PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Christopher Bedford reports: The sprawling libertarian Koch network came out against Trump’s executive order banning travel from certain high-risk countries, emailing reporters that it “is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”
“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”
— Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute
“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute and co-chairman of the Koch’s far-reaching Seminar Network, said. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”
“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”
“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”
Hooks and Koch are currently with hundreds of conservative and libertarian donors at the network’s conference in Palm Springs. Held twice a year, the seminars are a gathering place for the Seminar Network, a large group of wealthy donors interested in libertarian causes. This weekend’s seminar, held in the temperate desert outside of Los Angeles, will be the first since Trump’s election and inauguration.
The network spent hundreds of millions on advertising and advocacy for limited-government politicians — namely, Republicans — running for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, but notably stayed out of the presidential primaries and race. Read the rest of this entry »
President Donald Trump told the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday that he is engaged in “a running war” with the “dishonest media.”
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates announced on Wednesday that five of its diplomats were killed in a bombing in southern Afghanistan the day before, one of the worst attacks to target the young nation’s diplomatic corps.
Meanwhile, the Taliban denied planting the bomb in the Kandahar attack, which also wounded the UAE ambassador to Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces inspect the site of two large bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Two loud explosions have rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul, causing casualties. The target of the blasts was probably an area that includes government and lawmakers’ offices. Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that first, a suicide bomber carried out an attack, followed by a second explosion, caused by car bomb parked near the site. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s prime minister and vice president, said on Twitter that “there is no human, moral or religious justification for the bombing and killing of people trying to help” others. Read the rest of this entry »
His decision may have cost Clinton the presidency.
On Friday, the Obama administration turned a bright spotlight onto the Russian government’s attempts to influence America’s presidential election. The White House announced that the president had ordered the intelligence community to perform a “full review” of election-related hacking, kicking off a sweeping investigation that officials say should be complete before President Obama’s second term ends in less than six weeks.
“For one, the White House was probably afraid of looking like it was tipping the scale in Hillary Clinton’s favor, especially in an election that her opponent repeatedly described as rigged.”
That evening, administration officials leaked the results of a secret CIA investigation into Russia’s motives for launching election-related cyberattacks to The Washington Post. The CIA had concluded that Russia “intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.”
Members of Congress who called on the White House to release more information about Russian involvement in the 2016 election—and who repeatedly hinted that the administration hadn’t publicized everything it knows on the issue—were vindicated by the revelations. But the news came too late to make a difference in the election.
“It’s also possible that the administration, like most pollsters and pundits, was overconfident in its assessment that Clinton would win the election.”
The CIA only shared its latest findings with top senators last week, the Post reported, but it’s not clear when the agency made the determination. In an interview with MSNBC on Saturday, however, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid—who is known for making bold accusations—said FBI Director Jim Comey has known about Russia’s ambitions “for a long time,” but didn’t release that information.
If that’s true, why didn’t the Obama administration push to release it earlier?
For one, the White House was probably afraid of looking like it was tipping the scale in Hillary Clinton’s favor, especially in an election that her opponent repeatedly described as rigged. Though Obama stumped for Clinton around the country, the administration didn’t want to open him up to attacks that he unfairly used intelligence to undermine Trump’s campaign, the Post reported.
Instead, top White House officials gathered key lawmakers—leadership from the House and Senate, plus the top Democrats and Republicans from both houses’ intelligence and homeland security committees—to ask for a bipartisan condemnation of Russia’s meddling.
The effort was stymied by several Republicans who weren’t willing to cooperate, including, reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (On Sunday morning, a bipartisan statement condemning the hacks came from incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Jack Reed, a Democrat, and Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham.)
It’s also possible that the administration, like most pollsters and pundits, was overconfident in its assessment that Clinton would win the election. Officials may have been more willing to lob incendiary accusations—and risk setting off a serious political or cyber conflict with Russia—if they had thought Trump had a good chance to win.
The silence from the White House and the CIA was a stark contrast to the Comey’s announcement just weeks before the election that it was examining new documents related to its investigation into Clinton’s emails. Read the rest of this entry »
…We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” as independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and Mormon, continues to show considerable polling resiliency in the Beehive State. Count us as skeptical that Clinton can win in such a Republican state. But McMullin is taking lots of Republican voters away from Trump, and it’s not out of the question that the third party candidate could win the state’s six electoral votes.
And, finally — and much to our amazement — we are adding Texas to our list of competitive states, rating it as “lean Republican.” The last three polls taken in the state have shown Trump ahead by three points (twice) and four points; the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state puts Trump up 4.6 points. It speaks to how badly Trump is performing even in longtime Republican strongholds that the debate going forward won’t be whether Texas should stay on the list of competitive races but whether it should move to “toss-up.”
Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore! Read the rest of this entry »
Tim Cushing writes: We live in a world where a 16-year-old who goes by the handle of “penis” on Twitter can dive into the servers of two of America’s most secure federal agencies and fish out their internal files.
This 16-year-old is allegedly part of the same crew that socially engineered their way into the inboxes of CIA director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the administration’s senior advisor on science and technology, John Holdren.
We also — somehow — live in a world where these same agencies are arguing they should be entrusted with massive amounts of data — not just on their own employees, but on thousands of US citizens.
The DHS, FBI and NSA all want more data to flow to them — and through them. The cybersecurity bill that legislators snuck past the public by attaching it as a rider to a “must pass” appropriations bill contains language that would allow each of these affected agencies to partake in “data sharing” with private companies. This would be in addition to the data these agencies already gather on American citizens as part of their day-to-day work.
The DHS — one of the more recent hacking victims — is the only agency that expressed a reluctance to partake in the new data haul. This isn’t because it wouldn’t like to have access to the data, but because it would be the agency responsible for “scrubbing” the data before passing it on to other agencies. DHS officials likely took a look at this requirement and saw it for what it was: a scapegoat provision. Should any legal action or public outcry have resulted from the new “sharing” demands, the DHS would have been the agency offered up to appease the masses.
Fortunately for the DHS — but less fortunately for anyone concerned about expanding domestic surveillance efforts — this requirement has been altered. A bit. The Attorney General will now examine the DHS’s “scrubbing” efforts and determine whether or not they’re Constitutionally adequate. Of course, the Attorney General is more likely to side with whatever level of scrubbing provides the maximum flow of data to underling agencies like the FBI, so that’s not all that reassuring. On the other hand, it puts the AG in the crosshairs should something backfire.
This is the government that feels it can protect the nation from hackers: the government that can’t protect itself from hackers. Read the rest of this entry »
PANTSUIT REPORT: ‘Spinning Up As We Speak’: Email Shows Pentagon Was Ready to Roll as Benghazi Attack OccurredPosted: December 8, 2015
As the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was unfolding, a high-ranking Pentagon official urgently messaged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top deputies to offer military help, according to an email obtained by Judicial Watch.
The revelation appears to contradict testimony Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave lawmakers in 2013, when he said there was no time to get forces to the scene in Libya, where four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
“I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton],” reads the email, from Panetta’s chief of staff Jeremy Bash. “After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”
” … we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”
– Jeremy Bash, Pentagon chief of staff
The email was sent out at 7:19 p.m. ET on Sept. 11, 2012, in the early stages of the eight-hour siege that also claimed the lives of Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, private CIA contractors who raced to the aid of embattled State Department workers.
Although the email came after the first wave of the attack at the consulate, it occurred before a mortar strike on the CIA annex killed Woods and Doherty.
“This leaves no doubt military assets were offered and ready to go, and awaiting State Department signoff, which did not come,” Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Why emotionalism is the problem, not the solution, when it comes to foreign policy.
Nick Gillespie writes: Call me a heartless bastard, but images of dead Syrian children washing up on beaches should have absolutely nothing to do with American foreign policy, refugee quotas, or immigration schemes. Photo-based emotionalism is no way to conduct the affairs of nations. That way madness—and all too often, even more carnage—lies.
It’s one thing when highly charged images speak to pressing domestic concerns whose solutions are clear and within a single country’s ability to effect. In late 18th-century England, for instance, Thomas Clarkson’s illustration of slaveswedged into a ship’s hold like barrels of rum helped jump-start Britain’s abolitionist movement. Footage from Bull Connor’s Birmingham and Vietnam electrified the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. In such cases, the solutions were self-evident (if difficult to achieve): Stop your own countrymen from perpetuating evil. Nothing is so simple when it comes to wars and catastrophes in which you are not even a direct participant. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is facing its worst crisis since the domestic spying scandals four decades ago led to the first formal oversight and overhaul of U.S. intelligence operations.
Thanks to former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden’s flood of leaks to the media, and the Obama administration’s uneven response to them, morale at the spy agency responsible for intercepting communications of terrorists and foreign adversaries has plummeted, former officials say. Even sympathetic lawmakers are calling for new curbs on the NSA’s powers.
“This is a secret intelligence agency that’s now in the news every day,” said Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and later led the CIA. “Each day, the workforce wakes up and reads the daily indictment.”
President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that many Americans have lost trust in the nation’s largest intelligence agency. “There’s no doubt that, for all the work that’s been done to protect the American people’s privacy, the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people,” he said in a CNN interview.
One of the things Big Government apparently wanted to see last year was David Petraeus’ emails.
William Binney, whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician who served in the agency for decades, said the David Petraeus sex scandal was most likely exposed using illegal surveillance of his email.
Perhaps this helps explain why the CIA Director, who surely knew the truth about Benghazi from the get-go, allowed all those changes to the CIA talking points (scrubbing references to Islamic terrorism, scrubbing prior attacks), then briefed the press off the record that “we really think the video had something to do with it.”
Last November, after Petraeus announced his resignation over the sex scandal, Charles Krauthammer asked the following questions on Special Report:
How do you explain the testimony that Petraeus gave when it contradicted what the station CIA Chief, the station chief in Libya had told them?
How do you explain the fact that Petraeus’ testimony also contradicted Panetta’s briefing, and what everybody at the time was saying?
Catherine Herridge of Fox News had reported the FBI and the National Counterterroism Center had provided Capitol Hill briefings two days after the Libya attack.
Each claimed their evidence supported an attack either related to or by Al Qaeda terrorists. Yet the next day, the now disgraced general gave an astonishingly different intelligence account of what happened. Petraeus portrayed the attack as fitting the profile of a flash mob by chance joined by militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades.
via Big Government
Cherchez La Femme? Petraeus Resigns
CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his letter of resignation Friday, after admitting to an extramarital affair.
Petraeus, in a message to staff, said President Obama accepted his resignation after the two met on Thursday afternoon. Petraeus said that he asked “to be allowed” to step down.
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus said. “This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.”
The move comes amid the unfolding controversy surrounding the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Scrutiny has fallen on a range of agencies including the CIA. But Petraeus, in his resignation message, cited strictly “personal reasons” surrounding his affair which until now had not been disclosed.
via Fox News