Mike Pence

The Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018, Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch, Yates, Carlin, Comey, McCabe, Preistap, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos — Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Attacks MS-13 As Animals — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Defend MS -13 — All Humans Are Animals — MS-16 Members Are Violent Thugs — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Holder, Lynch, Yates, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos —

CIA Director Brennan set up Trump

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

Brennan’s own people contradict his “galactically stupid” statements about the dossier

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

John Brennan: ‘A Lot The Public Doesn’t Know’ About Trump Tower Meeting | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Tucker Carlson & Kim Strassel Destroy Lies & Spies Of The Deep Dark State

Joe DiGenova – John Brennan Headed to Grand Jury, 2229

CONFIRMED!! Rosenstein is a SELL OUT, He’s UNDER a HUGE HEAT

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

DOJ watchdog completes draft report on Clinton probe

Corey Lewandowski on allegations Obama FBI spied on Trump campaign

Drive-By Media At DEFCON 1 Hysteria

DiGenova on Obama’s FBI Placing a Spy Inside Trump Campaign

Rush Limbaugh Podcast Thursday – May 17, 2018

NYT: Russia probe code name inspired by Rolling Stones song

The New York Times reports that FBI agents started an investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign called “Crossfire Hurricane” just 100 days before Election Day.

NYT: How FBI’s Russia probe began

FBI Kept 2016 Investigation Into President Donald Trump Campaign Secret | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Roger Stone Exposes The FBI Mole Inside Trump Campaign

More Details Emerge On Deep State Mole Secretly Spying on President Trump Campaign

BREAKING: New York Times CONFIRMS FBI Conducted SPY OPERATION On President Trump! SPREAD THIS!

Former acting CIA director on Russia hacking report, Trump’s reaction

BREAKING: EX-OBAMA CIA DIR. JUST WENT ROGUE, SAYS THE 1 THING OBAMA DIDN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

#Trump Will Strike Down With Great Vengeance and Furious Anger Those Who Seek to Poison Our Republic

Why Mueller’s Witch Hunt Is Illegal, Unconstitutional and Crosses the Line

 

Trump: Report that Obama FBI spied on campaign could be ‘bigger than Watergate’

President Trump on Thursday touted a report saying the FBI under former President Obama spied on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race, saying that the revelation could be “bigger than Watergate.”

“Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT,'” the president tweeted in reference to a National Review report published last week.

“Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”

The report alleges that Obama-led agencies used their surveillance powers to monitor the Trump campaign.

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has been accused of spying on the Trump campaign.

Last year, Trump accused the former president of wiretapping Trump Tower shortly before the 2016 election.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped,’ in Trump Tower just before victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the president tweeted in March 2017.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer later walked back the president’s claim, saying he did not mean that Obama literally wiretapped Trump Tower.

“The president used the word ‘wiretap’ in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities during that,” Spicer said. “There is no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 elections.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/388101-trump-report-that-obama-fbi-spied-on-campaign-could-be-bigger-than

10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign

It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to leakers’ fears about information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.
Mollie Hemingway

By 

The New York Times published an article yesterday confirming the United States’ intelligence apparatus was used to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Here are a few quick takeaways.

1. FBI Officials Admit They Spied On Trump Campaign

The New York Times‘ story, headlined “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is a dry and gentle account of the FBI’s launch of extensive surveillance of affiliates of the Trump campaign. Whereas FBI officials and media enablers had previously downplayed claims that the Trump campaign had been surveiled, in this story we learn that it was more widespread than previously acknowledged:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said…

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.

This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”

The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.” It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one’s presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.

2. Terrified About Looming Inspector General Report

People leak for a variety of reasons, including to inoculate themselves as much as they can. For example, only when the secret funders of Fusion GPS’s Russia-Trump-collusion dossier were about to be revealed was their identity leaked to friendly reporters in the Washington Post. In October of 2017 it was finally reported that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee secretly paid for the Russia dossier, hiding the arrangement by funneling the money through a law firm.

The friendly reporters at the Washington Postwrote the story gently, full of reassuring quotes to downplay its significance. The information only came about because House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS, over the objections of Democrats on the committee. Even in this Times story, Clinton’s secret funding was not mentioned.

Likewise, the admissions in this New York Times story are coming out now, years after selective leaks to compliant reporters, just before an inspector general report detailing some of these actions is slated to be released this month. In fact, the Wall Street Journalreported that people mentioned in the report are beginning to get previews of what it alleges. It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.

By working with friendly reporters, these leaking FBI officials can ensure the first story about their unprecedented spying on political opponents will downplay that spying and even attempt to justify it. Of note is the story’s claim that very few people even knew about the spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, which means the leakers for this story come from a relatively small pool of people.

3. Still No Evidence of Collusion With Russia

In paragraph 69 of the lengthy story, The New York Times takes itself to task for burying the lede in its October 31, 2016, story about the FBI not finding any proof of involvement with Russian election meddling.

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

It is somewhat funny, then, to read what The New York Times buries in paragraph 70 of the story:

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.

No evidence of collusion after two years of investigation with unlimited resources? You don’t say! What could that mean?

4. Four Trump Affiliates Spied On

Thanks to the work of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee, Americans already learned that the FBI had secured a wiretap on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official. That wiretap, which was renewed three times, was already controversial because it was secured in part through using the secretly funded opposition research document created by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. The secret court that grants the wiretap was not told about Hillary Clinton or the DNC when the government applied for the wiretap or its renewals.

Now we learn that it wasn’t just Page, but that the government was going after four campaign affiliates including the former campaign manager, the top foreign policy advisor, and a low-level advisor whose drunken claim supposedly launched the investigation into the campaign. The bureau says Trump’s top foreign policy advisor and future national security advisor — a published critic of Russia — was surveiled because he spoke at an event in Russia sponsored by Russia Today, a government-sponsored media outlet.

5. Wiretaps, National Security Letters, and At Least One Spy

The surveillance didn’t just include wiretaps, but also national security letters and at least one government informant to spy on the campaign.:

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

This paragraph is noteworthy for the way it describes spying on the campaign — “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos” — before suggesting that might not be spying. The definition of spying is to secretly collect information, so it’s not really in dispute whether a government informant fits the bill.

Despite two years of investigation and surveillance, none of these men have been charged with anything even approaching treasonous collusion with Russia to steal a U.S. election.

6. More Leaks About a Top-Secret Government Informant

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence recently subpoenaed information from the FBI and Department of Justice. They did not publicly reveal what information they sought, but the Department of Justice responded by claiming that they were being extorted by congressional oversight. Then they leaked that they couldn’t share the information because it would jeopardize the life of a government informant. They also waged a public relations battle against HPSCI Chairman Nunes and committee staff.

But far from holding the information close to the vest, the government has repeatedly leaked information about this informant, and even that it was information about an informant that was being sought by Congress. From leaks of personally identifying information to the Washington Post, we’ve learned that this source works with the FBI and CIA, and is a U.S. citizen.

In The New York Times, additional information about a government informant leaked, including that the source met with Papadopoulos and Page to collect information. The information on an alleged source in the Trump campaign is so sensitive they can’t give it to Congress, but they can leak it to friendly press outlets like the Post and Times. It’s an odd posture for the Justice Department to take.

It is unknown at this point whether the informants were specifically sent by a U.S. agency or global partner, or whether the sources voluntarily provided information to the U.S. government.

7. Ignorance of Basic Facts

One thing that is surprising about the story is how many errors it contains. The problems begin in the second sentence, which claims Peter Strzok and another FBI agent were sent to London. The New York Times reports that “[t]heir assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling.”

Of course, it was previously reported that Strzok had a meeting with the Australian ambassador. He describes the embassy where the meeting took place as the longest continually staffed embassy in London. The ambassador was previously reported to have had some information about a Trump advisor saying he’d heard that Russia had Clinton’s emails.

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page ‘had previously been recruited by Russian spies.’

It’s also inaccurate to say this was “election meddling,” necessarily. Clinton had deleted 30,000 emails that were housed on her private server even though she was being investigated for mishandling classified information. This could be viewed as destruction of evidence. She claimed the emails had to do with yoga.

FBI Director James Comey specifically downplayed for the public the bureau’s belief that foreign countries had access to these emails. There is no evidence that Russia or any other country had these emails, and they were not released during the campaign. To describe this legitimate national security threat as “election meddling” is insufficient to the very problem for which Clinton was being investigated.

The story claims, “News organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.” That’s demonstrably untrue. Here’s an October 31, 2016, story headlined “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.” It is sourced entirely to Steele. In September, Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff took a meeting with Steele then published “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin” on September 23, 2016. That story was even used in the Foreign Intelligence Service Act application against Page.

The New York Times writes, “Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. ‘I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,’ Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.”

There are multiple problems with this claim. For one, Strzok wrote that text in all caps with obvious eagerness. As the Wall Street Journal noted months ago, “Mr. Strzok emphasized the seriousness with which he viewed the allegations in a message to Ms. Page on Aug. 11, just a few days before the ‘insurance’ text. ‘OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS,’ he texted.”

For another, Strzok repeatedly talked about how important and time-sensitive he felt the investigation was. As Andrew McCarthy highlighted in his deep look at some of these texts, as Strzok prepared for his morning flight to London, he compared the investigations of Clinton and Trump by writing, “And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.”

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page “had previously been recruited by Russian spies.” In fact, while Russian agents had tried to recruit him, they failed to do so, and Page spoke at length with the FBI about the attempt before the agents were arrested or kicked out of the country.

The New York Times falsely reported that “Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them.” Comey has told multiple journalists that he specifically did not brief Trump on the Steele reports. He didn’t tell Trump there were reports, or who funded them. He didn’t tell him about the claims in the reports that the campaign was compromised. He only told him that there was a rumor Trump had paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed that the Obamas had once slept in.

The story also repeats long-debunked claims about the Republican platform and Ukraine.

8. Insurance: How Does It Work?

The story reminds readers that Strzok once texted Page “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” The article says Trump thought this “insurance policy” referred to a plan to respond to the unlikely event of a Trump victory. It goes on:

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

It’s worth asking whether reporters understand how insurance works. As reader Matt noted, “The fundament intent of Insurance is ‘Indemnification.’ Restoring back to original condition prior to loss. Trump was the peril, MSM the adjuster & his impeachment, the policy limits.”

The article’s repeated claims that the FBI didn’t think Trump would win do not counter the notion that an “insurance policy” investigation was in the extremely rare case he might win. People don’t insure their property against fire damage because they expect it to happen so much as they can’t afford to fix things if it does happen.

9. Eavesdropping, Not Spying, And Other Friendly Claims

The story could not be friendlier to the FBI sources who are admitting what they did against the Trump campaign. A few examples:

“[P]rosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page,” The New York Timeswrites, making the wiretapped spying on an American citizen sound almost downright pleasant. When Comey briefs Trump only on the rumor about the prostitutes and urination, we’re told “he feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.” Reporters don’t ask, much less answer, why someone fearing a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation would go out of his way to create an extreme caricature of a J. Edgar Hoover situation.

The story also claimed, “they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department,” before using controversial political appointee Sally Yates to claim that there was nothing worrisome. In fact, the subtext of the entire story is that the FBI showed good judgment in its handling of the spying in 2016. Unfortunately, the on-the-record source used to substantiate this claim is Yates.

Yates, who was in the news for claiming with a straight face that she thought Flynn had committed a Logan Act violation, is quoted as saying, “Folks are very, very careful and serious about that [FISA] process. I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.” If Yates, who had to be fired for refusing to do her job under Trump, tells you things are on the up and up, apparently you can take it to the bank.

10. Affirms Fears of Politicized Intelligence

This New York Times story may have been designed to inoculate the FBI against revelations coming out of the inspector general report, but the net result was to affirm the fears of many Americans who are worried that the U.S. government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies abused their powers to surveil and target Americans simply for their political views and affiliations. The gathered information has been leaked to media for years, leading to damaged reputations, and the launch of limitless probes, but not any reason to believe that Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

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Days after the F.B.I. closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, agents began scrutinizing the presidential campaign of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.

 

[Read our briefing on secret government code names]

This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to publicly chastise Mrs. Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Mrs. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.

Those decisions stand in contrast to the F.B.I.’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the F.B.I. was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced that they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.

Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote.

Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.

Mr. Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.

But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Mrs. Clinton would win and Mr. Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.

The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

That argument is the heart of Mr. Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.

“It’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.”

Congressional Republicans, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into F.B.I. files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.

“I never saw anything that resembled a witch hunt or suggested that the bureau’s approach to the investigation was politically driven,” said Mary McCord, a 20-year Justice Department veteran and the top national security prosecutor during much of the investigation’s first nine months.

Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.

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A Trump campaign rally in August 2016 in Texas. Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Anxiety at the Bureau

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.

The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said, especially when agents did not know what would come of the Australian information.

The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.

 

[Here are the key themes, dates and characters in the Russia investigation]

Mr. Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.

Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the F.B.I. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.

Mr. Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Mr. Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.

The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation.

“There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”

Andrew G. McCabe in December in Washington. Mr. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty, giving ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abounding Criticism

Looking back, some inside the F.B.I. and the Justice Department say that Mr. Comey should have seen the political storm coming and better sheltered the bureau. They question why he consolidated the Clinton and Trump investigations at headquarters, rather than in a field office. And they say he should not have relied on the same team for both cases. That put a bull’s-eye on the heart of the F.B.I. Any misstep in either investigation made both cases, and the entire bureau, vulnerable to criticism.

And there were missteps. Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty about his conversations with reporters about Mrs. Clinton. That gave ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted. And Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. lawyer, exchanged texts criticizing Mr. Trump, allowing the president to point to evidence of bias when they became public.

The messages were unsparing. They questioned Mr. Trump’s intelligence, believed he promoted intolerance and feared he would damage the bureau.

The inspector general’s upcoming report is expected to criticize those messages for giving the appearance of bias. It is not clear, however, whether inspectors found evidence supporting Mr. Trump’s assertion that agents tried to protect Mrs. Clinton, a claim the F.B.I. has adamantly denied.

Mr. Rubio, who has reviewed many of the texts and case files, said he saw no signs that the F.B.I. wanted to undermine Mr. Trump. “There might have been individual agents that had views that, in hindsight, have been problematic for those agents,” Mr. Rubio said. “But whether that was a systemic effort, I’ve seen no evidence of it.”

Mr. Trump’s daily Twitter posts, though, offer sound-bite-sized accusations — witch hunt, hoax, deep state, rigged system — that fan the flames of conspiracy. Capitol Hill allies reliably echo those comments.

“It’s like the deep state all got together to try to orchestrate a palace coup,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said in January on Fox Business Network.

The Kremlin in Moscow. Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials told him that Russia had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.CreditMladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Cautious Intelligence Gathering

Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.

“You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, “Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.”

Mr. Comey was briefed regularly on the Russia investigation, but one official said those briefings focused mostly on hacking and election interference. The Crossfire Hurricane team did not present many crucial decisions for Mr. Comey to make.

Top officials became convinced that there was almost no chance they would answer the question of collusion before Election Day. And that made agents even more cautious.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

Looking back, some at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. now believe that agents could have been more aggressive. They ultimately interviewed Mr. Papadopoulos in January 2017 and managed to keep it a secret, suggesting they could have done so much earlier.

“There is always a high degree of caution before taking overt steps in a counterintelligence investigation,” said Ms. McCord, who would not discuss details of the case. “And that could have worked to the president’s benefit here.”

Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

Mr. Strzok had similarly argued for a more aggressive path during the Clinton investigation, according to four current and former officials. He opposed the Justice Department’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers immunity and negotiate access to her hard drives, the officials said. Mr. Strzok favored using search warrants or subpoenas instead.

In both cases, his argument lost.

As agents tried to corroborate information from the retired British spy Christopher Steele, reporters began calling the F.B.I., asking whether the accusations in his reports were accurate.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

Policy and Tradition

The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.

In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.

So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.

That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.

Congress was also increasingly asking questions. Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.

Many Democrats see rueful irony in this moment. Mr. Comey, after all, broke with policy and twice publicly discussed the Clinton investigation. Yet he refused repeated requests to discuss the Trump investigation.

Mr. Comey has said he regrets his decision to chastise Mrs. Clinton as “extremely careless,” even as he announced that she should not be charged. But he stands by his decision to alert Congress, days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton inquiry.

The result, though, is that Mr. Comey broke with both policy and tradition in Mrs. Clinton’s case, but hewed closely to the rules for Mr. Trump. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that alone proves Mr. Trump’s claims of unfairness to be “both deeply at odds with the facts, and damaging to our democracy.”

Carter Page in December 2016. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.CreditPavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Spying in Question

Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.

That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.

Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.”

After months of investigation, Mr. Papadopoulos remained largely a puzzle. And agents were nearly ready to close their investigation of Mr. Flynn, according to three current and former officials. (Mr. Flynn rekindled the F.B.I.’s interest in November 2016 by signing an op-ed article that appeared to be written on behalf of the Turkish government, and then making phone calls to the Russian ambassador that December.)

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.

For Mr. Steele, it dashed his confidence in American law enforcement. “He didn’t know what was happening inside the F.B.I.,” Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, testified this year. “And there was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people.”

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, in January 2017. He assured Mr. Trump, who at the time was the president-elect, that the bureau intended to protect him as Mr. Steele’s reports were about to be published by news outlets.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

Assurances Amid Doubt

Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Russian hacking and deception. They reported that Mr. Putin had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.

Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.

In a contemporaneous memo, Mr. Comey wrote that he assured Mr. Trump that the F.B.I. intended to protect him on this point. “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Mr. Comey wrote of Mr. Steele’s documents. “I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the F.B.I. had the material.”

Mr. Trump was not convinced — either by the Russia briefing or by Mr. Comey’s assurances. He made up his mind before Mr. Comey even walked in the door. Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told The Times that stories about Russian election interference were being pushed by his adversaries to distract from his victory.

And he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: “This is a political witch hunt.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated that news organizations did not report on the findings of the retired British spy Christopher Steele about links between Trump campaign officials and Russia. While most news organizations whose reporters met with Mr. Steele did not publish such reports before the 2016 election, Mother Jones magazine did.

Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg.

Follow Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT and @npfandos.

A version of this art

The Russia Investigation Is Complicated. Here’s What It All Means.

The special counsel is investigating events that span years and cross international borders.

Image
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

THE BASICS

  • Russia carried out a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 American presidential election, denigrating Hillary Clinton and boosting Donald J. Trump, according to American intelligence agencies. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally ordered it.

  • The F.B.I., citing four Trump campaign aides’ ties to Russia, opened a counterintelligence investigation in the summer of 2016 to determine whether Trump associates aided Russia’s election interference.

  • Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, was appointed the special counsel in May 2017 to take over the investigation. The inquiry has expanded to examine whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation itself.

  • Nineteen people — including four Trump associates — and three companies have been indicted in the case. Five have pleaded guilty; 13 are Russians accused of meddling in the election. [See a breakdown of the charges here.]


THE MAJOR FOCUSES OF THE INVESTIGATION

Interference

Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential race and sow discord by spreading inflammatory messages on social media and stealing emails from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee, which were then strategically released to undermine the Clinton campaign.

Coordination

Investigators are examining what Mr. Trump’s aides and associates knew about Russia’s meddling, particularly the release of thousands of stolen Democratic emails, and whether any of them aided Moscow’s effort.

Obstruction

Mr. Mueller is investigating an array of the president’s actions — including the firing of the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — to determine whether Mr. Trump sought to impede the investigation into Russia’s actions.

Foreign Influence

Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates ran afoul of American lobbying or anti-corruption laws. Two aides to the Trump campaign, including its onetime chairman, were charged with financial crimes related to their work as advisers to a pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/us/politics/russia-investigation-guide.html

National security letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Green herb with a few tiny yellow-white flowers
Three small white and yellow flowers before green-leaf background
A National security letter issued to the Internet Archive demanding information about a user

A national security letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena issued by the United States government to gather information for national security purposes.[citation needed] NSLs do not require prior approval from a judge. The Stored Communications ActFair Credit Reporting Act, and Right to Financial Privacy Act authorize the United States government to seek such information that is “relevant” to authorized national security investigations. By law, NSLs can request only non-content information, for example, transactional records and phone numbers dialed, but never the content of telephone calls or e-mails.[1]

NSLs typically contain a nondisclosure requirement forbidding the recipient of an NSL from disclosing that the FBI had requested the information.[2] The nondisclosure provision must be authorized by the Director of the FBI, and only after he or she certifies “that otherwise there may result a danger to the national security of the United States, interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interference with diplomatic relations, or danger to the life or physical safety of any person.”[3] Even then, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[4]

The constitutionality of such nondisclosure provisions has been repeatedly challenged. The requirement was initially ruled to be unconstitutional as an infringement of free speech in the Doe v. Gonzales case, but that decision was later vacated in 2008 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals after it held the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act gave the recipient of an NSL that included a nondisclosure provision the right to challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court. In March 2013, a judge in the Northern District of California held the nondisclosure provision in an NSL was unconstitutional. But on August 24, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, the district court held the “NSLs were issued in full compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements suggested by the Second Circuit in John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008), which had held that the 2006 NSL law could be constitutionally applied” … and “the NSL law, as amended [by the USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015], was constitutional.” The two petitioners then appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling, holding that NSLs are constitutional, and stated, “the nondisclosure requirement does not run afoul of the First Amendment.” Under Seal v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General, Nos. 16-16067, 16-16081, and 16-16082, July 17, 2017.

History

The oldest NSL provisions were created in 1978 as a little-used investigative tool in terrorism and espionage investigations to obtain financial records. Under the Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA), part of the Financial Institutions Regulatory and Interest Rate Control Act of 1978), the FBI could obtain the records only if the FBI could first demonstrate the person was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Compliance by the recipient of the NSL was voluntary, and states’ consumer privacy laws often allowed financial institutions to reject the requests.[5] In 1986, Congress amended RFPA to allow the government to request disclosure of the requested information. In 1986, Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), part of the Stored Communications Act), which created provisions similar to the RFPA that allowed the FBI to issue NSLs. Still, neither RFPA or ECPA act included penalties for not complying with the NSL. A 1993 amendment removed the restriction regarding “foreign powers” and allowed the use of NSLs to request information concerning persons who are not the direct subject of the investigation.

In 2001, section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act expanded the use of the NSLs. In March 2006, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act allowed for judicial review of an NSL. A federal judge could repeal or modify an NSL if the court found the request for information was “unreasonable, oppressive, or otherwise unlawful.” The nondisclosure provision the government could include in an NSL was also weakened. The court could repeal the nondisclosure provision if it found it had been made in bad faith. Other amendments allowed the recipient of an NSL to inform their attorney about the request and the government had to rely on the courts to enforce compliance with an NSL.

Patriot Act

Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act (2001) allowed the use of the NSLs when seeking information “relevant” in authorized national security investigations to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act also provided the Department of Defense when conducting a law enforcement investigation, counterintelligence inquiry, or security determination. The Central Intelligence Agency has also allegedly issued NSLs.[6] The Patriot Act reauthorization statutes passed during the 109th Congress added potential penalties for failure to comply with an NSL or disclosing an NSL if the NSL included a nondisclosure provision.

Contentious aspects

Two contentious aspects of NSLs are the nondisclosure provision and judicial oversight when the FBI issues an NSL. When the Director of the FBI (or his designee) authorizes the inclusion of a nondisclosure provision in an NSL, the recipient may face criminal prosecution if it reveals the contents of the NSL or that it was received. The purpose of a nondisclosure provision is to prevent the recipient of an NSL from compromising both the current FBI investigation involving a specific person and future investigations as well (see 18 U.S.C. 2709), which could fetter the Government’s efforts to address national security threats.[7] An NSL recipient (later revealed to be Nicholas Merrill[8][9]) writing in The Washington Post said,

“[L]iving under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case…from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been.”[7]

Like other administrative subpoenas, NSLs do not require judicial approval. For NSLs, that is because the U.S. Supreme Court has held the types of information the FBI obtains with NSLs provide no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy. Because a person has already provided the information to a third party, e.g., their telephone company, they no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy to the information, and therefore there is no Fourth Amendment requirement to obtain a judge’s approval to obtain the information.[10] Nonetheless, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[11]

The media reported in 2007 that a government audit found the FBI had violated the rules more than 1,000 times in an audit of 10% of its national investigations between 2002 and 2007.[12] Twenty such incidents involved requests by agents for information not permitted under the law. A subsequent report in 2014 by the Justice Department Office of Inspector General concluded the FBI had corrected its practices and that NSLs complied federal statutes.

According to 2,500 pages of documents the FBI provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FBI had used NSLs to obtain information about individuals who were the subject of an FBI terrorism or counterintelligence investigation and information from telecommunications companies about individuals with whom the subject of the investigation had communicated. According to a September 9, 2007, New York Times report,

“In many cases, the target of a[n FBI] national security letter whose records are being sought is not necessarily the actual subject of a terrorism investigation. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the FBI must assert only that the records gathered through the letter are considered relevant to a terrorism [or counterintelligence] investigation.”[13]

In April 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that the military was using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions, and telephone companies. The ACLU based its allegation on a review of more than 1,000 documents provided by the Defense Department. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General later determined the Department of Defense (not the FBI) had lawfully obtained the information under the National Security Act of 1947, not through NSLs.

Doe v. Ashcroft

Letter in Doe v. Ashcroft case

The lack of judicial oversight and the Supreme Court ruling in Smith v. Maryland was the core of Doe v. Ashcroft, a test case brought by the ACLU concerning the use of NSLs. The lawsuit was file on behalf of “John Doe” plaintiff Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access,[14] who had received an NSL. The action challenged the constitutionality of NSLs, specifically the nondisclosure provision. At the district court, Judge of the Southern District of New York held in September 2004 that NSLs violated the Fourth Amendment (“it has the effect of authorizing coercive searches effectively immune from any judicial process”) and First Amendment. However, Judge Marrero stayed his ruling while the case proceeded to the court of appeals.

Because of the New York district court ruling, while the case was still on appeal, Congress amended the USA PATRIOT Act to provide for more judicial review of NSLs and clarified the NSL nondisclosure provision.[15] Based on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings, there is still no requirement to seek judicial approval for the FBI issuing an NSL.

The government appealed Judge Marrero’s decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in May 2006. In March 2008, the Second Circuit ruled that nondisclosure provisions were permissible only when the FBI certified that disclosure may result in certain statutorily enumerated harms (see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 2709), and held the nondisclosure provision to a strict scrutiny standard. The Second Circuit then returned the case to the district court based on amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act that Congress had enacted while the case had been on appeal.

Letter in the Doe v. Gonzales case

Another effect of Doe v. Ashcroft was increased congressional oversight. The amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act mentioned above included requirements for semiannual reporting to Congress. Although the reports are classified, a nonclassified accounting of how many NSLs are issued is also required. On April 28, 2006, the Department of Justice reported to the House and Senate that in calendar year 2005, “The Government made requests for certain information concerning 3,501 United States persons pursuant to NSLs. During this period, the total number of NSL requests … for information concerning U.S. persons totaled 9,254.”[16]

In 2010, the FBI agreed to lift partially the nondisclosure provision to allow Merrill to reveal his identity.[17] Merrill has since created a corporation for the purposes of educating and researching privacy issues.[18]

On August 28, 2015, Judge Marrero rescinded the nondisclosure provision associated with the NSL Merrill had received, thereby allowing him to speak about the contents of the NSL. On November 30, 2015, the unredacted court ruling was published in full.[19]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005: A Legal AnalysisCongressional Research Service‘s report for Congress, Brian T. Yeh, Charles Doyle, December 21, 2006.
  2. Jump up^ Bustillos, Maria (June 27, 2013). “What It’s Like to Get a National-Security Letter”The New Yorker.
  3. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 2709(c)
  4. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 3511
  5. Jump up^ Andrew E. Nieland, National Security Letters and the Amended Patriot Act, 92 Cornell L. Rev. 1201, 1207 (2007) [1]
  6. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric; Mezzetti, Mark (January 14, 2007). Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. “Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.”Check |url= value (help)The New York Times.
  7. Jump up to:ab My National Security LetterThe Washington Post, 2007 Mar 23
  8. Jump up^ John Doe’ Who Fought FBI Spying Freed From Gag Order After 6 YearsKim Zetter, Wired.com, 2010 8 10
  9. Jump up^ “Doe v. Holder (Challenging Patriot Act’s National Security Letter provision and associated gag provision)”S.D.N.Y. 04 Civ. 2614 (VM) (direct). NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union). Archived from the original on 2010-11-13.
  10. Jump up^ Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979); Fourth Amendment, U.S. Const.
  11. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3511
  12. Jump up^ “FBI agents broke the rules 1,000 times”RTÉ News Online. 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  13. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric (2007-09-08). “F.B.I. Data Mining Reached Beyond Target Suspects”. The New York Times.
  14. Jump up^ “ACLU Sues Over Internet Privacy”cbsnews.com.
  15. Jump up^ “Congress.gov – Library of Congress”thomas.loc.gov.
  16. Jump up^ Report of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ActArchived 2006-06-29 at the Wayback Machine., United States Department of Justice
  17. Jump up^ McLaughlin, Jenna (14 September 2015). “Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order; First Time in 14 Years”. The Intercept. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “National Security Letters and Gag Orders: Transcript”. On the Media. January 21, 2011. Although you’re allowed to challenge the gag every year now under the new [amended] law, the last time I did it, the government presented secret evidence that only they and the judge could see, and my attorneys could not see, and therefore could not challenge. It does kind of add up to a lot of responsibility, and that’s part of what motivated me to start my nonprofit organization, the Calyx Institute. Part of it is to defend people who are gagged. Part of it is also to promote best practices among telecommunications companies in regards to the privacy of customer data.
  19. Jump up^ “Nicholas Merrill able to reveal the national security letter previously undisclosed”Information Society Project. Yale University. Retrieved 2015-11-30.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_security_letter

 

Indictment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An indictment (/ɪnˈdtmənt/ in-DYT-mənt) is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an offence that requires an indictment.

Historically, in most common law jurisdictions, an indictment was handed up by a grand jury, which returned a “true bill” if it found cause to make the charge, or “no bill” if it did not find cause.

Indictments by country

India

The criminal law in India[1] is derived from the colonial-era British system, does not use a jury system and is codified in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Criminal offenses are divided into two broad categories: cognisable offenses and non-cognisable offenses. The police are empowered to start investigating a cognisable offense. The complaint is considered merely an accusation. However, in both cognisable and non-cognisable offenses, the trial starts only with the “Framing of Charges” similar to the concept of indictment. The trial court does not proceed with the trial if the evidence is insufficient to make out a charge.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales (except in private prosecutions by individuals) an indictment is issued by the public prosecutor (in most cases this will be the Crown Prosecution Service) on behalf of the Crown, which is the nominal plaintiff in all public prosecutions under English law. This is why a public prosecution of a person whose surname is Smith would be referred to in writing as “R v Smith” (or alternatively as “Regina v Smith” or “Rex v Smith” depending on the gender of the Sovereign, Regina and Rex being Latin for “Queen” and “King” and in either case may informally be pronounced as such) and when cited orally in court would be pronounced “the Crown against Smith”.[2][3]

All proceedings on indictment must be brought before the Crown Court.[4] By virtue of practice directions issued under section 75(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, an indictment must be tried by a High Court judge, a Circuit judge or a recorder (which of these it is depends on the offence).

As to the form of an indictment, see the Indictments Act 1915 and the Indictment Rules 1971 made thereunder.

The Indictment Rules 1971 were revoked by the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2007[5] (on the whole) incorporated into the Criminal Procedure Rules 2010.[6] The form and content and the service of an indictment are governed by Rule 14 of the CPR 2012.[7]Additional guidance is contained in the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction Part IV.34.[8]

As to the preferring of a bill of indictment and the signing of an indictment, see section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 and the Indictments (Procedure) Rules 1971 (S.I. 1971/2084) made thereunder, as amended and modified by the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1983 (S.I. 1983/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1988 (S.I. 1988/1783), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1992 (S.I. 1992/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1997 (S.I. 1997/711), the Indictments (Procedure) (Modification) Rules 1998 (S.I. 1998/3045) and the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000/3360).

Northern Ireland[

See the Indictments Act (Northern Ireland) 1945.[9]

Scotland

In Scotland, all of these cases brought in the High Court of Justiciary are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate and will be tried on Indictment. In the Sheriff Court where trials proceed using the Solemn procedure they will also be tried on indictment and are brought in the name of the Procurator Fiscal.

United States

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states in part: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia when in actual service in time of War or public danger”. The requirement of an indictment has not been incorporated against the states; therefore, although the federal government uses grand juries and indictments, not all U.S. states do.[10]

In many, but not all, United States jurisdictions that use grand juries, prosecutors often have a choice between seeking an indictment from a grand jury and filing a charging document directly with the court. Such a document is usually called an informationaccusation, or complaint, to distinguish it from a grand-jury indictment. To protect the suspect’s due-process rights in felony cases (where the suspect’s interest in liberty is at stake), there is usually a preliminary hearing, at which a judge determines whether there was probable cause to arrest the suspect who is in custody. If the judge finds such probable cause, he or she binds, or holds over, the suspect for trial.

The substance of an indictment or other charging instrument is usually the same, regardless of the jurisdiction: it consists of a short and plain statement of where, when, and how the defendant allegedly committed the offense. Each offense usually is set out in a separate count. Indictments for complex crimes, particularly those involving conspiracy or numerous counts, may run to hundreds of pages. However, in other cases an indictment for a crime as serious as murder, may consist of a single sheet of paper.

Indictable offenses are normally tried by jury, unless the accused waives the right to a jury trial. Although the Sixth Amendment mandates the right to a jury trial in any criminal prosecution, the vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are resolved by the plea-bargaining process.

Direct indictment (Canada)

A direct indictment is one in which the case is sent directly to trial before a preliminary inquiry is completed or when the accused has been discharged by a preliminary inquiry.[11][12] It is meant to be an extraordinary, rarely used power to ensure that those who should be brought to trial are in a timely manner or where an error of judgment is seen to have been made in the preliminary inquiry.[13]

Sealed indictment

An indictment can be sealed so that it stays non-public until it is unsealed. This can be done for a number of reasons. It may be unsealed, for example, once the named person is arrested or has been notified by police.[14]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indictment

Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., October 31, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The Steele-dossier author told Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson about a ‘human source.’Something tells me Glenn Simpson did not make a mistake. Something tells me the co-founder of Fusion GPS was dead-on accurate when he testified that Christopher Steele told him the FBI had a “human source” — i.e., a spy — inside the Trump campaign as the 2016 presidential race headed into its stretch run.

When he realized how explosive this revelation was, Simpson walked it back: He had, perhaps, “mischaracterized” what he’d been told by Steele, the former British spy and principal author of the anti-Trump dossier he and Simpson compiled for the Clinton campaign.

Simpson gave his testimony about the FBI’s human source at a closed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on August 22, 2017. He did not try to retract it until the uproar that followed the publication of his testimony on January 9, 2018. The latter date is significant for reasons we’ll come to.

A Spy and a Stonewall
Simpson’s testimony on this point is worth revisiting because of a pitched battle between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department. Essential reporting on the controversy has been done by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel (see here and here). On Thursday, she related that, yet again, Congress had faced down a DOJ/FBI attempt to stonewall the committee’s probe of investigative irregularities during the 2016 election season — particularly, abuse of government surveillance powers, which the Obama-led agencies used to monitor the Trump campaign.

Unable to get voluntary cooperation, committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) issued a subpoena demanding that the Justice Department disclose information about a top-secret intelligence source who is said to have assisted the Russia investigation. That investigation is now being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But more interesting is how it got started.

On that question, officials have been suspiciously fuzzy in their explanations, and hilariously inconsistent in their leaks: initially settling on an origination story that hinged on the Steele dossier and a trip to Moscow by the obscure Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page; later pivoting to a tale of boozy blathering by an even more obscure Trump-campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, when the first story proved embarrassing — the dossier allegations having been unverified when the Justice Department included them in warrant applications to the FISA court.

The Justice Department’s inability, or at least unwillingness, to reveal exactly how, when, and why the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation has fueled suspicions that a spy who worked for both the FBI and the CIA was deployed against the Trump campaign, probably in Britain — where Papadopoulos had met with suspected agents of the Kremlin, and where Steele compiled the dossier via reports from his unidentified sources.

From painstaking research, Nunes and committee staff believe they have identified such a spy. When they demanded information about this person — whose name remains unknown to the public — the Justice Department’s response was not “No, you’re wrong, there was no spying.” It was first to bloviate that the department would not be “extorted” (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s unusual understanding of what is more commonly known as congressional oversight) and then to claim that providing the information sought by the committee would risk “potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities.”

By now, Nunes has learned that if he is catching flak, he is over the target.

Simpson’s Senate Testimony about the FBI’s ‘Human Source’
This brings us back to Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, which was retained by the Clinton campaign (through its lawyers at Perkins Coie) to generate the Steele dossier, opposition research that focused on Donald Trump and Russia.

In his Senate testimony on August 22, 2017, Simpson explained that Steele had met with at least one FBI agent in Rome in mid to late September 2016. The former British spy had provided the unverified allegations he had compiled to that point (i.e., his private “intelligence reports,” later assembled into the “dossier”). Steele had developed a close working relationship with the FBI when he was a British agent. It is not surprising, then, that the Bureau did not just take his information; it reciprocated, imparting some sensitive information to him. Simpson explained to the Senate committee (my italics):

Essentially, what [Christopher Steele] told me was [the FBI] had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source, and that — that they — my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing, and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump campaign.

Simpson declined to answer more questions about this unidentified “human source.” But when the media treated his revelation as a bombshell, he realized it would cause a feeding frenzy: Congress, the media, and the public would demand to know what would cause the FBI, in the stretch run of a presidential race, to use an informant against one candidate’s campaign.

On a dime, Simpson backpedaled. Fusion GPS explained to friendly media that he believed he had “mischaracterized” the source. He must have been talking about George Papadopoulos — not a “human source” in the sense of willing informant or spy, but a person attached to the campaign whose statements to an Australian diplomat had been passed to the FBI (through channels that, we shall see, have still not been explained).

On further review, I don’t buy this explanation (although I uncritically accepted it in a column about Simpson’s testimony early this year).

The Timing Doesn’t Compute
Simpson’s testimony was released to the public on January 9, 2018. That was just a few days after the New York Times had published its big New Year’s weekend story claiming, based on anonymous intelligence officials, that the Russia investigation had been opened sometime in July 2016. The catalyzing event, we were told, was a report to the FBI that Papadopoulos, a young Trump-campaign adviser, had alleged that Russia possessed thousands of stolen Hillary Clinton emails. According to the story, Papadopoulos had been informed of this by Joseph Mifsud, a London-based academic who professed to have Kremlin connections. A few weeks later, while drinking in a London bar in May 2016, Papadopoulos blabbed the news to Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat.

According to the Times, when hacked Democratic National Committee emails started being published in July 2016, Australian officials surmised that this development could be related to Papadopoulos’s boozy claim; therefore, the paper suggests, they routed the information to their American counterparts. But when we peruse the story, we find that the Times is drawing an inference that the FBI must have gotten the information from the Australian government; there is no solid confirmation that this happened. Indeed, the story evinces bewilderment that two months supposedly elapsed between the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the FBI’s learning about it. There is no attempt to describe how this assumed transmission occurred, and the Aussies refused to comment on the matter.

Though the Papadopoulos–Downer story is rickety, it nevertheless served Simpson’s purpose of backing away from his “human source” testimony. Alas, his story does not add up, either.

To repeat, while Simpson’s testimony became public in January 2018, he actually gave the testimony five months earlier, in August 2017. Papadopoulos’s name is not uttered in the 312-page transcript, just as it goes unmentioned in the Steele dossier.

Papadopoulos was virtually unheard of until October 30, 2017, when Special Counsel Mueller announced his guilty plea and filed a factual recitation of his offense conduct. Two weeks after that information became public, Simpson was asked about Papadopoulos in a fleeting exchange during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (see November 14, 2017transcript, page 163.) Interestingly, the subject came up in the context of Trump-related research Simpson had done separate and apart from his collaboration with Steele. Simpson claimed that he had been looking at Papadopoulos “for a while” and regarded him as “a clone of Carter Page”; but he admitted that he actually knew nothing significant about Papadopoulos beyond what Mueller had included in the information filed in court at the time of the guilty plea.

The information Mueller had filed in October said nothing about either Papadopoulos’s meeting with Downer or the subsequent purported transmission of Papadopoulos’s claims from Australian authorities to the FBI. That story did not come out until the Times article on December 30.

When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied.

Only after that, and in the uproar over the January 9 release of Simpson’s five-month-old Senate testimony, did Fusion suggest that Simpson must have been referring to Downer, the Australian diplomat, when he told the Senate that the FBI had a “human source” inside the Trump campaign. That, however, is not credible. When Simpson gave the “human source” testimony in August 2017, there is no indication that he knew anything about Downer. Even if we buy his House testimony in November that he had heard of Papadopoulos before the latter’s October plea, Simpson conceded then that he knew nothing more than what Mueller had disclosed — which did not include the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the communication of it to the FBI.

Simpson is a smart guy, an accomplished investigative journalist, and now a full-time professional researcher, whose attention to detail is impressive. Steele is an experienced intelligence officer. The two are longtime friends and collaborators who understand each other well. Informants are central to both of their professions. By their telling, Steele’s decision to bring their research to the FBI and his subsequent dealings with the Bureau were a matter of extensive discussion and great concern.

Consequently, I do not believe that Steele gave his friend Simpson a cryptic account of his meeting in Rome with the FBI; nor do I believe that Simpson got confused and “mischaracterized” what he was told. When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied: that someone from the FBI told Steele in August 2016 — while the investigation was heating up, while the FBI was ramping up its efforts in preparation for seeking surveillance warrants from the FISA court — that the Bureau had an informant.

A Human Source . . . in Britain, Not Australia
Three other things to consider:

1. For months, the House Intelligence Committee sought disclosure of the “electronic communication” (EC) by which the FBI opened its counterintelligence-investigation file on Papadopoulos, reportedly in July 2016. Counterintelligence involves national-security powers, and it is a weighty matter to apply these powers — as opposed to criminal-investigative authorities — to American citizens. The committee therefore wanted to know what foreign intelligence had spurred the probe, particularly in light of intelligence leaks that an Australian government report about Papadopoulos was the cause.

Yet, when Nunes was finally allowed to look at the EC, only after threatening contempt proceedings against Justice Department officials, he learned that the FBI did not set forth any foreign intelligence — there was no Australian report, no “Five Eyes intelligence product” at all, Nunes told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.

Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil?

If the FBI was not explicitly relying on intelligence from a foreign ally, on what was it relying to open a counterintelligence investigation focusing on an American political campaign? According to what the New York Times reported in April 2017, “current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials” said the investigation was triggered by Carter Page’s trip to Moscow. That would implicate the Clinton-campaign-generated Steele dossier, which claimed that Page’s trip furthered a Trump–Russia conspiracy. I’ve detailed how, as reliance on the unverified dossier has become more controversial, the media and intelligence agencies have tried to minimize its importance to the opening of the investigation.

Did the dossier instigate not only FISA surveillance but human spying against the Trump campaign?

2. As Larry O’Connor has recounted in the Washington Times, Obama’s former CIA director John Brennan was asked, by NBC’s Chuck Todd, whether the FBI’s investigation was triggered by intelligence from the Five Eyes (i.e., the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — five Anglosphere governments that have longstanding, unusually close intelligence-sharing arrangements). Brennan would not answer the question directly, but he emphasized U.S. ties not with Australia but with Britain:

The F.B.I. has [a] very close relationship with its British counterparts. And so, the F.B.I. had visibility into a number of things that were going on involving some individuals who may have had some affiliation with the Trump campaign. And so, the intelligence that we collected was pulsed against that. And I thought it would have been derelict if the F.B.I. did not pull the threads, investigative threads, on American persons who might have been involved with Russia and working on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.

Sounds like the FBI, with support from the CIA, had some cooperative intelligence venture with British authorities that enabled the Bureau to monitor Trump-campaign figures. That is significant because Papadopoulos has acknowledged meeting in Britain with people who claimed Kremlin ties and who told him Russia had thousands of Clinton’s emails. Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil? Brennan didn’t say.

3. In December 2017, McCabe testified in a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported that McCabe “said on more than one occasion that the FBI had worked hard to verify the dossier, telling lawmakers that the FBI had at one point sent investigators to London as part of that effort” (emphasis added).

Did the FBI’s work to verify the dossier in London involve a human source? Did it involve other human sources in other places?

Christopher Steele, the former British spy with extensive British intelligence and FBI connections, told his friend Glenn Simpson that the FBI had penetrated the Trump campaign with a “human source” who was helping corroborate the dossier. There seems to be more corroboration for this assertion than for the sensational allegations in Steele’s dossier.

Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos

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Tragedy and Hope: Professor Carroll Quigley and the “Article that Said Too Little” by Kevin Cole

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United States Intelligence Community

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States Intelligence Community
United States Intelligence Community Seal.svg

Seal of the United States Intelligence Community
Agency overview
Formed December 4, 1981
Agency executive

The United States Intelligence Community (IC)[1] is a federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agenciesmilitary intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The IC is overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which itself is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President of the United States.

Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[2]

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[3] According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[4]

Etymology

The term “Intelligence Community” was first used during Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith‘s tenure as Director of Central Intelligence (1950–1953).[5]

History[

Intelligence is information that agencies collect, analyze, and distribute in response to government leaders’ questions and requirements. Intelligence is a broad term that entails:

Collection, analysis, and production of sensitive information to support national security leaders, including policymakers, military commanders, and Members of Congress. Safeguarding these processes and this information through counterintelligence activities. Execution of covert operations approved by the President. The IC strives to provide valuable insight on important issues by gathering raw intelligence, analyzing that data in context, and producing timely and relevant products for customers at all levels of national security—from the war-fighter on the ground to the President in Washington.[6]

Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:[7]

  • Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and other executive branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;
  • Production and dissemination of intelligence;
  • Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;
  • Special activities (defined as activities conducted in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the “role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly”, and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions);
  • Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities and
  • Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.

Organization

Members

The IC is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), whose statutory leadership is exercised through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The 16 members of the IC are:[8]

The official seals of U.S. Intelligence Community members.

Agency Parent Agency Federal Department Date est.
Twenty-Fifth Air Force United States Air Force Defense 1948
Intelligence and Security Command United States Army Defense 1977
Central Intelligence Agency none Independent agency 1947
Coast Guard Intelligence United States Coast Guard Homeland Security 1915
Defense Intelligence Agency none Defense 1961
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence none Energy 1977
Office of Intelligence and Analysis none Homeland Security 2007
Bureau of Intelligence and Research none State 1945
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence none Treasury 2004
Office of National Security Intelligence Drug Enforcement Administration Justice 2006
Intelligence Branch Federal Bureau of Investigation Justice 2005
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity United States Marine Corps Defense 1978
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency none Defense 1996
National Reconnaissance Office none Defense 1961
National Security Agency/Central Security Service none Defense 1952
Office of Naval Intelligence United States Navy Defense 1882

Programs

The IC performs under two separate programs:

  • The National Intelligence Program (NIP), formerly known as the National Foreign Intelligence Program as defined by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended), “refers to all programs, projects, and activities of the intelligence community, as well as any other programs of the intelligence community designated jointly by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the head of a United States department or agency or by the President. Such term does not include programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces”. Under the law, the DNI is responsible for directing and overseeing the NIP, though the ability to do so is limited (see the Organization structure and leadership section).
  • The Military Intelligence Program (MIP) refers to the programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces. The MIP is directed and controlled by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In 2005 the Department of Defense combined the Joint Military Intelligence Program and the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities program to form the MIP.

Since the definitions of the NIP and MIP overlap when they address military intelligence, assignment of intelligence activities to the NIP and MIP sometimes proves problematic.

Organizational structure and leadership

IC Circle.jpg

The overall organization of the IC is primarily governed by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended) and Executive Order 12333. The statutory organizational relationships were substantially revised with the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) amendments to the 1947 National Security Act.

Though the IC characterizes itself as a federation of its member elements, its overall structure is better characterized as a confederation due to its lack of a well-defined, unified leadership and governance structure. Prior to 2004, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was the head of the IC, in addition to being the director of the CIA. A major criticism of this arrangement was that the DCI had little or no actual authority over the budgetary authorities of the other IC agencies and therefore had limited influence over their operations.

Following the passage of IRTPA in 2004, the head of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The DNI exerts leadership of the IC primarily through statutory authorities under which he or she:

  • controls the “National Intelligence Program” budget;
  • establishes objectives, priorities, and guidance for the IC; and
  • manages and directs the tasking of, collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of national intelligence by elements of the IC.

However, the DNI has no authority to direct and control any element of the IC except his own staff—the Office of the DNI—neither does the DNI have the authority to hire or fire personnel in the IC except those on his own staff. The member elements in the executive branch are directed and controlled by their respective department heads, all cabinet-level officials reporting to the President. By law, only the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency reports to the DNI.

In light of major intelligence failures in recent years that called into question how well Intelligence Community ensures U.S. national security, particularly those identified by the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), and the “WMD Commission” (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction), the authorities and powers of the DNI and the overall organizational structure of the IC have become subject of intense debate in the United States.

Interagency cooperation

Previously, interagency cooperation and the flow of information among the member agencies was hindered by policies that sought to limit the pooling of information out of privacy and security concerns. Attempts to modernize and facilitate interagency cooperation within the IC include technological, structural, procedural, and cultural dimensions. Examples include the Intellipedia wiki of encyclopedic security-related information; the creation of the Office of the Director of National IntelligenceNational Intelligence CentersProgram Manager Information Sharing Environment, and Information Sharing Council; legal and policy frameworks set by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, information sharing Executive Orders 13354 and Executive Order 13388, and the 2005 National Intelligence Strategy.

Budget[edit]

Data visualization of U.S. intelligence black budget (2013)

The U.S. intelligence budget (excluding the Military Intelligence Program) in fiscal year 2013 was appropriated as $52.7 billion, and reduced by the amount sequestered to $49.0 billion.[9] In fiscal year 2012 it peaked at $53.9 billion, according to a disclosure required under a recent law implementing recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.[10] The 2012 figure was up from $53.1 billion in 2010,[11] $49.8 billion in 2009,[12] $47.5 billion in 2008,[13] $43.5 billion in 2007,[14] and $40.9 billion in 2006.[15]

About 70 percent of the intelligence budget went to contractors for the procurement of technology and services (including analysis), according to the May 2007 chart from the ODNI. Intelligence spending has increased by a third over ten years ago, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.[citation needed]

In a statement on the release of new declassified figures, DNI Mike McConnell said[when?] there would be no additional disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because “such disclosures could harm national security”. How the money is divided among the 16 intelligence agencies and what it is spent on is classified. It includes salaries for about 100,000 people, multibillion-dollar satellite programsaircraftweapons, electronic sensors, intelligence analysisspiescomputers, and software.

On August 29, 2013 the Washington Post published the summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s multivolume FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, the U.S. intelligence community’s top-secret “black budget.”[16][17][18] The IC’s FY 2013 budget details, how the 16 spy agencies use the money and how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress. Experts said that access to such details about U.S. spy programs is without precedent. Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists, which provides analyses of national security issues stated that “It was a titanic struggle just to get the top-line budget number disclosed, and that has only been done consistently since 2007 … but a real grasp of the structure and operations of the intelligence bureaucracy has been totally beyond public reach. This kind of material, even on a historical basis, has simply not been available.”[19] Access to budget details will enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time said the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee H. Hamilton. He added that Americans should not be excluded from the budget process because the intelligence community has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans.[19]

Oversight

Intelligence Community Oversight duties are distributed to both the Executive and Legislative branches. Primary Executive oversight is performed by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Joint Intelligence Community Council, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Management and Budget. Primary congressional oversight jurisdiction over the IC is assigned to two committees: the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee draft bills to annually authorize the budgets of DoD intelligence activities, and both the House and Senate appropriations committees annually draft bills to appropriate the budgets of the IC. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs took a leading role in formulating the intelligence reform legislation in the 108th Congress.

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Agrawal, Nina. “There’s more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  2. Jump up^ “Executive Order 12333”. Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  3. Jump up^ Dana Priest & William M Arkin (19 July 2010). “A hidden world, growing beyond control”The Washington Post.
  4. Jump up^ Priest, Dana (2011). Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State. Little, Brown and Company. p. 320. ISBN0-316-18221-4.
  5. Jump up^ Michael Warner; Kenneth McDonald. “US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947” (PDF). CIA. p. 4. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Rosenbach, Eric & Aki J. Peritz (12 June 2009). “Confrontation or Collaboration? Congress and the Intelligence Community” (PDF). Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Executive Order 12333 text
  8. Jump up^ User, Super. “Members of the IC”.
  9. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2013 National Intelligence Program”. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  10. Jump up^ DNI Releases FY 2012 Appropriated Budget Figure. Dni.gov (2012-10-30). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  11. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2010 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  12. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2009 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  13. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2008 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  14. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2007 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  15. Jump up^ Hacket, John F. (2010-10-28). “FY2006 National Intelligence Program Budget, 10-28-10” (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  16. Jump up^ Matt DeLong (29 August 2013). “Inside the 2013 U.S. intelligence ‘black budget'”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  17. Jump up^ Matthews, Dylan (29 August 2013). “America’s secret intelligence budget, in 11 (nay, 13) charts”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  18. Jump up^ DeLong, Matt (29 August 2013). “2013 U.S. intelligence budget: Additional resources”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  19. Jump up to:ab Barton Gellman & Greg Miller (29 August 2013). “U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Intelligence_Community

 

he Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA)

50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-11, 1821-29, 1841-46, 1861-62, 1871.

Background. Like Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the “Wiretap Act“), the FISA legislation was the result of congressional investigations into Federal surveillance activities conducted in the name of national security. Through FISA, Congress sought to provide judicial and congressional oversight of foreign intelligence surveillance activities while maintaining the secrecy necessary to effectively monitor national security threats. FISA was initially enacted in 1978 and sets out procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information. Initially, FISA addressed only electronic surveillance but has been significantly amended to address the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records.

FISA also established the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a special U.S. Federal court that holds nonpublic sessions to consider issuing search warrants under FISA. Proceedings before the FISC are ex parte, meaning the government is the only party present.

General Provisions. FISA, as amended, establishes procedures for the authorization of electronic surveillance, use of pen registers and trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence.

Electronic Surveillance Procedures – Subchapter I of FISA established procedures for the conduct of foreign intelligence surveillance and created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Department of Justice must apply to the FISC to obtain a warrant authorizing electronic surveillance of foreign agents. For targets that are U.S. persons (U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, and U.S. corporations), FISA requires heightened requirements in some instances.

  • Unlike domestic criminal surveillance warrants issued under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the “Wiretap Act“) , agents need to demonstrate probable cause to believe that the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power,” that “a significant purpose” of the surveillance is to obtain “foreign intelligence information,” and that appropriate “minimization procedures” are in place. 50 U.S.C. § 1804.
  • Agents do not need to demonstrate that commission of a crime is imminent.
  • For purposes of FISA, agents of foreign powers include agents of foreign political organizations and groups engaged in international terrorism, as well as agents of foreign nations. 50 U.S.C. § 1801

Record Destruction: Where the government has accidentally intercepted communications that “under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes, and if both the sender and all intended recipients are located within the United States,” the government is required to destroy those records, “unless the Attorney General determines that the contents indicate a threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.” 50 U.S.C. § 1806.

Exception to Court Order Requirement: The President may authorize electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year without a FISC court order where the Attorney General certifies that there is “no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a U.S. person is a party,” provided the surveillance is directed solely at communications among or between foreign powers, or “the acquisition of technical intelligence … from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. § 1802.

Physical Searches – Subchapter II of FISA establishes procedures for the physical search of “premises or property … owned, used, possessed by, or … in transit to or from a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” The procedures are substantially similar to the procedures established for electronic foreign intelligence surveillance.

Pen Registers and Trap & Trace Devices for Foreign Intelligence Purposes – Subchapter III of FISA establishes procedures for the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices for conducting telephone or e-mail surveillance.

Access to Certain Business Records for Foreign Intelligence Purposes – Subchapter IV of FISA establishes procedures for obtaining a FISC order for third-party production of business records to acquire foreign intelligence information.

Amendments.  FISA has been significantly amended by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 103-359; 10/14/94), by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1999, (Pub. L. 105-272; 10/5/98), by the USA PATRIOT Act (Pub. L. 107-56; 10/26/01), by the USA PATRIOT Additional Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-178; (3/9/06), the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act of 2008 (Pub. L.110-261; 7/10/2008), and by the FISA Sunsets Extension Act (Pub. L. 112-3; 2/25/11).  It also “eas[ed] the restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States and afford[ed] the U.S. intelligence community greater access to information unearthed during a criminal investigation.” CRS Report RS21203, USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch. Also see the other analyses of the PATRIOT Act for more on FISA changes as the result of passage of the PATRIOT Act. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 also amended the ECPA.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Implications. FISA prohibits surveillance of or production of business records regarding a U.S. person based solely on First Amendment activities. 50 U.S.C. §§ 180518421861. Section 1806 provides guidance on the sharing of foreign intelligence information among Federal agencies and with State and local partners, as well as guidance as to disclosure of foreign intelligence information in criminal proceedings. Section 1825 provides similar guidance regarding the use and disclosure of foreign intelligence gathered via a physical search, while section 1845 provides similar guidance for the use and disclosure of information acquired through pen registers and trap and trace devices gathered under Subchapter III. Note that “agents of foreign powers” may include U.S. citizens and permanent residents suspected of being engaged in espionage and violating U.S. law on territory under United States control. Section 1801(b).

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, P.L. 108-458, amended the definition of “agent of a foreign power” in FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)), to add a new category of covered individuals called the “lone wolf” provision. Under the “lone wolf” provision, a non-United States person who engages in international terrorism or activities in preparation for international terrorism is deemed to be an “agent of a foreign power” under FISA.

Further Information. The Federation of American Scientists, a non-profit organization that describes itself as providing “nonpartisan technical analysis on complex global issues that hinge on science and technology,” offers a compilation of links to FISA-related resources including annual FISA reports to Congress, various court cases, and Department of Justice memoranda.

 

Story 3: President Trump Attacks MS-13 As Animals — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Defend MS -13 — All Humans Are Animals — MS-16 Members Are Violent Thugs — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

The left turns Trump’s ‘animals’ comment into a controversy

President Donald Trump Says ‘Animals’ Remark Referred To MS-13 Gang Members | NBC News

Nancy Pelosi Defends Violent MS-13 Gang Members In Response To Trump, Says They’re Not Animals

Trump calls MS-13 gang members ‘animals’

Sanders: Trump referred to gang as ‘animals’ not immigrants

Trump says ‘animals’ remark referred to MS-13 members

Media take Trump’s ‘animals’ remark out of context

MS-13 gang members: Trump makes us stronger

A look inside the world of MS-13 gangs

True roots of MS-13

MS-13: Violent gang targeting US suburbia

ICE Chasing Down MS-13 Gang (Compilation)

El Salvador declares war on gangs

Trump calls some illegal immigrants “animals” in meeting with sheriffs

Tucker: There’s no defending MS-13, but the Left is

‘Hunting MS-13’: What we learned

MS-13 ‘Amercanizing’ with female members

National Geographic – MS13 [Mara Salvatrucha ] : America’s Deadliest Gang – full Documentary HD

Brit snaps MS-13 gang at jail guards won’t step in

ICE Chasing Down MS-13 Gang (Compilation)

Washington DC MS 13 Documentary

Inside Long Island’s war with MS-13

MS 13 Murder Documentary

MS-13’s Active Members Are Laughing At Trump’s Crackdown (HBO)

National Geographic – MS13 [Mara Salvatrucha ] : America’s Deadliest Gang – full Documentary HD

MS-13’s biggest rival: Barrio 18

5 Most Dangerous Gangs In The World!

CNN Took Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark About Immigrants ‘Out of Context,’ Network Admits

 

“Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants,” network now says

Last Updated: May 18, 2018 @ 8:01 AM

CNN has officially clarified its reporting suggesting that President Donald Trump had referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals.”

In a Thursday piece, media reporter Oliver Darcy conceded that CNN — like many other news organizations, including the New York Times and the Associated Press — had taken Trump’s remarks “out of context” and that the president had only been referring to members of the violent MS-13 gang, many of whom come from Central America, and not to all immigrants in the U.S. without proper documentation.

“Other outlets did not directly accuse the President of calling immigrants ‘animals,’ but failed to include in tweets the entire context for Trump’s remark. Those outlets included CNN, CBS News, and NBC News,” wrote Darcy.

“Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants who are deported for committing crimes,” the network added in a thread response to its own (considerably more viral) original tweet that included the president’s quote without context.

CNN

@CNN

“We’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people — these are animals.” During a meeting with public officials who oppose California’s sanctuary policies, Pres. Trump criticized US immigration laws https://trib.al/jDvH1Vx  pic.twitter.com/SsmCdaofHb

CNN

@CNN

As reported in the article above, Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants who are deported for committing crimes.

Also Thursday, the Associated Press went even further than CNN, deleting an earlier tweet about the president’s remarks.

“AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s ‘animals’ comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members,” the news organization offered in an explanation.

The Associated Press

@AP

AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s “animals” comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members.

The false narrative spread through the media this week after Trump made the tough remarks from the Cabinet Room of the White House.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them,”said the president. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

On Wednesday, the White House press briefing had an animated moment when Press Secretary Sarah Sanders laced into media companies for falsely reporting this story.

“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to,” said Sanders. “It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out … Frankly, I think that the term ‘animal’ doesn’t go far enough.”

“The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws,” she added. “This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of rape, control and kill.”

https://www.thewrap.com/cnn-took-trumps-animals-remark-immigrants-context-network-admits/

MS-13

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mara Salvatrucha
Marasalvatrucha13.png

Mara Salvatrucha gang member with gang’s name tattooed on his back
Founding location Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1980s–present
Territory United StatesCompton, CaliforniaLos Angeles, CaliforniaBoston, MassachusettsFresno, CaliforniaSanta Cruz, California
Ethnicity Mostly SalvadoransHondurans, and Guatemalans
Membership 8,000–10,000 (US)

30,000–50,000 (Worldwide)[1]

Criminal activities Drug trafficking, illegal immigration, people smuggling, robbery, larceny, human traffickingextortion, murder, money laundering, prostitution (including child prostitution), racketeering, battery, kidnapping, and arms trafficking
Allies SureñosSinaloa CartelGulf CartelLa Familia MichoacanaMexican MafiaLos Zetas[2]
Rivals 18th Street gangJuarez CartelLos NegrosSombra NegraTijuana CartelBeltrán-Leyva Cartel, The Rascals, Tiny Rascal GangBloodsCripsPirusFresno Bulldogs, Hoover Boyz, Hoover Criminals,[3] Latin Kings[4]

MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha; also known as simply MS or Mara) is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, US in the 1980s. The gang later spread to many parts of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, and is active in urban and suburban areas. Most members are of Central American origin, principally El Salvador.

In the U.S., MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in California, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, New York City and New JerseyBostonCharlotte, North Carolina, and Houston. There is also a presence of MS-13 in TorontoOntario.

Members of MS are characterised by tattoos covering the body, previously including the face, and by the use of their own sign language. They are notorious for their violence and a subcultural moral code based on merciless retribution. This cruelty of the distinguished members of the “Maras” or “Mareros” earned them a path to be recruited by the Sinaloa Cartel battling against Los Zetas in an ongoing drug war in Mexico.[5][6][7] Their wide-ranging activities have drawn the attention of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who have initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members, arresting hundreds across the country.[8]

Etymology

There is some dispute about the etymology of the name. Some sources state the gang is named for La Mara, a street gang in San Salvador, and the Salvatrucha guerrillas who fought in the Salvadoran Civil War.[9]Additionally, the word mara means gang in Caliche slang and is taken from marabunta, the name of a fierce type of ant. “Salvatrucha” may be a combination of the words Salvadoran and trucha, a Caliche word for being alert. The term “Salvatruchas” has been explained as a reference to Salvadorian peasants trained to become guerrilla fighters, referred to as “Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.”[10]

Aspirants are beaten for 13 seconds in order to join the gang, a ritual known as a “beat-in”.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Physical appearance

An MS gang sign and tattoos

Minors make up the majority of suspects arrested for killings attributed to MS-13. Many school districts were reluctant to admit unaccompanied teenagers when they initially arrived from Central America, which left them home alone and vulnerable to gang recruitment.[17]

Many Mara Salvatrucha members cover themselves in tattoos. Common markings include “MS”, “Salvatrucha”, the “Devil Horns”, the name of their clique, and other symbols.[18] A December 2007 CNN internet news article stated that the gang was moving away from face tattoos so as to be able to commit crimes without being noticed.[19]

Members of Mara Salvatrucha, like members of most modern American gangs, utilize a system of hand signs for purposes of identification and communication. One of the most commonly displayed is the “devil’s head” which forms an ‘M’ when displayed upside down. This hand sign is similar to the same symbol commonly seen displayed by heavy metal musicians and their fans. Founders of Mara Salvatrucha borrowed the hand sign after attending concerts of heavy metal bands.[20]

Presence

MS-13 presence     territories with a weaker presence     territories with a stronger presence

In the U.S., MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas of Fairfax County, VirginiaMontgomery County, Maryland,[21] and Prince George’s County, MarylandQueensNew YorkLong Island, New York; Newark, New JerseyPlainfield, New JerseyJersey City, New JerseyElizabeth, New Jersey; the BostonMassachusetts area; Charlotte, North Carolina; and HoustonTexas. There is also a presence of MS-13 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

MS-13 appears to use Texas as a stopping point for travel from Los Angeles to the East Coast and for the trafficking of drugs, humans, and weapons between Mexico and the United States. The largest concentration of MS-13 in Texas is in Houston.[22]

History

The Mara Salvatrucha gang originated in Los Angeles, set up in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants in the city’s Pico-Union neighborhood who immigrated to the United States after the Central American civil wars of the 1980s.[23]

Originally the gang’s main purpose was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other, more established gangs of Los Angeles, who were predominantly composed of Mexicans and African-Americans.[24]

Many Mara Salvatrucha gang members from the Los Angeles area have been deported after being arrested.[25] For example, Jose Abrego, a high-ranking member, was deported four times.[26] As a result of these deportations, members of MS-13 have recruited more members in their home countries.[27] The Los Angeles Times contends that deportation policies have contributed to the size and influence of the gang both in the United States and in Central America.[25] According to the 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, “The gang is estimated to have 30,000 to 50,000 members and associate members worldwide, 8,000 to 10,000 of whom reside in the United States.[1]

Since the first decade of the twenty-first century the gang has expanded into the Washington, D.C. area, in particular the areas of Langley Park and Takoma Park, Maryland.[28]

In 2004 the US FBI started the MS-13 National Gang Task Force. The FBI also began teaming with law enforcement in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.[29]

In 2005 the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement started Operation Community Shield. By 2011 this operation had made over 20,000 arrests, including more than 3,000 arrests of alleged MS-13 members.[30]

NYPD said that MS-13 were responsible for 17 murders between January 2016 and April 2016 in Long Island.[31]

On July 28, 2017, one day after 113 suspected MS-13 gang members were arrested by Salvadoran authorities,[32] President Donald Trump declared his goal of “eradicating” MS-13, calling them “animals” whose victims “die slowly because that way it’s more painful.”[33]

In an interview with Bill Ritter in late 2017, Nassau County, New York District Attorney Madeline Singas, referring to crimes committed by MS-13 gang members, stated: “The crimes that we’re talking about are brutal. Their weapon of choice is a machete. We end up seeing people with injuries that I’ve never seen before. You know, limbs hacked off. And that’s what the bodies look like that we’re recovering. So they’re brutal. They’re ruthless, and we’re gonna be relentless in our attacks against them.”[34]

Illegal immigration and human smuggling

According to The Washington Times, MS-13 “is thought to have established a major smuggling center” in Mexico.[35] There were reports by the Minuteman Project that MS members were ordered to Arizona to target U.S. Border Patrol agents and Minuteman Projectvolunteers.[36]

Robert Morales, a prosecutor for Guatemala, indicated to The Globe and Mail that some Central American gang members seek refugee status in Canada. Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police integrated gang task force, John Robin, said in an interview that “I think [gang members] have a feeling that police here won’t treat them in the harsh manner they get down there.”[37] Robin noted that Canadian authorities “want to avoid ending up like the U.S., which is dealing with the problem of Central American gangsters on a much bigger scale”.[37]

The gang is violent to migrants on the southern border of Mexico.[38]

False Al-Qaeda connection

In 2005 Honduran Security Minister Oscar Álvarez and the President of El Salvador raised alarm by claiming that terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda was meeting with Mara Salvatrucha and other Central American gangs to help them infiltrate the United States. FBI agents said that the U.S. intelligence community and governments of several Central American countries found that there was no basis to believe that MS-13 was connected to Al-Qaeda or other Islamic radicals, although the head of the FBI task force on MS-13 did visit Central America to discuss the issue.[39]

Publicized crimes

The Central American population in North America is the primary victim of MS-13.[27] Many of the victims are minors.[17]

On July 13, 2003, Brenda Paz, a 17-year-old former MS-13 member turned informant was found stabbed to death on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Virginia. She was killed for informing the FBI about Mara Salvatrucha’s criminal activities; two of her former friends were later convicted of the murder.[40]

In 2004 the FBI created the MS-13 National Gang Task Force.[41] In 2005 the FBI helped create a National Gang Information Center (NGIC), and outlined a National Gang Strategy for Congress.[42]

On December 23, 2004, one of the most widely publicized MS-13 crimes in Central America occurred in Chamelecón, Honduras when an intercity bus was intercepted and sprayed with automatic gunfire from assault rifles,[43] killing 28 and wounding 14 civilian passengers, most of whom were women and children.[44] MS-13 organized the massacre as a protest against the Honduran government for proposing a restoration of the death penalty in Honduras. Six gunmen raked the bus with gunfire. As passengers screamed and ducked, another gunman climbed aboard and methodically executed passengers.[45] In February 2007 Juan Carlos Miranda Bueso and Darwin Alexis Ramírez were found guilty of several crimes including murder and attempted murder. Ebert Anibal Rivera was arrested over the attack after fleeing to Texas.[46] Juan Bautista Jimenez, accused of masterminding the massacre, was killed in prison; according to the authorities, fellow MS-13 inmates hanged him.[47] There was insufficient evidence to convict Óscar Fernando Mendoza and Wilson Geovany Gómez.[46]

An MS-13 suspect bearing gang tattoos is handcuffed.

On May 13, 2006, Ernesto “Smokey” Miranda, a former high-ranking soldier and one of the founders of Mara Salvatrucha, was murdered at his home in El Salvador a few hours after declining to attend a party for a gang member who had just been released from prison. He had begun studying law and working to keep children out of gangs.[48]

On June 6, 2006,[49] a teenage MS-13 gang member named Gabriel Granillo was stabbed to death at Ervan Chew Park, in the Neartown district in Houston, Texas.[50] Chris Vogel of the Houston Press wrote that the trial of the girl who stabbed Granillo, Ashley Paige Benton,[51] gave attention to MS-13.[52]

In 2007 Julio Chavez, a Long Island MS-13 member, allegedly murdered a man because he was wearing a red sweatshirt and mistaken for a member of the Bloods gang.[53]

On June 4, 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, police executed search warrants, made 21 arrests and laid dozens of charges following a five-month investigation.[54]

On June 22, 2008, in San Francisco, California, a 21-year-old MS-13 gang member, Edwin Ramos, shot and killed a father, Anthony Bologna, 48, and his two sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16 as they were returning home from a family barbecue. Their car had briefly blocked Ramos from completing a left turn down a narrow street .[55]

On November 26, 2008, Jonathan Retana was convicted of the murder of Miguel Angel Deras, which the authorities linked to an MS-13 initiation.[56]

Gang graffiti

In 2008 the MS-13 task force coordinated a series of arrests and crackdowns in the U.S. and Central America that involved more than 6,000 police officers in five countries. Seventy-three suspects were arrested in the U.S.; in all, more than 650 were taken into custody.[citation needed]

In February 2009 authorities in Colorado and California arrested 20 members of MS-13 and seized 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds) of cocaine, a small amount of heroin, 12 firearms, and $3,300 in cash.[57]

In June 2009 Edwin Ortiz, Jose Gomez Amaya and Alexander Aguilar, MS-13 gang members from Long Island who had mistaken bystanders for rival gang members, shot two innocent civilians. Edgar Villalobos, a laborer, was killed.[58]

On November 4, 2009, El Salvadoran leaders of the MS-13 gang allegedly put out a contract on the federal agent responsible for a crackdown on its New York factions, the Daily News learned. The plot to assassinate the unidentified Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was revealed in an arrest warrant for reputed gang member Walter (Duke) Torres. Torres tipped authorities to the plan after he and four MS-13 members were stopped by NYPD detectives for hassling passersby on Northern Boulevard. in Queens, New York. He told police he had information to pass on; he was debriefed on October 22 at Rikers Island, where he was being held on a warrant issued in Virginia, according to court papers. Torres said “the order for the murder came from gang leadership in El Salvador”, ICE agent Sean Sweeney wrote in an affidavit for a new warrant charging Torres with conspiracy. Torres, who belonged to an MS-13 “clique” in Virginia, said he was put in charge, and traveled to New York in August “for the specific purpose of participating in the planning and execution of the murder plot”, Sweeney wrote. Gang members were trying to obtain a high-powered rifle to penetrate the agent’s bulletproof vest. Another MS-13 informant told authorities the agent was marked for death because the gang was “exceedingly angry” at him for arresting many members in the past three years, the affidavit states. The murder was supposed to be carried out by the Flushing clique, according to the informant. Federal prosecutors have indicted numerous MS-13 gang members on racketeering, extortion, prostitution, kidnapping, illegal immigration, money laundering, murder, people smuggling, arms trafficking, human trafficking and drug trafficking charges; the targeted special agent was the lead federal investigator on many of the federal cases.[59]

Sinaloa Cartel hierarchy in early 2008

In 2010 Rene Mejia allegedly murdered a Long Island 2-year-old baby and his mother.[53]

In August 2011 six San Francisco MS-13 members were convicted of racketeering and conspiracy, including three murders, in what was the city’s largest-scope gang trial in many years. Another 18 defendants reported to have ties to the gang pleaded guilty before trial.[60]

In 2011 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut was vandalized several times with the “MS-13 tag” and “kill whites” in orange spray paint.[61]

In February 2012 a Federal judge convicted three MS-13 gang members of murder. Danilo Velasquez, the former leader of the San Francisco branch of MS-13, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 10 years, and is incarcerated at USP Hazelton.[62]

In January 2016, over 400 Boston police officers were involved in the arrests of 37 MS-13 members, 56 were charged altogether. Guns, knives and money were also seized at the homes of the gang members. Massachusetts State Police Lt. Col. Frank Hughes commented in a public conference “in my 30 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a more violent gang out there. These are very very violent individuals. The violence is unspeakable.” The charges included immigration violations, racketeering, firearm and drug trafficking.[63]

In August 2017, two undisclosed members were charged with the January murder of civilian 19-year-old Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay who was lured to a forest in Long Island where he was attacked with machetes and stabbed with knives. Nassau County police also said the two members were responsible for 21 murders in New York just short of 2 years. Authorities said the motive was to gain reputation.[64]

On 13/14 of August 2017, MS-13 New Jersey faction member Walter Yovany Gomez who was added to the FBI most wanted list in April 2017,[65] was apprehended and charged with the 2011 brutal murder of his friend Julio Matute for associating with another gang. After a night of drinking, Gomez and another MS-13 member smacked Matute on the head with a baseball bat, sliced his throat with a knife and stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver 17 times. Gomez managed to evade arrest but was later captured in Virginia where he was hiding out with other MS-13 gang members.[66]

The Washington, DC think tank Center for Immigration Studies released a report that listed 506 cases of MS-13 criminal acts in the United States between 2012 and 2018.[67]

In 2017, two MS-13 members, Miguel Alvarez-Flores and Diego Hernandez-Rivera, were arrested for kidnapping, raping, torturing, and drugging a 14-year-old girl for over 2 weeks. According to the 14-year-old, the members also held another victim, “Genesis”, hostage in the same apartment.[68]

The East Coast kingpin of the MS-13, Miguel Angel Corea Diaz, was arraigned April 19, 2018 in Nassau County Court in Mineola, New YorkLong Island, New York on charges including conspiracy to commit murder. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted. He was one of seventeen defendants in a 21 count indictment in January that charged him with several counts of conspiracy to commit murder and operating as a high level drug tracker of controlled substances. He was extradited on the week of April 23, 2018 from Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he was held since October. That earlier jailing was in lieu of $125,000 bail.[69]

Child prostitution

In 2011 Alonso “Casper” Bruno Cornejo Ormeno, an associate of MS-13 from Fairfax, Virginia was sentenced to 292 months in prison for child prostitution. Ormeno recruited juvenile females into a prostitution ring by locating runaway children.[70]

Rances Ulices Amaya, a leader of MS-13, of Springfield, Virginia was convicted in February 2012 for trafficking girls as young as 14 into a prostitution ring. He was sentenced in June 2012 to 50 years in prison for child prostitution. The girls were lured from middle schools, high schools, and public shelters. Once acquired by Amaya, they were required to have sex with as many as ten men per day.[71]

In September 2012 Yimmy Anthony Pineda Penado, also known as “Critico” and “Spike”, of Maryland was a former “clique leader” of MS-13. Penado became the eleventh MS-13 gang member to be convicted of child prostitution since 2011.[72]

Charlotte, North Carolina cases

In the first decade of the twenty-first century US authorities investigated MS-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eventually the work led to charges against 26 MS-13 members, including 7 trial convictions in January 2010, 18 guilty pleas, and 11 multi-year prison sentences.[73]

This included the alleged first federal death-penalty conviction for an MS-13 member, Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umaña, aka “Wizard” (age 25).[73]

In 2005, in Los Angeles, according to a jury in a later sentencing phase, Umaña murdered Jose Herrera and Gustavo Porras on July 27, and participated in and aided and abetted the killing of Andy Abarca on September 28. He later came to Charlotte, North Carolina, according to witnesses, as a veteran member of MS-13, to reorganize the Charlotte cell of the gang.[73]

According to witnesses at his trial on December 8, 2007, while in the Las Jarochitas, a family-run restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina, Umaña shot Ruben Garcia Salinas fatally in the chest and Manuel Garcia Salinas in the head. Witnesses testified that the shootings took place after the Garcia Salinas brothers had “disrespected” Umaña’s gang signs by calling them “fake”. Firing three more shots in the restaurant, according to trial testimony, Umaña injured another person with his gunfire. Trial testimony and evidence showed that Umaña later fled back to Charlotte with MS-13 assistance. Umaña was arrested five days later in possession of the murder weapon. Additional evidence and testimony from the trial revealed that while Umaña was incarcerated awaiting trial he coordinated attempts to kill witnesses and informants.[73]

Umaña was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 23, 2008. During trial, he attempted to bring a knife with him to the courtroom, which was discovered by U.S. Marshals before he was transported to the courthouse. Thousands of hours were spent on the case over several years. International work was also involved.[73]

The case was investigated by the Charlotte Safe Streets Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Chief Criminal Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro from the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Gast and Adam Morris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina were also members of the government’s trial team.[73]

Charges included:[73]

  • Murder in aid of the racketeering enterprise known as MS-13, two counts
  • Murder resulting from the use of a gun in a violent crime, two counts
  • Conspiracy to participate in racketeering
  • Witness tampering or intimidation, two counts
  • Possession of a firearm by an illegal alien
  • Extortion

On April 19, 2010, the jury convicted Umaña of all charges, and additionally found him responsible for the 2005 murders during the sentencing phase. On April 28 a 12-person federal jury in Charlotte voted unanimously to impose the death penalty. On July 27, 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., of Charlotte, NC, formally imposed the federal death penalty sentence. Also commenting on the decision in the government press release were Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina, Owen D Harris, Special Agent in charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI, and Rodney Monreo, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief.[73]

The case was automatically appealed under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.[73]

Sanctions

In October 2012 the US Treasury Department announced a freeze on American-owned assets controlled by the organization and listed MS-13 as a Transnational Criminal Organization.[74] While the three leaders (José Luís Mendoza Figueroa, Eduardo Erazo Nolasco, and Élmer Canales Rivera) were imprisoned in El Salvador, they continued to give orders. As a result, the US Treasury Department imposed further sanctions in 2015, allowing the government to seize all assets controlled by these men and any business with these leaders would no longer be allowed.[75]

On November 16, 2017 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officials announced that they arrested a total of 267 alleged MS-13 gang members and associates in Operation Raging Bull, which was carried out in two phases. The first phase was in September 2017, and resulted in 53 arrests in El Salvador. The second phases was between October 8 and November 11, 2017, and resulted in 214 arrests in the U.S. Charges included drug traffickingchild prostitutionhuman smugglingracketingconspiracy to commit murder.[76][77][78][79]

In film

  • Principal characters of the feature movie Sin Nombre (2009) are members of MS in ChiapasMexico and many of the traditions and practices of MS are depicted accurately (killings, tattoos, initiation, exploitation of migrants, etc.).
  • Violence by MS-13 against immigrants at Guatemala–Mexico border is pictured in the feature movie La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas (2012).
  • National Geographic created a documentary in 2005 titled World’s Most Dangerous Gang,[80][81] portraying MS-13.
  • In the debut season of The History Channel’s television series Gangland released two full episodes covering MS-13:
  1. 2007 season 1 episode 2, titled “You Rat, You Die” – Former gang member turned informant Brenda Paz had been supplying the authorities with first-hand accounts of MS-13’s operations, later she was found dead.[82]
  2. 2008 season 1 episode 13, titled “Root of All Evil” – Reports on the drugs and prostitution rackets run by MS-13.[83][84]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-13

In reference to ‘animals,’ Trump evokes an ugly history of dehumanization

 May 16 

President Trump on Thursday pointedly referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals” in a statement his critics say betrays a gross misunderstanding of the plight of people who came to the United States illegally, and beyond that, little sympathy for them.

During an immigration roundtable at the White House with administration aides, political leaders and California law enforcement officials, Trump said his administration was deporting undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes.

Here’s the transcript:

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

President Trump: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.

When it comes to undocumented immigrants, you don’t always know which Trump you are going to get. The same president who encourages attendees at his rally to chant “build that wall” also pledged to approach those who illegally immigrated to the United States as children with “great heart.”

The Post’s Robert Costa points out this isn’t the first time he’s used the term in an illegal immigration context.

Robert Costa

@costareports

President Trump has used the “animal” phrase going back, at least, to 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/07/12/listening-to-donald-trump-swear-and-talk-politics-on-his-private-plane/  https://twitter.com/cspan/status/996845374819192833 

Listening to Donald Trump swear and talk politics on his private plane

The real estate mogul says, ‘I’ll keep doing my thing.’

washingtonpost.com

More recently, during a March news conference for the signing of a spending bill, Trump said, “I can tell you this, and I say this to DACA recipients, that the Republicans are with you. They want to get your situation taken care of. The Democrats fought us. But I do want the Hispanic community to know and DACA recipients to know that Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats, who are using you for their own purposes.”

And that comment came about two months after Trump reportedly expressed his frustration with staffers while discussing the protection of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.

“Why are we having all these people from s—hole countries come here?” Trump asked, according to several people at the meeting, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Since Trump launched his presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” he has attracted scorn and praise for his hard-line immigration policies.

But while his critics previously called his policy proposals inhumane, these recent words caught on tape display how lowly Trump views those who commit crimes after arriving in the United States illegally.

This would not likely be a problem for much of Trump’s base. The president campaigned on a law-and-order platform, regularly providing examples of undocumented immigrants committing horrific crimes. To many of his supporters, honoring the humanity of individuals who behaved so inhumanely is not a priority.

But those who want to see the president take a more compassionate approach on immigration see statements like this as conflating the minority of undocumented immigrants who get involved with criminal activity with the “dreamers” and other law-abiding immigrants.

There’s important historical context here, too, that many social media users pointed out: Referring to marginalized groups as subhuman has been a way dictators have justified the abuse of those groups. This happened with the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It happen with the Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide. And it is happening with the Rohingya people in Burma.

Clint Smith

@ClintSmithIII

Before enslavement Africans were called “apes”

Before the Holocaust Jewish people were called “rats”

Before the Rwandan genocide Tutsis were called “cockroaches”

Calling undocumented people “animals” as the president just did is gravely serious. It’s not just an offensive word

Clint Smith

@ClintSmithIII

It’s easy to dismiss what Trump said as nonsense & it’s easy to see discussion about its potential impact as hyperbolic, but there is a long tradition of entire groups of people being likened to animals before & during periods of mass violence against them. pic.twitter.com/Ap943mO8x7

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Generalizations and stereotypes led many citizens of those countries to view entire ethnic groups of people so negatively that respecting their lives was of little priority. This empowered people to discriminate against or even physically harm and kill them.

That’s a scary evocation, but more practically in the near term, Trump’s rhetoric will be fodder for his opponents as his party hurtles toward a midterm in which many of its endangered members will be saddled with Trump’s words.

This post has been updated.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/05/16/trumps-animals-comment-on-undocumented-immigrants-earn-backlash-historical-comparisons/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.79eed67d784c

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018, Story 1: Facebook’s Founder Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress — Breach of Trust — Cruz Nails Facebook’s Pervasive Pattern of Political Bias — Is Self-Regulation Really The Answer — Did Facebook Make An Illegal Corporate Inkind Contribution to Assist Obama Campaign in 2012? — Videos — Story 2: Worried About Your Privacy Forget Facebook Worry About National Security Agency Having Most of Your Data And Spying on You? — Videos

Posted on April 11, 2018. Filed under: American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, Extortion, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Islam, James Comey, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Mike Pence, National Interest, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Privacy, Public Corruption, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Sexual Harrasment, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unions, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Facebook’s Founder Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress — Breach of Trust — Cruz Nails Facebook’s Pervasive Pattern of Political Bias — Is Self-Regulation Really The Answer — Did Facebook Make An Illegal Corporate Inkind Contribution to Assist Obama Campaign in 2012? — Videos —

Tucker REACTS to Mark Zuckerberg’s Testimony (Day 1)

Ted Cruz Grills Mark Zuckerberg

Senator Lee Questions Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Hearing April 10, 2018

Lindsey Graham Grills Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg on what Facebook is doing to prevent foreign actors from interfering in future elections

Senator Sasse Questions Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Hearing April 10, 2018

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: We Should Have Checked Cambridge Analytica Data | CNBC

Mark Zuckerberg says data firm accessed 87 million Facebook users’ data

Did Facebook illegally assist the Obama campaign?

There Is No Way To Fix Facebook. So How Do We Protect Ourselves From It? | Think | NBC News

Data scandal the beginning of Facebook’s downfall?

Obama manipulated Facebook users to win elections | Trump Campaign Cambridge Analytica Fallout

The psychology behind Facebook data breach – BBC News

The Key to Understanding Facebook’s Current Crisis

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, explained

How Cambridge Analytica Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions | NYT

Former Facebook employee says “no one can fire” Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg: “I started Facebook. I run it. And I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Senate Testimony On Company’s Data-Privacy Policies | LIVE | TIME

Will more Facebook users flee after Zuckerberg testimony?

Live Stream: #Qanon on Facebook, Class Actions and Justice

Mark Zuckerberg Responds To Apple’s Facebook Critique | CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook Slams Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: I Wouldn’t Be In This Situation | MSNBC

Weekend Update: Mark Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica – SNL

Zuckerberg apologizes to Congress over massive Facebook breach

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologized to US lawmakers Tuesday for the leak of personal data on tens of millions of users as he faced a day of reckoning before a Congress mulling regulation of the global social media giant.

In his first-ever US congressional appearance, the Facebook founder and chief executive sought to quell the storm over privacy and security lapses at the social network that have angered lawmakers and Facebook’s two billion users.

Swappping his customary tee-shirt for a business suit and tie, Zuckerberg faced tough questions over how a US-British political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, plundered detailed personal data on 87 million users to be used in the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook also became the platform of choice for a stunning Russian campaign of online misinformation that US intelligence says was designed to tilt the 2016 vote toward Donald Trump.

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in prepared testimony. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” he said. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

Lawmakers questioned whether the election meddling and poor controls on personal data requires the government to step in to regulate Facebook and other social media companies which generate revenue from user data.

“The tech industry has an obligation to respond to widespread and growing concerns over data privacy and security and to restore the public trust. The status quo no longer works,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of one of the committees holding the hearing.

“Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.”

“You have a real opportunity this afternoon to lead the industry and demonstrate a meaningful commitment to protecting individual privacy,” Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein told Zuckerberg at the rare joint committee hearing, to be followed by a similar hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

– ‘#DeleteFacebook’ protests –

Cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol, placed by advocacy group Avaaz to call attention to what the group says are fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook

Cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol, placed by advocacy group Avaaz to call attention to what the group says are fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook

Dozens of protestors gathered outside Congress before the hearing wearing Zuckerberg masks and #DeleteFacebook T-shirts.

Inside the jammed hearing room, activists from the Code Pink group wore oversized glasses with the words “STOP SPYING” written on the lenses, and waved signs that read “Stop corporate lying.”

Testifying was a new step forward for the 33-year-old Zuckerberg, who started Facebook as a Harvard dropout in 2004, and built it into the world’s largest social media company worth $470 billion.

In the past he has left it to top lieutenants to answer questions from legislators.

But after the largest scandal yet for Facebook, Zuckerberg has seen it as imperative to speak out himself and try to prevent the company from bogging down in questions about its core business model, which is to share user data with advertisers.

The lawmakers delivered plenty of warnings that Zuckerberg needs to take action — though they were thin on concrete proposals.

Exposed to Facebook

Exposed to Facebook

“If you and other social media companies do not get your act in order, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore,” said Senator Bill Nelson.

Zuckerberg called Facebook “an idealistic and optimistic company” and said: “We focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.”

But he acknowledged that “it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

Zuckerberg added: “I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profit.”

– ‘Investigating every app’ –

The Facebook CEO recounted a list of steps aimed at averting improper use of data by third parties like Cambridge Analytica, and noted that other applications were being investigated to determine if they did anything wrong.

On Friday, Facebook sought to allay concerns over political manipulation of its platform by announcing support for the “Honest Ads Act” that requires election ad buyers to be identified, and to go further by verifying who sponsors ads on key public policy issues.

Zuckerberg vowed to “hire thousands of more people” to get the new system in place ahead of US midterm elections in November, starting the process in the United States and taking it global in the coming months.

My Facebook Was Breached by Cambridge Analytica. Was Yours?

How to find out if you are one of the 87 million victims

Cardboard cutouts of Mark Zuckerberg's face dominate the foreground, while the dome of the U.S. Capitol looms in the background.
Life-size cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed by a progressive advocacy group on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.Carolyn Kaster / Reuters
Facebook has begun to notify users who were affected by the Cambridge Analytica data breach. If you or one of your friends installed the personality-quiz app “This Is Your Digital Life” prior to 2015, then some of your data illicitly made it to the servers of the voter-profiling company.If your data was ensnared in the breach, you’re not alone. I’m also one of Cambridge Analytica’s victims. (If you’re not sure whether you were affected, you can go to this Facebook page, which will tell you if your information was shared.)I know I was affected by the breach because I saw a big text box when I opened the Facebook app on my phone this morning. Under a bolded headline reading “Protecting Your Information,” the notice read:

We understand the importance of keeping your data safe.

We have banned the app “This Is Your Digital Life,” which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. We did this because the app may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica. In most cases, the information was limited to public profile, Page likes, birthday, and current city.

You can learn more about what happened and how you can remove apps and websites anytime if you no longer want them to have access to your Facebook information.

There is more work to do, but we are committed to confronting abuse and to putting you in control of your privacy.

Contrary to some media reports, the message did not appear in the app’s “Notification” pane. The notice appeared only once: When I closed the app and reopened it, it disappeared.

Last week, Facebook revised its estimate of the size of the breach, saying that it affected about 87 million people. The company had originally estimated that only about 50 million people were affected. According to The InterceptCambridge Analytica used that harvested data to make about 30 million “psychographic” profiles of voters in total.While Facebook says that most users only had their public profile and a few other pieces of data disclosed to Cambridge Analytica, its notice suggests that the company does not know which users had more significant information, such as private status messages or wall posts, sucked up during the lapse.“A small number of people who logged into ‘This Is Your Digital Life’ also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts, and messages, which may have included posts and messages from you. They may also have shared your hometown,” says Facebook’s help page for victims of the breach.There is not much you can do if you were affected by the breach—your data, after all, has already left Facebook’s control. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, is testifying to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday in response to questions about this leak, larger privacy issues, and the platform’s role in the 2016 election.Lawyers in the United States and the United Kingdom have also launched a pair of class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and two other companies involved in the breach.
“Overall, this is a big breach of trust, and I’m sorry that it happened,” he told me.“The most important thing is to make sure that this doesn’t happen again going forward. So we’re taking a number of steps. We’re investigating every single app that had access to this data. We’re going to do audits on anyone who we find is doing something suspicious, and we’re going to tell people about that. We’ve taken steps to lock down the platform in the past, and we’re continuing to do that to just make sure it can’t happen again,” he said.If you’re having trouble understanding the Cambridge Analytica debacle, I wrote a brief summary of the story last month. In short, the voter-profiling firm harvested Facebook user data through “This Is Your Digital Life,” a third-party app that appeared to be a personality quiz. Cambridge Analytica later used this data to inform purchases made during the Brexit “Leave” campaign, Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign in the 2016 presidential primary, and President Trump’s campaign during the 2016 general election.

Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, was later captured on a hidden camera offering to use Ukrainian sex workers to bribe and blackmail politicians in Sri Lanka. He has since been suspended. Cambridge Analytica also has close ties to key figures in Republican politics: Rebekah Mercer, a major GOP donor and a co-owner of Breitbart news, sits on its board. Her father, Robert Mercer, also invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica.

Some conservatives have alleged that the official app of the 2012 Obama campaign scanned data from people’s friends in a manner similar to the app used by Cambridge Analytica. But people who installed the Obama app knew they were surrendering information to a political campaign, though their friends did not. Meanwhile, users who installed “This Is Your Digital Life,” the app used by Cambridge Analytica, had no idea that its aims were political.

Still, the ease with which the Obama app scanned users’ friend lists without their consent raises an important point. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal leads the news, experts do not believe it was alone in harvesting large amounts of Facebook data between 2008 and 2014.

Even the developers of rudimentary Facebook apps—like my colleague Ian Bogost, who built a satirical video game on the platform called Cow Clicker—accumulated a massive amount of information about their users, whether or not they intended to. “If you played Cow Clicker, even just once, I got enough of your personal data that, for years, I could have assembled a reasonably sophisticated profile of your interests and behavior,”

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/facebook-cambridge-analytica-victims/557648/

 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Will Not Be Under Oath Before Senate Committee, But Compelled by Statute to Tell The Truth

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes the stand before a joint congressional panel on Tuesday, he will not be under oath, Breitbart News has learned. But he will be required by federal statute to tell the truth, and if he lies he could face serious legal consequences.

A senior Senate GOP aide helping organize the joint Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce Committee hearing told Breitbart News that it is standard practice not to swear witnesses like this in under oath. But they are required by law to tell the truth, the aide says.

“He won’t be under oath, but he is under legal obligation to tell the truth,” the Senate aide told Breitbart News of Zuckerberg.

The Senate hearing, the first of two appearances Zuckerberg will make before Congress this week, begins at 2:15 p.m. ET on Capitol Hill. Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will begin by explaining how the joint committee hearing will operate, then opening statements will be made by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley, and Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Between the two committees, a whopping 44 senators will have the opportunity to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday afternoon.

This is just the first of two official testimony appearances Zuckerberg will make on Capitol Hill this week. After the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Zuckerberg will return to the Capitol on Wednesday for another hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill before the House Commtitee on Energy and Commerce.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/04/09/facebooks-mark-zuckerberg-will-not-be-under-oath-before-senate-committee-but-compelled-by-statute-to-tell-the-truth/

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn’t notify FTC of leak: ‘We considered it a closed case’

  • Mark Zuckerberg is testifying at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees Tuesday.
  • It’s the first of two congressional hearings for the Facebook founder and CEO.
  • Zuckerberg is likely to face tough questions on user privacy, foreign meddling on the site and abuse of social media tools.

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn't notify FTC of leak: 'We considered it a closed case'

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook didn’t notify FTC of leak: ‘We considered it a closed case’  

Mark Zuckerberg testified Facebook did not notify the FTC of the Cambridge Analytica data leak years ago because the social media giant “considered it a closed case.”

The Facebook founder and CEO spoke at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees Tuesday, the first of two congressional hearings this week.

Watch the live stream of Zuckerberg’s testimony here.

The company is facing questions following reports that research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook has said it first learned of the leak in 2015 and demanded Cambridge Analytica delete the data then. Executives have since said it was a mistake to trust that the research firm had done so.

“We considered it a closed case. In retrospect that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it,” Zuckerberg said Tuesday.

Facebook did not notify the FTC — which signed a consent decree with the tech company in 2011 requiring that Facebook notify users if their personal data is shared beyond their specified privacy settings — Zuckerberg said, “for the same reason.”

“We considered it a closed case,” Zuckerberg said, adding that he would act differently were he to face that decision again.

The FTC last month said it was investigating whether Facebook had violated the 2011 decree — a rare confirmation of an ongoing probe.

Zuckerberg is likely to face more tough questions during his week on Capitol Hill on user privacy, foreign meddling on the site and abuse of social media tools.

The CEO said during Tuesday’s hearing that “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” clarifying recent comments by COO Sheryl Sandberg that an ad-free version of Facebook would have to be a paid product.

He also expressed confidence that Facebook would better tamp down meddling in 2018 elections.

Facebook is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller while he investigates links between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election, Zuckerberg said.

He’s scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday. His prepared remarks for that hearing were released Monday.

Facebook stock surged more than 4 percent Tuesday during Zuckerberg’s comments.

https://www.google.com/search?q=prevasive&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS774US774&oq=prevasive&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3160j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Facebook

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Facebook, Inc.
Facebook New Logo (2015).svg

[show]

Screenshot
Type of business Public
Type of site
Social networking service
Available in Multilingual (140)
Traded as
Founded February 4, 2004; 14 years ago
Headquarters Menlo ParkCaliforniaUnited States of America
Coordinates 37.4848°N 122.1484°WCoordinates37.4848°N 122.1484°W
Area served United States (2004–2005)
Worldwide, except blocking countries (2005–present)
Founder(s)
Key people Mark Zuckerberg
(Chairman and CEO)
Sheryl Sandberg
(COO)
Industry Internet
Revenue IncreaseUS$40.653 billion (2017)[1]
Operating income Increase US$20.203 billion (2017)[1]
Net income Increase US$15.934 billion (2017)[1]
Total assets Increase US$84.524 billion (2017)[1]
Total equity Increase US$74.347 billion (2017)[1]
Employees 25,105 (December 31, 2017)[2]
Subsidiaries Instagram
Messenger
WhatsApp
Oculus VR
tbh
Watch
Website www.facebook.com or
www.fb.com
Alexa rank Steady 3 (January 2018)[3]
Registration Required
Users Increase 2.2 billion monthly active users (January 2018)
Current status Active
Written in C++PHP (as HHVM)[4] and D language[5]

Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Its website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard Collegestudents and roommates Eduardo SaverinAndrew McCollumDustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

The founders initially limited the website’s membership to Harvard students. Later they expanded it to higher education institutions in the Boston area, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford University. Facebook gradually added support for students at various other universities, and eventually to high school students. Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in this requirement, depending on local laws. The name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students. Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) in February 2012, and began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion, a new record. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements which appear onscreen.

Facebook can be accessed from a large range of devices with Internet connectivity, such as desktop computerslaptops and tablet computers, and smartphones. After registering, users can create a customized profile indicating their name, occupation, schools attended and so on. Users can add other users as “friends”, exchange messages, post status updates, share photos, videos and links, use various software applications (“apps”), and receive notifications of other users’ activity. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups organized by workplace, school, hobbies or other topics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “People From Work” or “Close Friends”. Additionally, users can report or block unpleasant people.

Facebook has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users as of January 2018. Its popularity has led to prominent media coverage for the company, including significant scrutiny over privacy and the psychological effects it has on users. In recent years, the company has faced intense pressure over the amount of fake newshate speech and depictions of violence prevalent on its services, all of which it is attempting to counteract.

History

2003–2006: Thefacebook, Thiel investment, and name change

Zuckerberg wrote a program called “Facemash” in 2003 while attending Harvard University as a sophomore (second year student). According to The Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not and used “photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the “hotter” person”.[6] Facemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.[7] The Facemash site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy. Ultimately, the charges were dropped.[6] Zuckerberg expanded on this initial project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam. He uploaded all art images to a website, each of which was featured with a corresponding comments section, then shared the site with his classmates, and people started sharing notes.[8]

Original layout and name of Thefacebook, 2004

A “face book” is a student directory featuring photos and basic information.[7] In 2003, there were no universal online facebooks at Harvard, with only paper sheets distributed[9] and private online directories.[6][10] Zuckerberg told the Crimson that “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard. […] I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.”[10] In January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website, known as “TheFacebook”, with the inspiration coming from an editorial in the Crimson about Facemash, stating that “It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is readily available … the benefits are many.”[11] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “TheFacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com.[12]

Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron WinklevossTyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed that he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.[13] The three complained to The Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequently settling in 2008[14] for 1.2 million shares (worth $300 million at Facebook’s IPO).[15]

Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College; within the first month, more than half the undergraduates at Harvard were registered on the service.[16]Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website.[17] In March 2004, Facebook expanded to the universities of ColumbiaStanford, and Yale.[18] It later opened to all Ivy League colleges, Boston UniversityNew York UniversityMITWashington and gradually most universities in the United States and Canada.[19][20]

In mid-2004, entrepreneur Sean Parker—an informal advisor to Zuckerberg—became the company’s president.[21] In June 2004, Facebook moved its operations base to Palo Alto, California.[22] It received its first investment later that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.[23] In 2005, the company dropped “the” from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for US$200,000.[24] The domain facebook.com belonged to AboutFace Corporation before the purchase. This website last appeared on April 8, 2005;[25] from April 10, 2005 to August 4, 2005, this domain gave a 403 error.[26]

Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook, in his Harvard dorm room, 2005

In May 2005, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, and Jim Breyer[27] added $1 million of his own money. A high-school version of the site was launched in September 2005, which Zuckerberg called the next logical step.[28] (At the time, high-school networks required an invitation to join.)[29] Facebook also expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft.[30]

2006–2012: Public access, Microsoft alliance and rapid growth

On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address.[31][32][33] In late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 business pages (pages which allowed companies to promote themselves and attract customers). These started as group pages, but a new concept called company pages was planned.[34] Pages began rolling out for businesses in May 2009.[35] On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15 billion. Microsoft’s purchase included rights to place international advertisements on the social networking site.[36][37]

In October 2008, Facebook announced that it would set up its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.[38] Almost a year later, in September 2009, Facebook said that it had turned cash flow positive for the first time.[39] A January 2009 Compete.com study ranked Facebook the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users.[40]Entertainment Weekly included the site on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list saying, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?”[41]

Traffic to Facebook increased steadily after 2009. The company announced 500 million users in July 2010,[42] and according to its data, half of the site’s membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile. A company representative called the milestone a “quiet revolution.”[43] In November 2010, based on SecondMarket Inc. (an exchange for privately held companies’ shares), Facebook’s value was $41 billion. The company had slightly surpassed eBay to become the third largest American web company after Google and Amazon.com.[44][45]

In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move its headquarters to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, California.[46][47] In March 2011, it was reported that Facebook was removing approximately 20,000 profiles every day for violations such as spam, graphic content, and underage use, as part of its efforts to boost cyber security.[48] Statistics by DoubleClick showed that Facebook reached one trillion page views in the month of June 2011, making it the most visited website tracked by DoubleClick.[49][50] According to a Nielsen study, Facebook had in 2011 become the second-most accessed website in the U.S. behind Google.[51][52]

2012–2013: IPO, lawsuits and one-billionth user

Facebook eventually filed for an initial public offering on February 1, 2012.[53] Facebook held an initial public offering on May 17, 2012, negotiating a share price of US$38. The company was valued at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.[54][55][56] Facebook began selling stock to the public and trading on the NASDAQ on May 18, 2012.[57] Based on its 2012 income of $5 billion, Facebook joined the Fortune 500 list for the first time in May 2013, ranked in position 462.[58]

Facebook filed their S1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 1, 2012. The company applied for a $5 billion IPO, one of the biggest offerings in the history of technology.[59] The IPO raised $16 billion, making it the third-largest in U.S. history.[60][61]

The shares began trading on May 18; the stock struggled to stay above the IPO price for most of the day, but set a record for the trading volume of an IPO (460 million shares).[62] The first day of trading was marred by technical glitches that prevented orders from going through;[63][64] only the technical problems and artificial support from underwriters prevented the stock price from falling below the IPO price on the day.[65] In March 2012, Facebook announced App Center, a store selling applications that operate via the website. The store was to be available on iPhonesAndroid devices, and mobile web users.[66]

Billboard on the Thomson Reutersbuilding welcomes Facebook to NASDAQ, 2012

On May 22, 2012, the Yahoo! Finance website reported that Facebook’s lead underwriters, Morgan Stanley (MS), JP Morgan (JPM), and Goldman Sachs (GS), cut their earnings forecasts for the company in the middle of the IPO process.[67] The stock had begun its freefall by this time, closing at 34.03 on May 21 and 31.00 on May 22. A “circuit breaker” trading curb was used in an attempt to slow down the stock price’s decline.[68] Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Chairman Rick Ketchum, called for a review of the circumstances surrounding the IPO.[69]

Facebook’s IPO was consequently investigated, and was compared to a “pump and dump” scheme.[63][67][69][70] A class-action lawsuit was filed in May 2012 because of the trading glitches, which led to botched orders.[71][72]Lawsuits were filed, alleging that an underwriter for Morgan Stanley selectively revealed adjusted earnings estimates to preferred clients.[73]

The other underwriters (MS, JPM, GS), Facebook’s CEO and board, and NASDAQ also faced litigation after numerous lawsuits were filed, while SEC and FINRA both launched investigations.[74] It was believed that adjustments to earnings estimates were communicated to the underwriters by a Facebook financial officer, who used the information to cash out on their positions while leaving the general public with overpriced shares.[75] By the end of May 2012, Facebook’s stock lost over a quarter of its starting value, which led The Wall Street Journal to label the IPO a “fiasco”.[76] Zuckerberg announced to the media at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had passed the monthly active users mark of one billion.[77] The company’s data also revealed 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections.[78]

2013–present: Site developments, A4AI and 10th anniversary

On January 15, 2013, Facebook announced Facebook Graph Search, which provides users with a “precise answer”, rather than a link to an answer by leveraging the data present on its site.[79] Facebook emphasized that the feature would be “privacy-aware,” returning only results from content already shared with the user.[80] On April 3, 2013, Facebook unveiled Facebook Home, a user-interface layer for Android devices offering greater integration with the site. HTC announced the HTC First, a smartphone with Home pre-loaded.[81]

On April 15, 2013, Facebook announced an alliance across 19 states with the National Association of Attorneys General, to provide teenagers and parents with information on tools to manage social networking profiles.[82] On April 19, 2013, Facebook officially modified its logo to remove the faint blue line at the bottom of the “F” icon. The letter F moved closer to the edge of the box.[83]

Following a campaign by 100 advocacy groups, Facebook agreed to update its policy on hate speech. The campaign highlighted content promoting domestic and sexual violence against women, and used over 57,000 tweets and more than 4,900 emails that caused withdrawal of advertising from the site by 15 companies, including Nissan UK, House of Burlesque and Nationwide UK. The social media website initially responded by stating that “while it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies”.[84] It decided to take action on May 29, 2013, after it “become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.”[85]

On June 12, 2013, Facebook announced on its newsroom that it was introducing clickable hashtags to help users follow trending discussions, or search what others are talking about on a topic.[86] A July 2013 Wall Street Journal article identified the Facebook IPO as the cause of a change in the U.S.’ national economic statistics, as the local government area of the company’s headquarters, San Mateo County, California, became the top wage-earning county in the country after the fourth quarter of 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average weekly wage in the county was US$3,240, 107% higher than the previous year. It noted the wages were “the equivalent of $168,000 a year, and more than 50% higher than the next-highest county, New York County (better known as Manhattan), at $2,107 a week, or roughly $110,000 a year.”[87]

Facebook was blocked by the Chinese government in 2009.[88] In September 2013, the South China Morning Post announced that the block would lifted in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone “to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone.”[89][90] However, a few days later, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, dismissed the earlier report, reiterating the block on Facebook.[91]

Facebook was announced as a member of The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in October 2013, when the A4AI was launched. The A4AI is a coalition of public and private organizations that includes GoogleIntel and Microsoft. Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the A4AI seeks to make Internet access more affordable so that access is broadened in the developing world, where only 31% of people are online. Google will help to decrease Internet access prices so that they fall below the UN Broadband Commission’s worldwide target of 5% of monthly income.[92] A Reuters report, published on December 11, 2013, stated that Standard & Poor’s announced the placement of Facebook on its S&P 500 index “after the close of trading on December 20”.[93] Facebook announced Q4 2013 earnings of $523 million (20 cents per share), an increase of $64 million from the previous year,[94] as well as 945 million mobile users.

In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2.3 billion in stock and cash,[95] which released its first consumer virtual reality headset in 2016.

The company celebrated its 10th anniversary during the week of February 3, 2014.[96] In each of the first three months of 2014, over one billion users logged into their Facebook account on a mobile device.[97] As part of the company’s second quarter results, Facebook announced in late July 2014 that mobile accounted for 62% of its advertising revenue, which is an increase of 21% from the previous year.[98] By September 2014, Facebook’s market capitalization had risen to over $200 billion.[99][100][101]

Alongside other American technology figures like Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook, Zuckerberg hosted visiting Chinese politician Lu Wei, known as the “Internet czar” for his influence in the enforcement of China’s online policy, at Facebook’s headquarters on December 8, 2014. The meeting occurred after Zuckerberg participated in a Q&A session at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on October 23, 2014, where he attempted to converse in Mandarin—although Facebook is banned in China, Zuckerberg is highly regarded among the people and was at the university to help fuel the nation’s burgeoning entrepreneur sector.[102] A book of Chinese president Xi Jinping found on Zuckerberg’s office desk attracted a great deal of attention in the media, after the Facebook founder explained to Lu, “I want them [Facebook staff] to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”[103]

As of January 21, 2015, Facebook’s algorithm is programmed to filter out false or misleading content, such as fake news stories and hoaxes, and will be supported by users who select the option to flag a story as “purposefully fake or deceitful news”. According to Reuters, such content is “being spread like a wildfire” on the social media platform. Facebook maintained that “satirical” content, “intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire,” will be taken into account and should not be intercepted.[104] The algorithm, however, has been accused of maintaining a “filter bubble“, where both material the user disagrees with[105] and posts with a low level of likes, will also not be seen.[106] In November 2015, Zuckerberg prolonged period of paternity leave from 4 weeks to 4 months.[107]

On April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg revealed a decade-long plan for Facebook in a keynote address. His speech outlined his vision, which rested on three main pillars: artificial intelligence, increased connectivity around the world and virtual and augmented reality.[108] In June 2016 Facebook announced Deep Text, a natural language processing AI which will learn user intent and context in 20 languages.[109]

In July 2016, a US$1 billion lawsuit was filed against the company alleging that it permitted the Hamas group to use it to perform assaults that ended the lives of four people.[110] Facebook released the blueprints of Surround 360 camera on GitHub under open-source license.[111] In September 2016, it won an Emmy for its Visual animated short “Henry”.[112]

In October 2016, Facebook announced a fee-based communications tool called Workplace that aims to “connect everyone” while at work. Users can create profiles, see updates from co-workers on their news feed, stream live video and participate in secure group chats.[113] Facebook annually has an Oculus Connect conference.[114] Following the 2016 presidential election, Facebook announced that it would further combat the spread of fake news by using fact checkers from sites like FactCheck.org and Associated Press (AP), making reporting hoaxes easier through crowdsourcing, and disrupting financial incentives for spammers.[115]

On January 17, 2017, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg planning to open Station F, a startup incubator campus in Paris, France.[116] On a six-monthly cycle, Facebook will work with ten to 15 data-driven startups in the location to help them develop their businesses.[117]On April 18, 2017, Facebook announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco.[118] Facebook Spaces, a virtual reality app version of Facebook for the Facebook-owned Oculus VR goggles. In a virtual and shared space, users can access a curated selection of 360-degree photos and videos using their avatar, with the support of the controller. Users can also access their own photos and videos, and any media shared on their Facebook newsfeed.[119] The beta app is currently available in the Oculus Store.[120]

In September 2017, Facebook announced it would be spending up to US$1 billion on original shows for its Facebook Watch platform.[121] On October 16, 2017, Facebook acquired the anonymous compliment social media app tbh for an undisclosed amount, announcing intentions to leave the app independent, similar to Instagram and WhatsApp.[122][123][124][125](although it is not core or important as these other[126])

Corporate affairs

Management

Facebook’s key management personnel consists of Mark Zuckerberg (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer), Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer), David Wehner (Chief Financial Officer), Mike Schroepfer (Chief Technology Officer), and Chris Cox (Chief Product Officer).[127] As of June 30, 2017, Facebook has 20,658 employees.[128]

Revenue

Revenues
(in millions US$)
Year Revenue Growth
2004 $0.4[129]
2005 $9[129] 2150%
2006 $48[129] 433%
2007 $153[129] 219%
2008 $280[130] 83%
2009 $775[131] 177%
2010 $2,000[132] 158%
2011 $3,711[133] 86%
2012 $5,089[134] 37%
2013 $7,872[134] 55%
2014 $12,466[135] 58%
2015 $17,928[136] 44%

Most of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising.[137][138] Facebook generally has a lower clickthrough rate (CTR) for advertisements than most major websites. According to BusinessWeek.com, banner advertisements on Facebook have generally received one-fifth the number of clicks compared to those on the Web as a whole,[139] although specific comparisons can reveal a much larger disparity. For example, while Google users click on the first advertisement for search results an average of 8% of the time (80,000 clicks for every one million searches),[140] Facebook’s users click on advertisements an average of 0.04% of the time (400 clicks for every one million pages).[141]Successful advertising campaigns on the site can have clickthrough rates as low as 0.05% to 0.04%, and CTR for ads tend to fall within two weeks.[142]

The cause of Facebook’s low CTR has been attributed to younger users enabling ad blocking software and their adeptness at ignoring advertising messages, as well as the site’s primary purpose being social communication rather than content viewing.[143] According to digital consultancy iStrategy Labs in mid-January 2014, three million fewer users aged between 13 and 17 years were present on Facebook’s Social Advertising platform compared to 2011.[144]However, Time writer and reporter Christopher Matthews stated in the wake of the iStrategy Labs results:

A big part of Facebook’s pitch is that it has so much information about its users that it can more effectively target ads to those who will be responsive to the content. If Facebook can prove that theory to be true, then it may not worry so much about losing its cool cachet.[145][146]

A portion of Facebook revenue comes from the “firehose” access, bulk access to the social media data sold to the third parties.[147][148] In December 2014, a report from Frank N. Magid and Associates found that the percentage of teens aged 13 to 17 who used Facebook fell to 88% in 2014, down from 94% in 2013 and 95% in 2012.[149] Zuckerberg, alongside other Facebook executives, have questioned the data in such reports; although, a former Facebook senior employee has commented: “Mark [Zuckerberg] is very willing to recognize the strengths in other products and the flaws in Facebook.”[150]

On pages for brands and products, however, some companies have reported CTR as high as 6.49% for Wall posts.[151] A study found that, for video advertisements on Facebook, over 40% of users who viewed the videos viewed the entire video, while the industry average was 25% for in-banner video ads.[152]

Chart of Facebook’s stock

The company released its own set of revenue data at the end of January 2014 and claimed: Revenues of US$2.59 billion were generated for the three months ending December 31, 2013; earnings per share were 31 cents; revenues of US$7.87 billion were made for the entirety of 2013; and Facebook’s annual profit for 2013 was US$1.5 billion. During the same time, independent market research firm eMarketer released data in which Facebook accounted for 5.7 per cent of all global digital ad revenues in 2013 (Google’s share was 32.4 per cent).[96] Revenue for the June 2014 quarter rose to $2.68 billion, an increase of 67 per cent over the second quarter of 2013. Mobile advertising revenue accounted for around 62 per cent of advertising revenue, an increase of approximately 41 per cent over the comparable quarter of the previous year. In December 2017, the company announced that it would no longer route all of its revenues through its Ireland headquarters, but rather record revenue locally in each of the countries where it is generated.[153][154]

Number of advertisers

In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days.[155] In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US.[156]

Mergers and acquisitions

On November 15, 2010, Facebook announced it had acquired the domain name fb.com from the American Farm Bureau Federation for an undisclosed amount. On January 11, 2011, the Farm Bureau disclosed $8.5 million in “domain sales income”, making the acquisition of FB.com one of the ten highest domain sales in history.[157]

In February 2014, Facebook announced that it would be buying mobile messaging company WhatsApp for US$19 billion in cash and stock.[158][159]

In November 2016 Facebook acquired CrowdTangle, a social analytics company that tracks how content spreads online. CrowdTangle confirmed the acquisition in a message at their website, but company didn’t disclosed financial terms of the deal.[160]

Offices

In early 2011, Facebook announced plans to move to its new headquarters, the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park.[161] All users outside of the US and Canada have a contract with Facebook’s Irish subsidiary “Facebook Ireland Limited”. This allows Facebook to avoid US taxes for all users in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. Facebook is making use of the Double Irish arrangement which allows it to pay just about 2–3% corporation tax on all international revenue.[162] In 2010, Facebook opened its fourth office, in Hyderabad[163][164][165] and the first in Asia.[166]

Facebook, which in 2010 had more than 750 million active users globally including over 23 million in India, announced that its Hyderabad center would house online advertising and developer support teams and provide round-the-clock, multilingual support to the social networking site’s users and advertisers globally.[167] With this, Facebook joins other giants like GoogleMicrosoftOracleDellIBM and Computer Associates that have already set up shop.[168] In Hyderabad, it is registered as ‘Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd’.[169][170][171]

Though Facebook did not specify its India investment or hiring figures, it said recruitment had already begun for a director of operations and other key positions at Hyderabad,[172] which would supplement its operations in CaliforniaDublin in Ireland as well as at AustinTexas. A custom-built data center with substantially reduced (“38% less”) power consumption compared to existing Facebook data centers opened in April 2011 in Prineville, Oregon.[173] In April 2012, Facebook opened a second data center in Forest City, North Carolina, US.[174] In June 2013, Facebook opened a third data center in Luleå, Sweden. In November 2014, Facebook opened a fourth data center in Altoona, Iowa, US.[175] In September 2016, Facebook announced a coming datacenter in Los Lunas, New Mexico in 2018 powered by renewable energy.[176][177]

On October 1, 2012, CEO Zuckerberg visited Moscow to stimulate social media innovation in Russia and to boost Facebook’s position in the Russian market.[178] Russia’s communications minister tweeted that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the social media giant’s founder to abandon plans to lure away Russian programmers and instead consider opening a research center in Moscow. Facebook has roughly 9 million users in Russia, while domestic analogue VK has around 34 million.[179]

The establishment of a woodworking facility on the Menlo Park campus was announced at the end of August 2013. The facility, opened in June 2013, provides equipment, safety courses and a woodworking learning course. Employees are required to purchase materials at the in-house store. A Facebook spokesperson explained that the intention of setting up the facility is to encourage employees to think in an innovative manner because of the different environment; it also serves as an attractive perk for prospective employees.[180] On November 21, 2016 Facebook announced that it will open its new London headquarters next year and create another 500 jobs in the UK. New headquarters will be in Fitzrovia in central London at a site that is currently undergoing redevelopment. Facebook’s London-based executive, Nicola Mendelsohn said “The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company,”.[181] In August 2017, Facebook announced the opening of a new office in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2018. Facebook will occupy the top three floors of 100 Binney St in Kendall Square and share the building with the pharmaceutical employees from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The offices will be home to Facebook’s “Connectivity Lab”, a group focused on bringing Internet access and technology to 4 billion people who do not have access to the Internet.[182]

Website

Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005

Previous Facebook logo in use from August 23, 2005 until July 1, 2015

Technical aspects

The website’s primary color is blue as Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, a realization that occurred after a test undertaken around 2007; he explained in 2010: “blue is the richest color for me—I can see all of blue.”[183][184]Facebook is built in PHP which is compiled with HipHop for PHP, a ‘source code transformer’ built by Facebook engineers that turns PHP into C++.[185] The deployment of HipHop reportedly reduced average CPU consumption on Facebook servers by 50%.[186]

Facebook is developed as one monolithic application. According to an interview in 2012 with Chuck Rossi, a build engineer at Facebook, Facebook compiles into a 1.5 GB binary blob which is then distributed to the servers using a custom BitTorrent-based release system. Rossi stated that it takes approximately 15 minutes to build and 15 minutes to release to the servers. The build and release process is zero downtime and new changes to Facebook are rolled out daily.[186]

Facebook uses a combination platform based on HBase to store data across distributed machines. Using a tailing architecture, new events are stored in log files, and the logs are tailed. The system rolls these events up and writes them into storage. The user interface then pulls the data out and displays it to users. Facebook handles requests as AJAX behavior. These requests are written to a log file using Scribe (developed by Facebook).[187]

Data is read from these log files using Ptail, an internally built tool to aggregate data from multiple Scribe stores. It tails the log files and pulls data out (thus the name). Ptail data are separated out into three streams so they can eventually be sent to their own clusters in different data centers (Plugin impression, News feed impressions, Actions (plugin + news feed)). Puma is used to manage periods of high data flow (Input/Output or IO). Data is processed in batches to lessen the number of times needed to read and write under high demand periods (A hot article will generate a lot of impressions and news feed impressions which will cause huge data skews). Batches are taken every 1.5 seconds, limited by memory used when creating a hash table.[187]

After this, data is output in PHP format (compiled with HipHop for PHP). The backend is written in Java and Thrift is used as the messaging format so PHP programs can query Java services. Caching solutions are used to make the web pages display more quickly. The more and longer data is cached the less realtime it is. The data is then sent to MapReduce servers so it can be queried via Hive. This also serves as a backup plan as the data can be recovered from Hive. Raw logs are removed after a period of time.[187]

On March 20, 2014, Facebook announced a new open source programming language called Hack. Prior to public release, a large portion of Facebook was already running and “battle tested” using the new language.[188]

Facebook uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to deliver the enormous volume of emails it sends to its users every day.[189]

History

On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced “Facebook Beta”, a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a “cleaner” look.[190]After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating all users to the new version starting in September 2008.[191] On December 11, 2008, it was announced that Facebook was testing a simpler signup process.[192]

User profile/personal timeline

Facebook login/signup screen

Each registered user on Facebook gets their own personal profile that shows their posts and content.[193] The format of individual user pages was revamped in September 2011 and became known as “Timeline”, a chronological feed of a user’s stories,[194][195] including status updates, photos, interactions with apps, and events.[196] The new layout also let users add a “cover photo”, a large header image at the top of the Timeline.[196] Along with the new layout, users were also given more privacy settings to control the content on the Timeline.[196] In 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Pages for brands and celebrities to interact with their fanbase,[197][198] with more 100,000 Pages launched in November.[199] In June 2009, Facebook introduced a “Usernames” feature, allowing users to choose a unique nickname used in the URL for their personal profile, for easier sharing.[200][201]

In February 2014, Facebook expanded the options for a user’s gender setting, adding a custom input field that allows users to choose from a wide range of gender identities. Users can also set which set of gender-specific pronoun should be used in reference to them throughout the site.[202][203][204] In May 2014, Facebook introduced a feature to allow users to ask for information not disclosed by other users on their profiles. If a user does not provide key information, such as location, hometown, or relationship status, other users can use a new “ask” button to send a message asking about that item to the user in a single click.[205][206]

News Feed

On September 6, 2006, News Feed was announced, which appears on every user’s homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user’s friends.[207] This enabled spammers and other users to manipulate these features by creating illegitimate events or posting fake birthdays to attract attention to their profile or cause.[208] Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, others were concerned that it made it too easy for others to track individual activities (such as relationship status changes, events, and conversations with other users).[209] In response, Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site’s failure to include appropriate customizable privacy features. Since then, users have been able to control what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent user-set categories of friends from seeing updates about certain types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts, and newly added friends.[210]

On February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted a patent[211] on certain aspects of its News Feed. The patent covers News Feeds in which links are provided so that one user can participate in the same activity of another user.[212] The patent may encourage Facebook to pursue action against websites that violate its patent, which may potentially include websites such as Twitter.[213] One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums and photos.[214] Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting services such as Photobucket and Flickr, which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to upload. During the first years, Facebook users were limited to 60 photos per album. As of May 2009, this limit has been increased to 200 photos per album.[215][216][217][218]

Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user’s friends can see the album, while the privacy of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos application is the ability to “tag“, or label, users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user’s friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that she has been tagged, and provides a link to see the photo.[219] On June 7, 2012, Facebook launched its App Center to its users. It will help the users in finding games and other applications with ease.[220] Since the launch of the App Center, Facebook has seen 150M monthly users with 2.4 times the installation of apps.[221] The sorting and display of stories in a user’s News Feed is governed by the EdgeRank algorithm.[222]

On May 13, 2015, Facebook in association with major news portals launched a program “Instant Articles” to provide rich news experience. Instant articles provides users, access to articles on Facebook news feed without leaving the site.[223][224] According to the technology news web site Gizmodo on May 9, 2016, Facebook curators routinely suppress or promote news that is deemed to meet a political agenda. For example, articles about Black Lives Matter would be listed even if they did not meet the trending criteria of News Feed. Likewise positive news about conservative political figures were regularly excised from Facebook pages.[225] In January 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Stories for iOS and Android in Ireland. The feature, following the format of Snapchat and Instagram stories, allows users to upload photos and videos that appear above friends’ and followers’ News Feeds and disappear after 24 hours.[226]

On October 11, 2017, Facebook introduced the 3D Posts feature to allow for uploading interactive 3D assets in the News Feed.[227] On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that it would be changing its News Feed algorithm to prioritize what friends and family share and de-emphasize content from media companies. The change was intended to maximize the “meaningful interactions” that people have with content on Facebook.[228]

Like button

The “like” button, stylized as a “thumbs up” icon, was first enabled on February 9, 2009,[229] and enables users to easily interact with status updates, comments, photos and videos, links shared by friends, and advertisements. Once clicked by a user, the designated content appears in the News Feeds of that user’s friends,[230][231] and the button also displays the number of other users who have liked the content, including a full or partial list of those users.[232] The like button was extended to comments in June 2010.[233] After extensive testing[234] and years of questions from the public about whether it had an intention to incorporate a “Dislike” button,[235] Facebook officially rolled out “Reactions” to users worldwide on February 24, 2016, letting users long-press on the like button for an option to use one of five pre-defined emotions, including “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, or “Angry”.[234][236] Reactions were also extended to comments in May 2017.[237][238]

Instant messaging

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008,[239] the company revamped its messaging service in 2010,[240] and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011.[241] Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems,[242][243][244] launched a dedicated website interface,[245] and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, requiring users to download the standalone apps.[246]

Facebook Messenger lets Facebook users send messages to each other. Complementing regular conversations, Messenger lets users make voice calls[247] and video calls[248] both in one-to-one interactions[249] and in group conversations.[250] Its Android app has integrated support for SMS[251] and “Chat Heads”, which are round profile photo icons appearing on-screen regardless of what app is open,[252] while both apps support multiple accounts,[253] conversations with optional end-to-end encryption,[254] and playing “Instant Games”, which are select games built into Messenger.[255] Some features, including sending money[256] and requesting transportation,[257] are limited to the United States.[256] In 2017, Facebook has added “Messenger Day”, a feature that lets users share photos and videos in a story-format with all their friends with the content disappearing after 24 hours;[258] Reactions, which lets users tap and hold a message to add a reaction through an emoji;[259] and Mentions, which lets users in group conversations type @ to give a particular user a notification.[259]

In March 2015, Facebook announced that it would start letting businesses and users interact through Messenger with features such as tracking purchases and receiving notifications, and interacting with customer service representatives. It also announced that third-party developers could integrate their apps into Messenger, letting users enter an app while inside Messenger and optionally share details from the app into a chat.[260] In April 2016, it introduced an API for developers to build chatbots into Messenger, for uses such as news publishers building bots to give users news through the service,[261] and in April 2017, it enabled the M virtual assistant for users in the U.S., which scans chats for keywords and suggests relevant actions, such as its payments system for users mentioning money.[262][263]Additionally, Facebook expanded the use of bots, incorporating group chatbots into Messenger as “Chat Extensions”, adding a “Discovery” tab for finding bots, and enabling special, branded QR codes that, when scanned, take the user to a specific bot.[264]

Following

On September 14, 2011, Facebook added the ability for users to provide a “Subscribe” button on their page, which allows users to subscribe to public postings by the user without needing to add him or her as a friend.[265] In conjunction, Facebook also introduced a system in February 2012 to verify the identity of certain accounts.[266] In December 2012, Facebook announced that because of user confusion surrounding its function, the Subscribe button would be re-labeled as a “Follow” button—making it more similar to other social networks with similar functions.[267]

Comparison with Myspace

The media often compares Facebook to Myspace, but one significant difference between the two Web sites is the level of customization.[268] Another difference is Facebook’s requirement that users give their true identity, a demand that MySpace does not make.[269]MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook allows only plain text.[270] Facebook has a number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall, a space on every user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see;[271]Pokes, which allows users to send a virtual “poke” to each other (a notification then tells a user that he or she has been poked);[272]Photos, that allows users to upload albums and photos;[273] and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions.[274] Facebook also allows users to tag various people in photographs. Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user’s profile can also view that user’s Wall. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.[271] Facebook also differs from Myspace in the form of advertising used. Facebook uses advertising in the form of banner ads, referral marketing, and games. Myspace, on the other hand, uses Google and AdSense.[275] There is also a difference in the userbase of each site. MySpace, initially, was much more popular with high school students, while Facebook was more popular among college students. A study by the American firm Nielsen Claritas showed that Facebook users are more inclined to use other professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, than Myspace users.[275]

Privacy

PRISM: a clandestinesurveillanceprogram under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Facebook and Yahoo!.[276]

Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who can see specific parts of their profile.[277] The website is free to its users and generates revenue from advertising, such as banner ads.[278] Facebook requires a user’s name and profile picture (if applicable) to be accessible by everyone. Users can control who sees other information they have shared, as well as who can find them in searches, through their privacy settings.[279]On November 6, 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Beacon, which was a part of Facebook’s advertisement system until it was discontinued in 2009. Its purpose was to allow targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends.

In 2010, Facebook’s security team began expanding its efforts to reduce the risks to users’ privacy,[280] but privacy concerns remain.[281] Since 2010, the US National Security Agency has been taking publicly posted profile information from Facebook, among other social media services, user profiles to discover who they interact with.[282]

On November 29, 2011, Facebook settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises.[283] In August 2013 High-Tech Bridge published a study showing that links included in Facebook messaging service messages were being accessed by Facebook.[284] In January 2014 two users filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that their privacy had been violated by this practice.[285]

In April 2018, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, and refuting a report to the contrary by Reuters, Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook would implement additional privacy “controls and settings” worldwide. These settings were originally intended for deployment in Europe in order to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which take effect in May.[286]

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

A Facebook “White Hat” debit card, given to researchers who report security bugs.

On July 29, 2011, Facebook announced its Bug Bounty Program in which security researchers will be paid a minimum of $500 for reporting security holes on Facebook’s website. Facebook’s Whitehat page for security researchers says: “If you give us a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public and make a good faith effort to avoid privacy violations, destruction of data, and interruption or degradation of our service during your research, we will not bring any lawsuit against you or ask law enforcement to investigate you.”[287][288]

Facebook started paying researchers who find and report security bugs by issuing them custom branded “White Hat” debit cards that can be reloaded with funds each time the researchers discover new flaws. “Researchers who find bugs and security improvements are rare, and we value them and have to find ways to reward them,” Ryan McGeehan, former manager of Facebook’s security response team, told CNET in an interview. “Having this exclusive black card is another way to recognize them. They can show up at a conference and show this card and say ‘I did special work for Facebook.'”[289]

India, which has the second largest number of bug hunters in the world,[290] tops the Facebook Bug Bounty Program with the largest number of valid bugs. “Researchers in Russia earned the highest amount per report in 2013, receiving an average of $3,961 for 38 bugs. India contributed the largest number of valid bugs at 136, with an average reward of $1,353. The U.S. reported 92 issues and averaged $2,272 in rewards. Brazil and the UK were third and fourth by volume, with 53 bugs and 40 bugs, respectively, and average rewards of $3,792 and $2,950”, Facebook quoted in a post.[291]

Reception

Most popular social networking sites by country
  Facebook
  Facenama
  no data

User growth

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in August 2008 that Facebook had passed 100 million registered users.[292] This increased to 150 million “active” users in January 2009. Stan Schroeder of Mashable questioned how the measurement of “active” was made, though acknowledging that “it probably means that users who’ve just created an account which sits idle for a long period of time aren’t included”.[293] The number of users continued to grow, reaching 250 million in July 2009,[294] 300 million in September 2009,[295] 400 million in February 2010,[296] and 500 million in July 2010.[42] According to the company’s data at the July 2010 announcement, half of the site’s membership used Facebook daily, for an average of 34 minutes, while 150 million users accessed the site by mobile. A company representative called the milestone a “quiet revolution.”[43]

Mark Zuckerberg announced to the media at the start of October 2012 that Facebook had passed the monthly active users mark of one billion.[77][297] The company’s data also revealed 600 million mobile users, 219 billion photo uploads, and 140 billion friend connections.[78] This continued to grow, reaching 1.19 billion monthly active users in October 2013,[298] 1.44 billion users in April 2015, of which 1.25 billion were mobile users,[299] 1.71 billion users in July 2016,[300] 1.94 billion users in March 2017,[301] and ultimately 2 billion users in June 2017.[302][303]

Early in 2015, it was reported that teenagers preferred competing web sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. The estimated number of teens leaving Facebook was a million per year.[304]

In November 2015, after skepticism about the accuracy of its “monthly active users” measurement, Facebook changed its definition of an “active user”, now defining it as a logged-in member who visits the Facebook site through the web browser or mobile app, or uses the Facebook Messenger app, in the last 30 days of the date of measurement. This excludes the use of third-party services with Facebook integration, which was previously counted.[305]

Statistics

According to analytics firm comScore, Facebook is the leading social networking site based on monthly unique visitors, having overtaken main competitor MySpace in April 2008.[308][309] comScore reported that Facebook attracted over 130 million unique visitors in May 2010, an increase of 8.6 million people.[310] According to third-party web analytics providers, Alexa and SimilarWeb, Facebook is ranked second and first globally respectively, it is the highest-read social network on the Web, with over 20 billion visitors per month, as of 2015.[311][312][313]SimilarWebQuantcast, and Compete.com all rank the website 2nd in the U.S. in traffic.[312][314][315] The website is the most popular for uploading photos, cumulatively with 50 billion uploaded.[316] In 2010, Sophos‘s “Security Threat Report 2010” polled over 500 firms, 60% of which responded that they believed Facebook was the social network that “posed the biggest threat to security,” well ahead of MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.[280]

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in several English-speaking countries, including Canada,[317] the United Kingdom,[318] and the United States.[319][320][321] However, Facebook still receives limited adoption in countries such as Japan, where domestically created social networks are still largely preferred.[322] In regional Internet markets, penetration on Facebook is highest in North America (69 percent), followed by Middle East-Africa (67 percent), Latin America (58 percent), Europe (57 percent), and Asia-Pacific (17 percent).[323] Some of the top competitors were listed in 2007 by Mashable.[324]

Awards and recognition

The website has won awards such as placement into the “Top 100 Classic Websites” by PC Magazine in 2007,[325] and winning the “People’s Voice Award” from the Webby Awards in 2008.[326] In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a company specializing in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named the “second most popular thing among undergraduates,” tied with beer and only ranked lower than the iPod.[327]

In 2010, Facebook won the Crunchie “Best Overall Startup Or Product” award[328] for the third year in a row.[329] However, in a July 2010 survey performed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook received a score of 64 out of 100, placing it in the bottom 5% of all private-sector companies in terms of customer satisfaction, alongside industries such as the IRS e-file system, airlines, and cable companies. The reasons why Facebook scored so poorly include privacy problems, frequent changes to the website’s interface, the results returned by the News Feed, and spam.[330]

In December 2008, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory ruled that Facebook is a valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants. It is believed to be the world’s first legal judgement that defines a summons posted on Facebook as legally binding.[331] In March 2009, the New Zealand High Court associate justice David Gendall allowed for the serving of legal papers on Craig Axe by the company Axe Market Garden via Facebook.[332][333] Employers have also used Facebook as a means to keep tabs on their employees and have even been known to fire them over posts they have made.[334]

By 2005, the use of Facebook had already become so ubiquitous that the generic verb “facebooking” had come into use to describe the process of browsing others’ profiles or updating one’s own.[335] In 2008, Collins English Dictionary declared “Facebook” as its new Word of the Year.[336] In December 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary declared its word of the year to be the verb “unfriend“, defined as “To remove someone as a ‘friend‘ on a social networking site such as Facebook.[337]

Criticisms and controversies

Graffiti in Berlin of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The caption is a reference to George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Facebook’s market dominance has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its shortcomings. Notable issues include Internet privacy, such as its widespread use of a “like” button on third-party websites tracking users,[338][339] possible indefinite records of user information,[340] automatic facial recognition software,[341][342] and its role in the workplace, including employer-employee account disclosure.[343] In a 2014 Huffington Post blog article entitled “Facebook: The World’s Biggest Waste of Time?”, Bill Robinson stated that going on Facebook was not a productive use of time and he raised concerns about its addictive qualities.[344] Timothy A Pychyl wrote in Psychology Todayabout his concerns that Facebook is leading to “technological time wasting” and procrastination.[345]

The use of Facebook can have psychological effects, including feelings of jealousy[346][347] and stress,[348][349] a lack of attention,[350] and social media addiction, in some cases comparable to drug addiction.[351][352]

Facebook’s company tactics have also received prominent coverage, including electricity usage,[353] tax avoidance,[354] real-name user requirement policies,[355] censorship,[356][357] and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program.[358]

Due to allowing users to publish material by themselves, Facebook has come under scrutiny for the amount of freedom it gives users, including copyright and intellectual property infringement,[359]hate speech,[360][361] incitement of rape[362] and terrorism,[363][364]fake news,[365][366][367] and crimes, murders and violent incidents live-streamed through its Facebook Live functionality.[368][369][370]

Facebook worked on special censorship software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in Communist-controlled China.[371]

The company has also been subject to multiple litigation cases over the years,[372][373][374][375] with its most prominent case concerning allegations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke an oral contract with Cameron WinklevossTyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra to build the then-named “HarvardConnection” social network in 2004, instead allegedly opting to steal the idea and code to launch Facebook months before HarvardConnection began.[376][377][378] The original lawsuit was eventually settled in 2009, with Facebook paying approximately $20 million in cash and 1.25 million shares.[379][380] A new lawsuit in 2011 was dismissed.[381]

On November 5, 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Russian state organizations with ties to Vladimir Putin pursued between 2009 and 2011 large investments in Facebook and Twitter via an intermediary—Russian-American entrepreneur Yuri Milner, who befriended Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg[382] and was a business associate of Jared KushnerPresidentDonald Trump‘s son-in-law.[383]According to The Express Tribune, Facebook is among the corporations that “avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies.”[384] A subsidiary of the Kremlin-controlled Gazprom funded an investment company that partnered with DST Global, an investment firm part of Mail.ru, to buy shares in Facebook, reaping millions when the social media giant went public in 2012. Four days after the Facebook IPO, a DST Global subsidiary sold more than 27 million shares of Facebook for roughly $1 billion.[385]

On March 6, 2018, BlackBerry sued Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp subdivision for ripping off key features of its messaging app.[386] According to BlackBerry, it invented the core concepts in mobile messaging app which were copied by Facebook and its subsidiaries.[387] According to the Facebook Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, BlackBerry abandoned its effort to innovate and it is now looking to tax the innovation of others.[388]

Cambridge Analytica

In March 2018, whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 50 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign. The data was collected using an app created by Global Science Research.[389] While approximate 270,000 people volunteered to use the app, Facebook’s API also permitted data collection from the friends of app users.[390] When the information was first reported Facebook tried to downplay the significance of the breach, and attempted to suggest that the stolen data was no longer available to Cambridge Analytica. However, with increasing scrutiny, Facebook issued a statement expressing alarm and suspended Cambridge Analytica, while review of documents and interviews with former Facebook employees suggested that Cambridge Analytica was still in possession of the data.[391] This is a violation of the consent decree entered into law by Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission, and violations of the consent decree could carry a penalty of $40,000 per violation, meaning that if news reports that the data of 50 million people were shared proves true, the company’s possible exposure runs into the trillions of dollars.[392]

According to The Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr who broke the story, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica threatened to sue the newspaper if it published the story and continually tried to prevent its publication. After the story was published anyway, Facebook claimed that it had been “lied to”. Cadwalladr said that Facebook was trying to shift the blame onto a third party. Nick Thompson of Wired and CBS News pointed out that Cambridge Analytica obtained all the personal data without having to “breach” Facebook, and that “It didn’t work because somebody hacked in and broke stuff, it worked because Facebook has built the craziest most invasive advertising model in the history of the world and someone took advantage of it.”[393] On March 23, 2018, The British High Court granted an application by the Information Commissioner’s Office for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s London offices ending a standoff between Facebook’s data team and the Information Commissioner over who is responsible for the forensic searching of the company’s servers.[394]

On March 25, Zuckerberg placed a newspaper ad in UK and US newspapers apologising over a “breach of trust”, newspapers included Sunday TelegraphSunday TimesMail on SundayObserverSunday Mirror and Sunday Express.[395]

You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We’ve already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.

We’re also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.

Finally, we’ll remind you which apps you’ve give access to your information – so you can shut off the ones you don’t want anymore.

Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.

On March 26, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into Facebook regarding the use of its data by Cambridge Analytica.[396]

Public Apologies

In early March of 2018, a U.K. based newspaper called The Observer reported that a “political consultancy” known as Cambridge Analytica had been provided access to the “personal data” of approximately 50 million Americans by Facebook. On March 21, 2018 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg issued the company’s first public statement since this information was publicly disclosed. However, another article was published on April 4th by Wired that reports a statement made by Facebook regarding the number of people affected. Mike Schroepfer – Facebook’s chief technology officer – disclosed that the amount is closer to 87 million via a blog post.[397] The earlier announcement discussed modification to the way that “third-party applications” could access data from Facebook.[398] An app downloaded by 270,000 people has been claimed to have led to the crisis. When users downloaded this app – called “thisisyourdigitallife” – information regarding the users’ preferred Facebook content as well as their “home town” could then be accessed by the app. This was than used to acquire similar information of the user’s contacts and continued to affect approximately 50 million people in total.[399] It has also been claimed that pre-existing policies around access to personal information of Facebook users by “third-party app developers” are foundational to the “crisis”.[400] The company has received significant backlash following the disclosure of the use of private data by other entities. This backlash has also taken the form of demands for legal accountability, including the opening of an investigation into the company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[401] Others such as Elon Musk, who has deleted his Facebook pages for SpaceX and Tesla, have publicly expressed their decision to terminate their use of the media platform for their purposes.[402]

According to a study done by Jeffery Child and Shawn Starcher in 2015, Facebook is a social media platform where “both known and unknown audiences can gain access to posted context, increasing the possibility for privacy breakdowns”.[403] The company has a history of making efforts of rapprochement for such privacy crises. Past apologies of Facebook started in 2009, when Facebook first launched their site worldwide. In the hopes of making it easier for users to share or keep their information private, the company ended up modifying the entire site and publicizing a subsequent apology for the situation.[404] For years, Facebook has been giving advertisers the option of having targeted ads based on data collecting companies like Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC.[401] In March 2016, Facebook first acknowledged that user data had been mishandled back in 2014 when a third-party app was linked back to Cambridge Analytica.[401] This was the same company that was hired by the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump. The media platform has also been accessed by individuals in addition to corporate entities for varying purposes. The site has been used to determine the eligibility for students to be employed or charged with a form of retribution in some cases, based on what they share or post.[405]

In response to criticism and outrage, different media outlets were used by the company to issue a public apology. On March 25, 2018 U.K. newspapers The ObserverThe Sunday TimesMail on SundaySunday MirrorSunday Express and Sunday Telegraph contained full-page ads depicting a personal apology from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In the United States, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal also contained the same page-length ads. In addition to the use of newspaper outlets, Mark Zuckerberg issued a verbal apology on CNN.[406] and took part in interviews with other news organizations such as Recode.[407] Zuckerberg has also made multiple other apologies over the course of the years regarding Facebook. In May of 2010, Zuckerberg issued a public apology over discrepancies in the privacy settings in The Washington Post via an Op-Ed article.[408] Similarly, the CEO has also made apologies via blog posts as well as through the Facebook platform itself.[408]

In an effort to earn back public trust, Facebook ended its partnerships with several data brokers who aid advertisers in targeting people on the social network.[401] The company has also adjusted the privacy settings again for its user base as well.[401] Previously, Facebook had its privacy settings spread out over 20 pages, and has now put all of its privacy settings on one page, which makes it harder for third-party apps to access the user’s personal information.[401] In addition to publicly apologizing, Facebook has said that it will be reviewing and auditing thousands of apps that display “suspicious activities” in an effort to ensure that this breach of privacy doesn’t happen again.[399] In a 2010 report regarding privacy, a research project stated that not a lot of information is available regarding the consequences of what people disclose online so often what is available are just reports made available through popular media.[409] In 2017, a former Facebook executive went on the record to discuss how social media platforms have contributed to the unraveling of the “fabric of society”.[410]

Impact

Facebook on the ad:tech 2010

Media impact

In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions on Facebook.[411] The company began its push by inviting a select group of British advertising leaders to meet Facebook’s top executives at an “influencers’ summit” in February 2010. Facebook has now been involved in campaigns for True BloodAmerican Idol, and Top Gear.[412] News and media outlets such as The Washington Post,[413]Financial Times[414] and ABC News[415] have used aggregated Facebook fan data to create various infographics and charts to accompany their articles. In 2012, beauty pageant Miss Sri Lanka Online was run exclusively using Facebook.[416]

Economic impact

Facebook, Inc. has utilized growing internet markets using a social media platform to expand its user base while generating billions of dollars in revenue from Facebook’s companies. Through empirical findings, economists have been able to identify key areas where Facebook has been able to stimulate economic activity by offering a free public good in that one user will not reduce the amount available to another, while also generating positive externalities. Thus, mobile phone manufactures and carriers have been beneficiaries of Facebook’s spillover effect. Three distinct areas have been found to add the most economic impact: platform competition, the marketing place, and user behavior data.[417]

Facebook’s platform is efficient because it lowers barriers to entry and lowers costs for businesses to rapidly innovate new ideas. Scalability is accomplished with less wasted resources and monetized by collecting user behavior and usage data for targeted advertising. Facebook advertising allows firms to reasonably scale up operations to reach Facebook users. Facebook’s daily active users have increased 18% year-over-year[418] and burgeoning from 1 million users in 2004, to over 1.9 billion in 2017. Facebook is a leader among tech companies who continues to improve their carbon impact through more efficient data centers and clean renewable energy.[419]

By the end of 2016, Facebook’s total revenue earnings were $27.638 billion, gross profit was $23.849 billion and a net income for the year was $10.188 billion.[420]

Facebook provides a development platform for many social gaming, communication, feedback, review, and other applications related to online activities. This open platform of Facebook has spawned many new businesses and added thousands of jobs to the economy. Zynga Inc., a leading company in social gaming app development, is an example of those businesses. An econometric analysis studied the impact of Facebook on the economy in terms of the number of jobs created and the economic value of those jobs. The conservative estimate was that the app development platform of Facebook added more than 182,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2011. The total economic value of the added employment was about $12 billion.[421]

Social impact

Facebook has affected the social life and activity of people in various ways. Facebook allows people using computers or mobile phones to continuously stay in touch with friends, relatives and other acquaintances wherever they are in the world, as long as there is access to the Internet. It has reunited lost family members and friends.[422][423] It allows users to trade ideas, stay informed with local or global developments, and unite people with common interests and/or beliefs through open, closed and private groups and other pages.[424][425]

Facebook’s social impact has also changed how people communicate. Rather than having to reply to others through email, Facebook allows users to broadcast or share content to others, and thereby to engage others or be engaged with others’ posts.[426]

Facebook has been successful and more socially impactful than many other social media sites. David Kirkpatrick, technology journalist and author of The Facebook Effect, believes that Facebook is structured in a way that is not easily replaceable. He challenges users to consider how difficult it would be to move all the relationships and photos to an alternative. Facebook has let people participate in an atmosphere with the “over the backyard fence quality” of a small town, despite the move to larger cities.[427] As per Pew Research Centersurvey, 44 percent of the overall US population gets news through Facebook.[428]

Emotional health impact

Facebook, and social media in general, has received significant media coverage for negative emotional health impacts.[429][430][431][432][433] Studies have shown that Facebook causes negative effects on self-esteem by triggering feelings of envy, with vacation and holiday photos proving to be the largest resentment triggers. Other prevalent causes of envy include posts by friends about family happiness and images of physical beauty—such envious feelings leave people lonely and dissatisfied with their own lives. A joint study by two German universities discovered that one out of three people were more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook,[434][435] and another study by Utah Valley University found that college students felt worse about their own lives following an increase in the amount of time spent on Facebook.[435][436][437]

In a presentation by California State University psychology professor Larry D. Rosen, he notes that teenagers using Facebook exhibit more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults show signs of antisocial behavior, mania, and aggressiveness. However, he also found positive effects from Facebook use, including signs of “virtual empathy” towards online friends and helping introverted persons learn social skills.[438] He said that “While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives”.[439]

In a blog post in December 2017, the company pointed to research that has shown “passively consuming” the News Feed, as in reading but not interacting, does indeed leave users with negative feelings afterwards, whereas interacting with messages points to improvements in well-being.[440]TechCrunch noted that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said in a recent earnings call that “Time spent is not a goal by itself. We want the time people spend on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions”.[441]

Political impact

A man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying “Facebook,#jan25, The Egyptian Social Network”

In February 2008, a Facebook group called “One Million Voices Against FARC” organized an event in which hundreds of thousands of Colombians marched in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC (from the group’s Spanish name).[442] In August 2010, one of North Korea‘s official government websites and the official news agency of the country, Uriminzokkiri, joined Facebook.[443]

During the Arab Spring many journalists made claims that Facebook played a major role in generating the 2011 Egyptian revolution.[444][445] On January 14, the Facebook page of “We are all khaled Said” was started by Wael Ghoniem Create Event to invite the Egyptian people to “peaceful demonstrations” on January 25. According to Mashable,[unreliable source?] in Tunisia and Egypt, Facebook became the primary tool for connecting all protesters and led the Egyptian government of Prime Minister Nazif to ban Facebook, Twitter and another websites on January 26[446] then ban all mobile and Internet connections for all of Egypt at midnight January 28. After 18 days, the uprising forced President Mubarak to resign.

In Bahrain uprising which started on February 14, 2011, Facebook was utilized by the Bahraini regime as well as regime loyalists to identify, capture and prosecute citizens involved in the protests. A 20-year-old woman named Ayat Al Qurmezi was identified as a protester using Facebook, taken from her home by masked commandos and put in prison.[447]

In 2011, Facebook filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a political action committee under the name FB PAC.[448] In an email to The Hill, a spokesman for Facebook said “Facebook Political Action Committee will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”[449]

During the Syrian civil war, the YPG, a libertarian army for Rojava has recruited westerners through Facebook in its fight against ISIL.[450][451] Dozens have joined its ranks for various reasons from religious to ideological. The Facebook page’s name “The Lions of Rojava” comes from a Kurdish saying which translates as “A lion is a lion, whether it’s a female or a male”, reflecting the organization’s feminist ideology.[452]

United States

Facebook’s role in the American political process was demonstrated in January 2008, shortly before the New Hampshire primary, when Facebook teamed up with ABC and Saint Anselm College to allow users to give live feedback about the “back to back” January 5 Republican and Democratic debates.[453][454][455] Facebook users took part in debate groups on specific topics, voter registration, and message questions.[456]

Over a million people installed the Facebook application “US Politics on Facebook” in order to take part, and the application measured users’ responses to specific comments made by the debating candidates.[457] This debate showed the broader community what many young students had already experienced: Facebook as a popular and powerful new way to interact and voice opinions. A poll by CBS NewsUWIRE and The Chronicle of Higher Education claimed to illustrate how the “Facebook effect” has affected youth voting rates, support by youth of political candidates, and general involvement by the youth population in the 2008 election.[458]

The new social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, made use first of the personal computer and the Internet, and after 2010 of the smart phones to connect hundreds of millions of people, especially those under age 35. By 2008, politicians and interest groups were experimenting with systematic use of social media to spread their message among much larger audiences than they had previously reached.[459][460]

Facebook is having an impact on local government as well. Justin Smith, a Colorado sheriff uses Facebook to disseminate his ideas on matters relating to local, state, and national concerns. He also publicizes crimes, particularly those that his department solves. He has seven thousand followers on the social medium, considered a large number. Smith said that he rarely goes out in public “when I don’t get feedback from folks. … Facebook is an interesting tool because I think it holds candidates and elected officials more accountable. Voters know where someone stands.”[461]

According to the Investor’s Business Daily, “In 2012, the Obama campaign encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends.”[462] Carol Davidsen, the Obama for America (OFA) former director of integration and media analytics, wrote that “Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realised that was what we were doing.”[463][464]

As American political strategists turn their attention to the 2016 presidential contest, they identify Facebook as an increasingly important advertising tool. Recent technical innovations have made possible more advanced divisions and subdivisions of the electorate. Most important, Facebook can now deliver video ads to small, highly targeted subsets. Television, by contrast, shows the same commercials to all viewers, and so cannot be precisely tailored.[465]

2016 United States elections

A Russian company bought more than $100,000 worth of Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election.[466] Special Council Robert Mueller, contacted Facebook subsequently to the company’s disclosure that it sold ads to a Russian Spy Agency-linked company (Internet Research Agency), and the Menlo Park-based company has pledged full cooperation in Mueller’s investigation, and began with providing all information about the advertisement buys by the Russian government, including the identities of the individuals and companies who made the purchases.[467]The Daily Beast reports that Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil.[468] Facebook has concluded that a 225,000-member anti-immigrant group that attempted to organize anti-Clinton rallies in Texas during the 2016 presidential campaign was “likely operated out of Russia,” Business Insider reports.[469] Russians also staged anti-Trump rallies in November 2016[470] and bought a Black Lives Matter Facebook ad during the 2016 campaign.[471]Pro-Publicaalso reported on how Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters.’ Facebook enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”[472]

As of mid-September 2017 Facebook still does not know the extent of Russia’s advertisement purchases during the 2016 election — or whether these unidentified ad buys are still on the site. A Facebook spokesman told CNN that there was “no sales support.” A company representative would not elaborate when asked by Business Insider if it plans to change its ad sales policy.[473]

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook shared copies of ads and account information related to the Russian ad purchases on its platform with Robert Mueller that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week. Facebook’s unusual compliance was in response to Search Warrants issued by Mueller’s Federal Grand Jury.[474] The Financial Times reports that United States Senate Intelligence committee seeks further information about Russia links with Facebook, and are stepping up the pressure on Facebook as concerns rise about the role the social media network played in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[475] CNN reports that Facebook handed Russia-linked ads over to Mueller under search warrant.[476]

Congressional Committees have said Facebook is withholding key information that could illuminate the shape and extent of a Russian propaganda campaign aimed at tilting the U.S. presidential election.[477] The Financial Times reports US lawmakers with access to sensitive intelligence have expressed fears that Russia’s campaign to influence US politics via Facebook is continuing today even as American investigators probe Moscow’s use of social media in the 2016 election.[478]

‘Being Patriotic,’ a Facebook group uncovered by The Daily Beast, is the first evidence of suspected Russian provocateurs explicitly mobilizing Trump supporters in real life.[479]The Washington Post reports Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims. The Russians took advantage of Facebook’s ability to simultaneously send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics and also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women. The ads suggest that Russian operatives worked off of evolving lists of racial, religious, political and economic themes. They used these to create pages, write posts and craft ads that would appear in user’s news feeds—with the apparent goal of appealing to one audience and alienating another.[480] Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump, regrets he dismissed election concerns.[481]The Daily Beast reports Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram.[482]The Daily Beast reports that Mark Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America.[483]

On November 5, 2017, The New York Times reported that Russian-American Billionaire Yuri Milner, who befriended Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg[484] had between 2009 and 2011 strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter.[485]

On March 17, 2018, The New York Times and The Observer of London reported the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach in which Cambridge Analytica collected personal information from Facebook users as a basis of crafting political campaigns for whomever purchased their services. As a result, Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica from advertising on its platform.[486][487]The Guardian reported further that Facebook has known about this security breach for two years, but has done nothing to protect its users.[488]

Bans and censorship

In many countries the social networking sites and mobile apps have been blocked temporarily or permanently, including ChinaIran, and North KoreaFacebook has been banned by Syria,[489]China,[490] and Iran.[491]

Scientific impact

In January 2018, Facebook launched a new unit of time, the flick, equivalent to 1/705600000 of a second, exactly.[492][493]

In popular culture

Facebook parade float in San Francisco Pride 2014

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

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Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Competition in Health Insurance Market With Association and Temporary Health Insurance Plans — Ends Health Care Subsidies To Insurance Companies Never Approved By Congress — Video —

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Foiled in Congress, Trump Signs Order to Undermine Obamacare

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that clears the way for potentially sweeping changes to the country’s health insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and protections for consumers than those mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

The president’s plan, an 1,100-word directive to federal agencies, laid the groundwork for an expanding array of health insurance products, mainly less comprehensive plans offered through associations of small employers and greater use of short-term medical coverage.

It was the first time since efforts to repeal the landmark health law collapsed in Congress that Mr. Trump has set forth his vision of how to remake the nation’s health care system using the powers of the executive branch. It immediately touched off a furious debate over whether the move would fatally destabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces or add welcome options to consumers complaining of high premiums and not enough choice.

In Congress, the move seemed to intensify the polarization over health care. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the president was offering “more affordable health insurance options” desperately needed by consumers. But the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said Mr. Trump was “using a wrecking ball to single-handedly rip apart our health care system.”

Most of the changes will not occur until federal agencies write and adopt regulations implementing them. The process, which includes a period for public comments, could take months. That means the order will probably not affect insurance coverage next year, but could lead to major changes in 2019.

“With these actions,” Mr. Trump said at a White House ceremony, “we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market, and taking crucial steps toward saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.”

“This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for,” the president predicted, “and they’re going to be very happy.’’

But many patients, doctors, hospital executives and state insurance regulators were not so happy. They said the changes envisioned by Mr. Trump could raise costs for sick people, increase sales of bare-bones insurance and add uncertainty to wobbly health insurance markets.

“Today’s executive order could leave millions of cancer patients and survivors unable to access meaningful coverage,’’ said Chris Hansen, the president of the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society.

GRAPHIC

We’re Tracking the Ways Trump Is Scaling Back Obamacare. Here Are 11.

What the administration has done to weaken the health law.

In a statement from six physician groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the doctors predicted, “Allowing insurers to sell narrow, low-cost health plans likely will cause significant economic harm to women and older, sicker Americans who stand to face higher-cost and fewer insurance options.”

While many health insurers remained silent about the executive order, some voiced concern that it could destabilize the market.

The Trump proposal “would draw younger and healthier people away from the exchanges and drive additional plans out of the market,” warned Ceci Connolly, the chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. “In turn, premiums would continue to increase, threatening the security of affordable coverage for millions of working families.”

The Affordable Care Act has expanded private insurance to millions of people through the creation of marketplaces, also known as exchanges, where people can purchase plans, in many cases using government subsidies to offset the cost. It also required that plans offered on the exchanges include a specific set of benefits, including hospital care, maternity care and mental health services, and it prohibited insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The order’s quickest impact on the marketplaces would be the potential expansion of short-term plans, which are exempt from Affordable Care Act requirements. The Obama administration limited the length of time people could enroll in such plans because companies were marketing them to healthy customers and luring people away from Affordable Care Act marketplaces, said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University. She predicted companies would seize the opportunity to resume sale of such policies, which are much less expensive than A.C.A. plans. “There are companies that are poised to aggressively market this stuff,” she said.

Many health policy experts worry that if large numbers of healthy people move into such plans, it would drive up premiums for those left in Affordable Care Act plans because the risk pool would have sicker people.

“If the short-term plans are able to siphon off the healthiest people, then the more highly regulated marketplaces may not be sustainable,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “These plans follow no rules.”

Short-term policies could be useful to people in counties where only one insurer is offering plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplace, according to a White House document.

But short-term policies can also limit benefits and charge higher premiums to people who have expensive medical conditions, a type of discrimination banned in policies regulated under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Trump’s order would also eventually make it easier for small businesses to band together and buy insurance through entities known as association health plans, which could be created by business and professional groups. A White House official said these health plans “could potentially allow American employers to form groups across state lines” — a goal championed by Mr. Trump and many other Republicans — allowing more options and the formation of larger risk pools.

“This could turn back the clock three decades on small business insurance,” Mr. Levitt said. Without the oversight by states, “this could create an unregulated and risky market that we haven’t seen for decades,’ he said.

The order won applause from potential sponsors of association health plans, including the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group for the construction industry.

The White House released a document saying that some consumer protections would remain in place for association plans. “Employers participating in an association health plan cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan and cannot develop premiums based on health conditions” of individual employees, according to the document.

But state officials pointed out that an association health plan can set different rates for different employers, so that a company with older, sicker workers might have to pay much more than a firm with young, healthy employees.

“Two employers in an association can be charged very different rates, based on the medical claims filed by their employees,” said Mike Kreidler, the state insurance commissioner in Washington.

Mr. Trump’s order followed the pattern of previous policy shifts that originated with similar directives to agencies to come up with new rules. Within hours of his inauguration in January, he ordered federal agencies to find ways to waive or defer provisions of the Affordable Care Act that might burden consumers, insurers or health care providers. In May, he directed officials to help employers with religious objections to the federal mandate for insurance coverage of contraception.

Both of those orders were followed up with specific, substantive regulations that rolled back policies of President Barack Obama.

In battles over the Affordable Care Act this year, Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans said they wanted to give state officials vast new power to regulate insurance because state officials were wiser than federal officials and better understood local needs. But under the order, the federal government could pre-empt many state insurance rules, a prospect that alarms state insurance regulators.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, representing state officials, has long opposed association health plans because they could be largely exempt from state regulation. Ted Nickel, the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, who is also the top insurance regulator in Wisconsin, said the proliferation of association health plans could further destabilize “already fragile markets.’’

Another part of Mr. Trump’s order indicates that he may wish to crack down on the consolidation of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers, a trend that critics say has driven up costs for consumers. Mr. Trump said that administration officials, working with the Federal Trade Commission, should report to him within 180 days on federal and state policies that limit competition and choice in the health care industry.

Trump’s Association Health Plans Are An Old Idea That Hasn’t Worked

I write about healthcare business and policy  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on health care Thursday that he said was designed to spur competition in the individual insurance market, but the main component of it has been tried before and hasn’t worked out well for small business or consumers.

Trump Thursday directed his cabinet to ease rules to allow small employers to band together through trade groups to create “Association Health Plans” that could form across state lines to offer coverage while attracting more competition among insurers.

President Donald Trump signs an executive order Thursday “to promote healthcare choice and competition.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“They will have so many options,” Trump said Thursday morning at a signing ceremony for the executive order. “This will cost the U.S. government virtually nothing.”

But those who have studied insurance sales across state lines and past efforts dating to the 1980sof small groups to band together to compete with health plans say they haven’t worked. And when association health plans offering skimpier benefits have operated in the past, consumers have suffered and established insurers have stayed away from offering bare-bones policies as analysts expect they will do this time.

“AHPs do have a poor track record, both in terms of insolvency and also, unfortunately, of fraud,” Sabrina Corlette , professor with the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University who is also the consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said Thursday.

Trump said Thursday these new plans will draw “millions” of consumers to lower rates and policies free of “Obamacare” rules and regulations under the Affordable Care Act.

“The health insurance sold via the AHP could become exempt from consumer protections such as the essential health benefits standard and the prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions,” Corlette and colleague Kevin Lucia wrote for The Commonwealth Fund. “The result would be increased risk for higher premiums and fewer plan options on the individual market, as well as fraud and insolvency.”

Even if AHPs have fewer rules to abide by than health insurers that sell on public exchanges under the ACA, the plans will still have to be well capitalized to pay doctors and hospitals and pool premiums to pay insurance claims. That requires a lot of money to establish health plan networks.

A key reason insurers like Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group left the ACA’s public exchanges is due to lack of customers and disinterest in creating larger networks, particularly in rural areas where they haven’t historically operated. Rural areas have been largely dominated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, which are continuing to participate on the ACA’s public exchanges.

Health insurance companies in some states can already sell health coverage across state lines, but it hasn’t worked in large part because plans haven’t wanted to spend the money contracting with more doctors and hospitals in areas they have no enrollees. Six states have enacted laws allowing health plan sales across state lines and “no state was known to actually offer or sell such policies,” National Conference of State Legislatures said in a new report last week.

The health insurance industry issued a statement after Trump’s executive order that was far from an endorsement, saying plans needed to further evaluate its impact. But insurers don’t appear interested in eliminating consumer protections and the trend toward health plan networks that measure quality and health outcomes.

“Health plans remain committed to certain principles,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents Anthem, Centene and several Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, said. “We believe that reforms must stabilize the individual market for lower costs, higher consumer satisfaction, and better health outcomes for everyone. And we believe that we cannot jeopardize the stability of other markets that provide coverage for hundreds of millions of Americans.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/10/12/trumps-association-health-plans-are-an-old-idea-that-hasnt-worked/#695e56562748

President Trump signed an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Insurers have said they will need much higher premiums and may pull out of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act if the subsidies were cut off. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade.

“The government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments,” the White House said in a statement.

It concluded that “Congress needs to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare law and provide real relief to the American people.”

In a joint statement, the top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said Mr. Trump had “apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system.”

“It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America,” they said. “Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.”

Lawmakers from both parties have urged the president to continue the payments. Mr. Trump had raised the possibility of eliminating the subsidies at a White House meeting with Republican senators several months ago. At the time, one senator told him that the Republican Party would effectively “own health care” as a political issue if the president did so.

“Cutting health care subsidies will mean more uninsured in my district,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, wrote on Twitter late Thursday. She added that Mr. Trump “promised more access, affordable coverage. This does opposite.”

But Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, praised Mr. Trump’s decision and said the Obama administration had usurped the authority of Congress by paying the subsidies. “Under our Constitution,” Mr. Ryan said, “the power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the executive branch.”

The future of the payments has been in doubt because of a lawsuit filed in 2014 by House Republicans, who said the Obama administration was paying the subsidies illegally. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the United States District Court in Washington agreed, finding that Congress had never appropriated money for the cost-sharing subsidies.

The Obama administration appealed the ruling. The Trump administration has continued the payments from month to month, even though Mr. Trump has made clear that he detests the payments and sees them as a bailout for insurance companies.

This summer, a group of states, including New York and California, was allowed to intervene in the court case over the subsidies. The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said on Thursday night that the coalition of states “stands ready to sue” if Mr. Trump cut off the subsidies.

GRAPHIC

We’re Tracking the Ways Trump Is Scaling Back Obamacare. Here Are 12.

What the administration has done to weaken the health law.

Mr. Trump’s decision to stop the subsidy payments puts pressure on Congress to provide money for them in a spending bill.

Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Senate health committee, and Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the senior Democrat on the panel, have been trying to work out a bipartisan deal that would continue the subsidy payments while making it easier for states to obtain waivers from some requirements of the Affordable Care Act. White House officials have sent mixed signals about whether Mr. Trump was open to such a deal.

The decision to end subsidies came on the heels of Mr. Trump’s executive order, which he signed earlier Thursday.

With an 1,100-word directive to federal agencies, the president laid the groundwork for an expanding array of health insurance products, mainly less comprehensive plans offered through associations of small employers and greater use of short-term medical coverage.

It was the first time since efforts to repeal the landmark health law collapsed in Congress that Mr. Trump has set forth his vision of how to remake the nation’s health care system using the powers of the executive branch. It immediately touched off a debate over whether the move would fatally destabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces or add welcome options to consumers complaining of high premiums and not enough choice.

Most of the changes will not occur until federal agencies write and adopt regulations implementing them. The process, which includes a period for public comments, could take months. That means the order will probably not affect insurance coverage next year, but could lead to major changes in 2019.

“With these actions,” Mr. Trump said at a White House ceremony, “we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market, and taking crucial steps toward saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.”

“This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for,” the president predicted, “and they’re going to be very happy.”

But many patients, doctors, hospital executives and state insurance regulators were not so happy. They said the changes envisioned by Mr. Trump could raise costs for sick people, increase sales of bare-bones insurance and add uncertainty to wobbly health insurance markets.

Chris Hansen, the president of the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society, said the order “could leave millions of cancer patients and survivors unable to access meaningful coverage.”

In a statement from six physician groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the doctors predicted that “allowing insurers to sell narrow, low-cost health plans likely will cause significant economic harm to women and older, sicker Americans who stand to face higher-cost and fewer insurance options.”

While many health insurers remained silent about the executive order, some voiced concern that it could destabilize the market. The Trump proposal “would draw younger and healthier people away from the exchanges and drive additional plans out of the market,” warned Ceci Connolly, the chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans.

Administration officials said they had not yet decided which federal and state rules would apply to the new products. Without changing the law, they said, they can rewrite federal regulations so that more health plans would be exempt from some of its requirements.

The Affordable Care Act has expanded private insurance to millions of people through the creation of marketplaces, also known as exchanges, where people can purchase plans, in many cases using government subsidies to offset the cost. It also required that plans offered on the exchanges include a specific set of benefits, including hospital care, maternity care and mental health services, and it prohibited insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The executive order’s quickest effect on the marketplaces would be the potential expansion of short-term plans, which are exempt from Affordable Care Act requirements. Many health policy experts worry that if large numbers of healthy people move into such plans, it would drive up premiums for those left in Affordable Care Act plans because the risk pool would have sicker people.

“If the short-term plans are able to siphon off the healthiest people, then the more highly regulated marketplaces may not be sustainable,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “These plans follow no rules.”

Mr. Trump’s order would also eventually make it easier for small businesses to band together and buy insurance through entities known as association health plans, which could be created by business and professional groups. A White House official said these health plans “could potentially allow American employers to form groups across state lines” — a goal championed by Mr. Trump and many other Republicans — allowing more options and the formation of larger risk pools.

Association plans have a troubled history. Because the plans were not subject to state regulations that required insurers to have adequate financial resources, some became insolvent, leaving people with unpaid medical bills. Some insurers were accused of fraud, telling customers that the plans were more comprehensive than they were and leaving them uncovered when consumers became seriously ill.

The White House said that a broader interpretation of federal law — the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 — “could potentially allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer health care coverage to their employees.”

The order won applause from potential sponsors of association health plans, including the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group for the construction industry.

The White House released a document saying that some consumer protections would remain in place for association plans. “Employers participating in an association health plan cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan and cannot develop premiums based on health conditions” of individual employees, according to the document. But state officials pointed out that an association health plan can set different rates for different employers, so that a company with older, sicker workers might have to pay much more than a firm with young, healthy employees.

“Two employers in an association can be charged very different rates, based on the medical claims filed by their employees,” said Mike Kreidler, the state insurance commissioner in Washington.

Mr. Trump’s order followed the pattern of previous policy shifts that originated with similar directives to agencies to come up with new rules.

Within hours of his inauguration in January, he ordered federal agencies to find ways to waive or defer provisions of the Affordable Care Act that might burden consumers, insurers or health care providers. In May, he directed officials to help employers with religious objections to the federal mandate for insurance coverage of contraception.

Both of those orders were followed up with specific, substantive regulations that rolled back Mr. Obama’s policies.

3350COMMENTS

In battles over the Affordable Care Act this year, Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans said they wanted to give state officials vast new power to regulate insurance because state officials were wiser than federal officials and better understood local needs. But under Thursday’s order, the federal government could pre-empt many state insurance rules, a prospect that alarms state insurance regulators.

Another part of Mr. Trump’s order indicates that he may wish to crack down on the consolidation of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers, a trend that critics say has driven up costs for consumers. Mr. Trump said that administration officials, working with the Federal Trade Commission, should report to him within 180 days on federal and state policies that limit competition and choice in the health care industry.

Executive order (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Executive Orders are presidential directives issued by United States Presidents and are generally directed towards officers and agencies of the U.S. federal government. Executive orders may have the force of law, if based on the authority derived from statute or the Constitution itself. The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation).[1]

Like both legislative statutes and regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review and may be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution.[2] Major policy initiatives require approval by the legislative branch, but executive orders have significant influence over the internal affairs of government, deciding how and to what degree legislation will be enforced, dealing with emergencies, waging wars, and in general fine-tuning policy choices in the implementation of broad statutes.

Basis in the United States Constitution

The United States Constitution does not have a provision that explicitly permits the use of executive orders. The term executive power in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution is not entirely clear. The term is mentioned as direction to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and is part of Article II, Section 3. The consequence of failing to comply could possibly be removal from office.[3][4]

The U.S. Supreme Court has held[5] that all executive orders from the President of the United States must be supported by the Constitution, whether from a clause granting specific power, or by Congress delegating such to the executive branch.[6] Specifically, such orders must be rooted in Article II of the US Constitution or enacted by the congress in statutes. Attempts to block such orders have been successful at times when such orders exceeded the authority of the president or could be better handled through legislation.[7]

The Office of the Federal Register is responsible for assigning the executive order a sequential number after receipt of the signed original from the White House and printing the text of the executive order in the daily Federal Register and Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.[8]

History and use

With the exception of William Henry Harrison, all presidents beginning with George Washington in 1789 have issued orders that in general terms can be described as executive orders. Initially they took no set form. Consequently, such orders varied as to form and substance.[9]

The first executive order was issued by George Washington on June 8, 1789, addressed to the heads of the federal departments, instructing them “to impress me with a full, precise, and distinct general idea of the affairs of the United States” in their fields.[10]

The most famous executive order was by President Abraham Lincoln when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Political scientist Brian R. Dirck states:

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, itself a rather unusual thing in those days. Executive orders are simply presidential directives issued to agents of the executive department by its boss.[11]

Until the early 1900s, executive orders went mostly unannounced and undocumented, seen only by the agencies to which they were directed. This changed when the Department of State instituted a numbering scheme in 1907, starting retroactively with United States Executive Order 1 issued on October 20, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln.[12] The documents that later came to be known as “executive orders” apparently gained their name from this order issued by Lincoln, which was captioned “Executive Order Establishing a Provisional Court in Louisiana”.[13] This court functioned during the military occupation of Louisiana during the American Civil War, and Lincoln also used Executive Order 1 to appoint Charles A. Peabody as judge, and to designate the salaries of the court’s officers.[12]

President Truman’s Executive Order 10340 in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 US 579 (1952) placed all steel mills in the country under federal control. This was found invalid because it attempted to make law, rather than clarify or act to further a law put forth by the Congress or the Constitution. Presidents since this decision have generally been careful to cite which specific laws they are acting under when issuing new executive orders. Likewise, when presidents believe their authority for issuing an executive order stems from within the powers outlined in the Constitution, the order will simply proclaim “under the authority vested in me by the Constitution” instead.

Wars have been fought upon executive order, including the 1999 Kosovo War during Bill Clinton‘s second term in office. However, all such wars have had authorizing resolutions from Congress. The extent to which the president may exercise military power independently of Congress and the scope of the War Powers Resolution remain unresolved constitutional issues, although all presidents since its passage have complied with the terms of the resolution while maintaining that they are not constitutionally required to do so.

President Truman issued 907 executive orders, with 1,081 orders by Theodore Roosevelt, 1,203 orders by Calvin Coolidge, and 1,803 orders by Woodrow Wilson. Franklin D. Roosevelt has the distinction of making a record 3,522 executive orders.

Franklin Roosevelt

Prior to 1932, uncontested executive orders had determined such issues as national mourning on the death of a president, and the lowering of flags to half-staff. President Franklin Roosevelt issued the first of his 3,522 executive orders on March 6, 1933, declaring a bank holiday, forbidding banks to release gold coin or bullionExecutive Order 6102 forbade the hoarding of gold coin, bullion and gold certificates. A further executive order required all newly mined domestic gold be delivered to the Treasury.[14]

By Executive Order 6581, the president created the Export-Import Bank of the United States. On March 7, 1934, he created the National Industrial Recovery Act (Executive Order 6632). On June 29, the president issued Executive Order 6763 “under the authority vested in me by the Constitution”, thereby creating the National Labor Relations Board.

In 1934, while Charles Evans Hughes was Chief Justice of the United States (in the time period known as the Hughes Court), the Court found that the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was unconstitutional. The president then issued Executive Order 7073 “by virtue of the authority vested in me under the said Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935“, reestablishing the National Emergency Council to administer the functions of the NIRA in carrying out the provisions of the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act. On June 15, he issued Executive Order 7075, which terminated NIRA and replaced it with the Office of Administration of the National Recovery Administration.[15]

In the years that followed, President Roosevelt replaced the outgoing judges with those more in line with his views, ultimately appointing Hugo BlackStanley ReedFelix FrankfurterWilliam O. DouglasFrank MurphyRobert H. Jackson and James F. Byrnes to the Court. Historically, only George Washington had equal or greater influence over Supreme Court appointments, choosing all of its original members. Justices Frankfurter, Douglas, Black, and Jackson dramatically checked presidential power by invalidating the executive order at issue in The Steel Seizure Case (i.e., Executive Order 10340). In that case Roosevelt’s successor, President Truman, had ordered private steel production facilities seized in support of the Korean War effort, but the Court held the executive order was not within the power granted to the President by the Constitution.

Table of Presidents using Executive Orders

President Number
issued [14]
Starting with
E.O. number [14]
George Washington 8 n/a
John Adams 1 n/a
Thomas Jefferson 4 n/a
James Madison 1 n/a
James Monroe 1 n/a
John Quincy Adams 3 n/a
Andrew Jackson 12 n/a
Martin van Buren 10 n/a
William Henry Harrison 0 n/a
John Tyler 17 n/a
James K. Polk 18 n/a
Zachary Taylor 5 n/a
Millard Fillmore 12 n/a
Franklin Pierce 35 n/a
James Buchanan 16 n/a
Abraham Lincoln 48 1
Andrew Johnson 79
Ulysses S. Grant 217
Rutherford B. Hayes 92
James Garfield 6
Chester Arthur 96
Grover Cleveland (first term) 113
Benjamin Harrison 143
Grover Cleveland (second term) 140
William McKinley 185
Theodore Roosevelt 1,081
William Howard Taft 724
Woodrow Wilson 1,803
Warren G. Harding 522
Calvin Coolidge 1,203
Herbert Hoover 968 5075
Franklin D. Roosevelt (~3.05 terms) 3,522 6071
Harry S. Truman 907 9538
Dwight D. Eisenhower 484 10432
John F. Kennedy 214 10914
Lyndon B. Johnson 325 11128
Richard Nixon 346 11452
Gerald R. Ford 169 11798
Jimmy Carter 320 11967
Ronald Reagan 381 12287
George H. W. Bush 166 12668
Bill Clinton[16] 308 12834
George W. Bush[16] 291 13198
Barack Obama[16] 276 13489
Donald Trump (as of September 29, 2017) [16][17] 49 13765

Reaction

Large policy changes with wide-ranging effects have been implemented through executive order, including the racial integration of the armed forces under Harry Truman and the desegregation of public schools under Dwight D. Eisenhower[citation needed].

Two extreme examples of an executive order are Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102 “forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States” and Executive Order 9066, which delegated military authority to remove any or all people in a military zone (used to target Japanese-Americans and German-Americans in certain regions). The order was then delegated to GeneralJohn L. DeWitt, and subsequently paved the way for all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast to be sent to internment camps for the duration of World War II.

President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233 in 2001, which restricted public access to the papers of former presidents. The order was criticized by the Society of American Archivists and other groups, who stated that it “violates both the spirit and letter of existing U.S. law on access to presidential papers as clearly laid down in 44 USC 2201–07″, and adding that the order “potentially threatens to undermine one of the very foundations of our nation”. President Barack Obama revoked Executive Order 13233 in January 2009.[18]

The Heritage Foundation has accused presidents of abusing executive orders by using them to make laws without Congressional approval and moving existing laws away from their original mandates.[19]

Legal conflicts

In 1935, the Supreme Court overturned five of President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive orders (6199, 6204, 6256, 6284, 6855). Executive Order 12954, issued by President Bill Clinton in 1995, attempted to prevent the federal government from contracting with organizations that had strike-breakers on the payroll; a federal appeals court subsequently ruled that the order conflicted with the National Labor Relations Act, and invalidated the order.[20][21]

Congress has the power to overturn an executive order by passing legislation that invalidates it. Congress can also refuse to provide funding necessary to carry out certain policy measures contained with the order or to legitimize policy mechanisms. In the case of the former, the president retains the power to veto such a decision; however, the Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds majority to end an executive order. It has been argued that a congressional override of an executive order is a nearly impossible event, due to the supermajority vote required and the fact that such a vote leaves individual lawmakers vulnerable to political criticism.[22]

On July 30, 2014, the Republican-led House of Representatives approved a resolution authorizing Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner to sue President Barack Obama over claims that he exceeded his executive authority in changing a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) on his own[23] and over what Republicans claimed had been “inadequate enforcement of the health care law”, which Republican lawmakers opposed. In particular, Republicans “objected that the Obama administration delayed some parts of the law, particularly the mandate on employers who do not provide health care coverage”.[24] The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 21, 2014.[25]

Part of President Donald Trump’s executive order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which temporarily banned entry to the US from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including for permanent residents, was stayed by a federal court on January 28, 2017.[26]

State governors’ executive orders

Executive orders issued by state governors are not the same as statutes passed by state legislatures, but do have the force of law in a similar way to the federal system. State executive orders are usually based on existing constitutional or statutory powers of the governor and do not require any action by the state legislature to take effect.

Executive orders may, for example, demand budget cuts from state government when the state legislature is not in session, and economic conditions take a downturn, thereby decreasing tax revenue below what was forecast when the budget was approved. Depending on the state constitution, a governor may specify what percentage each government agency must reduce by, and may exempt those that are already particularly underfunded, or cannot put long-term expenses (such as capital expenditures) off until a later fiscal year. The governor may also call the legislature into special session.

There are also other uses for gubernatorial executive orders. In 2007, for example, George “Sonny” Perdue, governor of Georgia, issued an executive order for all of its state agencies to reduce water use during a major drought. This was also demanded of its counties‘ water systems, however it is unclear whether this order would have the force of law.

Presidential proclamation

According to political expert Phillip J. Cooper, a presidential proclamation “states a condition, declares a law and requires obedience, recognizes an event or triggers the implementation of a law (by recognizing that the circumstances in law have been realized)”.[27]Presidents define situations or conditions on situations that become legal or economic truth. These orders carry the same force of law as executive orders—the difference between the two is that executive orders are aimed at those inside government while proclamations are aimed at those outside government.

The administrative weight of these proclamations is upheld because they are often specifically authorized by congressional statute, making them “delegated unilateral powers.” Presidential proclamations are often dismissed as a practical presidential tool for policy making because of the perception of proclamations as largely ceremonial or symbolic in nature. However, the legal weight of presidential proclamations suggests their importance to presidential governance.[28]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order_(United_States)

Powers of the President of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The President of the United States has numerous powers, including those explicitly granted by Article II of the United States Constitution.

The Constitution explicitly assigned the president the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of their Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors. The president may make treaties which need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The president may also appoint Article III judges and some officers with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. In the condition of a Senate recess, the president may make a temporary appointment.

Executive powers

Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the priorities of the government. The president can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require approval of the United States Congress. Executive orders are subject to judicial review and interpretation.

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 put additional responsibilities on the presidency for the preparation of the United States federal budget, although Congress was required to approve it.[1] The act required the Office of Management and Budget to assist the president with the preparation of the budget. Previous presidents had the privilege of impounding funds as they saw fit, however the United States Supreme Court revoked the privilege in 1998 as a violation of the Presentment Clause. The power was available to all presidents and was regarded as a power inherent to the office. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 was passed in response to large-scale power exercises by President Nixon. The act also created the Congressional Budget Office as a legislative counterpoint to the Office of Management and Budget.

The president, as the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, may also call into federal service individual state units of the National Guard. In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the president broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the security of the United States, but these powers were not expressly granted by the United States Constitution.[2] During the Vietnam War, in 1973, Congress expeditiously passed the War Powers Act and severely limited the ability of the President to conduct warfare without Congressional approval. Congress was constitutionally provided the power to declare the war,[3] but if the president needed to send the troops to other countries for emergency reasons, approved statutes required the notification of Congress within forty-eight hours. For any time beyond sixty days, further congressional approval was required.

Powers related to legislation

The president has several options when presented with a bill from Congress. If the president agrees with the bill, he can sign it into law within ten days of receipt. If the president opposes the bill, he can veto it and return the bill to Congress with a veto message suggesting changes unless the Congress is out of session then the president may rely on a pocket veto.

Presidents are required to approve all of a bill or none of it; selective vetoes have been prohibited. In 1996, Congress gave President Bill Clinton a line-item veto over parts of a bill that required spending federal funds. The Supreme Court, in Clinton v. New York City, found Clinton’s veto of pork-barrel appropriations for New York City to be unconstitutional because only a constitutional amendment could give the president line-item veto power.[4]

When a bill is presented for signature, the president may also issue a signing statement with expressions of their opinion on the constitutionality of a bill’s provisions. The president may even declare them unenforceable but the Supreme Court has yet to address this issue.[5]

Congress may override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. The process has traditionally been difficult and relatively rare. The threat of a presidential veto has usually provided sufficient pressure for Congress to modify a bill so the President would be willing to sign it.

Much of the legislation dealt with by Congress is drafted at the initiative of the executive branch.[6] The president may personally propose legislation in annual and special messages to Congress including the annual State of the Union address and joint sessions of Congress. If Congress has adjourned without acting on proposals, the president may call a special session of the Congress.

Beyond these official powers, the U.S. president, as a leader of his political party and the United States government, holds great sway over public opinion whereby they may influence legislation.

To improve the working relationship with Congress, presidents in recent years have set up an Office of Legislative Affairs. Presidential aides have kept abreast of all important legislative activities.

Powers of appointment

The President of the United States has several different appointment powers.

Before taking office, the president-elect must appoint more than 6,000 new federal positions.[7] The appointments range from top officials at U.S. government agencies, to the White House Staff, and members of the United States diplomatic corps. Many, but not all, of these positions at the highest levels are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.[8]

The president also nominates persons to fill federal judicial vacancies, including federal judges, such as members of the United States Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. These nominations require Senate confirmation, and this can provide a major stumbling block for presidents who wish to shape the federal judiciary in a particular ideological stance.

As head of the executive branch, the president appoints the top officials for all federal agencies. These positions are listed in the Plum Book which outlines more than seven thousand appointive positions in the government. Many of these appointments are made by the president. In the case of ten agencies, the president is free to appoint a new agency head. For example, it is not unusual for the CIA‘s Director or NASA‘s Administrator to be changed by the president. Other agencies that deal with federal regulation such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission have set terms that will often outlast presidential terms. For example, governors of the Federal Reserve serve for fourteen years to ensure agency independence. The president also appoints members to the boards of directors for government-owned corporations such as Amtrak. The president can also make a recess appointment if a position needs to be filled while Congress is not in session.[9]

In the past, presidents could appoint members of the United States civil service. This use of the spoils system allowed presidents to reward political supporters with jobs. Following the assassination of President James Garfield by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled office seeker, Congress instituted a merit-based civil service in which positions are filled on a nonpartisan basis.[10] The Office of Personnel Management now oversees the staffing of 2.8 million federal jobs in the federal bureaucracy.

The president must also appoint his staff of aides, advisers, and assistants. These individuals are political appointments and are not subject to review by the Senate. All members of the staff serve “at the pleasure of the President“.[11][12] Since 1995, the president has been required to submit an annual report to Congress listing the name and salary of every employee of the White House Office. The 2011 report listed 454 employees.[13]

Executive clemency

Article II of the United States Constitution gives the president the power of clemency. The two most commonly used clemency powers are those of pardon and commutation. A pardon is an official forgiveness for an acknowledged crime. Once a pardon is issued, all punishment for the crime is waived. The person accepting the pardon must, however, acknowledge that the crime did take place.[14] The president can only grant pardons for federal offences.[15] The president maintains the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to review all requests for pardons. The president can also commute a sentence which, in effect, changes the punishment to time served. While the guilty party may be released from custody or not have to serve out a prison term, all other punishments still apply.

Most pardons are issued as oversight of the judicial branch, especially in cases where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are considered too severe. This power can check the legislative and judicial branches by altering punishment for crimes. Presidents can issue blanket amnesty to forgive entire groups of people. For example, President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers who had fled to Canada. Presidents can also issue temporary suspensions of prosecution or punishment in the form of respites. This power is most commonly used to delay federal sentences of execution.

Pardons can be controversial when they appear to be politically motivated. President George W. Bush commuted the sentence of White House staffer Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Foreign affairs

Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official that is primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. The president appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls (subject to confirmation by the Senate) and receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials.[2] With the Secretary of State, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments.

On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where heads of state meet for direct consultation.[16] For example, President Wilson led the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after World War I; President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Allied leaders during World War II; and every president sits down with world leaders to discuss economic and political issues and to reach agreements.

Through the Department of State and the Department of Defense, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments,[17] and negotiate treaties with other nations, which become binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The president may also negotiate executive agreements with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation.[18]

Emergency powers

The Constitution does not expressly grant the president additional powers in times of national emergency. However, many scholars think that the Framers implied these powers because the structural design of the Executive Branch enables it to act faster than the Legislative Branch. Because the Constitution remains silent on the issue, the courts cannot grant the Executive Branch these powers when it tries to wield them. The courts will only recognize a right of the Executive Branch to use emergency powers if Congress has granted such powers to the president.[19]

A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex Parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order. [20]

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States[21]

Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he nationalized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952.[22] With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped.[23] The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the president the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. [24]

Executive privilege

Executive privilege gives the president the ability to withhold information from the public, Congress, and the courts in national security and diplomatic affairs.[25] George Washington first claimed privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice John Jay‘s notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution, Washington’s action created the precedent for privilege. When Richard Nixon tried to use executive privilege as a reason for not turning over subpoenaed audio tapes to a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that privilege was not absolute. The Court reasoned that the judiciary’s interest in the “fair administration of criminal justice” outweighed President Nixon’s interest in keeping the evidence secret.[26] Later President Bill Clinton lost in federal court when he tried to assert privilege in the Lewinsky affair. The Supreme Court affirmed this in Clinton v. Jones, which denied the use of privilege in cases of civil suits.[27]

Constraints on presidential power

Because of the vast array of presidential roles and responsibilities, coupled with a conspicuous presence on the national and international scene, political analysts have tended to place great emphasis on the president’s powers. Some have even spoken of “the imperial presidency“, referring to the expanded role of the office that Franklin D. Roosevelt maintained during his term.

President Theodore Roosevelt famously called the presidency a “bully pulpit” from which to raise issues nationally, for when a president raises an issue, it inevitably becomes subject to public debate. A president’s power and influence may be limited, but politically the president is certainly the most important power in Washington and, furthermore, is one of the most famous and influential of all Americans.

Though constrained by various other laws passed by Congress, the president’s executive branch conducts most foreign policy, and their power to order and direct troops as commander-in-chief is quite significant (the exact limits of what a president’s military powers without Congressional authorization are open to debate).

The Separation of Powers devised by the founding fathers was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as “checks and balances”. For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries, but these appointments must be approved by the Senate. The president can veto bills, or deny them. If he does that, the bill is sent back to Congress.

See also

References

 

Story 3: Will Trump’s Promised Middle Class Tax Cut Become Law? — Tax Cut Yes — Fundamental Tax Reform No — Videos

President Trump Delivers Incredible Tax Speech In PA

President Trump’s Major Speech on Tax Reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 10/11/17

Trump vows largest tax cut in the history of this country

FULL President Trump Hannity Interview 10/11/17

Donald Trump: Simplify the Tax Code

Bill Gates: Don’t tax my income, tax my consumption

Wealth Inequality in America

The middle class is shrinking just about everywhere in America

There’s less middle in the middle class as income inequality grows, Pew analysis finds

The American dream is turned into poverty. Documentary 2017

 

FairTax

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Fair Tax Economics 2016 DO

Income Tax vs. Consumption Tax

Shattering The FairTax Evasion Myth (long version)

Pence on the Fair Tax

Sen. Moran Discusses FairTax Legislation on U.S. Senate Floor

How will the FairTax affect CPA’s and Accountants?

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

FairTax Composite

 

Trump to trucking: Tax reform a boon for carriers, drivers and industry at large

By James Jaillet

 

Trump promises big tax cuts, but GOP-led Congress is already thinking about scaling back

President Trump promised the largest tax cut in history, but as he hit the road Wednesday to promote the plan, Republicans in Congress were quietly discussing scaling back key provisions in an effort to deliver the top White House priority.

There’s already talk that the cornerstone of the GOP proposal — a dramatically reduced 20% corporate tax rate that Trump has called a “red line” — may slip to 22% or 23%, those familiar with negotiations said.

Trump had originally promised a 15% rate for corporations. But Republicans are running into resistance from lawmakers and lobbyists who want to preserve deductions and loopholes that were targeted for elimination under the White House plan to offset the massive corporate cut from the current 35% rate.

Some Republicans are also pushing back against other parts of the president’s plan, such as scrapping the estate tax for the rich and eliminating deductions for state and local taxes, which would hurt residents in high-tax states like California and New York.

At an evening rally in Harrisburg, Pa., Trump said the corporate rate would be “no more than 20%.” But earlier this week, he acknowledged that changes may lie ahead. “We’ll be adjusting a little bit over the next few weeks to make it even stronger,” he said.

Negotiators say changes will be needed if Republicans, who can afford to lose only two votes in the Senate and about 20 in the House if no Democrats join in support, hope to avoid another embarrassing defeat like the collapse of their Obamacare repeal plan.

Fiscally conservative Republicans will be the hardest to win over because the GOP tax plan has been estimated by some outside groups to add more than $2 trillion to the deficit over 10 years.

Republicans are racing to pass their tax overhaul by the end of the year, hoping to give the economy a boost and quiet complaints that they have accomplished little with the party’s hold on the White House and Congress.

Yet even as Trump and top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Vice President Mike Pence, talk up the tax plan in whistle-stop tours across the nation, it remains in flux, more of a concept than a proposal. Actual legislation remains weeks away.

“Everything is fluid right now,” said one business lobbyist, granted anonymity to discuss the private talks, adding that there are “realistic tensions” over the details.

Republicans are finding that their desire for lowering corporate and individual rates is running into the fiscal challenge of how to pay for the reductions without exacerbating the nation’s debt load.

They argue that tax cuts, even if deficit-financed, will spur economic growth and provide new revenue. But many economists question that theory, saying it hasn’t worked that way in the past.

In addition, Republicans — in order to take advantage of special budget rules that will allow them to pass the tax plan in the Senate with a simple majority — must find ways to offset some of the costs.

Every percentage-point reduction in the corporate rate reduces federal tax revenue by about $100 billion over 10 years. Slashing the corporate rate to 20% would cost about $1.5 trillion.

With lobbyists and lawmakers lining up to protect deductions and loopholes, tax bill drafters are having a tough time finding ways to cover the costs.

One main revenue source, the elimination of state and local tax deductions, could generate as much as $1.3 trillion over the decade. But talk of killing the deduction set off an outcry among high-tax state lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and California. Talks are now underway to restructure that proposal.

“As the swamp kicks in, they’re going to argue to keep all their special loopholes and deductions, and the more they get to keep, the less you can reduce the tax rate,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.). “There’s going to be tremendous pressure, but that’s why we have to hold the line on that.”

Corporate tax rates have been the focus throughout the process, as lawmakers try to bring the U.S. on par with the 35 developed nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which have an average rate of 22.5%. Many U.S. corporations, however, pay much less than 35% thanks to loopholes.

Lowering corporate rates has been a top priority for businesses. The Koch brothers-aligned Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce released new ads Wednesday warning lawmakers against protecting favorite deductions.

In Harrisburg, Trump argued that corporate tax changes would benefit ordinary Americans, delivering as much as $4,000 per household. “You’re going to have so much money to spend,” he told the crowd.

The White House said changing the way foreign earnings are taxed — along with a one-time incentive to bring back some of the estimated $2.5 trillion U.S. companies have parked abroad — would result in $4,000 more for American workers over an eight-year period.

But experts doubted such a windfall would flow to workers and said the GOP’s planned changes to individual income tax rates would largely benefit the wealthiest Americans.

Mark Mazur, director of the Tax Policy Center, said he was “incredibly skeptical” of the White House’s $4,000 estimate, explaining that there are many reasons why wages have not kept up with the growth of corporate profits. He cited less powerful labor unions and competition from lower-wage workers abroad.

On Wednesday, Ryan outlined the schedule ahead during a closed-door meeting that left lawmakers expecting a House vote on a tax bill by Thanksgiving.

The Senate would follow if it clears a preliminary budget hurdle next week. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has panned the tax proposal as benefiting the wealthy. And Trump’s recent personal attacks on Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) certainly won’t help win his vote. Even before Trump mocked him, Corker was concerned the tax plan would increase the deficit.

But even as Republicans pursue a largely partisan approach without Democratic input, some predicted Wednesday there would be no adjustments to the proposed 20% corporate rate, since that seemed to be a core area of agreement.

“That’s so locked and loaded that I just don’t see that changing,” said Rep. Chris Collins(R-N.Y.), a Trump ally.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said the 20% rate was “for sure. I have commitments.”

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-congress-tax-cuts-20171011-story.html

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