[Source: CBS DC]
At least President West won’t feed us some line about not having inhaled…(read more)
In an Effort to Appear Relevant, Obama Administration Finally Sort of Developing Sanctions Against China Over CybertheftsPosted: August 30, 2015
A decision on whether to act could come soon, close to a major state visit by President Xi Jinping.
The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets.
The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue these sanctions, but a final call is expected soon — perhaps even within the next two weeks, according to several administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
“The indictments were a strong move. This is going to be an even stronger move. It’s really going to put China in the position of having to choose whether they want to be this pariah nation — this kleptocracy — or whether they want to be one of the leading nations in the world.”
— Rob Knake, a former White House cyber official and currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Issuing sanctions would represent a significant expansion in the administration’s public response to the rising wave of cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers, who officials say have stolen everything from nuclear power plant designs to search engine source code to confidential negotiating positions of energy companies.
Any action would also come at a particularly sensitive moment between the world’s two biggest economies. President Xi Jinping of China is due to arrive next month in Washington for his first state visit — complete with a 21-gun salute on the South Lawn of the White House and an elaborate State Dinner. There is already tension over a host of other issues, including maritime skirmishes in the South China Sea and China’s efforts to devalue its currency in the face of its recent stock market plunge. At the same time, the two countries have deep trade ties and the administration has sometimes been wary of seeming too tough on China.
But the possibility of sanctions so close to Xi’s visit indicates how frustrated U.S. officials have become over the persistent cyber plundering.
The sanctions would mark the first use of an order signed by President Obama in April establishing the authority to freeze financial and property assets of, and bar commercial transactions with, individuals and entities overseas who engage in destructive attacks or commercial espionage in cyberspace.
“China is not the only country that hacks computer networks for trade secrets to aid its economy, but it is by far the most active, officials say. Just last month, the FBI said that economic espionage cases surged 53 percent in the past year, and that China accounted for most of that.”
The White House declined to comment on specific sanctions, but a senior administration official, speaking generally, said: “As the president said when signing the executive order enabling the use of economic sanctions against malicious cyber actors, the administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront such actors. Read the rest of this entry »
The MI6 spy who was found dead inside a holdall bag in his bathtub in London hacked into secret data held on former U.S. President Bill Clinton, The Sun newspaper has sensationally claimed today.
“The Clinton diary hack came at a time when Williams’s work with America was of the most sensitive nature.”
Speculation has been rife ever since his death in September 2010 about the circumstances surrounding his death. A Metropolitan Police investigation revealed predictably, though suspiciously, that Mr Williams’ death was “probably an accident”. This was despite an initial inquest concluding that his death was “unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated.”
Since then the unexplained death has been the subject of investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The BBC reported as early as December 2010 that Mr Williams had been on secondment from Britain’s signals intelligence operation GCHQ to MI6, and then subsequently to the United States’ National Security Agency.
The Sun reports that Williams had “dug out the guestlist for an event the former American president was going to as a favour for a pal.”
…Mr Faulding, whose expertise is finding bodies or people stuck in confined places, made several other disturbing points which raise serious questions about the Yard’s new perception on the mystery.
When Mr Williams’s body was found on August 23, 2010, in his central London flat the door to the bathroom was shut and the light was off, making the room pitch black.
The shower screen was in place, making the space he had to move around very tight if he were to put the bag in the bath and then step into it. There were no palm prints on the bath, which meant Mr Williams, who was single and a maths genius, would have had to stand up in the bag first and then get into it. Mr Faulding said: “Entry into the bag needs to be shoulder first and then pulling the bag under the bottom, this would leave footprints at the end of the bath above the taps but there were none.
“The shower screen was closed. If he was practising getting into the bag this would have been wide open as it creates a barrier. No finger, foot, palm prints or DNA belonging to Gareth Williams were present on the rim of the bath, padlock or zipper. He was not wearing any gloves.” Mr Faulding added: “If he was practising or dabbling in escapology he would have carried a knife in the bag to release himself, he was an intelligent individual and not a chancer….(read more at express.co.uk)
Continuing from Breitbart London:
The Murdoch-owned paper reports:
The Sun on Sunday can reveal that voicemail messages Mr Williams left for family and pals were deleted in the days after his death. And a rival agent may also have broken into the flat to destroy or remove evidence.
Read the rest of this entry »
The presidential candidates for the 1992 election debated each other in the the second of three scheduled presidential debates. The participants were President George Bush, Governor Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot.
They answered questions from the audience that regarded their campaigns and their policy preferences, which mostly focused on economic issues. The audience consisted of 209 undecided voters from the Richmond, VA area.
Election night, November 3, 1964, inside some kind of broadcast room at the Democratic Headquarters at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, D.C.
Richard Nixon chose little-known Maryland governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate for his 1968 presidential bid. Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey lampooned Agnew in this “Laughter” ad, created by Tony Schwartz, best known for the infamous “Daisy Girl” commercial for Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
[VIDEO] White House: Obama’s Joe Biden for Vice President Decision Better Than Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State DecisionPosted: August 24, 2015
WH: Obama’s Biden VP Decision Better Than Clinton Sec. State Decision (August 24, 2015)
UPDATE: Here’s Hillary Clinton’s lawyer in a private meeting, responding unfavorably to having seen the press conference.
Members of Air Force and Oregon National Guard subdued a gunman loaded with weapons
“All three made a show of courage—full of bravery—that everyone recognizes.”
— French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve
The three Americans were seated on the train when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass, according to accounts from one of the men and a U.S. official briefed on the attack.
Crouching behind their seats, the Americans, who are childhood friends, decided they had to act. Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23 years old, ran toward the gunman and tackled him.
“I told him to go, and he went,” Alek Skarlatos, 22, a member of the Oregon National Guard who had been deployed in Afghanistan, said Saturday.
“Spencer ran a good 10 meters to get to the guy. And we didn’t know that his gun wasn’t working or anything like that,” he added. Mr. Skarlatos then said he ran up behind and grabbed the assailant’s AK-47 rifle, and then their friend, student Anthony Sadler, 23, came to help.
Investigators on Saturday used fingerprint analysis to identify the gunman as Ayoub El-Khazzani, a French official said. Mr. El-Khazzani, a 26-year-old Moroccan national, had been flagged last year by intelligence services as belonging to the “radical Islamist movement,” officials said.
“While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.”
— statement from the White House
Officials said Spanish officials flagged him to French authorities in February 2014, when he was living in Spain. In 2015, he lived in Belgium, French officials added.
Mr. El-Khazzani attempted to reach Syria in May, taking a flight from Berlin to Istanbul, according to French and German security officials. But the officials said that it wasn’t immediately clear if the suspect made it to Syria.
Belgium, which the French official said had been notified of the suspect’s departure for Turkey, has opened its own criminal investigation into the attack.
French officials praised the Americans’ bravery, as well as that of an unnamed Frenchman who initially confronted the man. The office of French President François Hollande said he had spoken by phone with those who had subdued the attacker, and would invite them shortly to the Élysée Palace to thank them personally. The French president also said he had thanked U.S. President Barack Obama by phone.
Republican Presidential Race 2016
Michael Scherer writes: There are some things you just can’t do in politics, not at the presidential level, anyway.
This is a game like any other, with rules honed over decades by the pros in blue blazers clutching focus-group results: Be likable. Don’t make enemies. Respect the party elders. Avoid funny hats. And never wear white bucks or French cuffs to the Iowa State Fair, a flyover fantasyland of cholesterol and common decency where the life-size butter cow grazes behind glass with the life-size butter Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly.
That’s why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wore jeans to pose atop the hay bales this year. Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina featured pink plaid—Farmer Jane meets Disney princess—and Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton dug up a blouse of blue gingham, hoisting her pork chop on a stick like a blue ribbon for authenticity. They all played it well, adhering to the sacred promise that if they pretend to be like everyone else, voters might think they actually are.
Then a buzzing came across the sky. A $7 million Sikorsky helicopter, sent over six states in at least four hops by its billionaire owner, descended in tight circles on the crowd, the name of the Republican front runner for the 2016 presidential nomination emblazoned on the tail. Donald John Trump, at roughly 25% in the national GOP polls, about twice his nearest rival, emerged in Des Moines with his golden mane encased in a big ruby baseball cap, his cuffs flashing diamond links and his shoes shining brighter than bleached teeth. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Clinton Refuses to Say Whether or Not She Wiped the Server: ‘That’s for the Investigators to Find Out’Posted: August 18, 2015
“A fugitive is like a flying kite. Even though he is abroad, the string is held in China.”
WASHINGTON — Mark Mazzetti and Dan Levin write: The Obama administration has delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to pressure prominent expatriates — some wanted in China on charges of corruption — to return home immediately, according to American officials.
“American officials did not disclose the identities or numbers of those being sought by the Chinese in the United States. They are believed to be prominent expatriates, some sought for economic corruption and some for what the Chinese consider political crimes.”
The American officials said that Chinese law enforcement agents covertly in this country are part of Beijing’s global campaign to hunt down and repatriate Chinese fugitives and, in some cases, recover allegedly ill-gotten gains.
The Chinese government has officially named the effort Operation Fox Hunt.
The American warning, which was delivered to Chinese officials in recent weeks and demanded a halt to the activities, reflects escalating anger in Washington about intimidation tactics used by the agents. And it comes at a time of growing tension between Washington and Beijing on a number of issues: from the computer theft of millions of government personnel files that American officials suspect was directed by China, to China’s crackdown on civil liberties, to the devaluation of its currency.
“That reluctance reflects divisions with the Obama administration over how aggressive to publicly confront China on a number of security issues.”
Those tensions are expected to complicate the state visit to Washington next month by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.
The work of the agents is a departure from the routine practice of secret government intelligence gathering that the United States and China have carried out on each other’s soil for decades. The Central Intelligence Agency has a cadre of spies in China, just as China has long deployed its own intelligence operatives into the United States to steal political, economic, military and industrial secrets.
In this case, said American officials, who discussed details of the operation only on the condition of anonymity because of the tense diplomacy surrounding the issue, the Chinese agents are undercover operatives with the Ministry of Public Security, China’s law enforcement branch charged with carrying out Operation Fox Hunt.
“For instance, the White House has gone out of its way to avoid making any public accusations that the Chinese government ordered the computer attack on the Office of Personnel Management, which led to the theft of millions of classified personnel files of government workers and contractors.”
The campaign, a central element of Mr. Xi’s wider battle against corruption, has proved popular with the Chinese public. Since 2014, according to the Ministry of Public Security, more than 930 suspects have been repatriated, including more than 70 who have returned this year voluntarily, the ministry’s website reported in June. According to Chinese media accounts, teams of agents have been dispatched around the globe.
American officials said they had solid evidence that the Chinese agents — who are not in the United States on acknowledged government business, and most likely are entering on tourist or trade visas — use various strong-arm tactics to get fugitives to return. The harassment, which has included threats against family members in China, has intensified recently, officials said. Read the rest of this entry »
Party’s ‘safe haven’ may see a few bumps in the road – and rumours of Joe Biden considering a run – but strategists agree she remains Republicans’ top opponent.
Lauren Gambino writes: Not so long ago, Hillary Clinton’s supporters main concern seemed to be a fear that her coronation as the Democratic candidate for president would leave her unprepared for battle with the Republican nominee.
Now, by all metrics, the former secretary of state retains a historically strong lead in the race to secure her party’s nomination. She is well ahead of the other declared candidates in terms of poll numbers, money and endorsements. But a succession of setbacks and the possibility of another mainstream rival joining the race has, to some degree, checked the presumptiveness of the presumptive candidate.
This was a week that started out on a high note, with the rollout of Clinton’s college affordability plan, a policy prescription driven in large part by the party’s progressives. But the spotlight quickly moved to escalating investigations into the private email account the candidate used while secretary of state, and a drop in polls as reports renewed speculation that vice-president Joe Biden may join the race. Read the rest of this entry »
NEW YORK — cassyfiano writes: With a countdown of “five, four, three, two, one, smooch,” couples from across the world puckered up in Times Square on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous kiss celebrating the end of World War II.
“Ellie and I are deeply honored and privileged to represent the greatest generation here today.”
— Ray Williams, 91, of Blairsville, Georgia
A 25-foot sculpture depicting Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a sailor kissing a white-uniformed nurse towered over the commemoration of V-J Day, when Japan’s surrender to Allied forces was announced.
“It’s very beautiful to commemorate such an incredible event. Especially for us. We come from a country which was occupied by the Germans … and we’re still faced with all the horrifying stories of the war.”
— Roel van Dalen, visitors from Amsterdam
Ray and Ellie Williams, Navy veterans who married the day after V-J Day, kicked off the anniversary of the kiss Aug. 14, 1945. Read the rest of this entry »