can signal to the current Russian political and business classes that, as individuals, their interests would best be served by maintaining a distance from the Putin regime. It also may indicate that these groups would be better off if the Russian leadership refrained from starting new aggressive wars or attacking the political system of the United States and other democratic countries, as it did during the 2016 US presidential campaign and subsequent elections throughout Europe.

 Second, the Kremlin Report’s identification of corrupt individuals close to the Putin regime may expose them to increased scrutiny and potential action by those US government institutions enforcing US laws and regulations beyond sanctions, such as measures against money laundering and other financial malfeasance, e.g., Treasury’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), among others. That process could in turn lead to future actions to freeze the assets of corrupt individuals and, at the right point, legal processes to return ill-gotten assets to the Russian people.

Metrics for Identifying Senior Political Figures, Oligarchs, and Parastatal Entities Close to the Kremlin

Senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities constitute what we may call members of the Russian ruling elite. Section 241 stipulates several metrics to be used in the identification of them. We note two:

  • Closeness of senior political figures, business people, or parastatal entities to the Russian political regime. This could be measured a number of ways, including involvement (open or hidden) in the Putin regime’s aggressive (or even illegal) actions. Such actions include Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as its military aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, including the purported annexation of Crimea; responsibility for bombing civilians in Chechnya and Syria; and murders of Yuriy Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Magnitsky, Boris Nemtsov, and other opposition politicians, civil activists, journalists, and lawyers.
  • Involvement of political figures, businessmen, and parastatal entities close to the Putin regime in corruption that allowed them to enrich themselves at the expense of the Russian people. As Section 241 suggests, the Russian political elite has developed a sophisticated system of kleptocracy in which public assets are controlled (and regularly plundered) by a small circle of people close to Putin.

We, therefore, suggest that in compiling the report, the US administration apply the following three criteria:

  1. The person named is close to the Russian regime, measured by his or her involvement in planning, ordering, preparing, financing, executing, or otherwise supporting the aggressive, corrupt, or criminal actions noted above; or
  2. The person’s fortune has been made through corrupt commercial operations with the Putin regime for the sake of personal gain; or
  3. The person has held assets for Putin in what appears to be a corrupt fashion, even if he or she personally is not involved in the actions mentioned above, or his or her known personal fortune is not great enough to be considered of “oligarch” scale.


Earned wealth in itself should not be regarded as objectionable.

 Russians who have pursued the American (indeed, universal) dream of personal enrichment through outstanding entrepreneurship should be appreciated, not penalized. Further, formal rank is not dispositive. As the Panama Papers have revealed, often the big crooks are little known and have no official rank.

It is critical that persons are named in the Kremlin Report only on the basis of reliable information. Fortunately, the Kremlin political class, Putin, his friends, and their businesses have been extensively studied by credible researchers. The sources are many and the possibilities to cross check them for quality are ample. Plenty of disinformation exists, but with sufficient knowledge of how to assess sources, disinformation can be disregarded.

What Categories Should the Kremlin Report Include?  

Applying the criteria discussed above, the senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities in the Russian Federation linked to the Kremlin—those people intended to be listed in the Kremlin Report—are best grouped into seven categories:

 1.     Senior political figures, parastatal entities, or business people responsible for aggressive, corrupt, or criminal operations within and outside the Russian Federation as noted above.

  • We note a sub-category of oligarchs and others working with the Kremlin to advance aggressive foreign actions, such as organizing mercenary forces in Ukraine and Syria, or advancing cyberwarfare/disinformation, and recommend their inclusion;

2.     Putin’s close circle of contemporary friends from St. Petersburg, with whom he has done business since the early 1990s. They are commonly called his cronies and are well identified.  The US government and European Union (EU) have already designated a number of them in the Ukraine-related sanctions;

3.     Golden children.  To a considerable extent, cronies have transferred their wealth to their children, who in some cases have become top executives. These people appear to have become full-fledged cronies in their own right;

 4.     Personal friends of Putin who hold considerable wealth for him. Some have been revealed by the Panama Papers and Russian

Forbe

s;

 5.     The popularly-acclaimed “oligarchs,” who are big businessmen profiting greatly from direct business with the Kremlin. Some of these individuals are co-owners of companies with cronies. Others have operated as fronts for Kremlin leaders.

  • Note:  Russia’s wealthy businessmen should not be presumed to warrant listing simply by virtue of their wealth.  Many made their fortunes before Putin and, to survive, are forced to pay large tributes to the Kremlin. Including such persons in the Kremlin Report would not appear consistent with the intent of Section 241;

6.     Corrupt state enterprise managers who owe their positions to their close personal relations with Putin and utilize their positions for gross larceny; and

7.     The relevant parastatal entities that are companies owned by the people noted in category six.

Preparation of the Kremlin Report will be a labor-intensive project.  It is worth the effort because, among other things, it would demonstrate that whatever speculation exists to the contrary, the Trump administration, like previous US administrations, will respond with determination to counter Russian aggression against the United States, our European allies, and Russia’s neighbors—Ukraine and Georgia. Thus far, the administration appears to be taking Russia sanctions seriously, judging by the guidance for CAATSA implementation, which it recently issued.  It is our hope, and expectation, that the administration will show the requisite commitment to preparation of a strong, credible report as called for by CAATSA’s Section 241.

Anders Åslund is a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. He is a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, Ukraine, and East Europe. He has served as an economic adviser to several governments, notably the government of Russia (1991-94), and he has published fourteen books, including three about Russia’s economic reforms. 
Daniel Fried is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. In the course of his forty-year Foreign Service career, he played a key role in designing and implementing American policy in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ambassador Fried helped lead the West’s response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine starting in 2014: as State Department coordinator for sanctions policy, he crafted US sanctions against Russia, the largest US sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
Andrei Illarionov is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. From 2000 to December 2005, he was the chief economic adviser of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Andrei Piontkovsky is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute and senior adviser to the Free Russia Foundation. He is the author of several best-selling books on the Putin presidency in Russia, including, Another Look Into Putin’s Soul.

NEWSWATCH: Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ pic.twitter.com/wfdbXX4H7s

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are…http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ … 

Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide Johnson’s Russia List

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Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Regina Smyth, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Law, Indiana University – November 16, 2017)

How can scholars make significant contributions to policy making? Reflecting on a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to strengthen regional studies training at U.S. universities, Indiana University’s Russian Studies Workshop organized a roundtable at last week’s ASEEES conference in Chicago that featured four outstanding scholar/practitioners. Panel chairperson, Michael Kimmage, professor of history at Catholic University and a former member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning for Russia and Eurasia, prompted participants to identify how scholarly and think tank expertise has proven valuable in policy formation, and to highlight critical gaps in regional studies knowledge.

Panelists approached the questions by identifying Russian regional studies as a community of specialists that spans universities and colleges, government, think tanks, NGOs, the private sector, and foundations. Each speaker stressed the crucial role for networks, skills, and practices that can transcend the boundaries that divide the community and enable broad discussion aimed at more effective, fact-based policy decisions. Panelists unanimously agreed that academics’ greatest contribution to policy relevance lies in their core missions as university and college faculty: deep, original research and training of the next generation of regional specialists.

Dr. Celeste Wallander, president and CEO of the U.S. Russia Foundation and former special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia/Eurasia on the National Security Council, argued that university-based scholars make a profound contribution by preparing the next generation of informed and engaged students at all levels. At the same time, Dr. Wallander emphasized the need for universities to do a better job training students. The urgent demands of global events means that strong prior preparation is essential for effective decision-making as there is little time to stop and consider new research. She stressed that policymakers must have the skills to assess causality with fact-based analysis, and to communicate clearly in sharply argued, brief texts. While each panelist underlined this call for effective writing, Dr. Kimmage added that precision is also essential for oral communication, noting that fifteen-minutes constitutes a long presentation in the government context.

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff, deputy director and senior fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former adviser on U.S.-Russian relations at the U.S. Department of State, reiterated the critical role of university-based training and research in accumulating expertise. He argued that academics can do more to bridge the gap between the scholarly and policy communities. In general, he said, academic work often lacks influence because it is not accessible. He echoed the panel’s call for clearly articulated ideas, stressing that academic work permeates the policy community when it is closely tied to real world puzzles and challenges.

Dr. Mankoff argued that think tanks play an important role in forging networks of D.C-based scholars that inform the international policy community and shift decision-making frames. Echoing Dr. Wallander’s emphasis on the importance of university-based research, he argued that think tanks are distinct from universities in two ways. First, the boundaries between think tanks and government are porous. Ideas generated in think tanks filter into public discussions through personal networks, reports, media appearances, and participation in seminars and conferences. Yet, similar to the dynamics in government, research in think tanks is driven by the urgency of responding to real world problems and demonstrating clear influence in the policy process. The scholarly community works on a different logic, creating lasting knowledge that becomes relevant as real-world challenges shift. With effective communication and deep networks, these are complementary paths to improve policy decisions, inform foreign audiences, and increase popular understanding of Russia beyond the headlines.

Dr. John Slocum, visiting scholar at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs, added the perspective of a long-time program director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For nearly a century, foundations worked to develop regional studies expertise. Initially, they funded policy-relevant research without creating direct linkages across the policy-university divide. This model shifted with the demise of the Soviet Union. Under David Hamburg, former president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, foundations increasingly brought scholarly attention to critical global problems with the goal of identifying informed policy solutions. They also became more pro-active in constructing platforms for information exchange, interaction, and networks linking specialists in government and academia.

Dr. Slocum emphasized that foundations’ conceptions of policy influence is not limited to U.S. audiences. Foundations endeavor to increase global understanding of U.S. foreign policy goals and policy processes. Foundations also build global policy expertise by providing technical assistance, awarding individual grants, establishing graduate training programs and think tanks, supporting scholarly networks, and promoting outlets, such as journals, to showcase debates.

Dr. Kimmage brought the discussion back to substantive concerns. He identified three critical areas of research that are under-represented in the scholarly community: Russian military affairs and public support for the military, the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in national policy and society, and the complexities of Russian regional politics. Dr. Mankoff added that lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy beyond the Beltway has emerged as a national security problem that needs to be addressed by a partnership across the regional studies community to educate U.S. citizens how to navigate the complexity of the globalized, international community.

Discussion among these scholars with experience across different regional studies community stressed the importance of continuing to increase the expert influence to produce more effective, fact-based policy decisions. The discussion highlighted steps to meet this challenge:

  • Understand the needs and challenges that face different groups of specialists within the broader regional studies community.
  • Continue to support university-based research and the tools to communicate findings to non-academic specialists.
  • Strengthen student training in essential skills, especially causal inference and clear and focused communication.
  • Sustain networks that link regional studies specialists at universities with those in government, NGOs, think tanks, foundations, and the private sector.
  • Construct a broader definition of relevance that draws on comprehensive research and looks beyond Washington, D.C., to inform non-specialists, and especially ordinary citizens, in the United States, Europe, and the broader global audience.

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US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscows Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets Johnson’s Russia List

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File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil(Voice of America – VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2017)

[Video and article also appeared at voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-to-russia-attacks-on-us-funded-agencies/4125489.html]

The U.S. ambassador to Russia has attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network to register as such in the United States.

Ambassador Jon Huntsman said during a visit Friday to the Moscow bureau of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the Russian reaction is not “reciprocal at all” and Moscow’s move toward regulation of the news agencies, if it is implemented, would make “it virtually impossible for them to operate” in Russia.

WATCH: Ambassador Jon Huntsman

He said the eight-decade-old Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) under which RT has registered as a foreign agent is aimed at promoting transparency, but does not restrict the television network’s operation in the United States.

Russia’s lower house of parliament approved amendments Wednesday to expand a 2012 law that targets non-governmental organizations, including foreign media. A declaration as a foreign agent would require foreign media to regularly disclose their objectives, full details of finances, funding sources and staffing.

Media outlets also may be required to disclose on their social platforms and internet sites visible in Russia that they are “foreign agents.” The amendments also would allow the extrajudicial blocking of websites the Kremlin considers undesirable.

The Russian Justice Ministry said Thursday it had notified the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and seven separate regional outlets active in Russia they could be affected.

In response to a question from VOA, Huntsman said “It isn’t at all similar to what we’re doing under FARA – it’s a reach beyond. And, we just think the principles of free media, in any free society and democracy, are absolutely critical to our strength, health, and well-being. Freedom of speech is part of that. So, that’s why I care about the issue. That’s why we in the embassy care about the issue. And, it’s why we’re going to follow the work that is going on in the Duma and the legislation that is being drafted, very very carefully, because we’re concerned about it.”

The Justice Ministry said the new requirements in Russia were likely to become law “in the near future.”

VOA Director Amanda Bennett said last week that if Russia imposes the new restrictions, “We can’t say at this time what effect this will have on our news-gathering operations within Russia. All we can say is that Voice of America is, by law, an independent, unbiased, fact-based news organization, and we remain committed to those principles.”

RFE/RL President Tom Kent said until the legislation becomes law, “we do not know how the Ministry of Justice will use this law in the context of our work.”

Kent said unlike Sputnik and other Russian media operating in the United States, U.S. media outlets operating in Russia do not have access to cable television and radio frequencies.

“Russian media in the U.S. are distributing their programs on American cable television. Sputnik has its own radio frequency in Washington. This means that even at the moment there is no equality,” he said.

Serious blow to freedom

The speaker of Russia’s lower house, the Duma, said last week that foreign-funded media outlets that refused to register as foreign agents under the proposed legislation would be prohibited from operating in the country.

However, since the law’s language is so broad, it potentially could be used to target any foreign media group, especially if it is in conflict with the Kremlin. “We are watching carefully… to see whether it is passed and how it is implemented,” said Maria Olson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

The Russian amendments, which Amnesty International said would inflict a “serious blow” to media freedom in Russia if they become law, were approved in response to a U.S. accusation that RT executed a Russian-mandated influence campaign on U.S. citizens during the 2016 presidential election, a charge the media channel denies.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in early 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed a campaign to undermine American democracy and help real estate mogul Donald Trump win the presidency. A criminal investigation of the interference is underway in the United States, as are numerous congressional probes.

The foreign registration amendments must next be approved by the Russian Senate and then signed into law by Putin.

RT, which is funded by the Kremlin to provide Russia’s perspective on global issues, confirmed last week it met the U.S. Justice Department’s deadline by registering as a foreign agent in the United States.

VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report.

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Russian President Signs ‘Foreign Agents’ Media Legislation

mikenova shared this story from Voice of America.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation that empowers the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents” and impose sanctions against them.

The new law was published on Russia’s official legal information Internet portal on Saturday.

The measure passed the Federation Council, the upper chamber of parliament, Wednesday in a unanimous 154-0 vote, with one abstention.

And it was unanimously approved in the third and final reading in the lower house, the State Duma, on November 15. Within hours, the Justice Ministry sent warnings to several Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news services.

The letters did not specify what potential restrictions they could face, but lawmakers have said designated media could be subjected to detailed financial-reporting requirements and required to label published material as coming from a foreign agent.

RFE/RL was among several media outlets that Russian officials warned could be labeled a foreign agent, a list that also included the Voice of America (VOA), CNN, and Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

In response to news that Putin signed the law, RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said, “We cannot speculate at this time on the effect of the new law, since no news organization has yet been specifically named as a ‘foreign agent’ and the restrictions to be imposed on such ‘agents’ have not been announced.”

“We remain committed to continuing our journalistic work, in the interests of providing accurate and objective news to our Russian-speaking audiences,” he added.

John Lansing, director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees VOA and RFE/RL, said in a statement Saturday, “RFE/RL, VOA, and the other networks of U.S. international media will remain committed to our mission, stipulated by U.S. law, to provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive journalism and other content to our global audiences, including in the Russian Federation.

“We will study carefully all communications we may receive from Russian authorities concerning our operations. While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality,” Lansing said.

The international rights organization Amnesty International has said the legislation would deal a “serious blow” to media freedom in Russia, although Russian officials have said it would not apply to domestic media.

Russian officials have called the new legislation a “symmetrical response” to what they describe as U.S. pressure on Russian media. On November 13, the Russian state-funded television channel RT registered in the United States under a decades-old law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Lansing, however, denied Moscow’s actions were “symmetrical.” “Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, are free to operate in the United States and can be, and are, carried by U.S. cable television outlets and FM radio stations. However, U.S international media, including VOA and RFE/RL, are banned from television and radio in Russia,” he said in a statement released Saturday.

The U.S. Justice Department required RT to register in the wake of a January finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that RT and Russia’s Sputnik news agency spread disinformation as part of a Russian-government effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a November 15 statement, RFE/RL said the “situation regarding Russian media in the U.S. and U.S. media in Russia remains vastly unequal.”

“RT and Sputnik distribute freely in the U.S., whereas RFE/RL has lost its broadcast affiliates in Russia due to administrative pressures, and has no access to cable,” it said. “RFE/RL reporters are subject to harassment and even physical attack in Russia.”

Visiting the Moscow bureau of RFE/RL and VOA on November 17, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said that the Russian legislation was a “big concern” for the United States and that “the principles of free media in any free society and democracy are absolutely critical for strength and well-being.”

Beware the Russian Elephant – Google Search

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Beware the Russian Elephant – The American Interest

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Framing the Debate

Beware the Russian ElephantPeter Pomerantsev

As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail.

The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In “Don’t Think of an Elephant” the cognitive linguist George Lakoff defines winning and losing in politics as being about framing issues in a way conducive to your aims. Defining the argument means winning it. If you tell someone not to think of an elephant they will end up thinking of an elephant. “When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame…when you are arguing against the other side, do not use their language. Their language picks out a frame—and it won’t…

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Published on: November 20, 2017

Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America

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Recent actions have raised fears that Voice of America could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for President Donald Trump. | Getty

The president dispatches two aides to the broadcasting agency that came under fire over the weekend for its Trump coverage.

By TARA PALMERI

Updated

2017-01-24T07:01-0500

President Donald Trump on Monday dispatched two aides to scope out the studios of Voice of America, heightening concerns among some longtime staffers that Trump may quickly put his stamp on the broadcasting arm that has long pushed U.S. democratic ideals across the world.

The arrival of the two aides – both political operatives from Trump’s campaign – comes after Voice of America received blowback over the weekend for sending out a series of tweets about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claims about inauguration crowd size that looked to some like an endorsement of his false statements. The news outlet later deleted one of the tweets.

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The concern among some staffers is especially acute because Trump’s administration is getting control over the broadcasting agency just weeks after Congress moved to eliminate the board of directors that had served as an integrity check on the organization, instead consolidating power with a CEO position appointed by the president.

As POLITICO reported last month, that change – along with a prior shift that allows the network to legally reach a U.S. audience — had stoked fears among some agency officials that Voice of America could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for the former reality TV star.

On the first Monday of his administration, Trump, who has flirted with the idea of launching his own TV network, deployed two “transition officials” who will evaluate the managers and studios of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which has an annual budget of $800 million and includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

Trump campaign New Hampshire state director Matthew Ciepielowski and Wisconsin communications director Matthew Schuck will be “temporarily assigned” to the CEO suite at the BBG where they will work with senior management “to ensure an open, transparent and seamless transition of the BBG to the Trump Administration,” according to an email by CEO John F. Lansing to staff obtained by POLITICO.

In a statement to POLITICO on Tuesday, Lansing emphasized the agency’s independence.

“The BBG, including Voice of America and our other four networks, is an independent federal agency that is legally mandated to produce objective, professional and independent journalism designed to engage, inform and connect with people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,” Lansing said. “As is routine for many federal agencies during any presidential transition, yesterday we welcomed the two-person landing team from the Trump administration. We look forward to working with them as we continue to fulfill our mission, and support the independence of our journalists around the world.”

The timing of the Trump aides’ arrival is not necessarily unusual – the Obama administration also sent transition officials to the BBG during his transition in 2009.

But some senior staffers have already expressed reservations about the backgrounds of Trump’s political operatives. Schuck, a 2012 graduate from Montgomery College, was a staff writer for the right-wing website the Daily Surge until April 2015.

“There’s concern among the journalists about what these guys are going to be doing,” said the senior VOA staffer. “People are hanging tight, seeing what will happen.”

A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.

Public scrutiny of the broadcasting agency’s articles has already started.

Voice of America director Amanda Bennett explained that she pulled a tweet on VOA’s official account that featured Spicer’s erroneous statement that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” following blowback from the account’s 905,000 followers, some of whom argued the agency shouldn’t be promoting his comments without a fact check.

“Irony is that VOA’s reason for existing was to provide truth to those who lived where the government controlled the press,” tweeted Stuart Stevens, a former advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, in response to the tweet.

Other Twitter followers called the network “pure propaganda” and “embarrassing,” and urged the network to have “self-respect” for tweeting out Spicer’s words, without additional fact-checking.

Bennett also said she temporarily pulled a story about an ethics complaint lodged against the Trump administration because it didn’t have a response from a Trump representative. The story was reposted later with a comment from Trump’s attorney Sheri Dillon.

Bennett said she was not ordered by the Trump administration to pull the story or the tweet.

“Ever since I arrived here in April I have been extremely firm that we need to follow absolutely the best journalistic practices – which include a diligent focus on facts and objectivity,” Bennett told POLITICO in an e-mail. “For the last nine months, we have been routinely pulling stories that do not meet those standards and asking that they be redone, or that additional reporting be done.”

In a phone conversation later on Monday, Bennett added, “I know that everyone is looking to say that we’re being manipulated by the Trump administration, we’re absolutely not.”

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is the largest public diplomacy program by the U.S. government, reaching an audience of 278 million by broadcasting in 100 countries and 61 languages. Voice of America was created in 1942 during World War II to send pro-democracy news across Europe, as it aimed to counter Nazi and Japanese propaganda. The agency has since evolved into a more traditional news operation, while still pushing out the virtues of democracy worldwide.

Early last month, a provision buried into the National Defense Authorization Act called for disbanding the bipartisan board of the BBG, pleasing critics who said the part-time board was ineffective but alarming others who feared an accountability layer was being swept away.

Story Continued Below

A former board member said on Monday that the editorial team may have not received marching orders from the new administration but that they’re aware of the new power of Trump’s team to take over the organization without the firewall of a bipartisan board.

“They’re clearly just trying to stay in stead with their new bosses to keep their jobs,” said the former BBG board member. “If they’re starting to turn this into Pravda before they are even told to.”

The status of the board is in limbo, however, since Obama added a signing statement to the NDAA, saying it was unconstitutional to get rid of the board because it violates his constitutional right of appointment. Another uncertainty is that Lansing can be replaced at any time for a CEO appointed by the president.

At the editorial level, there’s been caution against posting stories that don’t have a response from the Trump administration, according to a senior VOA staffer. “I think there’s going to be more of a focus on making sure that we’re balanced,” the staffer said.

Bennett said she met on Monday with Trump’s representatives, Schuck and Ciepielowski, who she said will not be involved in news decisions.

“I met with them, we gave them a briefing. We’re going to be showing them around,” she said. “If people are concerned, a lot of people have been through transitions before and this is standard procedure. We gave them the briefing book.”

When asked if she had any concerns about their prior jobs, she said, “They are who they are. They are filling a function that is exactly the same as it would be in any administration.”

And Bennett said Voice of America is not changing course under the new administration. “We are trying to do the best journalism we can, and follow the highest journalistic standards is the only way we’re going to operate,” she said.

BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing – Google Search

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Trump moves to put his own stamp on Voice of America

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Russia law on media not based on reciprocity

mikenova shared this story from NEWS.am (English).

The agency that coordinates the US media believes that the new Russian law with respect to classifying foreign-funded media as “foreign agents” is not reciprocity for Washington’s limiting the Russian media—including RT and Sputnik—activities in the US.

US Broadcasting Board of Governors CEO John Lansing noted about the aforesaid in a statement, reported RIA Novosti news agency of Russia.

“While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality,” the statement reads, in particular.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed a law, under which media receiving funding from abroad can be classified as “foreign agents.”

John F. Lansing – BBG

mikenova shared this story from BBG.

John F. Lansing joined the BBG as CEO and Director in September 2015. Lansing’s previous experience includes nine years as President of Scripps Networks, where he is credited with guiding the company to become a leading developer of unique content across various media platforms including television, digital, mobile and publishing.

Most recently, Lansing was President and Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), a marketing association comprised of 90 of the top U.S. and Canadian cable companies and television programmers. There, Lansing oversaw the development of business strategies and marketing initiatives that position cable television companies for continued growth as they compete with emerging digital content platforms.

Lansing also brings a deep understanding of journalism from roles as an award-winning Photojournalist and Field Producer, Assignment Manager, Managing Editor, and News Director at several television stations earlier in his career.

Last modified: September 12, 2017

Statement from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing Regarding the Russian

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RFE/RL, VOA, and the other networks of U.S. international media will remain committed to our mission, stipulated by U.S. law, to provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive journalism and other content to our global audiences, including in the Russian Federation.

We will study carefully all communications we may receive from Russian authorities concerning our operations.  While we will not speculate as to the effect that any new steps by the Russian government will have on our journalistic work, any characterization of such steps as reciprocity for U.S. actions severely distorts reality.  Russian media, including RT and Sputnik, are free to operate in the United States and can be, and are, carried by U.S. cable television outlets and FM radio stations.  However, U.S international media, including VOA and RFE/RL, are banned from television and radio in Russia.

In addition, our journalists on assignment are harassed by Russian authorities and face extensive restrictions on their work.  RFE/RL contributor Mykola Semena recently was sentenced by a Russian court for an article he wrote, and contributor Stanislav Asayev is being held by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine.  RFE/RL journalists were knocked down and kicked while on assignment in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar in March, and VOA correspondent Daniel Schearf has been denied a visa to re-enter Russia.

The BBG would be pleased if the current focus on reciprocity between Russian and American media ends by giving U.S. outlets – including U.S. international media such as VOA and RFE/RL – the same rights and opportunities in Russia that Russian networks have in the United States.

CONTACT: Nasserie Carew, 202-203-4400, publicaffairs@bbg.gov

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SOURCE Broadcasting Board of Governors

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Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act – Wikipedia

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The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364Pub.L. 115–44), is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on IranNorth Korea, and Russia. The bill was passed during the 115th Congress, 98–2 in the Senate.[1] On August 2, 2017, President Donald Trump signed it into law while issuing two statements simultaneously that he believed the legislation was “seriously flawed”.[2]As at October 12, 2017, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said in a joint statement that the White House has “had plenty of time to get their act together” after missing an October 1 deadline to identify Kremlin-linked targets for sanctions.[3]

New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked

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LAST January, shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as America’s president, telephones started to ring in several Senate offices. The White House, staffers learned, was drafting an executive order to lift some of the sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its war against Ukraine in 2014. “We were horrified. Everyone was calling each other and we soon realised that all heard the same thing,” one recalls.

The staffers promptly leaked the rumour, and began work on a bill to turn the sanctions, imposed by executive order under Barack Obama, into law. The idea was to stop Mr Trump from lifting them unilaterally. Although the earlier sanctions were related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was evidence of Russia’s meddling in America’s elections, not to mention Mr Trump’s worryingly consistent praise of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, that propelled Congress into action. The result was the Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, which also includes measures against Iran and North Korea), the only piece of legislation to be almost unanimously supported by both parties in Congress. Passed by 419-3 in the House and 98-2 in the Senate, it left Mr Trump with no choice but to sign or have his veto overridden.

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The new law, signed in August, entrenches and in places tightens the sanctions of 2014, which have cut off Russian firms from most Western sources of financing. Economically, they compounded the effects of the oil-price collapse on Russia’s economy in 2014 and have hampered Russia’s ability to climb out of the trough. Uncertainty about their scope has made foreigners cautious about dealing with any Russian firm, not just with those directly targeted. Foreign direct investment in Russia fell from $69bn in 2013 to just $6.8bn in 2015. Yet with time, businesses adjusted to the new conditions. Western executives gradually returned to Russian gatherings. Foreign investors again gobbled up Russian government bonds.

As well as stopping Mr Trump from backsliding, CAATSA moderately increases the pressure on the Russian economy. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. Yet the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas giant, which supplies Europe with a huge amount of gas, has also been excluded from the sanctions lists, as is Nord Stream 2, a second trans-Baltic gas export pipeline to Germany. Some American officials would have liked to see that project blocked, but the desire to preserve unity between America and the EU turned out to be more important, says Daniel Fried, a former US official who designed the initial sanctions.

America and Europe did not want to fall out over arms sales, either. CAATSA extends existing sanctions to make sure that anyone engaged in a “significant transaction” with the Russian defence and security sectors can be affected. But as the world’s second-largest exporter of arms, Russia supplies many of America’s friends, including India, Vietnam and Iraq, as well as some NATO members including Turkey, Greece and some former Warsaw Pact members in eastern Europe. So decisions on applying sanctions to Russian arms sales will also be made case by case.

It is the personal sanctions that worry the Russian elite most. CAATSA allows “secondary sanctions”, meaning that American officials can go after anyone, in any country, with significant business dealings with the so-called “specially designated nationals” (SDNs) who are already under sanctions—such as Igor Sechin, the head of Rosneft, the state oil firm, and Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch with interests in transport and energy. Depending on how CAATSA is implemented, this could make some of Mr Putin’s closest allies and cronies as toxic as other SDNs in Hizbullah, Iran or North Korea. A Chinese energy firm or a Western consultant dealing with any of the Russian SDNs could be affected. “This is absolutely nuclear,” says a Russian official. “It goes beyond anything we had during the cold war.”

Another part of CAATSA requires the administration to submit a report to Congress identifying Russian oligarchs and senior foreign-policy officials with close ties to Mr Putin and his inner circle. Although the report will not place those named in it under sanctions, it makes them potential targets if the confrontation between Russia and the West escalates, thus perhaps making them pariahs in advance. The report, which will also estimate the wealth and sources of income of family members, including siblings, children, parents and partners, has already sown panic among the Russian elite.

“Who will be doing the checking? Is it the FBI, the CIA or someone else?” asks one of Mr Putin’s loyalists nervously. “Nobody likes what is happening. But there is not much we can do about it,” he admits. Inclusion in the report will be almost impossible to reverse. But the definition of an oligarch remains vague.

The report is due out by early February—just weeks before Russia’s presidential election—and could have large political consequences, fuelling anger at America among the elite and giving new ammunition to Alexei Navalny, Russia’s leading opposition figure and anti-corruption crusader. Still, implementation will be the key. The tension between Congress and the White House which triggered the legislation may also undermine its execution. But although the administration may not be breathlessly eager to implement personal sanctions, it cannot ignore them, either. “We will be watching them like hawks,” says a Senate staffer.


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12:57 PM 11/26/2017 – Recent Posts

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9:45 AM 11/26/2017 – Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you!
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6:58 AM 11/26/2017 – RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election
6:48 AM 11/26/2017 – It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov
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5:27 AM 11/26/2017 – Beware the Russian Elephant
4:40 AM 11/26/2017 – Obama’s Revenge: New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked…
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25.11.2017 19:12
12:05 PM 11/25/2017 – Ariel Cohen: Russia is roaring back to the Middle East while … | Ариэль Коэн…
11:29 AM 11/26/2017 Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump
10:57 AM 11/26/2017 Did Jared Kushner just tip off that hes about to resign?
10:04 AM 11/26/2017 How Trump Will Turn Americas Open Internet Into an Ugly Version of Chinas Daily Beast
9:51 AM 11/26/2017 Recent Posts
9:45 AM 11/26/2017 Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you!
9:17 AM 11/26/2017 AP FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails
6:58 AM 11/26/2017 RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election
6:48 AM 11/26/2017 It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov
6:33 AM 11/26/2017 Tweets by @mikenov
5:27 AM 11/26/2017 Beware the Russian Elephant

 

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11:29 AM 11/26/2017 – Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump

11:29 AM 11/26/2017 – Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump
10:57 AM 11/26/2017 – Did Jared Kushner just tip off that hes about to resign?

10:57 AM 11/26/2017 – Did Jared Kushner just tip off that hes about to resign?
10:04 AM 11/26/2017 – How Trump Will Turn America’s Open Internet Into an Ugly Version of China’s – …

10:04 AM 11/26/2017 – How Trump Will Turn America’s Open Internet Into an Ugly Version of China’s – Daily Beast
9:51 AM 11/26/2017 – Recent Posts

9:51 AM 11/26/2017 – Recent Posts
9:45 AM 11/26/2017 – Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you!

9:45 AM 11/26/2017 – Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you!
9:17 AM 11/26/2017 – AP – FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails

9:17 AM 11/26/2017 – AP – FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails
All Selected Articles – Russia

All Selected Articles – Russia
6:58 AM 11/26/2017 – RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election

6:58 AM 11/26/2017 – RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election
6:48 AM 11/26/2017 – It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov

6:48 AM 11/26/2017 – It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov
6:33 AM 11/26/2017 – Tweets by +Mike Nova

6:33 AM 11/26/2017 – Tweets by +Mike Nova
5:27 AM 11/26/2017 – Beware the Russian Elephant

5:27 AM 11/26/2017 – Beware the Russian Elephant
4:40 AM 11/26/2017 – Obama’s Revenge: New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked…

4:40 AM 11/26/2017 – Obama’s Revenge: New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked
4:40 AM 11/26/2017 – Obama’s Revenge: New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked…

4:40 AM 11/26/2017 – Obama’s Revenge: New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are spooked
25.11.2017 19:12

12:05 PM 11/25/2017 – Ariel Cohen: Russia is roaring back to the Middle East while … | Ариэль Коэн…

12:05 PM 11/25/2017 – Ariel Cohen: Russia is roaring back to the Middle East while … | Ариэль Коэн о ситуации в Сирии: Это серьезная победа для России и Ирана
11:29 AM 11/26/2017 Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump WHISTLEBLOWING VS. LEAKING: THREAT AGAINST COMEY SPARKS BACKLASH – East County Magazine Dan Vallone: Trump has made a habit of appeasing thuggish leaders rather than defending democracy – Concord Monitor What’s Dangerous About Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy? – The Atlantic FBI didn’t … Continue reading“11:29 AM 11/26/2017 – Donald Trump is pissed at Ivanka Trump”
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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None How Trump Will Turn America’s Open Internet Into an Ugly Version of China’s – Daily Beast Donald Trump and the Success of the Narcissistic Sociopath – Daily Beast “*Did Jared Kushner just tip off that hes about to resign? Putin’s Syrian Messages and Macron’s Lebanese Initiative – HuffPost Donald … Continue reading“10:04 AM 11/26/2017 – How Trump Will Turn America’s Open Internet Into an Ugly Version of China’s – Daily Beast”
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The World News and Times 9:45 AM 11/26/2017 Mr. President, have I got a bridge for you! 2:06 PM 11/23/2017 Recent Posts  8:51 AM 11/23/2017 Harding Collusion 11:14 AM 11/22/2017 The Real Winner in Americas Russia Crisis Is China 4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post … Continue reading“9:51 AM 11/26/2017 – Recent Posts “
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9:17 AM 11/26/2017 AP FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails

Technology FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building Wednesday night, Nov. 1, 2017. Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they … Continue reading“9:17 AM 11/26/2017 – AP – FBI didnt tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails”
6:58 AM 11/26/2017 RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election

6:48 AM 11/26/2017 It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election PeskovNovember 26, 2017 6:33 AM 11/26/2017 Tweets by @mikenovNovember 26, 2017 5:27 AM 11/26/2017 Beware the Russian ElephantNovember 26, 2017 5:14 AM 11/26/2017 Russia law on media not based on reciprocityNovember 26, 2017 4:40 AM 11/26/2017 Obamas Revenge: … Continue reading“6:58 AM 11/26/2017 – RECENT POSTS: It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election”
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Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election Peskov Johnson’s Russia List How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents NEWSWATCH: Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russias elite are http://russialist.org/newswatch-putin-in-the-boot-new-sanctions-are-about-to-bite-and-russias-elite-are-spooked-the-personal-sanctions-against-regime-cronies-are-especially-tough-the-economist/ pic.twitter.com/wfdbXX4H7s Bridging the Scholarship-Policy Divide Johnson’s Russia List … Continue reading“6:48 AM 11/26/2017 – It is yet unclear whether Putin to run for re-election – Peskov”
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5:27 AM 11/26/2017 Beware the Russian Elephant

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9:17 AM 11/26/2017 – AP – FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails

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FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails


Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building Wednesday night, Nov. 1, 2017. Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has learned. (J. David Ake/Associated Press)
 November 26 at 8:09 AM
WASHINGTON — The hackers’ targets: The former head of cybersecurity for the U.S. Air Force. An ex-director at the National Security Council. A former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

All were caught up in a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage campaign. None was warned by the FBI.

The bureau repeatedly failed to alert targets of the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear despite knowing for more than a year that their personal emails were in the Kremlin’s sights, an Associated Press investigation has found.

“No one’s ever said to me, ‘Hey Joe, you’ve been targeted by this Russian group,’” said former Navy intelligence officer Joe Mazzafro, whose inbox the hackers tried to compromise in 2015. “That our own security services have not gone out and alerted me, that’s what I find the most disconcerting as a national security professional.”

The FBI declined to answer most questions from AP about how it responded to the spying operation. It provided a statement that said in part: “The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information.”

Three people familiar with the matter — including a current and a former government official — said the FBI has known the details of Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into Gmail inboxes for more than a year. A senior FBI official, who was not to authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, said the bureau had been overwhelmed by an “almost insurmountable problem.”

The AP conducted its own investigation into Fancy Bear, dedicating two months and a small team of reporters to go through a list of 19,000 phishing links provided by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks.

The list showed how Fancy Bear worked in close alignment with Kremlin interests to steal tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party, the AP reported this month.

But it wasn’t just Democrats the hackers were after.

The AP identified more than 500 U.S.-based targets in the data, reached out to more than 190 of them and interviewed nearly 80 people, including current or former military personnel, Democratic operatives, diplomats or ex-intelligence workers such as Mazzafro.

Many were long-retired, but about one-third were still in government or held security clearances at the time of the hacking attempts. Only two told the AP they learned of the hacking attempts from the FBI. A few more were contacted by the FBI after their emails were published in the torrent of leaks that coursed through last year’s electoral contest. To this day, some leak victims have not heard from the bureau.

One was retired Maj. James Phillips, who was one of the first people exposed by the website DCLeaks in mid-2016. A year later, Philips has yet to hear anything from the FBI.

In fact he didn’t learn his emails were “flapping in the breeze” until two months after the fact, when a journalist called him to ask for comment.

“The fact that a reporter told me about DCLeaks kind of makes me sad,” Phillips said in a telephone interview.

Phillips’ story would be repeated again and again as the AP spoke to officials from the National Defense University in Washington to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.

Among them: a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes; a former head of Air Force Intelligence, retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula; a former defense undersecretary, Eric Edelman; and a former director of cybersecurity for the Air Force, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Schissler.

Some targets of Fancy Bear’s spying said they don’t blame the FBI for not notifying them.

“The expectation that the government is going to protect everyone and go back to everyone is false,” said Nicholas Eftimiades, a retired senior technical officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who teaches homeland security at Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg and was himself among the targets.

But Charles Sowell, who previously worked as a senior administrator in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was targeted by Fancy Bear two years ago, said there was no reason the FBI couldn’t do the same work the AP did.

“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data,” said Sowell. “Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying, ‘It’s too much’?

“That’s ridiculous.”

___

EDITOR’S NOTE — Raphael Satter’s father, David Satter, is an author and Russia specialist who has been critical of the Kremlin. His emails were published last year by hackers and his account is on Secureworks’ list of Fancy Bear targets. He was not notified by the FBI.

EDITOR’S NOTE _ One in a series of stories on the findings of an Associated Press investigation of the Russian hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election in 2016

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): fbi – Google News: FBI didn’t tell US targets as Russian hackers hunted emails – Seattle Times
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Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building Wednesday night, Nov. 1, 2017. Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told… (AP Photo/J. David Ake 
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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): fbi – Google News: Bookmarks: Maurer helps undercover FBI agent tell his tale – StarNewsOnline.com


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Bookmarks: Maurer helps undercover FBI agent tell his tale
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Maurer, a former StarNews staff writer, scored two best-sellers with No Easy Day and No Hero, written with Mark Owen, the pseudonymous Navy SEAL who served in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. This time, his book is American Radical: …

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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): mueller – Google News: Mueller is eyeing Flynn’s involvement in a film his lobbying firm did not want anyone to know about – Business Insider


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Mueller is eyeing Flynn’s involvement in a film his lobbying firm did not want anyone to know about
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Mueller’s focus on Flynn has to do primarily with those interactions, as well as his lobbying firm’s activities and his failure to register as a foreign agent when the firm began lobbying on behalf of a businessman with ties to Turkish President Recep 
Former Trump Advisor Michael Flynn May Have Started Cooperating With Robert MuellerReportsFortune
Obama ethics czar: Flynn ‘surely will roll over’ on Kushner in Mueller …The Hill
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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): Christopher Wray – Google News: Letters to the editor: Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 – Naples Daily News


Naples Daily News
Letters to the editor: Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
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Mike Pompeo, CIA director, stated that Russia interfered in our election and FBI Director Christopher Wray agrees. Special Counsel Robert Mueller agrees. Republican congressional investigating committees agree. Russian President Vladimir Putin denies …

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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): mueller – Google News: Anger at Mueller burns hot on the right | TheHill – The Hill


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Anger at Mueller burns hot on the right | TheHill
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Anger at Robert Mueller is burning white-hot on the right and in conservative media, where calls for the special counsel to recuse himself from the investigation …

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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): Andrew McCabe – Google News: The Worcestershire Golf Club retain bragging rights with cup victory – Worcester News


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The Worcestershire Golf Club retain bragging rights with cup victory
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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): fbi – Google News: State legal tab nears $60000 in FBI probe – Arkansas Online

State legal tab nears $60000 in FBI probe
Arkansas Online
The records show that in July, the Bureau of Legislative Research received a subpoena for records from the FBI. Over the next two months, lawyers for the firm analyzed the records request and filed a motion to quash the subpoena because it was “over broad.

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1. FBI from mikenova (15 sites): WorldWide Times wwtimes.com: As he investigates Trumps aides, special counsels record shows surprising flaws LA Times

As Robert Mueller leads a sprawling investigation aimed at the White House, his prosecutorial discretion looms over the Trump presidency. Source: As he investigates Trump’s aides, special counsel’s record shows surprising flaws – LA Times

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LOS ALAMOS A customer at a Northern New Mexico bank shot at a departing robbery suspect outside the bank but apparently didn’t hit anyone, the FBI said Friday. The robber remained at large as the FBI continued its investigation of the robbery 

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5:20 AM 11/24/2017 – The Fateful Loss of Vigilance: “The FBI seemed unduly keen to trash Clinton’s reputation while sitting on explosive material concerning Trump.”

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The Fateful Loss of Vigilance:

“The FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of these contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow. This was in part due to institutional squeamishness – the law prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of US citizens without a warrant…”

“The FBI seemed unduly keen to trash Clinton’s reputation while sitting on explosive material concerning Trump.” 

How Trump walked into Putin’s web

The inside story of how a former British spy was hired to investigate Russia’s influence on Trump – and uncovered explosive evidence that Moscow had been cultivating Trump for years. By 

__________________________

“Steele had found prima facie evidence of a conspiracy, but by and large the US public knew nothing about it. In November, his dossier began circulating in the top national security echelons of the Obama administration. But it was too late.” 

Source: How Trump walked into Putin’s web | News | The Guardian


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11:20 AM 11/23/2017 – The FBI, Semion Mogilevich, and the “Collusion” (by Luke Harding)

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10:53 AM 11/23/2017 – "In December 2015, the FBI also excluded Semion Mogilevich from its search register…"

“In December 2015, the FBI also excluded Semion Mogilevich from its search register, as it became known that he resided in Russia, with which the United States did not have an agreement on extradition.”

One of Simpson’s subjects was Semion Mogilevich, a Ukrainian-Russian mafia don and one of the FBI’s ten most wanted individuals. Mogilevich, it was alleged, was behind a mysterious intermediary company, RosUkrEnergo (RUE), that imported Siberian natural gas into Ukraine. The profits were measured in billions of dollars.

Mogilevich wasn’t someone a reporter might meet; he was more myth than man. He lived in Moscow—or was it Budapest? Seemingly, the Russian state and FSB harbored him. Simpson talked to U.S. investigators. Over years, he built up a portfolio of contacts in Hungary, Israel, Cyprus. At home he knew individuals inside the Department of Justice—in particular its Organized Crime and Racketeering Section—the U.S. Treasury, and elsewhere.

By 2009 Simpson decided to quit journalism, at a time when the media industry was in all sorts of financial trouble. He cofounded his own commercial research and political intelligence firm, based in Washington, D.C. Its name was Fusion GPS. Its website gave little away. It didn’t even list an address or the downtown loft from where a team of analysts worked.

Fusion’s research would be similar to what he had done before. That meant investigating difficult corruption cases or the business activities of post-Soviet figures. There would still be a public interest dimension, only this time private clients would pay. Fusion was very good at what it did and—Simpson admitted—expensive.

______________________________

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Арест Керимова удар по Путину

 

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Crime lord from FBIs Ten Most Wanted list seen at funeral of Russian mafia leader
mikenova shared this story .

Officials, businessmen, and prominent figures of the Russian criminal world have come to bid final farewell to an alleged founder of the Solntsevskie OCG, Avera-mladshy (Avera-Junior).

Hundreds of people who came to see Aleksandr Averin (Avera-Mladshy, deceased on October 11) on his way included known businessmen, officials, and major figures of the Russian criminal world.

Eyewitnesses of the funeral service counted at least ten representative cars with AMR series state numbers. According to Pyaty Kanal (Channel 5), even President of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili, and unnamed high-ranking employees of Prosecutor’s Office came to say goodbye to the deceased.

dsad_14152823_m.jpg

As reported by the Telegram channel Oper Slil, which regularly publishes insider information of law enforcement agencies, apart from the alleged leader of the Solntsevskie OCG (Sergey Mikhaylov aka Mikhas’), Averin’s funeral was also attended by Semion Mogilevich, who was included in the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list up to 2015.

To recall, the Russian-Ukrainian businessman linked to the Solntsevskie OCG – Semion Mogilevich – is an odious character in the West.

Law enforcement bodies of a number of countries consider Mogilevich (also known under the surnames Telesh, Schneider, Palagnyuk, Saiman, and Suvorov), who has multiple citizenships, one of the largest criminals of the world scale. In 1999, Mogilevich was declared wanted for financial crimes in the UK, and in 2003, the FBI also put him on the wanted list. In the state of Pennsylvania, Mogilevich and several of his accomplices were charged in absentia with 45 items in the case of $150-million embezzlement from the shareholders of YBM Magnex. In addition, he was suspected of money-laundering via Bank of New York. Mogilevich’s aggregate penalty in the United States amounted up to 400 years in prison. Moreover, it was previously reported about the police of Israel and Hungary (the states of which Mogilevich is also a national) having a number of questions to his business activities.

mogil.jpeg

Picture from FBI website

In Russia, where Semion Mogilevich has resided continuously for the past few years, he was detained in the case of tax evasion by Arbat-Prestige trading network along with the network’s co-owner Vladimir Nekrasov in January 2008. After a year and a half spent in a pre-trial detention center, Mogilevich was released on his own recognizance; in April 2011, the criminal case against him and Nekrasov was terminated for lack of evidence constituting an offense. It was when it became known that Semion Mogilevich under the surname Schneider had been excluded from the list of persons wanted by Interpol back in 2005. However, the Russian Interpol National Central Bureau has not given the reason for Mogilevich’s exclusion from the list.

In December 2015, the FBI also excluded Semion Mogilevich from its search register, as it became known that he resided in Russia, with which the United States did not have an agreement on extradition.

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One of Simpson’s subjects was Semion Mogilevich, a Ukrainian-Russian mafia don and one of the FBI’s ten most wanted individuals.

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Crime lord from FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list seen at funeral of …

<a href=”https://en.crimerussia.com/” rel=”nofollow”>https://en.crimerussia.com/</a>Oct 14, 2017
To recall, the Russian-Ukrainian businessman linked to the Solntsevskie OCG – Semion Mogilevich – is an odious character in the West.

Story image for mogilevich from Reason (blog)

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Reason (blog)Oct 31, 2017
Tymoshenko, who served as prime minster from 2007 through 2010, was not just an enemy of Tanukovych’s but also of Firtash and Mogilevich.
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RUE—the entity run by Firtash—was the conduit through which gas came from Central Asia through Gazprom’s pipes to Ukraine. The suit …

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Ukrainian oligarch Firtash had been arrested there the prior month on U.S. charges that he helped orchestrate an $18.5 million bribery scheme …

Story image for firtash from Chicago Tribune

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Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash arrives for the start of his trial at the courts of justice in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 21, 2017. Firtash was arrested …

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Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash arrives for the start of his trial at the courts of justice in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 21, 2017. Firtash was arrested …
Manafort took 18 trips to Moscow while working for Putin allies.
mikenova shared this story .

Political guru Paul Manafort took at least 18 trips to Moscow and was in frequent contact with Vladimir Putin’s allies for nearly a decade as a consultant in Russia and Ukraine for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin parties.

Even after the February 2014 fall of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, who won office with the help of a Manafort-engineered image makeover, the American consultant flew to Kiev another 19 times over the next 20 months while working for the smaller, pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party. Manafort went so far as to suggest the party take an anti-NATO stance, an Oppo Bloc architect has said. A key ally of that party leader, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was identified by an earlier Ukrainian president as a former Russian intelligence agent, “100 percent.”

It was this background that Manafort brought to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which he joined in early 2016 and soon led. His web of connections to Russia-loyal potentates is now a focus of federal investigators.

Manafort’s flight records in and out of Ukraine, which McClatchy obtained from a government source in Kiev, and interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with his activities, including current and former government officials, suggest the links between Trump’s former campaign manager and Russia sympathizers run deeper than previously thought.

What’s now known leads some Russia experts to suspect that the Kremlin’s emissaries at times turned Manafort into an asset acting on Russia’s behalf. “You can make a case that all along he …was either working principally for Moscow, or he was trying to play both sides against each other just to maximize his profits,” said Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state who communicated with Manafort during Yanukovych’s reign in President George W. Bush’s second term.

“He’s at best got a conflict of interest and at worst is really doing Putin’s bidding,” said Fried, now a fellow with the Atlantic Council.

A central question for Justice Department Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and several congressional committees is whether Manafort, in trying to boost Trump’s underdog campaign, in any way collaborated with Russia’s cyber meddling aimed at improving Trump’s electoral prospects.

His lucrative consulting relationships have already led a grand jury convened by Mueller to charge him and an associate with conspiracy, money laundering and other felonies – charges that legal experts say are likely meant to pressure them to cooperate with the wider probe into possible collusion.

Government investigators are examining information they’ve received regarding “talks between Russians about using Manafort as part of their broad influence operations during the elections,” a source familiar with the inquiry told McClatchy.

Suspicions about Manafort have been fueled by a former British spy’s opposition research on Trump. In a now-famous dossier, former MI6 officer Christopher Steele quoted an ethnic Russian close to Trump as saying that Manafort had managed “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the campaign and the Kremlin.

You can make a case that he …was either working principally for Moscow, or he was trying to play both sides against each other just to maximize his profits.

Daniel Fried, an assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, called that allegation “false,” saying that Manafort “never – ever – worked for the Russian government.” He also denied that Manafort ever recommended Ukrainian opposition to NATO, saying he “was a strong advocate” of closer relations with the western military alliance while advising political parties there.

“Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election,” Maloni said. “No amount of wishing and hoping by his political opponents will make this spurious allegation true.”

Maloni declined to say whether, while in Moscow, Manafort met with any Russian government officials.

Land of the oligarchs

The trail of Manafort’s decade of dealings 5,000 miles from America’s capital is murky. But the previously unreported flight records, spanning from late 2004 through 2015, reflect a man seemingly always on the move. Over those years, Manafort visited Ukraine at least 138 times. His trips between Ukraine and Moscow all occurred between 2005 and 2011 and were mostly in 2005 and 2006.

Prosecutors have charged that Manafort and associate Rick Gates funneled through a maze of foreign accounts at least $75 million in consulting fees from an array of Kremlin-leaning clients: Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who secretly paid them $10 million annually for several years; a second Ukrainian oligarch; and the ruling Party of Regions, which supported Yanukovych until corruption allegations and bloody protests led to his overthrow in February 2014.

Maloni said Manafort’s trips to Russia were “related to his work on behalf of Oleg Deripaska’s commercial interests.”

The further unmasking of Manafort’s relationship with Deripaska in recent months, however, has heightened suspicions about Manafort.

In July 2016, weeks after he was named Trump’s campaign chairman, Manafort crafted an unusual, eyebrow-raising proposal for Deripaska, a member of Putin’s inner circle. In emails first reported by the Washington Post, Manafort offered in seemingly coded language to provide “private briefings” on the U.S. presidential race for the Russian aluminum magnate. Manafort directed a trusted associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, to relay his message to Deripaska, remarking that it could be a way to make himself “whole” — possibly an allusion to a multimillion-dollar legal action Deripaska had filed against Manafort. Kilimnik, a Ukrainian citizen, once attended a Russian military academy known for training spies.

Deripaska, who did not respond to a request for comment, has denied seeing Manafort’s proposal and says it went nowhere. Kilimnik did not respond to emailed questions, but he has denied in published reports having any connection to Russian intelligence services.

Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election. No amount of wishing and hoping by his political opponents will make this spurious allegation true.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, told McClatchy: “It certainly looks like Mr. Manafort viewed his position on the campaign as a way of further profiting personally from the work that he was doing on behalf of Russian interests.”

Manafort’s proposal to Deripaska “shows a certain willingness to trade information in the hope of obtaining financial rewards from pro-Russian interests,” Schiff said in a phone interview. “If accurate, that’s a dangerous quality to have in a campaign chairman for a presidential campaign.”

Two former U.S. government officials with knowledge of the way Putin operates said three of the oligarchs with whom Manafort had contacts – Deripaska, Dmitry Firtash, who helped finance the party behind Yanukovych, and Medvedchuk – were potential conduits with the Kremlin.

“All three of those guys are able to pass messages directly to Putin, as well as to his subordinates and aides within the Russian presidential administration,” said one of the ex-officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “So they all have access and Manafort knew all three or their close associates fairly well.”

No evidence has surfaced that Manafort used any of them to pass messages between the campaign and the Kremlin.

During Manafort’s five-month tenure with the campaign, Russian emissaries made at least two behind-the-scenes offers to deliver “dirt” about Clinton to Trump’s campaign, including at a June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower three weeks after Manafort was promoted to campaign chairman; he attended the meeting along with Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and a Russian lawyer. Trump’s aides say nothing came of that discussion, or a similar offer conveyed in April 2016 to foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos; Manafort was copied on an email relaying that offer, which said the Russians had “thousands” of emails from Democrats.

In July, days before the Democratic National Convention, the British transparency group WikiLeaks began publishing thousands of embarrassing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the hacking, and also was responsible for the social media dissemination of a blizzard of fake and harshly critical news about Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Schiff, emphasizing he could only discuss what’s on the public record, said “these are some of the communications and interactions that are of deep interest to us, because obviously the timing is highly suggestive. It’s one of the reasons why Manafort is such a key figure in all of this.”

He certainly brought a pro-Russian proclivity to a campaign that already seemed to have one. Whether he was attracted to the trump campaign or the campaign was attracted to him on the basis of his Russian contacts … he did bring those Russian contacts and pro-Russian prejudices with him to the campaign and apparently found a welcome environment there.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee

Globe-trotting consultant

Manafort first began to establish connections in Ukraine – ground zero in the geopolitical struggle between Putin’s Russia and the West – in late 2004. His reputation as a masterful political strategist and fixer was earned over decades hopping planes to the Congo, Philippines and elsewhere to advise authoritarian rulers friendly with the United States.

By the end of that year, the former Soviet republic of Ukraine was paralyzed by widespread protests amid allegations that Yanukovych, the prime minister in a government rife with corruption, had won the presidency in a rigged election. What became the Orange Revolution persisted until another, internationally monitored vote was held and rival Victor Yushchenko was declared the winner.

Manafort and a partner formed Davis Manafort Partners Inc. in early 2005 and opened offices in Kiev.

EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM

Manafort’s first client in Ukraine was Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s richest man and a key funder of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Deripaska introduced Manafort to Akhmetov, who hailed from Russia-leaning Eastern Ukraine. In the summer of 2005, Akhmetov tapped Manafort to help Yanukovych and his party in the 2006 elections, according to an American consultant based in Kiev, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid damaging relationships.

The multimillion-dollar political consulting deal was sealed at a meeting in an elite Moscow hotel attended by Manafort, Akhmetov and a half dozen other wealthy Ukrainians.

Manafort spent the next several years advising Deripaska, Akhmetov and other Ukrainian oligarchs and giving the gruff-talking Yanukovych a makeover down to his hair style and attire. Yanukovych won the presidency in 2010.

EDITORS: END OPTIONAL TRIM

In 2014, however, Manafort’s business took a hit when Yanukovych fled to Russia, days before Kremlin-backed forces invaded Eastern Ukraine. He was quickly hired by the Opposition Bloc, which leaned even more toward Moscow.

His work drew rave reviews from one Oppo Bloc leader, Nestor Shufrych, whom multiple people in positions to know described as a close ally of Medvedchuk. Shufrych told a Ukrainian publication that Manafort urged the new party to take an anti-NATO stance and be the “voice of Russians in (Ukraine’s) East.”

Calling Manafort “a genius,” Shufrych said the party had paid him about $1 million, and the investment “paid off.”

Philip Griffin, a former associate of Manafort’s who consults in Kiev, said he could not imagine Manafort opposing NATO. “Paul Manafort is a Reagan Republican,” Griffin said. “He would never betray that legacy by doing Russia’s bidding.”

Maloni said Manafort argued strongly that “Ukraine was better served by having closer relations with the West and NATO.”

He also said Manafort succeeded in pushing “a number of major initiatives that were strongly supported by the U.S. government and opposed by Russia,” including the denuclearization of Ukraine and the expansion of NATO exercises in the region.

138 The number of trips Paul Manafort took to Ukraine between 2004 and 2015 while consulting for Russian and pro-Russian oligarchs.

Some former U.S. government officials, though, are skeptical.

Despite Ukraine’s popular uprising against Yanukovych that led to at least 75 deaths, “Paul Manafort maintained ties to the Opposition Bloc party and Viktor Yanukovych’s former cronies, thus choosing to associate himself with crooks and kleptocrats rather than Ukraine’s pro-Western reformers,” said Mike Carpenter, who focused on Russia matters as a top Pentagon and National Security Council official during the Obama administration. “This speaks volumes about his character and lack of respect for democratic values.”

One of Shufrych’s and Oppo Bloc’s behind-the-scenes allies was Medvedchuk, who is so close to Putin that the Russian president is the godfather of his daughter.

Partial transcripts from tape recordings of then-Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, published in 2002, show Kumcha saying: “Well, we know about it, that he was a KGB agent, 100 percent.”

Details of Manafort’s contacts with Medvedchuk could not be learned. But Medvedchuk, who is under U.S. sanctions, has acknowledged meeting Manafort once in 2014.

Flights of interest

Several of the trips in Manafort’s flight records could draw investigators’ interest.

In April 2014, for instance, Manafort traveled to Vienna. Ukrainian oligarch Firtash had been arrested there the prior month on U.S. charges that he helped orchestrate an $18.5 million bribery scheme involving the government of India, a U.S. firm and a Firtash company in the Virgin Islands. A former U.S. government official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Manafort met with Firtash in Vienna, where he is awaiting extradition to the United States.

Another Manafort trip that could interest investigators took place in July 2013 when Manafort and Kilimnik flew to Frankfurt on a private plane owned by Andrey Artemenko, a pro-Moscow Ukrainian legislator.

American experts on Russia said privately they suspect the trip was a prelude to a broader Russian influence effort to dissuade Yanukovych’s government from signing an agreement to associate with the European Union. That decision, experts say, opened the door to Russia’s 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine. This year, Artemenko was expelled from the Ukrainian legislature and his citizenship was revoked after disclosures he and a Trump attorney had pitched a “peace plan” for Ukraine and Russia widely seen as favoring Moscow.

Pro-Russia stances

Some of Trump’s most remarked-upon statements about foreign policy that directly or indirectly implicated Russia occurred on Manafort’s watch in the 2016 campaign. For example, Trump launched broadsides against NATO allies for not contributing enough money and suggested the United States might rethink its commitment to the European mutual defense alliance credited with deterring Russian military ambitions.

Trump also raised doubts about whether he would stand behind U.S. sanctions that President Barack Obama imposed in December 2014 in retaliation for the Crimean invasion.

As the GOP platform committee drew up party positions a week before the Republican National Convention, a plank calling for the United States to provide “lethal weapons” for Ukraine’s defense wasaltered in a controversial and mysterious move. The American consultant in Ukraine said that Manafort aide Kilimnik had boasted he played a role in easing the language to recommend only “appropriate assistance” to Ukraine’s military.

EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM

Charlie Black, a onetime partner of Manafort’s, says he remains baffled by the change.

“It was inexplicable to me that a majority of platform members would have taken a pro-Russian position on Ukraine,” he said. “They must not have known this was a pro-Russia provision.”

EDITORS: END OPTIONAL TRIM

In late July after FBI Director James Comey said he would not back prosecution of Clinton over her use of a private email server to conduct State Department business, Trump took a bizarre step. He publicly beseeched Russia to help unearth 30,000 emails that Clinton said she had deleted because they dealt with personal matters.

Paul Manafort maintained ties to the Opposition Bloc party and Viktor Yanukovych’s former cronies, thus choosing to associate himself with crooks and kleptocrats rather than Ukraine’s pro-Western reformers.

Mike Carpenter, senior Pentagon and White House official who specialized in Russia during the Obama administration.

During the summer, a U.S. group supporting Ukraine asked both presidential candidates for a letter recognizing the country’s 25th year of independence since the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton obliged. But the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America was unable to wrest a letter from the Trump campaign, said a person familiar with the matter. The group’s president did not respond to phone messages.

Manafort resigned from the campaign on Aug. 19, 2016 after The New York Times disclosed a secret Ukrainian ledger indicating he was to receive more than $12 million in off-the-books payments from Yanukovych’s party from 2007 to 2012.

Schiff said he found an intriguing symmetry between Trump’s Russia stances and Manafort’s work in Kiev that might explain their mutual attraction.

“Whether he was attracted to the Trump campaign or the campaign was attracted to him on the basis of his Russian contacts,” Schiff said, “the fact of the matter is, he did bring those Russian contacts and pro-Russian prejudices with him to the campaign and apparently found a welcome home there.”

Kevin G. Hall, James Whitlow and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project contributed to this story. Peter Stone is a McClatchy special correspondent.

Russias Lies Are Aimed at Undermining European Democracies
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Exclusive: Manafort flight records show deeper Kremlin ties than previously known – News & Observer
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Exclusive: Manafort flight records show deeper Kremlin ties than previously known
News & Observer
A key ally of that party leader, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was identified by an earlier Ukrainian president as a formerRussian intelligence agent, 100 percent. It was this background that Manafort brought to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and more »
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Journalist Investigating Trump And Russia Says ‘Full Picture Is One …

NPRNov 21, 2017
The new book “Collusion” is about what the author, my guest Luke Harding, says appears to be an emerging pattern of collusion between Russia, Donald Trump and his campaign. Harding also writes about how Russia appears to have started cultivating Trump back in 1987. The book is based on original …

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The Ex-Spy Behind the Trump-Russia Dossier Left a Clue for Mueller

Vanity FairNov 16, 2017
“Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans,” the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding’s new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. “The difference is what’s important.” According to his book, Steele did not …

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Is the Trump Dossier About to Grow With New Expose?

HuffPostNov 9, 2017
Will Luke Harding’s forthcoming book — Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win—deliver the long sought after conclusive confirmation of collusion? We will find out on November 16th when his book, published by Penguin Random House in the U.S., will be …

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Vladimir Putin could secretly be one of the richest men in the world …

Business InsiderNov 18, 2017
Luke Harding, journalist and author of “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win,” explains why he believes Vladimir Putin may secretly be one of the richest people in the world. Following is a transcript of the video. Luke Harding: My name is Luke Harding.

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Vintage to Release ‘Collusion,’ A New Book on Trump-Russia …

Publishers WeeklyNov 6, 2017
Just as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion begins issuing its first indictments, Penguin Random House plans to release Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win by Luke Harding, a book that claims to offer new details on the …

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An excerpt from ‘Collusion

MSNBCNov 16, 2017
Moscow, summer 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev was in power. Official relations with the West may have softened, but the KGB still assumed all Western embassy workers were spooks. The KGB goons assigned to them were easy to spot. They had a method. Sometimes they pursued targets on foot, sometime in …

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Jeffrey Toobin to Publish Book on Russia Probe

New York TimesNov 14, 2017
Luke Harding, a foreign correspondent for The Guardian, will release “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win” this week, and Michael Wolff is working on “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an up close look at the current administration based on …

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What Does Trump Know About the Russia Dossier? A Judge Could …

NewsweekNov 18, 2017
… with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the firm that commissioned the document, telling lawmakers Friday that Steele did not pay sources for information contained in it. According to Collusion, a new book about Trump’s ties to Russia by Guardian journalist Luke Harding, Steele surmises the document as 70 …

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The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow

POLITICO MagazineNov 19, 2017
It was 1984 and General Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov had a problem. The general occupied one of the KGB’s most exalted posts. He was head of the First Chief Directorate, the prestigious KGB arm responsible for gathering foreign intelligence. Kryuchkov had begun his career with five years at the …
Alt-America and English Uprising review Trump, Brexit and the far right
mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump | The Guardian.

Both David Neiwerts book on the US radical right and Paul Stockers on Brexit argue that economic factors take second place in explaining populismDonald Trump is US president because just under 80,000 people in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin flipped those states his way. Many of his extra voters were working-class white men who had voted for Obama in 2012 and switched because of Trumps pledge to bring jobs back to the rust belt. They may not have liked Obamas liberal policies on gay people and guns, but for them the big issue remained the economy.

But Trump would not have won without the support of three other groups: his gains in suburban and rural counties outweighed Hillary Clintons success in the big cities; despite the reservations of the Republican establishment about his candidacy, Trump retained the partys base, particularly among religious voters (the three times married pussy-grabber won more than 80% of white evangelicals); and he energised a movement of supporters that gained him the Republican nomination, without which he wouldnt have got any votes at all.

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Alt-America and English Uprising review – Trump, Brexit and the far …

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In Alt-America, journalist David Neiwert argues that Trump won not because of economic stagnation in the northern midwest, but because a farright racist movement had been growing since the early 90s, which both enabled Trump’s victory and has been legitimised by it. Neiwert’s narrative begins with the …

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Trump’s Mar-A-Lago is Losing Palm Beach Elite, Can Only Bring in FarRight Groups … People are ditching Donald Trump’s Palm Beach resort for a competitor he once ridiculed for getting “the leftovers.” … President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, April 15, 2017.

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Even France’s FarRight Doesn’t Like Trump

HuffPostNov 3, 2017
The farright leader Le Pen, meanwhile, was one of the first foreign politicians to congratulate Trump on his win. Her rhetoric is often similar to Trump’s on issues such as immigration, and she received Trump’stacit endorsement just before the French vote when he called her the “strongest” candidate on …

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A year ago, Trump was the hero of Europe’s far right. Not anymore.

Washington PostNov 9, 2017
Among those celebrating, though, were members of Europe’s far right. President Trump’s unlikely triumph was, for them, a dramatic repudiation of a liberal status quo they had long reviled. Trump’sright-wing populism was a validation of their own anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ultranationalist agendas.

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Donald Trump Was a Hero to Europe’s Far Right, But They Still Can’t …

NewsweekNov 8, 2017
As Donald Trump toasted his victory following the U.S. presidential election one year ago, he and his team weren’t the only ones celebrating. Thousands of miles away in France, Florian Philippot, then vice president of France’s hard-right National Front, was smiling, too. “Their world is collapsing. Ours is …
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Report: Trump Revealed Israeli Commando and Mossad Operation …

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Trump reportedly passed the intelligence to the Russians without first notifying and discussing the decision with Israeli principals. According to Vanity Fair, this violation of U.S.-Israeli trust implicated the larger Middle East, as Israel assumed Russia would pass this intelligence information to their allies: the …

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Exclusive: What Trump Really Told Kislyak After Comey Was Canned

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On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting …
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Alt-America and English Uprising review – TrumpBrexit and the far …

The Guardian5 hours ago
In Alt-America, journalist David Neiwert argues that Trump won not because of economic stagnation in the northern midwest, but because a farright racist movement had been growing since the early 90s, which both enabled Trump’s victory and has been legitimised by it. Neiwert’s narrative begins with the …

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QuartzNov 21, 2017
EU illegally used the services of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm largely owned by American billionaire Robert Mercer, who backed US president Trump, and until recently owned a stake in farrightnews organization Breitbart. British elections have a hard spending limit, and there are questions …

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This could spell bad news not only for Germany, stuck for months with a weakened, caretaker chancellor, but also for the stability of the European Union. Merkel has been a kingpin in all the bloc’s decisions and a bastion of steadiness in a world roiled by Brexit, Donald Trump, and the rise of populist parties …
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Even France’s FarRight Doesn’t Like Trump

HuffPostNov 3, 2017
Trump’s victory, along with the Brexit referendum, also gave Le Pen and other farright figures a narrative that a populist uprising was going to sweep across Europe during a series of high-profile elections this year. But that narrative never came to fruition, and Le Pen suffered a landslide loss to the centrist …

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NewsweekNov 8, 2017
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Ynetnews News – Classified Israeli intel Trump disclosed to Russia revealed
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New information on the classified Israeli intelligence US President Donald Trump revealed to Russia has been uncovered, detailing a special operations mission by the IDF special commando unit Sayeret Matkal and the Mossad deep inside Syrian territory, it was reported in the US magazine Vanity Fair.

It was revealed in June that Israeli cyber operators were able to penetrate a small cell of extremist bomb makers in Syria who were working to make explosives resembling laptop batteries capable of bypassing X-ray machines unnoticed.

According to Vanity Fair’s report, the operation—which took place in February—aimed to acquire information on new explosive technology being developed by Ibrahim al-Asiri, an al-Qaeda’s chief bombmaker.

The meeting. R to L: Kislyak, Trump, Lavrov (Photo: EPA)The meeting. R to L: Kislyak, Trump, Lavrov (Photo: EPA)

Intelligence for the classified mission, according to an ABC report from American sources, was provided by an Israeli spy who was planted deep within ISIS territory. His life was reportedly put in danger due to Trump’s disclosure.

According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, a Sayeret Matkal commando unit and Mossad tech agents flew two Yasur helicopters over Jordanian territory into Syrian territory.

The helicopters landed a few kilometers from the target, unloaded two jeeps bearing Syrian army insignia, which the Mossad and Sayeret Matkal personnel drove into enemy territory. The details of their operation are scarce, and specifics on how they managed to gather the information is contradictory at times. According to one source, the forces installed a microphone in the room where the ISIS terror cell was to meet, but a second source claimed that the forces had retooled a telephone booth in the meeting area to pick up and transmit surrounding sounds to the IDF Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, which is responsible for collecting signal intelligence and deciphering codes.After a few days of Unit 8200 crews listening at their base in the Golan Heights to the terror cell, there was concern that Israel had been misled by their sources in the field.

Eventually, the unit picked up the voice of an ISIS soldier who described how to turn a laptop into a bomb that can be transferred to airport airfields and board a passenger plane.

When the information reached the Mossad headquarters, officials in the organization decided to share the information with their American counterparts. According to an Israeli military source, the decision to share was also due to professional arrogance stemming from a desire to impress their partners in Washington by the tasks they were able to perform.

IDF soldier repelling from a Yasur helicopter (Photo: Herzel Yosef)IDF soldier repelling from a Yasur helicopter (Photo: Herzel Yosef)

According to the magazine, the American espionage community considered the Israeli mission to be a “casebook example” of intelligence gathering of valued information being put to good use.As a result of this information, US officials, followed by the United Kingdom, have banned people from bringing laptops and electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on flights from several Muslim-majority countries.

Only four months later, after the airports adopted the new and tougher US safety regulations, the ban was gradually lifted.

The achievement was then overshadowed when, on May 10, Trump boasted to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak in a White House meeting about the his access to classified information.”I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump reportedly bragged in the White House meeting, going on to brief the two on “code-word information” the US received from Israel which compromised Israel’s sources in enemy territory.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters that Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate.” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted that the allies will continue to have a “deep, meaningful and unprecedented” security relationship.

President Trump himself defended his decision by saying he had an “absolute right” to share information with Moscow.

During a press conference at the White House with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said that his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was “very successful and will contribute to the war on terrorism.”

Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia – The Independent
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Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia
The Independent
Details have emerged of the highly-classified Israeli intelligence revealed by Donald Trump to Russian officials earlier this year. The US President’s decision to spill the information during a meeting with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was described 
Report: Trump Revealed Israeli Commando and Mossad Operation in Syria to RussiansHaaretz
Trump divulged to Russia details of a daring Israeli raid in Syria reportThe Times of Israel
Report: Trump told Russian officials of Israeli operation in Syria in MayThe Jerusalem Post
Ynetnews
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Who is Bijan Kian? Feds Probe Ex-Flynn Associate for Payments From Companies With Russian and Turkish Ties
mikenova shared this story from Newsweek.

Federal investigators probing the lobbying work of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn are focused in part on the role of Bijan Kian, Flynn’s former business partner, according to a person interviewed by the FBI.

Investigators are also looking at whether payments from foreign clients to Flynn and his company, the now-inactive Flynn Intel Group, were lawful, according to two separate sources with knowledge of the broad inquiry into Flynn’s business activities. That includes payments by three Russian companies and Inovo, a Netherlands-based company controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, they said.

The FBI’s interest in Kian had not been previously reported. Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, two people with knowledge of that project said.

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It is not clear whether Kian is a target of the criminal investigation or whether investigators are trying to build a fuller understanding of how Flynn’s company operated.

A person recently interviewed by the FBI in connection with the Flynn investigation said agents from the bureau’s criminal division had asked as much about Kian and his work on the project with Alptekin as they had about Flynn.

Kian did not respond to repeated requests for comment, nor did the lawyer he recently hired, Robert Trout. The FBI declined to comment.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, did not respond to requests for comment. Alptekin declined to comment for this story but last month told Reuters that he was satisfied with the work done by Flynn Intel Group and denied any wrongdoing.

The FBI has been investigating whether Flynn’s consulting firm lobbied on behalf of Turkey—after being paid $530,000 by Inovo—without making the proper disclosure, Reuters reported earlier this month.

The federal investigation is being run by special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller has a mandate to investigate contacts between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign team and any related matters. Flynn was fired by the Trump administration in February after officials said he mischaracterized a series of phone calls with Russia’s ambassador last December.

The top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has separately been looking into whether Flynn made false statements in applying for security clearance, said he was also scrutinizing Kian.

“I have an interest in Bijan Kian and his interactions with General Flynn based on specific documents already obtained by the committee,” Elijah Cummings told Reuters in an email.

Kelner has sought immunity for Flynn in exchange for his testimony, saying his client “certainly has a story to tell.”

Failed Coup Opens Door

In private conversations with potential clients, Kian portrayed himself as a rainmaker for Flynn, tapping into connections cultivated during a five-year tenure as a director at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, according to one person who worked with the firm.

Alptekin told Reuters in May that his firm hired Flynn Intel Group to research Fethullah Gulen’s activities in the United States, which he suspected were “poisoning” relations between the United States and Turkey. Like Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan, Alptekin blamed the coup on followers of Gulen.

Gulen has denied any role in the coup and dismisses Turkey’s allegations that he heads a terrorist organization.

Kian oversaw key elements of the project that emerged, including a still-unfinished documentary on Gulen, according to two people involved in the project.

Inovo paid Flynn Intel Group a total of $530,000, starting in September, according to a Justice Department filing by the company in March. Flynn Intel Group paid $80,000 to Inovo in “consultancy fees,” according to the filing, which does not provide more detail on why payments were made in both directions.

On September 19, 2016, Kian and Flynn met in New York with Turkey’s foreign minister and energy minister, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

In late October Kian invited staff of the House Homeland Security Committee to Flynn Intel Group’s headquarters in Virginia. The meeting was called to show off new mobile-phone security technology, but Kian also used the opportunity to try to get a congressional hearing on Gulen, according to a person at the meeting.

At that point, the Flynn Intel Group had only disclosed its work for Alptekin’s Inovo in a filing with Congress. It had not mentioned Inovo’s ties to Turkey.

When Justice Department officials became aware months later that Kian and other Flynn Intel Group officials had met with Turkish officials, they insisted on a fuller disclosure, people involved in those discussions said.

The Flynn Intel Group made the more detailed disclosure in its March filing with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act that said the work that Flynn and Kian did for Inovo “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

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Mike Flynn business partner Bijan Kian now subject of Mueller probe

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Federal investigators are zeroing in on Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who was a partner at the now-dissolved Flynn Intel Group, and have …
Mueller is zeroing in on Michael Flynn
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Will Mueller Indict Kushner? Trump’s Son-in-Law Natural Target For Russia Probe, Legal Experts Say
mikenova shared this story from Newsweek.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s failure to properly list foreign contacts on his national security clearance forms and his vast financial holdings make him a “natural” target for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, legal experts told Newsweek.

Indeed, while there are no official indications that Kushner is a target of Mueller’s probe, he figures prominently in several exchanges that are known to be of interest to the special counsel’s team.

Kushner had contact with foreign officials during last year’s transition to the White House, at the behest of then President-elect Donald Trump. He also directly worked with data company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks to help organize the damaging Democratic emails the site published. Kushner’s also a member of Trump’s family, had glaring omissions on his security clearance forms, and his potential influence in former FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal makes him an integral player in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga that’s cast a shadow over the administration’s first year in office.

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“In the broader context here, one of the main lines of inquiry about Jared Kushner is about the omissions from his national security forms,” Savannah Law School associate professor and former White House associate counsel Andrew Wright told Newsweek Wednesday. “To the extent that he had to revise his S-86 forms…to add foreign contacts that he hadn’t done, that’s going to be a natural source of investigative interest.

“That’s going to then lead the special counsel folks to start looking into that, to all the different contacts he’s had,” added Wright, who worked in the Obama administration.

Kushner and his foreign contacts during the transition have reportedly been the focus of questions by Mueller’s team, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Trump and his administration, including Kushner, have resoundingly denied any collusion with Russia to win the election last year. Trump himself has called Mueller’s probe the greatest “political witch hunt” in the country’s history.

The special counsel’s wide-ranging probe is specifically curious about Kushner’s contacts while a United Nations resolution pertaining to Israel’s occupied settlements was before the General Assembly in December 2016, during the heart of the transition. The resolution passed 14-0, as the Obama administration opted not to use its veto power despite lobbying by the incoming Trump administration and Israel.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner waits for President Donald Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to speak at a joint statement at the White House on October 23. Kushner is now reportedly the focus of questions by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the Trump-Russia probe.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

To Wright’s point, Kushner’s “multiple attempts” to wrap up his security clearance forms was labeled as unprecedented by the head of the government agency charged with reviewing the forms, Newsweekreported last month.

“I have never seen that level of mistakes,” the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, Charles Phalen, told a House subcommittee during a hearing.

Kushner has since submitted the security clearance forms three times and added an addendum with more than 100 interactions or meetings with foreign contacts, including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, The New York Times reported in July. She was the Kremlin-linked attorney whom Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with at Manhattan’s Trump Tower in June 2016 to possibly obtain political opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

Kushner dismissed the meeting, but the possibility of creating a diplomatic back channel between Trump and Moscow in order to evade detection by U.S. intelligence services—as reported by The Washington Postonly brings extra scrutiny to the omissions on his clearance forms.

“I’m not sure the questions themselves signal an imminent indictment or anything, but I think they are a natural progression when you start looking at someone’s foreign contacts in total,” Wright said.

Mueller’s 12-count indictment of Manafort, which included charges of laundering $75 million through offshore accounts, was written in a way that could be applied to others within Trump’s world.

“I think a number of the counts or theories that you see in the Manafort indictment are translatable to other people within the Trump orbit, and Kushner’s one of them,” Pace Law School associate professor David Dorfman told Newsweek. “The use of real estate transactions to hide money, and possible money laundering, I think is definitely a possibility.”

While drawing similarities in how Kushner and Trump each rose in the real estate world and took over their family’s business, Dorfman noted that the potential for Kushner to lose a prized 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York and his $285 million loan with German financial titan Deutsche Bank makes him potentially vulnerable to Mueller and the Russia probe.

“Supposedly the jurisdiction of the Mueller investigation is collusion with Russians,” Dorfman said. “He’s going get there by first finding and proving substantial financial crimes and failures to report…and put the clamps on these people. And then hopefully, in his mind, someone will crack and say, ‘OK, if you give me leniency on this I’ll tell you the real story about what’s going on between people in the Trump Organization, and Trump himself maybe, and the Russians.’”

Mueller Probing Pre-Election Flynn Meeting With Pro-Russia Congressman
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WASHINGTON — Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.

Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting, according to one of the sources, as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Image: Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia on June 2, 2013.Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials and advocated to overturn the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill that froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors. The sources could not confirm whether Rohrabacher and Flynn discussed U.S. policy towards Russia in the alleged meeting.

The Washington Post reported in May that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a California Republican, was secretly recorded telling other party members, in what seemed to be a joke, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rohrabacher offered Trump a deal that to protect Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, which released emails damaging to Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election, from legal peril. In return for not prosecuting him for his group’s 2010 leak of State Department emails, Assange would allegedly provide proof that Russia was not the source of the hacked Democratic emails. The intelligence community has pointed to Russia as the secret provider of the email trove to WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mueller’s interest in the nature of Flynn and Rohrabacher’s discussion marks the first known time a member of Congress could be wrapped into the investigation.

Most of what has been reported about Mueller’s questioning of Flynn’s lobbying work has concerned his efforts on behalf of Turkey. Less is known about his lobbying ties to Russia, though he was paid $45,000 plus expenses for attending a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and being interviewed by RT, the Kremlin-financed cable TV news channel.

Image: Mike FlynnFlynn was fired after just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser over misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Multiple sources have told NBC News that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to lead to an indictment in the investigation into Flynn and his son.

Federal investigators have been probing Flynn’s lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey, including an alleged meeting with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 where he was offered millions of dollars to secure the return of the Turkish president’s chief rival to Turkey and see that a U.S. case against a Turkish national was dismissed.

In a statement, Flynn’s lawyers, led by Robert Kelner, said that “out of respect for the process of the various investigations” regarding the 2016 campaign, they have avoided responding to every “rumor or allegation” in the media. “But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.”

A grand jury impaneled by Mueller is continuing to interview witnesses with knowledge of Flynn’s business activities over the next week, the two sources said.

Mike Flynn business partner Bijan Kian now subject of Mueller probe
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WASHINGTON — A former business associate of Michael Flynn has become a subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for his role in the failure of Flynn’s former lobbying firm to disclose its work on behalf of foreign governments, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

Federal investigators are zeroing in on Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who was a partner at the now-dissolved Flynn Intel Group, and have questioned multiple witnesses in recent weeks about his lobbying work on behalf of Turkey. The grand jury convened for the investigation will soon have a chance to question some of those witnesses, the sources say.

Mueller’s strategy becoming more clear 1:31

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Mueller recently indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates simultaneously. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty. Both Flynn’s and Manafort’s lobbying firms have come under investigation for failing to disclose lobbying work on behalf of foreign governments.

Mueller is leading the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign, which led him to probe the work of Flynn and Manafort, who both served on the Trump campaign and lobbied on behalf of foreign governments without initially disclosing it.

The Flynn Intel Group, managed by Flynn, who was briefly President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, was paid $530,000 for lobbying on behalf of a Netherlands-based firm called Inovo BV, owned by Turkish-American businessman Ekim Alptekin. Months later, the firm filed the required paperwork under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), acknowledging that the work “could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey,” according to the filing.

Image: Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the NSA, Bijan Kian, center, and Mike Flynn at the fifth annual Nowruz CommissionMueller’s team is interested in Kian’s role in the Inovo contract as well as foreign lobbying efforts that the Flynn Intel Group may have yet to disclose, according to the sources familiar with the investigation. Emails subpoenaed by the Special Counsel’s Office revealed a September 20, 2016, meeting between Kian, Flynn and pro-Russia Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

That meeting has been the subject of prosecutors’ recent questions to witnesses in the case, the three sources said. Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials and advocated to overturn the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill that froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors.

The Flynn Intel Group did not disclose this meeting even after the company retroactively filed as a foreign agent under FARA, which has led to scrutiny by Mueller’s team, two people familiar with the investigation told NBC.

Reuters previously reported that Mueller was interested in Kian, but not that he was a subject of the investigation or that witnesses would be testifying about his actions in front of the grand jury.

Kazakhstan Investment ForumKian previously served as a board member of the Export-Import Bank. He is also a co-founder of the Nowruz Commission, a D.C.-based nonprofit that hosts an opulent annual Nowruz, or Iranian New Year, gala, which Flynn and Alptekin both attended in the past.

NBC News has reported that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation into Flynn and his son Michael G. Flynn. The elder Flynn was fired after just 24 days on the job for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Kian’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Flynn and Rohrabacher did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Special Counsel’s office also did not respond.

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Stunning Report Shows The CIA Warned Israel That Trump Was A Putin Puppet Who Can’t Be Trusted
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Exclusive: What Trump Really Told Kislyak After Comey Was Canned
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On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting ribbon of shadows that was the Euphrates River. On board, waiting with a professional stillness as they headed into the hostile heart of Syria, were Sayeret Matkal commandos, the Jewish state’s elite counterterrorism force, along with members of the technological unit of the Mossad, its foreign-espionage agency. Their target: an ISIS cell that was racing to get a deadly new weapon thought to have been devised by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi national who was al-Qaeda’s master bombmaker in Yemen.

It was a covert mission whose details were reconstructed for Vanity Fair by two experts on Israeli intelligence operations. It would lead to the unnerving discovery that ISIS terrorists were working on transforming laptop computers into bombs that could pass undetected through airport security. U.S. Homeland Security officials—quickly followed by British authorities—banned passengers traveling from an accusatory list of Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptops and other portable electronic devices larger than a cell phone on arriving planes. It would not be until four tense months later, as foreign airports began to comply with new, stringent American security directives, that the ban would be lifted on an airport-by-airport basis.

In the secretive corridors of the American espionage community, the Israeli mission was praised by knowledgeable officials as a casebook example of a valued ally’s hard-won field intelligence being put to good, arguably even lifesaving, use.

Yet this triumph would be overshadowed by an astonishing conversation in the Oval Office in May, when an intemperate President Trump revealed details about the classified mission to Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and Sergey I. Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Along with the tempest of far-reaching geopolitical consequences that raged as a result of the president’s disclosure, fresh blood was spilled in his long-running combative relationship with the nation’s clandestine services. Israel—as well as America’s other allies—would rethink its willingness to share raw intelligence, and pretty much the entire Free World was left shaking its collective head in bewilderment as it wondered, not for the first time, what was going on with Trump and Russia. (In fact, Trump’s disturbing choice to hand over highly sensitive intelligence to the Russians is now a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, both before and after the election.) In the hand-wringing aftermath, the entire event became, as is so often the case with spy stories, a tale about trust and betrayal.

And yet, the Israelis cannot say they weren’t warned.

In the American-Israeli intelligence relationship, it is customary for the Mossad station chief and his operatives working under diplomatic cover out of the embassy in Washington to go to the C.I.A.’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters when a meeting is scheduled. This deferential protocol is based on a realistic appraisal of the situation: America is a superpower, and Israel, as one of the country’s senior intelligence officials recently conceded with self-effacing candor, is “a speck of dust in the wind.”

Nevertheless, over the years the Israeli dust has been sprinkled with flecks of pure intel gold. It was back in 1956, when the Cold War was running hot, that Israeli diplomats in Warsaw managed to get their hands on the text of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s top-secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress in Moscow. Khrushchev’s startling words were a scathing indictment of Stalin’s three dec­ades of oppressive rule, and signalled a huge shift in Soviet dogma—just the sort of invaluable intelligence the C.I.A. was eager to get its hands on. Recognizing the value of what they had, the Israelis quickly delivered the text to U.S. officials. And with this unexpected gift, a mutually beneficial relationship between the resourceful Jewish spies and the American intelligence Leviathan began to take root.

Over the ensuing decades it has expanded into a true working partnership. The two countries have gone as far as to institutionalize their joint spying. The purloined documents released to the press by Edward Snowden, for example, revealed that the N.S.A., the American electronic-intelligence agency that eavesdrops on the world, and Unit 8200, its Israeli counterpart, have an agreement to share the holiest of intelligence holies: raw electronic intercepts. And the two countries inventively worked in tandem, during the administration of George W. Bush and continuing with President Obama, on Operation Olympic Games, creating and disseminating the pernicious computer viruses that succeeded in damaging Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges. American and Israeli spooks have even killed together. In 2008, after President George W. Bush signed off on the operation, the C.I.A. cooperated with agents from the Mossad’s Kidon—the Hebrew word for “bayonet,” an appropriate name for a sharp-edged unit that specializes in what Israeli officials euphemistically call “targeted prevention.” The shared target was Imad Mughniyah, the Hezbollah international operations chief, and any further terrorist acts he’d been planning were quite effectively prevented: Mughniyah was blown to pieces, body parts flying across a Damascus parking lot, as he passed an S.U.V. containing a specially-designed C.I.A. bomb. But like any marriage, the cozy—yet inherently unequal—partnership between the American and Israeli intelligence agencies has had its share of stormy weather. In fact, an irreparable divorce seemed likely in 1985 after it was discovered that Israel was running a very productive agent, Jonathan Pollard, inside U.S. Naval Intelligence. For a difficult period—measured out in years, not months—the American spymasters fumed, and the relationship was more tentative than collaborative.

But spies are by instinct and profession a pragmatic breed, and so by the 1990s the existence of shared enemies, as well as shared threats, worked to foster a reconciliation. Besides, each had something the other needed: Israel had agents buried deep in neighboring Arab countries, producing “HUMINT,” as the jargon of the trade refers to information obtained by human assets. While the U.S. possessed the best technological toys its vast wealth could buy; its “SIGINT,” or signals intelligence, could pick up the chatter in most any souk in the Arab world.

And so by the time of Trump’s election, despite the snarky, rather personal feud between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, the two countries’ spies were back playing their old tricks. Together they were taking on a rogues’ gallery of common villains: al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State. “We are the front line,” a high-ranking Israeli military official bragged to me, “in America’s war on terror.” Over recent months, the U.S. intelligence windfall has been particularly bountiful. Israel, according to sources with access to the activities of the Mossad and Unit 8200, has delivered information about Russia’s interaction with the Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces taking the field in the Syrian civil war. And there is little that gets American military strategists more excited than learning what sort of tactics Russia is employing.

It was against this reassuring backdrop of recent successes and shared history, an Israeli source told Vanity Fair, that a small group of Mossad officers and other Israeli intelligence officials took their seats in a Langley conference room on a January morning just weeks before the inauguration of Donald Trump. The meeting proceeded uneventfully; updates on a variety of ongoing classified operations were dutifully shared. It was only as the meeting was about to break up that an American spymaster solemnly announced there was one more thing: American intelligence agencies had come to believe that Russian president Vladimir Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, he declared without offering further specifics, according to a report in the Israeli press. Israel, the American officials continued, should “be careful” after January 20—the date of Trump’s inauguration. It was possible that sensitive information shared with the White House and the National Security Council could be leaked to the Russians. A moment later the officials added what many of the Israelis had already deduced: it was reasonable to presume that the Kremlin would share some of what they learned with their ally Iran, Israel’s most dangerous adversary.

Currents of alarm and anger raced through those pres­ent at the meeting, says the Israeli source, but their superiors in Israel remained unconvinced—no supporting evidence, after all, had been provided—and chose to ignore the prognostication.

The covert mission into the forbidden plains of northern Syria was a “blue and white” undertaking, as Israel, referring to the colors of its flag, calls ops that are carried out solely by agents of the Jewish state.

Yet—and this is an ironclad operational rule—getting agents in and then swiftly out of enemy territory under the protection of the nighttime darkness can be accomplished only if there is sufficient reconnaissance: the units need to know exactly where to strike, what to expect, what might be out there waiting for them in the shadows. For the mission last winter that targeted a cell of terrorist bombers, according to ABC News, citing American officials, the dangerous groundwork was done by an Israeli spy planted deep inside ISIS territory. Whether he was a double agent Israel had either turned or infiltrated into the ISIS cell, or whether he was simply a local who’d happened to stumble upon some provocative information he realized he could sell—those details remain locked in the secret history of the mission.

What is apparent after interviews with intelligence sources both in Israel and the U.S. is that on the night of the infiltration the helicopters carrying the blue-and-white units came down several miles from their target. Two jeeps bearing Syrian Army markings were unloaded, the men hopped in, and, hearts racing, they drove as if it had been the most natural of patrols into the pre-dawn stillness of an enemy city.

“A shadow unit of ghosts” is what the generals of Aman, Israel’s military-intelligence organization, envisioned when they set up Sayeret Matkal. And on this night the soldiers fanned out like ghosts in the shadows, armed and on protective alert, as the Mossad tech agents did their work.

Again, the operational details are sparse, and even contradictory. One source said the actual room where the ISIS cell would meet was spiked, a tiny marvel of a microphone placed where it would never be noticed. Another maintained that an adjacent telephone junction box had been ingeniously manipulated so that every word spoken in a specific location would be overheard.

The sources agree, however, that the teams got in and out that night, and, even before the returning choppers landed back in Israel, it was confirmed to the jubilant operatives that the audio intercept was already up and running.

Now the waiting began. From an antenna-strewn base near the summit of the Golan Heights, on Israel’s border with Syria, listeners from Unit 8200 monitored the transmissions traveling across the ether from the target in northern Syria. Surveillance is a game played long, but after several wasted days 8200’s analysts were starting to suspect that their colleagues had been misinformed, possibly deliberately, by the source in the field. They were beginning to fear that all the risk had been taken without any genuine prospect of reward.

Then what they’d been waiting for was suddenly coming in loud and clear, according to Israeli sources familiar with the operation: it was, as a sullen spy official described it, “a primer in constructing a terror weapon.” With an unemotional precision, an ISIS soldier detailed how to turn a laptop computer into a terror weapon that could pass through airport security and be carried on board a passenger plane. ISIS had obtained a new way to cause airliners to explode suddenly, free-falling from the sky in flames. When the news of this frightening ISIS lecture arrived at Mossad’s headquarters outside Tel Aviv, officials quickly decided to share the field intelligence with their American counterparts. The urgency of the highly classified information trumped any security misgivings. Still, as one senior Israeli military official suggested, the Israeli decision was also egged on by a professional vanity: they wanted their partners in Washington to marvel at the sort of impossible missions they could pull off.

They did. It was a much-admired, as well as appreciated, gift—and it scared the living hell out of the American spymasters who received it.

On the cloudy spring morning of May 10, just an uneasy day after the president’s sudden firing of F.B.I. director James B. Comey, who had been leading the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, a beaming President Trump huddled in the Oval Office with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak.

And, no less improbably, Trump seemed not to notice, or feel restrained by, the unfortunate timing of his conversation with Russian officials who were quite possibly co-conspirators in a plot to undermine the U.S. electoral process. Instead, full of a chummy candor, the president turned to his Russian guests and blithely acknowledged the elephant lurking in the room. “I just fired the head of the F.B.I.,” he said, according to a record of the meeting shared with The New York Times. “He was crazy, a real nut job.” With the sort of gruff pragmatism a Mafia don would use to justify the necessity of a hit, he further explained, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Yet that was only the morning’s perplexing prelude. What had been an unseemly conversation between the president and two high-ranking Russian officials soon turned into something more dangerous.

“I get great intel,” the president suddenly boasted, as prideful as if he were bragging about the amenities at one of his company’s hotels. “I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

He quickly went on to share with representatives of a foreign adversary not only the broad outlines of the plot to turn laptop computers into airborne bombs but also at least one highly classified operational detail—the sort of sensitive, locked-in-the-vault intel that was not shared with even Congress or friendly governments. The president did not name the U.S. partner who had spearheaded the operation. (Journalists, immediately all over the astonishing story, would soon out Israel). But, more problematic, President Trump cavalierly identified the specific city in ISIS-held territory where the threat had been detected.

As for the two Russians, there’s no record of their response. Their silence would be understandable: why interrupt the flow of information? But in their minds, no doubt they were already drafting the cable they’d send to the Kremlin detailing their great espionage coup.

So why? Why did a president who has time after volatile time railed against leakers, who has attacked Hillary Clinton for playing fast and loose with classified information, cozy up to a couple of Russian bigwigs in the Oval Office and breezily offer government secrets?

Any answer is at best conjecture. Yet in the search for an important truth, consider these hypotheses, each of which has its own supporters among past and current members of the U.S. intelligence community.

The first is a bit of armchair psychology. In Trump’s irrepressible way of living in the world, wealth is real only if other people believe you’re rich. If you don’t flaunt it, then you might as well not have it.

So there is the new president, shaky as any bounder might be in the complicated world of international politics, sitting down to a head-to-head with a pair of experienced Russians. How can he impress them? Get them to appreciate that he’s not some lightweight, but rather a genuine player on the world stage?

There’s also the school of thought that the episode is another unfortunate example of Trump’s impressionable worldview being routinely shaped by the last thing he’s heard, be it that morning’s broadcast of Fox & Friends or an intelligence briefing in the Oval Office. As advocates of this theory point out, the president was likely told that one of the issues still on his guests’ minds would be the terrorist explosion back in October 2015 that brought down a Russian passenger plane flying above Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. With that seed planted in the president’s undisciplined mind, it’s a short leap for him to be off and running to the Russians about what he knew about an ISIS scheme to target passenger aircraft.

Yet there is also a more sinister way to connect all the dots. There are some petulant voices in official Washington who insist that the president’s treachery was deliberate, part of his longtime collaboration with the Russians. It is a true believer’s orthodoxy, one which predicts that the meeting will wind up being one more damning count in an indictment that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, will ultimately nail to the White House door.

But, for now, to bolster their still very circumstantial case, they point to a curiosity surrounding the meeting in the Oval Office—U.S. journalists were kept out. And, no less an oddity, the Russian press was allowed in. It was the photographer from TASS, the state-run Russian news agency, who snapped the only shots that documented the occasion for posterity. Or, for that matter, for the grand jury.

But ultimately it is the actions of men, not their motives, that propel history forward. And the president’s reckless disclosure continues to wreak havoc. On one level, the greatest casualty was trust. The president was already waging a perilous verbal war with the U.S. intelligence agencies. His sharing secrets with the Russians has very likely ground whatever remnants of a working relationship had survived into irreparable pieces. “How can the agency continue to provide the White House with intel,” challenged one former operative, “without wondering where it will wind up?” And he added ominously, “Those leaks to The New York Times and The Washington Post about the investigations into Trump and his cohorts is no accident. Trust me: you don’t want to get into a pissing match with a bunch of spooks. This is war.”

And what about America’s vital intelligence relationships with its allies? Former C.I.A. deputy director Michael Morell publicly worried, “Third countries who provide the United States with intelligence information will now have pause.”

In Israel, though, the mood is more than merely wary. “Mr. Netanyahu’s intelligence chiefs . . . are up in arms,” a prominent Israeli journalist insisted in The New York Times. In recent interviews with Israeli intelligence sources the frequently used operative verb was “whiten”—as in “certain units from now on will whiten their reports before passing them on to agencies in America.”

What further exacerbates Israel’s concerns—“keeps me up at night” was how a government spymaster put it—is that if Trump is handing over Israel’s secrets to the Russians, then he just might as well be delivering them to Iran, Russia’s current regional ally. And it is an expansionist Iran, one Israeli after another was determined to point out in the course of discussions, that is arming Hez­bol­lah with sophisticated rockets and weaponry while at the same time becoming an increasingly visible economic and military presence in Syria.

“Trump betrayed us,” said a senior Israeli military official bluntly, his voice stern with reproach. “And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.” Yet while appalled governments are now forced to rethink their tactics in future dealings with a wayward president, there is also the dismaying possibility that a more tangible, and more lethal, consequence has already occurred. “The Russians will undoubtedly try to figure out the source or the method of this information to make sure that it is not also collecting on their activities in Syria—and in trying to do that they could well disrupt the source,” said Michael Morell.

What, then, was the fate of Israel’s agent in Syria? Was the operative exfiltrated to safety? Has he gone to ground in enemy territory? Or was he hunted down and killed? One former Mossad officer with knowledge of the operation and its aftermath will not say. Except to add pointedly, “Whatever happened to him, it’s a hell of price to pay for a president’s mistake.”

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Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.

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Photo: By Shealah Craighead/White House/Polaris.

Kushner, Trump, and their children disembark from Air Force One in West Palm Beach.

Photo: From A.P. Images/REX/Shutterstock.

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3:54 PM 11/22/2017 Felix Sater Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York New York Times
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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times GOP rep: We need a ‘counter’ to Russian disinformation – The Hill Why did Russian social media swarm the digital conversation about Catalan independence? – Washington Post … Continue reading“3:54 PM 11/22/2017 – Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times”

Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times
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Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York
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Felix Sater, a Russian deal maker, felon and F.B.I. informant, had helped facilitate the deal, the lawsuit said. As time went on, the connection with Mr. Sater caused headaches for Mr. Trump through the campaign and the first year of his presidency 

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Арест Керимова удар по Путину
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Ницца, проклятое место место российского сенатора Сулеймана Керимова. Одни несчастья. Сначала авария с Тиной Канделаки. Теперь арест. Наблюдатели полагают, что это прямой удар по Владимиру Путину. Разбираемся с Дмитрием Гудковым, Иваном Стариковым, Сергеем Ежовым и Сергеем Пугачевым.
Ведущая Елена Рыковцева.


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1:33 PM 11/22/2017 – The multiplicity of Russian contacts can’t be a coincidence – Washington Post

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Why Is Ty Cobb So Optimistic About the Mueller Probe?The Atlantic
Note to Robert Mueller: Hope Hicks Was Part of the Cover-UpMother Jones 
Dershowitz: Mueller “Going Well Beyond His Authority As Prosecutor”; “They Are Not Crimes”RealClearPolitics
New York MagazineBusiness Insider
 
No End in Sight for the Mueller InvestigationBloomberg
RealClearPoliticsCBS News
 –ABC NewsWashington Post

all 107 102 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

Andrew McCabe – Google News: Judicial Watch: New FBI Records Show FBI Leadership’s Conflicts of Interest Discussions on Clinton Email Investigation – Standard Newswire (press release)
 

Judicial Watch: New FBI Records Show FBI Leadership’s Conflicts of Interest Discussions on Clinton Email Investigation
Standard Newswire (press release)
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ — Judicial Watch today released 79 pages of Justice Department documents concerning ethics issues related to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. 

 Andrew McCabe – Google News

fbi – Google News: The Story Behind the FBI’s Hate Crime Data – Human Rights First (blog)
 

The Story Behind the FBI’s Hate Crime Data
Human Rights First (blog)
Reported hate crimes increased in the United States for the second consecutive year, according to data released last week by the FBI. The FBI’s statistics drew significant media attention, but can they be trusted to provide an accurate snapshot of hate 

 fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: Vanity Fair: Kushner worried Mueller probe will ‘get’ Trump – The Hill
 


The Hill
Vanity Fair: Kushner worried Mueller probe will ‘get’ Trump
The Hill
Kushner has come under scrutiny in recent weeks in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He reportedly has expressed worry about how far the investigation might go following the …and more »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: Special Counsel Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With Foreign Leaders – Wall Street Journal
 


Wall Street Journal
Special Counsel Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With Foreign Leaders
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON Robert Mueller’s investigators are asking questions about Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, including his involvement in a dispute at the United Nations in December, in a sign of the … 
Vanity Fair: Kushner worried Mueller probe will ‘get’ TrumpThe Hill
Report: Mueller probing Kushner contacts with foreign leadersAxios
Report: Mueller Probing Kushner’s Talks With Foreign LeadersDaily Beast
ForwardRaw Story
all 13 news articles  and more

 »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders: report – The Hill
 


The Hill
Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders: report
The Hill
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators are looking into White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his contact with foreign leaders, according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reports that 
Special Counsel Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With Foreign LeadersWall Street Journal
Report: Mueller probing Kushner contacts with foreign leadersAxios
Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared KushnerBusiness Insider
Daily BeastForwardNewsweek
all 57 news articles  and more

 »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward
 


Forward
Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials
Forward
While inquiries about the Israeli government may seem far removed from Mueller’s mandate to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Journal noted that investigators typically ask a host of questions over the course of a probe, and and more »

 mueller – Google News

Federal Bureau of Investigation: Pennsylvania Congressman Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny, Court Records Show

Representative Robert A. Brady, a Philadelphia Democrat, has denied that he paid a political opponent $90,000 to drop out of a primary election race. Federal Bureau of Investigation
mueller – Google News: Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President Trump – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President Trump
Newsweek
The businessman and adviser to the president was reportedly concerned about the reach of special counsel Robert Mueller’sprobe following the indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, according to a report from Vanity Fair that cited a source briefed 
Report: Mueller Probing Kushner’s Talks With Foreign Leaders – The …Daily Beast
Vanity Fair: Kushner worried Mueller probe will ‘get’ TrumpThe Hill
Top Russian Official Tried to Broker ‘Backdoor’ Meeting Between Trump and PutinNew York Times
CBS News
all 69 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner – Business Insider
 


Business Insider
Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner
Business Insider
Special counsel Robert Mueller is turning up the heat on President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as he examines potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether Trump obstructed justice when he …
Mueller investigating Kushner’s communication with foreign leaders: reportThe Hill
Special Counsel Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With  Foreign Leaders Wall Street Journal 
Kushner Worried Mueller’s Probe Would ‘Get’ President TrumpNewsweek
Axios
 
Report: Mueller probing Kushner contacts with foreign leadersAxios
NewsweekForward
 –Daily Beast Forward
all 43 

all 68
 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: Ex-Watergate prosecutor: ‘Complete fantasy’ Mueller probe will be done by January – The Hill (blog)
 


The Hill (blog)
Ex-Watergate prosecutor: ‘Complete fantasy’ Mueller probe will be done by January
The Hill (blog)
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman on Tuesday called claims that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election could be wrapped up by January a “complete fantasy.” Ackerman’s … 
There’s no end in sight for Mueller probeMinnesota Lawyer
WATCH: Watergate prosecutor literally laughs at Trump lawyer’s ‘fantasy’ that Mueller investigation is endingRaw Story
all 6 news articles  

and more  »

 mueller – Google News

mueller – Google News: See Dershowitz unleash on Mueller – WND.com
 


WND.com
See Dershowitz unleash on Mueller
WND.com
Alan Dershowitz is blasting Special Counsel Robert Mueller for trying to turn President Trump’s constitutional actions into crimes. Mueller, who was appointed to investigate claims the Trump campaign had connections to Russia, is going well beyond his …and more »

 mueller – Google News

fbi – Google News: Terror convict: I was mentally incompetent, entrapped by FBI – 10TV
 


10TV
Terror convict: I was mentally incompetent, entrapped by FBI
10TV
An Ohio man serving 30 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol in support of the Islamic State group wants his plea and sentence thrown out, arguing that he was mentally incompetent and was entrapped by the FBI. Christopher Lee Cornell and more »

 fbi – Google News

fbi – Google News: Terror convict: I was mentally incompetent, entrapped by FBI – Cincinnati.com
 


Cincinnati.com
Terror convict: I was mentally incompetent, entrapped by FBI
Cincinnati.com
CINCINNATI An Ohio man serving 30 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol in support of the Islamic State group wants his plea and sentence thrown out, arguing that he was mentally incompetent and was entrapped by the FBI. Christopher …and more »

 fbi – Google News

fbi – Google News: FBI investigating days after police chase, officer-involved shooting in Alexandria – WJLA
 


WJLA
FBI investigating days after police chase, officer-involved shooting in Alexandria
WJLA
Finally, on Tuesday, US Park Police released this statement: In the interest of objectivity, the United States Park Police Chief of Police, Robert D. MacLean, requested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), lead the investigation into the and more »

 fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: Russia probe: Mueller holds all the cards – Yakima Herald-Republic
 


ABC News
Russia probe: Mueller holds all the cards
Yakima Herald-Republic
We have now entered the second phase of the Russia probe. In the first, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team, starting from scratch, gathered sufficient evidence to file felony charges against Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George 
Amid legal challenges, Gates, Manafort get OK to spend Thanksgiving with familyAZFamilyall 29 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

fbi – Google News: Jared Kushner Urged Trump to Fire FBI Director James Comey, Reports Say – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Jared Kushner Urged Trump to Fire FBI Director James Comey, Reports Say
Newsweek
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner urged him to fire former FBI Director James Comey during meetings with other top officials in the lead up to Comey’s dismissal in May. Four people familiar with the discussions and more »

 fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe – Minnesota Lawyer
 


Minnesota Lawyer
There’s no end in sight for Mueller probe
Minnesota Lawyer
President Donald Trump’s lawyer says the criminal investigation into possible collusion with Russia in last year’s election could be over by December, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is expected to continue well into next year, according to 
WATCH: Watergate prosecutor literally laughs at Trump lawyer’s ‘fantasy’ that Mueller investigation is endingRaw Storyall 5 news articles »

 mueller – Google News

fbi – Google News: Court docs: FBI goes after Congressman Bob Brady’s emails – PW-Philadelphia Weekly
 


PW-Philadelphia Weekly
Court docs: FBI goes after Congressman Bob Brady’s emails
PW-Philadelphia Weekly
Moore and an associate have already pleaded guilty. The search warrant, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by theFBI, seeks criminal evidence related to that investigation namely emails tied to Brady’s email address Bobcongress@aol.com.
FBI searches Congressman Bob Brady’s emails in probe of $90K paid to rivalPhiladelphia Business Journal
FBI Investigating Rep. Brady PaymentDTN The Progressive Farmer (blog)all 10 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mueller Sets His Sights on the Kremlin’s Favorite Congressman – Vanity Fair
 


Vanity Fair
Mueller Sets His Sights on the Kremlin’s Favorite Congressman
Vanity Fair
Of the rotating cast of characters in the Russia saga, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s role is perhaps the most curious. Though he has no formal ties to Donald Trump’s campaign, the California Republicanwhose consistent advocacy for warmer relations …and more »

 mueller – Google News

FBI politicization – Google News: Judicial Watch Releases New DOJ Documents Showing McCabe’s Conflict of Interest in Clinton Investigation – Townhall
 


Townhall
Judicial Watch Releases New DOJ Documents Showing McCabe’s Conflict of Interest in Clinton Investigation
Townhall
These new documents show that the FBI leadership was politicized and compromised in its handling of the Clinton email investigation, Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President said in a statement. It’s well past time for a do-over on the Clinton emails  

 FBI politicization – Google News

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Saad Hariri, Lebanons prime minister, rescinded his resignation after returning to Lebanon and meeting with President Michel Aoun, Reuters reported. Hariri said he agreed with Aoun that it would benefit Lebanons stability for Hariri to continue as prime minister. The announcement puts the political crisis in Lebanon that began when Hariri said was he resigning while on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmars military carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims, the Washington Post reported. The military operations against the Rohingya population have caused over 600,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The U.S. joins a chorus of international organizations that have described the atrocities in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Jared Kushners interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, the Wall Street Journal reported. Muellers team is looking into Kushners role in a dispute at the U.N. over a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. Kushner initially failed to list any foreign contacts on his security clearance form but later updated it to include over 100 instances of contact with foreign representatives.

The American-led U.N. Command in South Korea said North Korea violated the terms of the 1953 truce when its troops fired on one of their own soldiers defecting across the demilitarized zone, the Times reported. The U.N. Commandwhich oversees the armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean peninsulasaid North Korea breached the ceasefire agreement when its soldiers fired across the border line and when one of its troops went on the other side of the line.

A U.S. Navy transport plane crashed into the ocean near Japan, the Post reported. The U.S. 7th Fleet said its ships had rescued eight of the 11 passengers on the plane, leaving three still missing. The incident is the latest in a series of accidents among 7th Fleet forces, including two collisions between U.S. warships and civilian ships that left seventeen dead.

The U.S. attorneys office in the southern district of New York denied Turkeys allegations that the office is carrying out politically motivated prosecutions, the Times reported. Turkey has charged that the case against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman accused of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, is motivated by political opposition to the Turkish government. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim denied that Gulenists, a group of political opponents to the Turkish regime, had any role in the case.

A U.N. tribunal convicted Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian-Serb commander, of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Times reported. Mladic led the Bosnian-Serb military operations that killed thousands of Muslims and Croats at the siege of Sarajevo, in concentration camps and in massacres like that at Srebrenica that killed 8,000 Muslims. The verdict is one of the last for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which convicted Bosnian-Serb Radovan Karadzic of similar crimes last year.

A U.S. airstrike in central Somalia killed over 100 al-Shabab militants on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The pace of U.S. strikes against militants in Somalia has increased dramatically since a bombing in Mogadishu, Somalias capital, that killed hundreds in October. The Department of Defense said it had coordinated with Somalias government to orchestrate the strike.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Garrett Hinck outlined the threats against submarine communications cables and the legal regime protecting them.

Robyn Greene argued that polling data suggests Americans are generally concerned about their privacy despite findings that they are apathetic about specific surveillance programs.

Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with David Ignatius about his new book, The Quantum Spy.

Amanda Sloat explained why the Reza Zarrab case is matter of high interest to the Turkish government.

Daniel Byman analyzed the significance of decision to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Paul Rosenzweig posted a video of a Federalist Society panel on international counterterrorism surveillance cooperation.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Benjamin Wittes and Gordon Wood about the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

 

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

President Trump pardons “Wishbone” and “Drumstick” – KNSS
 

President Trump pardons “Wishbone” and “Drumstick”
KNSS
President trump continues at Thanksgiving tradition at the White House a presidential pardon for drumstick. In the annual tradition does before the Thanksgiving holiday president trump pardoned at 36 pound gambler named drumstick. The feather full blue …

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6:56 AM 11/20/2017 – Should The FBI Be Abolished?

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Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now!

Should The FBI Be Abolished?

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For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama intelligence officials; that Hillary used a private email server to transmit classified information; that Hillary and the DNC colluded with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump, and finally, that Russia acquired 20% of America’s uranium supply during the same time period $145 million miraculously appeared in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. It all stinks to high heaven but it’s created a confusing array of facts that has bewildered most Americans. They all know something is seriously wrong with their country even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

But there is a common denominator in all these scandals or alleged scandals, and that would be the FBI and the actions they took or didn’t take.

Indeed, it’s hard to not conclude that the agency’s actions in these events were improper if not illegal. If so, this validates the warnings by constitutionalists in the early 1900s that a federal police force would someday be used to prop up the ruling elites and attack those who dare challenge the establishment.

Under FBI Director James Comey, Hillary was allowed to escape prosecution, even though he presented compelling evidence that she committed numerous felonies by transmitting classified documents using her private email server. Comey also leaked classified information to a friend to be disseminated to the media, another felony, and his FBI was the recipient of a dossier full of sensational but false allegations traced to Putin-connected individuals. Instead of investigating the dossier’s sources, Comey used the phony intel as the basis for his allegation that the Russians intervened in our election, a charge later proven to be without factual basis. It also appears that Comey likely used the dossier’s claims to convince a FISA court to authorize a phone tap on various Trump aides and possibly even Trump himself.

Lastly, Comey refused to demand that the DNC hand over the computer servers they claimed were hacked by Russia, but nevertheless, he announced that the Russians had hacked into the DNC, thereby helping to create the phony Trump/Russia collusion narrative. But a group of cyber experts led by former high-ranking NSA cyber expert Bill Binney have concluded that the hack simply could not have occurred for technical reasons and that the leaked DNC emails had to come from an inside source. Regardless, for Comey to create a phony “Russia hacked the DNC” narrative without his agency ever analyzing the DNC server calls into question his honesty and his integrity.

On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller — now Special Counsel — is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was the Democratic Party. But Mueller doesn’t have the integrity to widen his investigation to cover the Clinton/GPS Fusion/Russian dossier scandal but instead is spending millions on investigating alleged crimes by former Trump campaign workers that occurred years ago and had nothing to do with Trump, Russian collusion, or the 2016 election.

Lastly, when Mueller was FBI Director, he served on the board of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the agency that approved the sale of uranium to Russia by the Uranium One company only a short time after his own agency had arrested a Russian official attempting to bribe American uranium officials. But there is no record of Mueller warning his fellow CFIUS members about the illegal Russian efforts. It likewise begs logic to believe that Mueller knew nothing about the $145 million the Clinton Foundation received from Putin-connected sources shortly after the CFIUS vote. It is also inconceivable that Mueller, as FBI Director from 2001-2013, was not aware that the Clintons were using their foundation and Hillary’s Secretary of State position to operate a massive pay-to-play scam that went far beyond the Uranium One scandal.

It has become abundantly clear that Mueller is a partisan, as is Comey. Both of them have jeopardized national security in order to protect the Democratic Party. This is an unprecedented situation and both men should be investigated. Moreover, Mueller should be removed as the Special Counsel. The foxes are guarding the hen house.

Mueller and Comey have turned the FBI into a partisan force that ignores crimes by the left and fabricates crimes on the right such as the Trump/Russian collusion theory. Again, such corruption of the FBI was predicted by constitutionalists at the time the agency was formed. That time has arrived.

Within most conservative circles today it would be considered sacrilegious to argue in favor of abolishing the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Indeed, older Americans still think of the FBI as an agency full of incorruptible, efficient, clean cut guys in suits tracking down mobsters and exposing communist subversion. Younger Americans are influenced by popular shows such as television’s Criminal Minds, which, again, portray the G-Men as squeaky clean heroes.

However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that this agency has become so politicized, so corrupt, and so large and bureaucratic that it may no longer be an effective agency. The time has come to discuss its abolition.

The FBI was started in 1935, although its predecessor — the Bureau of Investigation — was founded in 1908. In the early 1900s, crime was becoming more nationalized with multi-state mob crime families and the creation of large prostitution smuggling rings that crossed state lines. As a result, advocates of a federalized police force argued that a federal law enforcement agency was necessary in order to keep up with the criminals. The main argument was that the local police forces didn’t have the resources or the flexibility to investigate complex criminal cases or to chase mobsters from state to state.

But note that the FBI did not come into existence until 132 years after the country declared its independence. This was because the founders never envisioned a federal role for law enforcement. It is not one of the “enumerated” duties of the federal government listed in the constitution.

There were reasons for that. Our founders were skeptical of a large federal government and, indeed, not even the “federalist” faction argued for a federal law enforcement role. The Constitution’s authors all assumed that most of the country’s governing would be carried out by state and local governments; the Federal government was created simply to take care of things that states were not well suited to do, such as maintaining a military, minting currency, and negotiating trade treaties. Indeed, for most of America’s first century, the highest law enforcement officer was the county sheriff.

Except for treason, the idea of federal crimes was not even mentioned in the Constitution. Our founders had a healthy fear of America turning into a tyrannical government such as those which existed all over the world at the time. They wanted to maximize freedom; hence the Bill of Rights. They assumed the creation of a federalized police force would make it far easier for the federal government to abuse the rights of its citizens. This is why neither the Constitution, the ratification debates, nor the Federalistpapers ever mention anything about a federal law enforcement role. Nada. Nothing. Indeed, in Federalist No. 45, James Madison specifically singles out “internal order” as an “unenumerated power” that must “remain in the state governments.”

In the last few decades, Congress has created over 3,000 federal crimes, thereby undermining the authority of local law enforcement and ultimately making the federal government more powerful and more prone to corruption and tyranny. As the late Washington Times columnist Sam Francis wrote, “Over the last 30 years or so, the creeping federal incursion into law enforcement has yielded some 140 agencies at the federal level that have such a role… but everyone knows the federal engulfment of law enforcement has failed miserably to control crime and make the country safe. That’s because, by its very nature, effective law enforcement is local.”

And there’s no doubt that national police forces in other countries have been used to transition a country to a dictatorship. Historian William L. Shirer wrote in his famous history of Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Rich, “On June 16, 1936, for the first time in German history, a unified police as established for the whole of the Reich — previously the police had been organized separately by each of the states …the Third Reich, as is inevitable in the development of all totalitarian dictatorships, had become a police state.”

But the FBI has never seemed concerned about its growing powers. Indeed, in the aftermath of WWII, the FBI was so impressed with Hitler’s police state, they secretly hired hundreds of Nazis as spies and informants. As Rutherford Institute president and conservative civil rights lawyer John Whitehead writes, the FBI “then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.”

But long before the rise of Hitler, America’s founders understood that the more locally controlled law enforcement is, the more accountable they are, whereas, a federal police force tends to be abused by a central government and is largely unaccountable to local and state governments. Indeed, it is unsettling to review the long list of incidents in which the FBI abused the rights of Americans and was clearly used by one political faction or another to carry out police state-like tactics. Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

Prosecuting Opponents of World War 1. President Woodrow Wilson used the FBI’s predecessor to illegally harass and prosecute thousands of peaceful opponents of World War 1, a war most conservatives would argue America had no business entering.

COINTELPRO. This was the FBI’s covert internal security program in the 1950s and ’60s, created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government deemed to be enemies. It was carried out under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover with the consent of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Congressional hearings found that “Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that … the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association…” Many conservatives of the day cheered on COINTELPRO since it targeted Marxists and antiwar groups, but that cheering ended when the FBI set its sights on the right.

FBI Preparations for Martial Law. MuckRock, a group that exposes governmental corruption, obtained a 1956 FBI document via a FOIA request that described the FBI’s plans to implement martial law and round up dissidents in the event of nuclear war. The document, titled “Plan C,” states that ‘”as of April 17, 1956, 12,949 individuals were scheduled for apprehension in an emergency.” The FBI’s secretive list of “anti-government” citizens they felt needed to be rounded up has never been revealed but it’s clear the FBI was keeping files on anti-government individuals.

The Ruby Ridge Murders. In 1992, a BATF informant convinced former Green Beret Randy Weaver to sell him two shotguns which had barrels shortened illegally, thus creating the pretext for the FBI to launch a military-style assault on Weaver’s remote Idaho cabin, eventually killing his wife and fatally shooting his son in the back. The FBI agents violated numerous rules of engagement and an Idaho jury found Weaver innocent of almost all charges. According to author James Bovard, “Judge Lodge issued a lengthy list detailing the Justice Departments misconduct, fabrication of evidence and refusal to obey court orders.” No one was held accountable; indeed the agent in charge, Larry Potts, was promoted to FBI Deputy Director.

The Waco Massacre. In 1993, 76 citizens — including 26 children — were burned to death when the FBI laid siege to a Branch Davidian compound in Waco on the grounds they believed cult leader David Koresh possessed unauthorized weapons. However, there was no reason for the FBI to use police state tactics. Koresh visited town almost every week and could have easily been arrested during these excursions. Six years later the FBI admitted during the course of a civil lawsuit that the tear gas it fired into the compound was, in fact, pyrotechnic tear gas, which, probably caused the fire that killed most of the people. The shells were even stamped with a fire warning. Moreover, a law enforcement infrared video revealed muzzle flashes from the FBI’s positions, so contrary to the FBI’s testimony that they did not fire “a single shot,” it appears its snipers were shooting people as they tried to escape the compound. Indeed, a Policy Analysis report by the Heritage Foundation stated that “numerous crimes by government agents were never seriously investigated or prosecuted” and therefore, “the people serving in our federal police agencies may well come to the conclusion that it is permissible to recklessly endanger the lives of innocent people, lie to newspapers, obstruct congressional subpoenas, and give misleading testimony in our courtrooms.”

Helping Bill Clinton Collect Dirt on his Enemies. Often referred to as “Filegate,” in 1993-94, the FBI willingly turned over as many as 900 background check files on Republicans to the Clinton White House. Nothing came of the investigation into this as the Clintons claimed it was all a big mistake. Right.

Project Megiddo. This was another shady FBI project, launched in 1999, created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right, such as constitutionalists, devout Christians, anti-tax activists, anti-UN and pro-gun groups and individuals, all considered by the FBI to be budding terrorists. Such descriptions cover just about everyone on the right. It is not known if Project Megiddo violated the rights of individuals as the FBI did with previous similar programs, such as COINTELPRO, but it’s likely. Not surprisingly, much of the info used by Project Megiddo was fed to them by hysterical leftist groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as even the FBI has publicly acknowledged. Shameful.

Use of Criminals as Undercover Agents. Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead writes, “FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers. In fact, in addition to creating certain crimes in order to then ‘solve’ them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law… USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums.”

Operation Vigilant Eagle. This FBI program initiated in 2009 targeted anti-government activists such as Tea Party activists and, alarmingly, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are, as one FBI document states, “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering for the psychological effects of war.” The purpose of this program was allegedly to counter terrorism, but there’s not a shred of evidence veterans are more prone to terrorism than any other citizen.

Nonetheless, the FBI actually claimed that veterans who challenge the government are suffering from “Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).” One of the program’s first targets was 26-year-old decorated Marine veteran Brandon Raub. Due to posting anti-government statements on his Facebook page, the FBI arrested Raub with no warning, labeled him mentally ill and placed him in a psych ward against his will. Thankfully, Rutherford Institute attorney John Whitehead intervened and secured his release.

Whitehead writes that he “may have helped prevent Raub from being successfully ‘disappeared’ by the government.” And this has happened to other veterans. If the FBI paid as much attention to jihadists as it does to military veterans, it would have stopped every domestic terror plot!

Targeting Pro-Lifers. In 2010, The FBI held a joint training session on terrorism with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. The main message of the seminar was that all pro-lifers are potential terrorists, an outrageous allegation. Indeed, material passed out by the pro-aborts at the seminar listed three pages of “anti-abortion web sites,” including those of National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Human Life International. None of those groups advocate violence. This is another example of how the FBI allows itself to be used by the left to go after its enemies. Similarly, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, the FBI created a project called VAAPCON to create files on pro-life religious leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell. Indeed, Judicial Watch, representing Falwell, sued the Clinton White House, seeking info on the project, but all the files mysteriously disappeared, Clinton style.

The IRS Scandal. The government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, obtained documents revealing that the FBI was involved with the illegal IRS effort to investigate — and thus silence— around 500 conservative and Tea Party groups during Obama’s 2012 reelection. Perhaps the worst use of the IRS in American history, this was about manipulating the 2012 presidential election and the FBI was complicit in this abuse of governmental power. As JWs Tom Fitton writes, “Both the FBI and Justice Department collaborated with Lois Lerner and the IRS to try to persecute and jail Barack Obama’s political opponents.”

FBI Worked With the SPLC. For much of the Obama era, the FBI listed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on its website as part of its effort to combat “hate crimes.” However, many of the groups identified by the SPLC as “hate groups” are not. One example is the Family Research Council, a mainstream pro-family organization. As a result of the FBI’s promotion of SPLC’s phony hate group list, a shooter entered FRC’s headquarters in 2012, wounding the front desk security guard and attempted to slaughter all the FRC employees. He was subdued by the wounded guard. Indeed, the SPLC believes all Christian groups that oppose the gay agenda or abortion are “hate groups,” a bizarre notion that has never been condemned by the FBI even though it did, in 2014, quietly drop the SPLC from its website.

Data Mining Innocent Americans. In 2013, Bloomberg exposed the FBI’s data mining project carried out on hundreds of thousands of Americans, most of whom were not guilty of any crimes.

Raids on Homes of Anti-Government Activists. Repeatedly, the FBI has raided homes on the flimsiest of evidence. In 2014, it raided the home of prepper Martin Winters, claiming he was some kind of domestic terrorist. But nothing was found aside from food stocks and other survivalist gear. Then there’s Terry Porter, also a prepper, whose house the FBI raided in 2012 using twice as many agents as in the Branch Davidian raid. Again, nothing alarming found there. Since when did anti-government preppers become terrorists? The FBI raids group meetings as well, such as when it raided a Republic of Texas secessionist movement meeting in 2015. No one was arrested because no one did anything illegal. But once again, the FBI treated a handful of elderly men discussing constitutional issues as a terrorist plot.

Fraudulent Forensics. Special Agent and whistleblower Frederic Whitehurst revealed in 2015 that FBI crime lab technicians routinely testified falsely about crime lab samples throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As former Judge Andrew Napolitano writes, “its agents and lab technicians who examine hair samples testified falsely in 257 of 268 cases that resulted in convictions. Of the convictions, 18 persons were sentenced to death, and of those, 12 have been executed.” Yes, innocent people died, thanks to the FBI.

FBI High School Informer Network. In 2016, the FBI launched an effort to enlist the help of high school students to ostensibly identify terrorists, but the FBI documents in question reveal they were also urging students to report on anti-government groups such as libertarian and constitutional groups. This effort is shockingly similar to the informant networks set up by the KGB in the USSR and the Stasi in East Germany.

The FBI Record on Fighting Terrorism.
Many Americans assume, however, that at least in the area of Islamic terrorism, the FBI has kept Americans largely safe. Not so fast. The record doesn’t quite show that.

In fact, the agency has blundered many terrorism investigations and thus jeopardized the security of Americans. Examples:

  • In 2009, Islamist Nidal Hasan fatally shot 13 people at the Fort Hood Military Base, but his radical associations and open support for jihad were previously known by the FBI. It even had emails in which Hasan stated he wanted to kill his fellow soldiers. Indeed, records show that not only was there reluctance by officials to drum Hasan out of the military — for political reasons — but he was promoted at every opportunity.
  • In 2013, local officials caught seven foreign Muslims trespassing after midnight onto Quabbin Reservoir, a critical Northwest drinking reservoir. The FBI took over the case but let the trespassers go because they believe them to be just “tourists.” Yes, just midnight tourists. Only a few months earlier, another terrorist had been arrested for planning to poison a different reservoir.
  • In 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers bombed the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds more. Russian intelligence warned the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the agency even interviewed him, but it appears the FBI determined that Russia’s intelligence was not accurate. Until the bombs went off.
  • In 2015, when the government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents confirming that ISIS terrorists were crossing the Mexican/Texas border, concerned FBI agents held meetings at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez with Mexican officials. But not to figure out a plan to deal with such crossings, but rather to deny these allegations and to determine who leaked the info to JW. Forget the message and attack the messenger. What a great counter-terrorism strategy.
  • In 2015, the FBI failed to prevent the San Bernardino terror attack by an Islamic couple from Pakistan connected to an Islamic terrorist group whose files were among those purged earlier by the FBI, thereby making it nearly impossible for the agency to detect this pair.
  • In 2015, two Islamic terrorists attacked a Muhammad art expo in Garland, Texas, but the FBI actually had an informant at the scene with the terrorists, but it never bothered to warn the expo’s organizers of the impending attack. Apparently, the agency didn’t want to blow the informant’s cover! Fortunately, security guard Bruce Joiner shot and killed both shooters before they could get inside the exhibition hall. Joiner wonders why the FBI would allow this attack to transpire, stating “That’s not the kind of thing we do in the United States with our citizens.”
  • In 2016, Islamist Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people at an Orlando nightclub. While the FBI did investigate him for 10 months it closed his file because it believed he was “being marginalized because of his Muslim faith.” Seriously.
  • The FBI has flat out denied that Las Vegas shooter Steven Paddock has any Islamic terror connections, but the reality is it really doesn’t know enough about him to make such a claim. Indeed, ISIS never takes credit for attacks that are not its own and on three occasions, it has announced Paddock was connected to ISIS. It even revealed Paddock’s Islamic name: Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki. Also, Paddock made trips to the Middle East. Given the FBI’s record, ISIS’s statements may be more credible than the FBI’s denials.
  • The latest terrorist incident in New York City was also bungled. Months before Sayfullo Saipov mowed down over 20 people, the FBI interviewed him because it knew he was connected to two men with terrorist connections. As such, his visa should have been revoked and he should have been deported, but the agency didn’t even open up a file on him.
  • Finally, the 9/11 terrorist attack itself could have been prevented by the FBI. It had enough intel to connect the dots but didn’t. Many of its pre-9/11 reports on al Qaeda were lost or not shared with the proper people. One was a memo by Phoenix FBI Agent Ken Williams, describing suspected al Qaeda members training at U.S. flight schools. How could that not result in a full scale investigation? And Special Agent Mark Rossini sent a message to FBI headquarters warning that 9/11 hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar had a multi-entry visa to enter the U.S. before 9/11. But that cable went “missing” when Congress held hearings on how our intelligence agencies manage to completely miss so many obvious clues.

And there are many other examples that can’t be cited here due to lack of space, but it’s difficult to find a domestic terrorist investigation that the FBI hasn’t screwed up. The above incidents alone cost the lives of almost 3,200 Americans. One would think that in the aftermath of 9/11, the FBI would make an effort to become more efficient when it comes to counter-terrorism, but with the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the FBI not only remained overly bureaucratic but became hyper politically correct.

Incredible as it may seem, in 2011, Obama’s FBI Director, Robert Mueller, met with a coalition of radical Islamic groups and agreed to purge thousands of files “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch said the “purge is part