Banking System

The Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017, Story 1: President Trump To 23 Members of NATO “Pay Your Fair Share” — How Much Does NATO Headquarters Building Cost? American Tax Payers Would Like To Know — About $1, 230,000,000 — Videos — Story 2: NSA Violate The Fourth Amendment Rights of American Citizens — Obama’s NSA conducted illegal searches — Nothing New — Congress Will Do Nothing As Usual — No Safeguards and No Privacy — Videos — Story 3: Montana Congressional Candidate Gianforte Will Win Despite Roughing up Aggressive Reporter — Setup of A Political Assassination by Big LIe Media — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump To 23 Members of NATO Pay Your Fair Share — Videos

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Trump’s full speech at NATO 9/11 memorial

Amb. Bolton: It would be a mistake for the U.S. to drop NATO

President Trump arrives at NATO summit in Brussels May 25, 2017.

FULL: President Donald Trump Speech NATO Unveiling Of The Article 5 Berlin Wall Memorials 2017 Trump

FULL Event: NATO meeting in Brussels. President Trump speech at NATO summit. May 25, 2017.

Can NATO Survive Without The U.S.?

Why Germany And Japan Are Expanding Their Militaries

Which Countries Spend The Most On Their Military?

What Are The World’s Most Powerful Militaries?

Which Countries Can Defend Against Nuclear Missiles?

New NATO Headquarters Cost $1.23 Billion

(Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

BY: Daniel Halper
May 25, 2017 11:15 am

President Trump departed from prepared remarks Thursday to comment on the ostentatious new NATO headquarters in Brussels at a dedication ceremony with world leaders.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump said, bringing attention to the glass structure. “I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful.”

In fact, the building cost an astounding $1.23 billion, according to a budget released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Architecture, design, and quality management cost the alliance $129 million alone. Audio visual installations ran $29 million, while construction ran $514 million, the document states.

  • 1,500 personnel from national delegations

  • 1,700 international military and civilian staff

  • 600 staff from NATO agencies

  • frequent visitors, currently some 500 per day

The alliance bragged that the structure is also a “green building for the future.”

“The environment and sustainability have played a major role in the design process. The new building’s energy consumption has been optimized through the use of geothermal and solar energy and advanced lighting systems. Thermal insulation, thermal inertia and solar protection have been incorporated in the design to reduce heating. Rainwater will be used for non-potable water use and the buildings short wings will have green roofs,” the document states.

In his remarks Thursday, Trump took NATO member states to task for not paying their fair share.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” Trump told leaders of the alliance countries.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States — and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves,” he added.

Trump said NATO would be “stronger” in fighting terrorism if member states paid their obligations.

http://freebeacon.com/politics/new-nato-headquarters-cost-1-23-billion/

NATO

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°52′34″N 4°25′19″E

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg

Logo
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Motto
Flag Flag of NATO.svg
Formation 4 April 1949; 68 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[2]
Jens Stoltenberg
Petr Pavel
Curtis Scaparrotti
Denis Mercier
Expenses (2015) $866,971 million[3]
Website nato.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO/ˈnt/; French: Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmentalmilitary alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Three NATO members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom) are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and are officially nuclear-weapon states. NATO’s headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons.

NATO is an Alliance that consists of 28 independent member countries across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programmes. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[4] Members’ defence spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP.[5]

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US supreme commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization became involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zoneover Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War; twice in 2012 by Turkey over the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria;[8] in 2014 by Poland, following the Russian intervention in Crimea;[9] and again by Turkey in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[10]

History

Beginnings

Eleven men in suits stand around a large desk at which another man is signing a document.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C., on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States that August.

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union‘s Defence Organization in September 1948.[11] However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism. In addition the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin reiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12] In 1948 European leaders met with U.S. defense, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[17]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[18]Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO.[19] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[20]

Cold War

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together, and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.[21]Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[22] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia.[23][24] Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[25]

Two soldiers crouch under a tree while a tank sits on a road in front of them.

The German Bundeswehr provided the largest element of the allied land forces guarding the frontier in Central Europe.

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[26] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[27]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[22] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[28][29]

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[30] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[31] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion.[32] One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter Punch, Operation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[33]

French withdrawal

A map of France with red and blue markings indicating air force bases as of 1966.

Map of the NATO air bases in France before Charles de Gaulle‘s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle‘s presidency of France.[34] De Gaulle protested against the USA’s strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.[35]

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATO–Warsaw Pact war.[36] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command,[37] and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[38] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?”[39] This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967.[40] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer–Ailleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[41]

France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[42]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk.

Détente led to many high level meetings between leaders from both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[43]

A map of Europe showing several countries on the left in blue, while ones on the right are in red. Other unaffiliated countries are in white.

During the Cold War, most of Europe was divided between two alliances. Members of NATO are shown in blue, with members of the Warsaw Pact in red, unaffiliated countries are in grey. Yugoslavia, although communist, had left the Soviet sphere in 1948, while Albania was only a Warsaw Pact member until 1968.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCMcruise missiles and Pershing IItheatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[44] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw PactSS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[45] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[46] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[47]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[48] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[49] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern Europeannations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

Two men in suits sit signing documents at a large table in front of their country's flags. Two others stand outside watching them.

Reforms made under Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Warsaw Pact.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[50]Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[51]Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[51] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[52] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[53] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[54]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][55]

Enlargement and reform

A pale yellow building with square columns with three flags hanging in front and soldiers and dignitaries saluting them.

The NATO flag being raised in a ceremony marking Croatia‘s joining of the alliance in 2009.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogueinitiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. In Istanbul, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[56] At that time the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[59]The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21 November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19 June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[60] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[61]

Two older Caucasian men in black suits and red ties sit facing each other in a room with green, white, and gold trimmed walls.

Meetings between the government of Viktor Yushchenko and NATO leaders led to the Intensified Dialogue programme.

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[62] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[63]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[64] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[65][66] Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[67][68] On June 15, 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[69]

At the 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defense.[70] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[71][72][73]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[74]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

A fighter jet with AV marked on its tail takes off from a mountain runway.

NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[75]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[76] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[77][78] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[79] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[80]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[80] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[81] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[82]

Kosovo intervention

Three trucks of soldiers idle on a country road in front of trees and red roofed houses. The rear truck has KFOR painted on is back.

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[83] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[84] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[85]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[85][86] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[87] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[88]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[89] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[90]

War in Afghanistan

A monumental green copper statue of a woman with a torch stands on an island in front of a mainland where a massive plume of gray smoke billows amongst skyscrapers.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[91] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[92]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[93]

A general hands a NATO flag from a soldier on the left to one on the right.

ISAF General David M. Rodriguez at an Italian change of command in Herat.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[94] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[95]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[96] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[97] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[98] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission.

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US ledMNF-I.[99] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[100]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

A tall plume of black smoke rises from the blue ocean waters next to a large gray battleship and a small black inflatable boat.

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in Somalia. Russia, China and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[101][102] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[103]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[104] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[105] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[104]

Pieces of a destroyed tank, notably the gun turret, lie on a sandy landscape.

Libyan Army Palmaria howitzers destroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[106][107] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[108] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[109] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[110][111][112] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[113] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[114]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[115] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[116][117] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[118] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[119][120] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[121] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[122]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
A map of Europe with countries in blue, cyan, orange, and yellow based on their NATO affiliation. A world map with countries in blue, cyan, orange, yellow, purple, and green, based on their NATO affiliation.

Members

Twelve men in black suits stand talking in small groups under a backdrop with the words Lisbonne and Lisboa.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-eight members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[123][124]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[125] Twelve of these twenty-eight are original members who joined in 1949, while the other sixteen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds. Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[126] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[127]

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed]Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][55]

Enlargement

A map of Europe with countries labeled in shades of blue, green, and yellow based on when they joined NATO.

NATO has added 12 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has three candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia. On 2 December 2015, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to invite Montenegro to start accession talks to become the 29th member of the Alliance.[128] On 28 April 2017 the Montenegro’s parliament ratified the accession treaty, and as of that date 27 of 28 NATO members had approved Montenegro’s accession, with Spain’s parliament expected to act in May 2017.[129] In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[130] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[131]Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[132] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[133]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[51] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[134] though they have also been criticised in the West.[135]Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[136] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[137] Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[138]

Partnerships

Hundreds of soldiers in military uniforms stand behind a line on a tarmac with 14 flags held by individuals at the front.

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[139]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[140] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[141] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[142] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[140] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[143]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[144] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[145]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[146] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[147][148]Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[149]

Structures

Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.

Secretary General of NATOJens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left), talk with members of the Norwegian army’s Telemark Battalion in Oslo.

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[150] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[151] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017.[152] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[153][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[154] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 28 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 28 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[155] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[156]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

List of Secretaries General[157]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay  United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak  Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker  Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio  Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns  Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington  United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner  Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes  Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana  Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson  United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo  Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer  Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen  Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg  Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[158]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch  Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck  Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi  Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano  Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts  Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay  Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio  Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani  Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin  Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi  Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis  Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino  Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo  Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero  Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow  United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller  United States 2016–present
Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

A large baroque yellow and gold room with a stage on the left and long tables filled with men and women in suits on the right.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an intergovernmental organization of NATO and associate countries’ elected representatives, meets in London prior to the start of the 2014 Newport summit.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[159] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defence and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

Military structures

An older man with a gray beard, red beret, and olive green military suit.

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, has been Chairman of the NATO Military Committee since 2015

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[160] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[161] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic, since 2015.

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[162] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[163] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

Three soldiers in camouflage stand in salute while a fourth raises a blue and white flag on a red and white striped flagpole.

NATO flag raising at opening of Exercise Steadfast Jazz at Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in November 2013.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europe and its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[164]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[165] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including Eurocorps, I. German/Dutch Corps, Multinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[166]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[167]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on December 1, 2015.[168]

During August 2016 it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland.[169] This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the U.S.) to Estonia.

Criticism and controversy

Goals

While the original goal of NATO was clear – to defend Western Europe from Soviet influence – its post-Soviet goals have long been debated. Members of all participating countries have often noted that the United States spends more on the organization than all other members combined. According to the Huffington Post in 2017: “… it can’t be argued that NATO has served American interests since 1991. For the last 15 years, the U.S. has been engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries. … NATO is a military alliance and one of its members, the United States, has been involved in wars for 15 years.” However, not all US-led invasions have received automatic support. After Article 5 was invoked for the first and only time due to the September 11 attacks, the NATO members showed support for an invasion of Afghanistan but not for one of Iraq. While some countries independently aided the US in Iraq (such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands), others like France and Germany refused. Furthermore, countries had no obligation in terms of numbers and involvement regarding Afghanistan. As such, any country in the alliance was free to contribute whatever served their interests best. The Post article refers to the group as “a group of sovereign nations that will respond to American requests as they see fit”, as well as having “devolved into bilateral relations between the U.S. and each NATO member”.[170]

Opponents have described the organization as a “quasi-imperial, militaristic force” and fear that it’s likely to create problems rather than solve them. Pew Research Center‘s 2016 survey among its member states showed that while most countries viewed NATO positively, most NATO members preferred keeping their military spending the same. The response to whether their country should militarily aid another NATO country if it were to get into a serious military conflict with Russia was also mixed. Only in the US and Canada did more than 50% of the people answer that they should.[171]

See also

References

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

Story 2: NSA Violate The Fourth Amendment Rights of American Citizens — Spying Without Warrants — Nothing New — Congress Will Do Nothing As Usual — Videos 

Image result for NSA buildingsImage result for NSA Spying on Americans without warrants

Image result for NSA buildings

New evidence Obama’s NSA conducted illegal searches

Fallout from NSA revelations

Networks Blackout Massive Constitutional Violations By Obama’s NSA

Judge Napolitano on a report that the NSA conducted illegal searches under Obama

Obama’s NSA rebuked for snooping on Americans; journo says it proves wide pattern

The secret court that oversees government snooping took the Obama administration to task late last year, suggesting it created “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by violating rules the government itself had implemented regarding the surveillance of Americans.

According to top-secret documents made public by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – often referred to as the FISA court – the government admitted that, just days before the 2016 election, NSA analysts were violating surveillance rules on a regular basis. This pattern of overreach, coupled with the timing of the government’s disclosure, resulted in an unusually harsh rebuke of the administration’s practices and principles.

A former CBS journalist suing the federal government for allegedly spying on her said the documents prove the illegal snooping was pervasive and widely abused.

POTENTIAL ‘SMOKING GUN’ SHOWING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SPIED ON TRUMP TEAM, SOURCE SAYS

“Sources of mine have indicated that political players have increasingly devised premises to gather intel on political targets by wrapping them up in ‘incidental’ collection of foreigners, as if by accident,” Sharyl Attkisson, who is pursuing a federal lawsuit the Department of Justice has tried to dismiss, told the Fox News Investigative Unit.

According to the FISA Court opinion, it was on September 26, 2016 that the government submitted an undisclosed number of “certifications” for the court to review. The review process was supposed to be completed within 30 days, or by October 26, 2016.

Just two days before that review was to be completed – and less than two weeks before the 2016 election – the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, designed to protect the internet communications of Americans.

The NSA has suggested these were “inadvertent compliance lapses,” and points out that the agency “self-reported” these problems, meaning they were the ones to bring this issue to the attention of the court.

There was just one problem.

The violations that the government disclosed on October 24, 2016, were based on a report from the NSA’s Inspector General that had been released 10 months earlier, in January 2016. This means that when the government submitted its certifications for review in September, they were likely aware of that IG report – but failed to mention the malpractice going on at the NSA.

The Court at the time blamed an institutional “lack of candor” for the government’s failure to disclose that information weeks earlier, and gave the government until April 28, 2017, to come up with a solution. After failing to come to an agreement, the NSA announced that it was stopping the type of surveillance in question.

The so-called “lapses” among NSA staffers had to do with Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the “upstream” surveillance of what the intelligence community refers to as “about” communications.

REPORT: OBAMA LIED AND OBAMA SPIED

According to the NSA, Section 702 “allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on only specific foreign targets located outside the United States to collect foreign intelligence, including intelligence needed in the fight against international terrorism and cyber threats.”

Upstream surveillance, according to the ACLU, was first disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and “involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic.”

Until the NSA stopped it, the “upstream” snooping program notified them directly if someone inside the U.S. composed an email that contained the email address of a foreign intelligence agent who was being monitored. According to an NSA declaration reportedly made during the Bush administration, these communications did not have to be to or from the foreign agent, they simply had to mention the email address.

According to the FISA Court documents just made public, the notifications sent to the NSA often led to the unmasking of American citizens caught up in monitoring. And as the court pointed out, many of the requests being made to unmask the Americans taking part in these communications were in direct violation of safeguards established by the Obama administration.

According to the FISA Court documents, so-called “minimization procedures” adopted in 2011 to curb unlawful surveillance “have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702.”

And, according to the government’s October 26, 2016 admission, “NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed.”

The suspended surveillance program has been a target of fierce criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as journalists and even Snowden.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told Fox & Friends on Wednesday that the “terrible” program was basically “a back doorway to sort of get at Americans’ privacy without using a warrant.”

When the NSA announced it was stopping certain Section 702 activities, Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said he had raised concerns for years “that this amounted to an end run around the Fourth Amendment.”

Snowden tweeted that the NSA’s actions represented “the most substantive of the post-2013 NSA reforms, if the principle is applied to all other programs.”

Attkisson, who sued to determine who had access to a government IP address that she says was discovered on her CBS work computer during a forensics exam, said she’s concerned the truth will never come out.

“I’m told by sources that it should only take a day or a week, at most, for the intel community to provide [lawmakers with] the details of which Americans, journalists and public officials were ‘incidentally’ surveilled, which ones were unmasked, who requested the unmaskings, when, and for what supposed purpose,” Attkisson said. “Yet months have gone by. I’m afraid that as time passes, any evidence becomes less likely to persist.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/25/obama-s-nsa-rebuked-for-snooping-on-americans-journo-says-it-proves-wide-pattern.html

Release of 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures

August 11, 2016

Today the ODNI, in consultation with the Department of Justice, is releasing in redacted form the current Section 702 Minimization Procedures, as updated in 2015, in keeping with the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community.  These procedures are intended to protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons, as required by the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in connection with the foreign intelligence activities undertaken by the CIA, FBI, NSA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Background

Section 702 was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 , and it authorizes the Attorney General and the DNI to provide to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court annual certifications authorizing the Intelligence Community to target non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States to acquire certain categories of foreign intelligence information. The FAA is a carefully constructed framework that provides the government with the tools necessary to collect vital foreign intelligence information and includes a robust scheme for protecting the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons.  This framework is implemented in part through a detailed set of procedures designed to minimize the acquisition, retention, use and dissemination of U.S. person information acquired under Section 702.

Additional Section 702 certification information, including the 2014 minimization procedures and the FISC’s August 2014 Opinion, was released on IC on the Record Sept. 29, 2015.

The 2015 Minimization Procedures

The 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures were approved by the Attorney General and submitted to the FISC as part of the government’s July 15, 2015, submission of reauthorization certifications pursuant to Section 702.  After thorough consideration, the FISC approved these minimization procedures in its Nov. 6, 2015, Memorandum Opinion and Order (released, in redacted form, in April 2016 on IC on the Record), finding that the minimization procedures comport with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the FAA.

The 2015 Section 702 minimization procedures incorporated certain modifications to the 2014 Section 702 minimization procedures, including changes made to implement recommendations the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board made in its 2014 report reviewing the Section 702 program.  Modifications made in the 2015 minimization procedures include:

  • Improvements to provisions in NSA’s and CIA’s minimization procedures that ensure the preservation of information related to criminal and civil litigation;
  • Enhancements to NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s protections for attorney-client communications;
  • Clarification of NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s 2015 documentation or other requirements with respect to the querying of Section 702 information.

These procedures identified below are released:

https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/post/148797010498/release-of-2015-section-702-minimization

Nets Blackout Massive Constitutional Violations by Obama’s NSA

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

Story 3: Montana Congressional Candidate Gianforte Will Win Despite Roughing up Aggressive Reporter — Setup of A Political Assassination by Big Lie Media — Videos

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs vs GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte, Montana, EYE WITNESS CHANGES STORY

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Video

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Published on May 25, 2017

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter
The is Audio of Greg Gianforte attacking Ben Jacobs corroborated by Fox News journalists in the room, who described candidate ‘slamming him to the ground’
Support the Guardian’s fearless journalism by making a contribution or becoming a member

The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies
Read more
“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published by foxnews.com. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin county sheriff’s office said on Wednesday night it had completed its investigation and that Gianforte had been issued with a charge of misdemeanour assault.

“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin county sheriff’s office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault,” sheriff Brian Gootkin said in a statement. “The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault. Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin county justice court between now and June 7, 2017.”

A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the altercation, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions”.

“Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

Scanlon’s account is contradicted by audio of the abortive interview recorded by Jacobs, as well as the Fox News account. The audio does not capture Jacobs being asked to leave or lower his recorder, but does contain an apparent reference to the Guardian’s previous attempts to report on Gianforte. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.

Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance.
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Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance. Photograph: Ben Jacobs for the Guardian
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.

At a press conference on Wednesday evening, sheriff Brian Gootkin said that there had been four witnesses to the altercation, in addition to Gianforte and Jacobs. Gianforte briefly spoke with sheriff’s deputies following the altercation but has not been interviewed. Gootkin said that he was not aware of any video of the incident. He also requested that reporters and members of the public stop calling Gallatin’s 911 dispatch.

According to campaign finance filings, Gootkin donated $250 to Gianforte’s campaign in March. Gootkin’s later statement acknowledged the contribution but said it had “nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete”.

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Reaction to Montana GOP candidate allegedly body-slamming reporter

GOP candidate in Montana charged with assault on reporter

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 899, May 24, 2017, Story 1: Trump Visits Pope and Exchange Gifts and Words of Wisdom — Climate Change Difference — Videos — Story 2: Trump To NATO Countries — Increase Your Military Spending — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Visits Pope and Exchange Gifts and Words of Wisdom  —  Climate Change Difference — Videos — 

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Trump meets Pope Francis and the media creates faux controversy?

Published on May 24, 2017

Catholic League President Bill Donohue on President Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis.

President Trump Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican 5/24/17

US President Donald Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

Meeting of Pope Francis with President Donald Trump 24 May 2017 HD

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Published on Jun 22, 2015

Pope Francis released an encyclical, one of the highest Catholic teachings, on the environment.
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Pope Lends Weight to G-7 Push to Bind Trump to Climate Deal

May 24, 2017, 3:48 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 6:11 AM CDT
  • G-7 leaders await Trump decision on emission cuts this weekend
  • Francis has called for urgent action to protect environment

Pope Francis and President Trump met face to face at the Vatican for the first time, at Trump’s request. Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli and Alessandro Migliaccio report on ‘Bloomberg Markets.’ (Source: Bloomberg)

Pope Francis joined an international chorus urging Donald Trump to meet U.S. commitments on climate change in talks at the Vatican Wednesday.

Francis gave the U.S. president a copy of his 2015 encyclical calling for urgent, drastic cuts in fossil-fuel emissions after a half-hour meeting in his private study.

Francis’s choice of gift suggests he is adding his voice to those pressing Trump not to renege on the Paris accord, which is the cornerstone of global efforts to limit climate change. The Vatican said in a statement that the talks focused on international affairs and the promotion of peace, with particular emphasis on health care, education and immigration.

“Thank you, thank you,” Trump told Francis as they shook hands after the meeting. “I won’t forget what you said.” Trump has said climate change might be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

For his part, Trump gave Francis a special edition of the works of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Trump met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni later on Wednesday before he travels to Brussels for a NATO meeting. He’ll be back in Italy again on Friday for talks with Group of Seven leaders in Taormina, Sicily. The world’s biggest developed economies are expecting Trump to say whether he’ll keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord during the summit, Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks, said Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron will push Trump over climate during the NATO meeting as part of a coordinated European effort to sway the president, a French government official said on Wednesday morning, adding that he had expected the pope and Gentiloni also to raise the issue. The official said that the questions over what the U.S. will decide have led to unprecedented uncertainty over what the G-7 will be able to say in its final communique.

Members of the Trump administration have been deadlocked over whether the U.S. should uphold the pact, brokered by nearly 200 nations in 2015. Leaders from Germany, China and other nations have pushed for America to stay.

Pressure has also come from business groups, including 280 investors representing more than $17 trillion in assets who released a statement Monday saying climate change must be an “urgent priority” for all G-20 nations. Executives have warned that Trump would put U.S. companies at a disadvantage if he pulled out of the pact.

As the richest nation and the second-largest polluter, U.S. efforts are central to keeping climate change from hitting an irreversible tipping point, unleashing catastrophic floods, droughts and storms, according to researchers. The U.S. has pledged to reduce its emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels under the world’s broadest ever environmental agreement.

The meeting at the Vatican was the first between two leaders who have starkly differing views on a range of issues and was arranged at Trump’s request. Beyond their disagreements on the environment, Francis wants the world’s doors swung open to refugees, while Trump wants fewer of them in America. Income inequality is a serious concern for the pope — the billionaire president plans to rewrite the U.S. tax code to make the wealthy even richer.

Pope Francis Wrestles With Curia, Climate and Trump: QuickTake

For the president, it’s an encounter that may confer some legitimacy as he grapples with a political crisis back home. For Francis, it’s a chance to influence a leader who, for all his stumbles, remains the most powerful person in the world.

“There’s a whole range of issues on which the pope and Trump differ, but the point of their meeting isn’t to forge agreement on them or to change each other’s minds,” papal biographer Austen Ivereigh said in a telephone interview. “The point is to establish a bond of trust, which they can both call on in the future to further their agendas.”

Francis arrived at the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in a Ford Focus and entered the building through a side entrance. Ten minutes later, the president’s motorcade was greeted by Swiss Guards who stood to attention with their halberds and ostrich-plumed helmets. The pope welcomed Trump upstairs in the Sala del Tronetto before the two leaders retired to his private study for a half-hour conversation.

“It was an honor to be with the pope,” Trump told reporters later in the morning. “We had a fantastic meeting,” he added, without addressing a shouted question on whether they discussed climate change.

As well as the text on environmental protection, which Francis said he’s sent to all Roman Catholics, the pope also gave Trump books on family and the joy of the gospel.

“I’ll be reading them,” the president told him.

He also gave Trump a medal made by a Roman artist depicting an olive. The pope told Trump the olive is a symbol of peace.

“That’s so beautiful,” the president said. “We can use peace.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/pope-gives-trump-book-on-protecting-environment-at-vatican-talks

Why Melania and Ivanka Trump stuck to traditional Vatican dress codes when meeting Pope Francis today

The Trumps arrived in Rome last night, and their first engagement this morning was a headliner in the global tour which they are currently part way through; meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils – the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana.

It was a somewhat unexpected move, especially given recent news that Pope Francis is keen to relax the strict dress codes to which women must conform to when attending private papal audiences.

Earlier in the week, Melania and Ivanka raised eyebrows when they met key figures in Saudi Arabia, without wearing headscarves, as Saudi women are required to do by law.  Although there is no such obligation for foreign women to do the same, Donald Trump criticised Michelle Obama when she didn’t cover her head visiting the country in 2015.

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis 
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis  CREDIT: AP POOL

Although the First Lady and First Daughter dressed modestly, they did it in their own way.  Largely, the duo has stuck with their signature takes on power-dressing throughout, wearing white sheath dresses and nipped skirt suits by American labels like Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta, and, in Melania’s case giving a taste of her sense of glamour by stepping off the plane in a flashy gold belt and choosing a jewel-hued gown by Reem Acra for an evening dinner.

Only when Ivanka visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall did she cover her head as is custom for Jewish women when visiting the site- Trump converted to Judaism prior to her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner.

So why the immaculate toeing of the line at the Vatican? As Pope Francis had been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics it was likely deemed to be in everyone’s best interests that today went smoothly – starting with the clothes.

Melania and Ivanka

Traditionally, under Pope Benedict XVI and all those before him, the rule was that women should wear black to meet his Holiness, covering up with full sleeves and a mantilla, the lace veil traditionally worn in the Roman Catholic Church.

Only a handful of Queens and Princesses from Catholic regions are permitted to wear white, according to the traditional “privilège du blanc” or “privilege of the white” rule. When Princess Charlene of Monaco met Pope Francis last January, for example, she exercised the privilege, wearing a chic crepe jacket and white driving gloves with her white mantilla and nude heels.

In the past, anyone who wore white was at risk of offending the privileged few – Cherie Blair did when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, and subsequent headlines about the woman with a ‘grand idea of herself’ were beamed around the world the next day. It’s widely understood, however, that Pope Francis sees himself as a modern Pope, and has now eased the strict dress code once adhered to by The Queen and more.

The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month
The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month

When Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met the Pope in April, she wore a champagne-hued dress by British label Anna Valentine and, despite defying all Vatican dress codes, it wasn’t a faux pas, as his Holiness had welcomed the look.

“Things have become more relaxed over the last few years there are no hard and fast rules,” a spokesperson for the Vatican explained.

Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009
Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009 CREDIT:REUTERS

That said, First Ladies, celebrities, and members of the public still tend to stick to the traditional codes, even if they aren’t officially required to.  Michelle Obama wore a black dress with a mantilla when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, and Amal Clooney wore a sharp black skirt suit with a matching hat when she met Pope Francis in May 2016.

It’s no wonder, in that case, that Melania opted for a traditional lace mantilla, and Ivanka a slightly more modern net veil. If you’re erring on the side of caution, it is surely always the safest bet to stick with tradition.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/people/melania-ivanka-trump-stuck-traditional-vatican-dress-codes-meeting/

Story 2: Trump To NATO Countries — Increase Your Military Spending — Videos

Image result for trump at nato

Image result for trump at nato

Image result for NATO countries and percent in goverment spending

Image result for NATO countries and percent in goverment spending

President Trump & Melania Arrive in Brussels Ahead of NATO Summit 5/24/17

Raw: President Trump in Belgium for Meetings

NATO must ‘step up’ after Manchester attack: Stoltenberg

NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

 NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

In recent months, member nations have strained to show they are ramping up defense spending as Trump has demanded, even though they have been doing so for a few years in response to an aggressive Russia. And while they agree with the chief of the alliance’s most powerful member that NATO can do more to fight terrorism, they say it can be achieved with more of the same; training and mentoring troops in Afghanistan, and equipping local forces in Iraq so they can better fight the Islamic State group themselves.

“They’ll only talk about what he cares about, so really he should come out of this meeting feeling as though NATO responds to him,” said Kristine Berzina, NATO analyst at the German Marshall Fund think tank. “At least that’s what they hope here.”

Indeed, the NATO leaders will agree to join the 68-nation international coalition fighting IS, after Germany and France were no longer raising any objections about announcing the decision on Thursday.

The move is symbolically important, especially since the group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

An anti-terror coordinator may also be named, but most changes will be cosmetic, as NATO allies have no intention of going to war against IS.

“It’s totally out of the question for NATO to engage in any combat operations,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, on the eve of the meeting.

The 28 member nations, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, will renew an old vow to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Still, many are skeptical about this arbitrary bottom line that takes no account of effective military spending where it’s needed most. Germany would have to virtually double its military budget and spend more than Russia.

Putting some meat on the pledge, the leaders will agree to prepare action plans by the end of the year, plotting how to reach 2 percent over the next seven years, and show how they will use the money and contribute troops to NATO operations.

Only five members currently meet the target: Britain, Estonia, debt-laden Greece, Poland and the United States, which spends more on defense than all the other allies combined.

“It’s not fair that we’re paying close to 4 percent and other countries that are more directly affected are paying 1 percent when they’re supposed to be paying 2 percent,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview last month.

Tomas Valasek from the Carnegie Europe think tank says the president’s demands on overdue debts have shaken up the other allies.

“Trump has challenged the idea that active engagement in Europe is a core U.S. interest,” Valasek said. “He appears to regard all foreign relations as zero-sum transactions, in which each contribution to someone else’s security represents a net loss to the United States.”

The Europeans, Valasek said, should respond in two ways: “In the short term, focus on preventing the president from abandoning the alliance and, in the long term, prepare to assume a bigger role in defending the European continent.”

The short working-dinner meeting will be high on symbolism. At the entry to the new premises — a village-sized complex that should be in full use early next year — Trump and Stoltenberg will unveil a piece of the World Trade Center.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, NATO activated its collective defense clause for the first and only time, with member nations pledging to help their beleaguered ally.

Stoltenberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also unveil a part of the Berlin Wall that once divided East and West Germany.

But the ceremonies and symbolism will do little to hide the divisions running through NATO. Trump wants more from the alliance, while countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia want iron-clad assurances that they won’t be left alone should Russia cross their borders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, has purged around 11,000 military personnel from its armed forces since last July’s thwarted coup. Hundreds of western-educated senior officers were removed from posts at NATO, severely weakening the army.

Yet it’s a subject that is almost taboo at NATO headquarters; a national affair to be dealt with internally.

Tensions have also mounted between Erdogan and Merkel since Germany offered asylum to some of the officers. Belgium has publicly warned against any pro-Erdogan rallies during his visit.

Outside the heavily guarded security perimeter near the city’s airport and in downtown Brussels, peace groups have planned rallies of their own.

But, as the Manchester bombing remains fresh in mind, Belgium will remain on security Level 3 — meaning that the threat of an extremist attack “is possible and likely” — as it has since the suicide-bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and subway killed 32 people last year.

https://apnews.com/1e412fe9983747a6a8f94a2356d31f96/NATO-rolls-out-the-red-carpet,-buffs-its-image-for-Trump

Trump’s Anti-Terrorism Call Resonates at NATO After Manchester Attack

May 24, 2017, 11:51 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 12:25 PM CDT
  • Terrorism, defense spending top agenda of Brussels summit
  • France led concerns of wider NATO role fighting Islamic State

U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands to step up the fight against terrorism is set to get a sympathetic hearing from NATO partners when he visits the alliance headquarters for the first time on Thursday.

A deadly bombing in the U.K. this week has given fresh resonance to his call for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to become more engaged in fighting global terrorism. France and Germany, which had resisted an upgrade of NATO’s role in the international coalition against Islamic State, accepted the move on the eve of the summit, according to two officials familiar with the preparations.

Trump’s meeting with fellow NATO leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels, a city he once called a “hellhole,” will go a long way to determining the future strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance. While facing resistance from countries including Italy and Germany to his calls to raise defense spending, he’s likely to find common ground on the shared threat posed by radical Islamist terrorism, and avert fresh tensions with partners already anxious about the Trump administration’s priorities.

The Manchester attack will play a “big role” in the meeting and “drives home the Trump administration’s message that more needs to be done to fight terrorism,” said Kristine Berzina, a Brussels-based fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Message of Unity

The forces tugging at NATO will be symbolized before the summit dinner when the leaders inaugurate a new headquarters. The steel-and-glass complex will feature pieces of the Berlin Wall, whose fall in 1989 marked the West’s victory in the Cold War against Russia, and of the World Trade Center, whose collapse in the 2001 terrorist attacks prompted the only occasion when the alliance has invoked its mutual-defense clause.

At issue for NATO in the Middle East is whether the alliance becomes a full member of the coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. NATO currently plays a supporting role through the use of Airborne Warning and Control System planes and the training of Iraqi soldiers.

Germany and France had expressed concerns that upgrading NATO’s involvement could skew the geographical balance among the existing 68 partners in the coalition and weaken it, according to European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said broad support exists for making the organisation a full member of the coalition and doing so will offer political and practical benefits.

“Many allies would like to see NATO as a full member of the coalition for two reasons,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday. “It sends a strong and clear message of unity in the fight against terrorism” and “will provide a better platform for coordinating the activities of NATO, NATO allies and other partners in the coalition.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on the plane to Brussels from Rome that it would be an “important step.” NATO’s “been an observer. But they’ve become more and more engaged in the actual fight to defeat” Islamic State, he said.

Pope Meeting

The fight against Islamic State will also be at the forefront of the Group of Seven meeting later this week, with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni saying in a statement that leaders “will deliver the strongest possible message of extraordinary and common commitment against terrorism.” Trump even broached the topic with the Pope on his visit to the Vatican, discussing extremism and the radicalization of young people, Tillerson said.

Trump has leverage to gain concessions from Europe both over NATO’s anti-terrorism activities and over allies’ defense expenditure because European officials are genuinely worried about his commitment to the alliance, not least its mutual-defense provision, said Berzina. She said they are keen for Trump to show unequivocal support for collective defense at the summit.

“Because NATO is a consensus-based organization dominated by the U.S., the Europeans can’t just fire back the way they do when acting as European Union members,” Berzina said. “This could lead to concrete results in the near future on Trump’s demands regarding NATO.”

The timing of Thursday’s dinner, at what is for many Europeans the unthinkably early hour of 5:45 p.m., illustrates the American influence on the Alliance.

Brussels, which was targeted in a 2016 terror attack that left 32 dead, is the penultimate stop for Trump on a four-country tour that marks his first overseas trip as U.S. president and that has coincided with a growing political storm at home over possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. The controversy has sparked a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into whether anyone close to Trump colluded with Russia.

On defense expenditure, with the Trump administration pressing Europe to foot more of the common security bill, NATO members intend to draw up annual plans for increased spending. The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of NATO’s overall defense outlays.

In 2014, NATO members set a goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense within a decade and last year in Europe only Estonia, Greece, Poland and the U.K. met the target. The U.S. led in 2016 with defense expenditure of 3.61 percent of GDP.

In a concession to Germany, which has raised defense outlays while rejecting any rush to the 2 percent target and urging smarter spending in Europe, NATO allies aim to allow national plans to include non-military contributions such as development aid that help meet overall security goals.

Amid the pressure from Trump over defense budgets, the EU is drafting plans to spend more of its common budget on defense research, pool procurement and give the arms industry better access to finance.

“I think you can expect the president to be very tough on them,” said Tillerson, who reiterated U.S. support for NATO’s collective defense obligation. “The American people are doing a lot for your security, for our joint security. You need to make sure you’re doing your share for your own security as well.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/trump-s-anti-terror-call-to-resonate-with-nato-after-u-k-attack

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Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Image result for trump fires comey

Image result for trump fires comeyImage result for trump fires comey

 

 

Story 1: Both Democrats and Republicans Wanted To Fire FBI Director James Comey — Now Democrats Claiming Trump Did It To Stop FBI Investigation of Alleged Russian/Trump Collusion  — Actually To Reopen FBI Hillary Clinton Email Server and Email Investigation Under New FBI Director — Videos —

 

Image result for cartoons trump fires comey

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

No Criminal Charges for Hillary Clinton!

White House press briefing following Comey’s firing

Will Comey firing politicize the FBI even more

Why did President Trump fire FBI director Comey?

Tucker: Comey’s firing was long overdue

Gingrich on Comey’s firing: Trump had no choice

DiGenova: Comey usurped powers of office, needed to be fired

Published on May 9, 2017

Former US attorney says now-former FBI director acted like an attorney general, was self-serving and needed to be fired #Tucker

Hume: Calling Comey firing a ‘coup’ is hysterical

James Comey Fired by Donald Trump | Entire Country Applauds the Bold Move

BREAKING: Spineless Comey Lets Hillary Rodham Felon Off the Hook AGAIN![

Why Comey Had to Be Fired, His History of Failure and the Mythology of the “Russian Investigation”

James Comey Fired by Donald Trump | Entire Country Applauds the Bold Move

Comey Fired…Now Fire The FBI!

President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey | Mike Cernovich and Stefan Molyneux

Comey Found Out He Was Fired While Watching TV

Reactions to the firing of FBI Director James Comey

Future of FBI Director James Comey

JUDGE NAPOLITANO “COMEY TO STEP DOWN AT FBI”! HILLARY OUTCOME MUCH WORSE THAN NIXON AND WATERGATE!

Published on Nov 7, 2016

Considering this last announcement by Comey, he is now damaged goods in a Trump or Clinton Administration. Napolitano says that Comey is well aware of this and knows his days are numbered! He has done tremendous damage to the reputation of the FBI and plans to resign. The investigation into the Clinton Foundation and Pay For Play will continue and the outcome will be much worse than Nixon and Watergate! I thought that if Trump won that he may keep Comey on, but not after this last stunt and not with Comey’s past dealings with the Clinton Foundation! One more day! I hope that there a ton of Closet Trumpers that still have not voted!

Ed Klein: Brennan only one asserting Russia ties

Published on Dec 16, 2016

‘Guilty as Sin’ author Ed Klein weighs in

Ed Klein: Why Comey jumped at chance to reopen Clinton case

Published on Nov 1, 2016

Insight from the author of ‘Guilty as Sin’

Busted: Former U S Attorney General Does Not Believe FBI Director James Comey Version

Rosenstein’s Case Against Comey, Annotated

Contextualizing the deputy attorney general’s memorandum on the former FBI director

Former FBI Director James ComeyKevin Lamarque / Reuters

In a surprising move on Tuesday, President Trump abruptly fired James Comey, the director of the FBI and the official leading the investigation into whether Trump aides colluded with Russia to sway the U.S. presidential election. In his letter dismissing Comey, Trump told him: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

The White House said that Trump acted on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The longest letter released was a memorandum to Sessions from Rosenstein laying out the case for Comey’s dismissal. In the memo, Rosenstein criticizes Comey for his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and offers examples of bipartisan condemnation of Comey’s actions.

For context, we’ve annotated Rosenstein’s letter below.


May 9, 2017

MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FROM: ROD J. ROSENSTEIN

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL

SUBJECT: RESTORING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.

The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution.

It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.

In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it sua sponte.

Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.

My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, joined with Larry Thompson, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision.”

Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton and Attorney General under President Obama, said the Director’s decision“was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI.”

Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual events as“real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice.”

Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President H.W. Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was“astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break[] with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”

We should reject the departure and return to the traditions.

Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.Although the letter builds a case for Comey’s removal, Rosenstein never explicitly recommends a specific course of action, and never directly requests that Comey be dismissed from his job.

Comey’s Deserved Dismissal

The FBI chief forfeited his credibility with his 2016 interventions.

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

President Trump fired James Comey late Tuesday, and better now than never. These columns opposed Mr. Comey’s nomination by Barack Obama, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director has committed more than enough mistakes in the last year to be dismissed for cause.

Mr. Trump sacked Mr. Comey on the advice of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a former U.S. Attorney with a straight-up-the-middle reputation who was only recently confirmed by the Senate. In a memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mr. Rosenstein cited Mr. Comey’s multiple breaches of Justice Department protocol in his criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material.

The FBI isn’t supposed even to confirm or deny ongoing investigations, but in July 2016 Mr. Comey publicly exonerated Mrs. Clinton in the probe of her private email server on his own legal judgment and political afflatus. That should have been the AG’s responsibility, and Loretta Lynch had never recused herself.

“It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote. “The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department

 

Mr. Rosenstein added that at his July 5 press appearance Mr. Comey “laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

Then, 11 days before the election, Mr. Comey told Congress he had reopened the inquiry. His public appearances since have become a self-exoneration tour to defend his job and political standing, not least to Democrats who blame a “Comey effect” for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. Last week Mr. Comey dropped more innuendo about the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia in testimony to Congress, while also exaggerating the new evidence that led his agents to reopen the Clinton file.

For all of these reasons and more, we advised Mr. Trump to sack Mr. Comey immediately upon taking office. The President will now pay a larger political price for waiting, as critics question the timing of his action amid the FBI’s probe of his campaign’s alleged Russia ties. Democrats are already portraying Mr. Comey as a liberal martyr, though last October they accused him of partisan betrayal.

The reality is that Mr. Comey has always been most concerned with the politics of his own reputation. He styles himself as the last honest man in Washington as he has dangled insinuations across his career about the George W. Bush White House and surveillance, then Mrs. Clinton and emails, and now Mr. Trump and Russia. He is political in precisely the way we don’t want a leader of America’s premier law-enforcement agency to behave.

As for the Russia probe, if Mr. Trump is trying to cover up anything, firing the FBI Director is a lousy way to do it. Such a public spectacle will make details more likely to leak if agents feel their evidence is being sat on. Mr. Comey’s credibility was also tainted enough that whatever he announced at the end of the probe would have been doubted.

As Mr. Rosenstein put it in his memo, “I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.”

A new FBI Director who looks at the Russia evidence with fresh eyes and without the political baggage of the last year will have a better chance of being credible to the American people. Mr. Trump should now devote himself to nominating someone of integrity who can meet that standard.

Comey timeline: Everything that led up to his firing

May 9 at 9:55 PM

Comey is fired for email investigation while the Russia probe is still ongoing

 

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker explains how and why FBI director James Comey was fired, as well as how the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia may be impacted. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday. From the Clinton email investigation to the Trump-Russia probe, this is all of the major dates concerning Comey:

July 5, 2016 Comey says the FBI will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state but called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in handling classified material.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said.

July 7, 2016Comey is grilled by Republican legislatorsfor five hours during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Clinton email scandal. Comey stands by his decision to not charge Clinton.

“As a non-lawyer, as a non-investigator, it would appear to me you have got a hell of a case,” an exasperated Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) told Comey.

“I’m telling you we don’t, and I hope people take the time to understand why,” Comey responded.

Aug. 16, 2016 — In a letter released by lawmakers, the FBI defends its decision not to charge Clinton once again.

“As the Director stated, the FBI did find evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues were extremely careless in their handling of certain, very sensitive, highly classified information,” FBI acting assistant director Jason V. Herring wrote. “The Director did not equate ‘extreme carelessness’ with the legal standard of ‘gross negligence’ that is required by the statute. In this case, the FBI assessed that the facts did not support a recommendation to prosecute her or others within the scope of the investigation for gross negligence.”

Sept. 2 — The FBI releases Clinton email investigation documents.

Sept. 7 — In a memo to FBI employees, Comey says the decision not to charge Clinton was “not a cliff-hanger,” and that “despite all the chest beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case.” The letter incites fury among Republican lawmakers.

Sept. 28 — Comey says he refuses to reopen the investigation into Clinton in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

“Since you announced that there would be no prosecution of Secretary Clinton in July, there have been several very material issues that are troubling, and would those not require a reopening of the investigation to solve those issues?” Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) asked.

“I haven’t seen anything that would come near to that kind of situation,” Comey responded.

Oct. 3, 2016 — Law enforcement officials seize a laptop, phone and tablet belonging to Anthony Weiner, who was under investigation for alleged inappropriate communications with a minor. They discover the laptop contained emails from Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin.

Oct. 7, 2016 — The Obama administration officially accuses Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Oct. 13, 2016 — At a campaign even in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump says of Comey, “He stated many things, but it’s far more and he knows that. And yet, after reading all of these items, where she’s so guilty, he let her off the hook”

Oct. 27, 2016 — Comey receives a full briefing by agents in his office about the findings on Weiner’s laptop.

Oct. 28, 2016 — Comey sends a letter to congressional leaders informing them of the existence of emails pertinent to the Clinton investigation.

Oct. 31, 2016 — “It took a lot of guts. I really disagreed with him. I was not his fan. But I’ll tell you what he did, he brought back his reputation,” Trump says of Comey’s decision.

Nov. 6, 2016 — Comey wrote that investigators had worked “around the clock” to review all the emails found on a device used by Weiner. In the end, the FBI concluded that it found nothing to alter its original opinion that it would seek no charges against Clinton.

Nov. 9, 2016 — Trump is elected president of the United States.

Early January — President-elect Trump is informed by U.S. intelligence agency leaders that Russia may possess compromising information about him.

Jan. 10 — Comey appears with NSA Director Mike Rogers, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and CIA Director John Brennan in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee to talk about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election. Comey refuses to confirm that the FBI is looking into Trump team’s ties to Russia.

Jan. 13 — Democrats, after a briefing with Comey, accuse him of stonewalling about whether the FBI is investigating ties between Trump associates and Russia. On the same day, the Senate Intelligence Committee announces it will look into Russian interference in the election.

Jan. 18 — President-elect Trump informs Comey that it is his intention to keep him on as FBI director.

Jan. 22 — Comey greets Trump at the White House two days after his inauguration. “He’s become more famous than me,” Trump said to people in the room.

Feb. 24 — FBI rejects requests from the Trump administration to knock down news reports concerning communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

March 1 — The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

March 2 — Sessions recuses himself from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign, including any Russian interference in the electoral process.

March 5 — Comey asks the Department of Justice to refute Trump’s tweet claiming Trump Tower was wiretapped during the election.

March 9 — Comey meets with members of Congress concerning Trump’s tweet claiming the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.

March 20 — Comey confirms that the FBI is investigating any links between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.

March 20 — Comey refutes Trump’s tweets alleging that the Obama administration was wiretapping Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

Late March/early April — The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) cancels all other scheduled testimony on Russia and insists that Comey come back to the Hill for a closed-door briefing. Nunes recuses himself from the Russia investigation before that meeting is ever scheduled.

April 12 — Trump is asked on Fox Business Networkabout his decision to keep Comey on:

Maria Bartiromo: Was it a mistake not to ask Jim Comey to step down from the FBI at the outside of your presidency, is it too late now to ask him to step down?

President Trump: No, it’s not too late. But I have confidence in him, we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting, but we have to just — look, I have so many people that want to come in to this administration, they’re so excited about this administration and what’s happening.

Bankers, law enforcement, everybody wants to come into this administration. Don’t forget, when Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton, people don’t realize that. He saved her life because I call it “Comey won,” and I joke about it a little bit. When he was reading those charges, she was guilty on every charge and then he said, “She was essentially okay.”

April 25 — Senate confirms Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general in a 94-to-6 vote.

May 2 — Trump tweets: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony … Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?

May 3 — Comey testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton and her emails.

“Lordy, has this been difficult,” Comey said of the fallout from his Clinton decision. Comey also says, “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.” Comey alleges in the hearing that Huma Abedin “forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails [to Anthony Weiner], some of which contain classified information.”

May 4 — Comey briefs members of the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors about the Russia probe, now being led by Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.).

May 8 — ProPublica published a report stating that Comey exaggerated the number of emails Abedin forwarded to Weiner.

May 9 — FBI sends a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee clarifying that Comey misspoke about the number of emails forwarded.

President Trump informed FBI Director James Comey he had been dismissed on May 9, stemming from a conclusion by Justice Department officials that he had mishandled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails.(Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

May 9 — Trump fires Comey, citing recommendationsfrom Sessions and Rosenstein.

Karoun Demirijan and Kevin Uhrmacher contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/09/comey-timeline-everything-that-led-up-to-his-firing/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.ce67b88b7bbc

President Trump fires FBI Director Comey

Comey is fired for email investigation while the Russia probe is still ongoing

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker explains how and why FBI director James Comey was fired, as well as how the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia may be impacted. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

May 9 at 9:35 PM

President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, at the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials who said he had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly and in doing so damaged the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.

The startling development comes as Comey was leading a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether associates of Trump may have coordinated with Russia to interfere with the U.S. presidential election last year. It wasn’t immediately clear how Comey’s ouster will affect the Russia probe, but Democrats said they were concerned that his ouster could derail the investigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, would be the acting director of the FBI. As a presidential candidate, Trump explicitly criticized Comey and McCabe for their roles in the Clinton probe while at other points praising Comey for his “guts.”

“The president has accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in the White House briefing room. The firing is effective “immediately,” he said.

Lawmakers react after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Comey was in Los Angeles on Tuesday on a recruiting trip.

Officials said Comey was fired because senior Justice Department officials concluded that he had violated Justice Department principles and procedures last year by publicly discussing the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Democrats have long argued that Comey’s decisions in the months and days before the election hurt Clinton’s standing with voters and affected the outcome, but the president and his closest advisers had argued that Comey went too easy on Clinton and her aides.

Just last week, Trump publicly accused Comey of giving Clinton “a free pass for many bad deeds’’ when he decided not to recommend criminal charges in the case.

Officials released a Tuesday memo from the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, laying out the rationale behind Comey’s dismissal and attributing it all to his handling of the Clinton case. Officials said Rosenstein began examining Comey’s conduct shortly after being sworn into office two weeks ago.

“The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,” Rosenstein wrote. “I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”

Democrats skeptical

But Democrats immediately linked the dismissal to the Russia probe.

“The decision by a President whose campaign associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia to fire the man overseeing that investigation, upon the recommendation of an Attorney General who has recused himself from that investigation, raises profound questions about whether the White House is brazenly interfering in a criminal matter,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. The House committee is looking into Russian interference in the election.

Some Republicans were also concerned. “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also examining Russian meddling. “I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee.”

There were multiple calls by Democrats on Tuesday night for the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation and take the matter out of the hands of Justice Department leadership.

In an attempt to pressure Republicans to join calls for an independent prosecutor, Senate Democrats have been asked by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to be in the Senate chamber at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when the legislative day begins.

In a late-night tweet Tuesday, Trump targeted Schumer. “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer stated recently, “I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.” Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp,” the president wrote.

Trump plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday. It will be the first face-to-face contact between the president and a senior official of the Russian government.

Rosenstein wrote in the memo that when Comey announced on July 5 that he had decided not to recommend charges in the Clinton case, he did so “without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders. Compounding the error, the director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation . . . we never release it gratuitously . . . It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

Rosenstein was also critical of Comey’s decision to reveal in late October that the Clinton email probe had resumed, and he dismissed the FBI director’s recent defense to Congress that not doing so would have effectively been to “conceal” important information.

“ ‘Conceal’ is a loaded term that misstates the issue,” Rosenstein wrote. “When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.”

In a letter to Trump, Sessions said that he agreed Comey had to go.

“I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI,’’ Sessions wrote. “I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, Jr. and identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI.’’

But in October — when Sessions was a senator supporting Trump, and Comey revealed less than two weeks before the election that he had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server — Sessions applauded the decision in an appearance on Fox Business Network.

“He had an absolute duty, in my opinion, 11 days or not, to come forward with the new information that he has and let the American people know that, too,” Sessions said at the time.

Nothing in the Rosenstein memo suggests that the Clinton investigation will be reopened.

Tuesday afternoon, White House aide Keith Schiller, who has long served Trump as a bodyguard, visited FBI headquarters to hand-deliver Trump’s dismissal letter to Comey’s office, although the director wasn’t there to receive it, officials said.

Trump wrote to Comey: “You are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.’’

The president added: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.’’

The news stunned Washington.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Comey’s decisions “have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI.’’

The senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), however, compared Tuesday’s developments to the Watergate scandal and said the actions “reek of a coverup and appear to be part of an ongoing effort by the Trump White House to impede the investigation into Russian ties and interference in our elections.’’

Over the past two years, Comey had assumed an extraordinary role in Washington — overseeing not one, but two investigations involving presidential candidates. In some ways, that made him more powerful than the Justice Department officials to whom he reported.

After Clinton lost to Trump, many Democrats blamed Comey for what they viewed as his unprecedented interference in the election process, but most later came to see him as an independent figure in the Trump administration who would be critical to a fair and thorough investigation of any possible ties between Russia and Trump associates.

Strains over leak cases

Several current and former officials said the relationship between the White House and the FBI had been strained for months, in part because administration officials were pressuring Comey to more aggressively pursue leak investigations over disclosures that embarrassed the White House and raised questions about ties with Russia.

That pressure was described as conversational challenges to FBI leadership to pursue the source of leaks seen as damaging to the administration, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Although the FBI is investigating disclosures of classified information, the bureau has resisted calls to prioritize leak investigations over the Russia matter, or probe matters that did not involve leaks of classified or otherwise sensitive information, the officials said.

“The administration has been putting pressure on the FBI to focus more on the leaks and weren’t satisfied with the results,’’ said a former senior U.S. official familiar with the matter. A current official said administration figures have been “very aggressive’’ in pressuring the FBI.

The Justice Department inspector general has been investigating how Comey and his top deputy handled the Clinton probe, though that investigation is expected to continue for months.

Shortly before the announcement, the FBI notified Congress by letter that Comey had misstated key findings involving the Clinton email investigation during testimony last week, but nothing about that issue suggested it might imperil Comey’s job.

David Weigel and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/comey-misstated-key-clinton-email-evidence-at-hearing-say-people-close-to-investigation/2017/05/09/074c1c7e-34bd-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?utm_term=.5198e0fc7684

President Trump unexpectedly fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday after a finding by the Justice Department that he mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails last year.

Trump said he acted based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who found that Comey improperly moved to “usurp” the attorney general’s authority and decided not to prosecute Clinton.

“I have received the attached letters from the attorney general and deputy attorney general of the United States recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Trump said in a letter to Comey. “I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Trump said. “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

The Trump administration will immediately begin a search for Comey’s successor. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been floated as a possible replacement, according to Fox News.

“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said in a White House statement.

In a memo explaining to Trump why he thought Comey should be fired, Rosenstein, who was sworn into office in late April, pointed to the FBI director’s July press conference explaining why Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

“The director was wrong to usurp the attorney general’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors,” Rosenstein wrote.

Comey’s involvement in the 2016 general election didn’t end there. On Oct. 28, just days before voters went to the polls, Comey sent a letter to Congress saying new emails had surfaced related to the investigation into whether Clinton had mishandled classified information.

Just over a week later, Comey said they had found no new wrongdoing by Clinton, but the candidate’s staff has argued the Oct. 28 letter significantly hurt her campaign.

Days after Trump’s inauguration in January, Trump memorably shook Comey’s hand while meeting at the White House.

Comey’s firing comes the same day the FBI had to correct testimony before a Senate panel that former Clinton aide Huma Abedin “forwarded hundreds and thousands” of possibly sensitive emails to her husband, former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.

The FBI on Tuesday said the majority of the data that was transferred “occurred as a result of backup of personal data electronic devices, with a small number of result of manual forwarding by Ms. Abedin to Mr. Weiner.”

Those emails, the subject of the Oct. 28 letter, were found during an unrelated investigation into Weiner.

Sessions recused himself from a Justice Department investigation into allegations that Russia colluded with the Trump administration during the election. Rosenstein is overseeing that probe. Comey was overseeing the FBI’s probe into any Trump connections with Russia.

Democrats reacted with alarm to the announcement.

“Congress needs to have immediate emergency hearings to obtain testimony directly from Attorney General Sessions, the deputy attorney general, and FBI Director Comey,” Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement.

“The White House was already covering up for Michael Flynn by refusing to provide a single document to Congress, and now the president fired the one independent person who was doing the most to investigate President Trump and his campaign over allegations of coordination with Russia,” Cummings wrote. “It is mindboggling that the attorney general — who claimed to have recused himself — was directly involved in the decision to fire Director Comey according to the White House itself.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-fires-fbis-comey-over-clinton-email-investigation/article/2622593

Several Democratic lawmakers reacted to President Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey with horror Tuesday and said the country was on the verge of, or inside, a constitutional crisis.

Sen. Ed Markey was the first to imply the country is in peril following Trump’s decision to fire Comey. The Massachusetts Democrat said Trump set a terrible precedent given the number of investigations into the 2016 presidential campaign and his team’s possible connections to the Russian government.

“This episode is disturbingly reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal and the national turmoil that it caused,” Markey said. “We are careening ever closer to a constitutional crisis, and this development only underscores why we must appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate any dealings the Trump campaign or administration had with Russia.”

Trump made the surprise move Tuesday evening, shocking many in Washington.

Even lawmakers who have been around for decades were taken aback by Trump’s actions. Rep. John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is the dean of the House, echoed Markey in saying that he saw echoes of President Nixon’s dismissal of top officials in 1973 in Trump’s maneuver.

“There is little doubt that the president’s actions harken our nation back to Watergate and the ‘Saturday Night Massacre,'” Conyers said. “This decision makes it clear that we must have an independent, non-partisan commission to investigate both Russian interference in the U.S. election and allegations of collusion between the government of Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign.

“Today’s action by President Trump completely obliterates any semblance of an independent investigation into Russian efforts to influence our election and places our nation on the verge of a constitutional crisis.”

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz was much more forward and to the point his declaration that the country is now in crisis.

“We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis,” he said.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said the timeline was clear that Trump is trying to avoid heat from the investigation into Trump’s possible Russian connections.

“We are witnessing a constitutional crisis unfold before our very eyes,” he said. “On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed under oath that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for its involvement with Russian officials to influence our election. Today, President Trump fired him.”

He said the next director of the bureau “will not have the independence or confidence of the American people to continue this investigation” and called for a special prosecutor.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democrats-warn-of-constitutional-crisis-after-trump-fires-comey/article/2622617

EXCLUSIVE: Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett has convinced President Obama to FIRE FBI director James Comey after the election

  • After persistent prodding by Valerie Jarrett, President Obama has agreed to fire America’s top cop
  • A White House source familiar with the decision says Jarrett and the president held lengthy discussions over the past several days about the political and legal ramifications of firing FBI director
  • The president was furious with Comey for reopening the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails 
  • But he was reluctant to move against Comey for fear that it would open him to charges of obstruction of justice.
  • It has yet to be decided who will wield the hatchet—the president, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, or someone else 

New York Times bestselling author Ed Klein has just published his fourth book about the Clintons since 2005, Guilty as Sin. Klein has told how Bill Clinton enjoyed foot rubs, massages and romps in his presidential library with female interns and has described new details about Hillary’s medical crises. Guilty as Sin is available in bookstores and for order from Amazon.

After persistent prodding by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to remove James Comey from his job as director of the FBI, President Obama has agreed the time has come to fire America’s top cop.

Comey has been under fire by both Democrats and Republicans for his recent actions

Comey has been under fire by both Democrats and Republicans for his recent actions

According to a White House source familiar with Obama’s decision, Jarrett and the president held lengthy discussions over the past several days about the political and legal ramifications of firing the FBI director.

The president was furious with Comey for reopening the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s emails 11 days before the election, then admitting two days before the election that he couldn’t find any cause for taking action against the Democratic nominee.

But the president was reluctant to move against Comey for fear that it would open him to charges of obstruction of justice.

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett has convinced President Obama to remove James Comey from his job as director of the FBI

However, according to the White House source, Jarrett convinced the president that it was within his power to remove the FBI director for his ill-conceived and erratic interference in the presidential election.

She also argued that there would be bipartisan support in Congress for such a move against Comey, who has alienated both Democrats and Republicans

After the White House legal counsel agreed with Jarrett, Obama ordered his top advisers to draw up a plan for getting rid of the troublesome FBi director.

It has yet to be decided who will wield the hatchet—the president, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, or someone else—and exactly when Comey will be forced to go. So far, the only firm decision is that Comey will not be fired until after the election.

New York Times bestselling author Ed Klein lays bare Clinton  secrets in Guilty as Sin

New York Times bestselling author Ed Klein lays bare Clinton  secrets in Guilty as Sin

Other sources within the FBI report that Comey may be gone before the president has a chance to act. According to these sources, there is a mounting consensus in the FBI that Comey has inflicted permanent damage on the institution and that he no longer has the confidence of his staff.

According to these sources, Comey has lost the good will of his agents and some of his deputies, and more and more of them are clamoring for his resignation.

‘I met with friends from the FBI and Justice,’ said a retired Justice Department official, ‘and they were all in agreement that Comey’s jerky decisions—opening the case against Hillary without definite cause, then closing it without consulting with his top deputies—was flabbergasting and deeply disturbing for career law enforcement and prosecutors.

‘Whatever support and goodwill Jim had until recently has been destroyed,’ this source continued. ‘He has injured the bureau and it will take a miracle for him to survive this.’

DailyMail.com reached out to the White House for comment. A spokesperson said,  ‘I will look into this.’

Rod Rosenstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Rod J. Rosenstein)
Rod Rosenstein
Rod Rosenstein US Attorney.jpg
United States Deputy Attorney General
Assumed office
April 26, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Sally Yates
United States Attorney for the District of Maryland
In office
July 12, 2005[1] – April 26, 2017
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded by Thomas M. DiBiagio
Succeeded by Stephen M. Schenning(Acting)
Personal details
Born January 13, 1965 (age 52)[2]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education University of Pennsylvania(BS)
Harvard University(JD)

Rod J. Rosenstein (born January 13, 1965) is the Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice. Prior to his current appointment, he served as a United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. Rosenstein was a former nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. At the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney general in April 2017, he was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. attorney.[3]

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on January 13, 2017. Rosenstein was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2017.

Background

Rosenstein was born on January 13, 1965, in Philadelphia. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in Economics, summa cum laude in 1986.[4] He earned his J.D. degree cum laude in 1989 from Harvard Law School,[4] where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[5]

After his clerkship, Rosenstein joined the U.S. Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. From 1990 to 1993, he prosecuted public corruption cases as a trial attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, then led by Assistant Attorney General Robert S. Mueller, III.[4][6]

During the Clinton Administration, Rosenstein served as Counsel to Deputy Attorney General Philip B. Heymann (1993–1994) and Special Assistant to Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Harris (1994–1995). As an Associate Independent Counsel from 1995 to 1997, he was co-counsel in the trial of three defendants who were convicted of fraud, and he supervised the investigation that found no basis for criminal prosecution of White House officials who had obtained FBI background reports.[4]

United States Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia hired Rosenstein as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1997.[4] He litigated a wide range of cases, coordinated the credit card fraud and international assistance programs and supervised the law student intern program. He also briefed and argued cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

From 2001 to 2005, Rosenstein served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He coordinated the tax enforcement activities of the Tax Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the IRS, and he supervised 90 attorneys and 30 support employees. He also oversaw civil litigation and served as the acting head of the Tax Division when Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. O’Connor was unavailable, and he personally briefed and argued civil appeals in several federal appellate courts.

President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to serve as United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on May 23, 2005. He took office on July 12, 2005, after the United States Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination.[6] As United States Attorney, he oversees federal civil and criminal litigation and develops and implements federal law enforcement strategies in Maryland. He also continues personally to litigate cases in the U.S. District Court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The Attorney General appointed Rosenstein to serve on the Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, which evaluates and recommends policies for the Department of Justice. He is vice-chair of the Violent and Organized Crime Subcommittee and a member of the Subcommittees on White Collar Crime, Sentencing Issues and Cyber/Intellectual Property Crime. He also serves on the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Coordination Committee.

Rosenstein is on the Board of Directors of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association and of the Maryland chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He is the Core City U.S. Attorney for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and serves on the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Board. He also is a member of the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

As an adjunct professor, Rosenstein has taught classes on federal criminal prosecution at the University of Maryland School of Law and trial advocacy at the University of Baltimore School of Law.[2] He also serves on the faculty of a trial advocacy seminar at Georgetown University Law Center. He often speaks about law enforcement issues and government service at public events and legal seminars.

Rosenstein is an active member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars and of numerous federal court bars. He belongs to the Maryland, Federal and American Bar Associations. He is a barrister of the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court and a member of the Lawyers’ Round Table of Baltimore.

Fourth Circuit nomination under Bush

On November 15, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to a seat vacated by Francis Dominic Murnaghan, Jr., who had died on August 31, 2000.

On October 12, 2000, President Bill Clinton had nominated African-Americanfederal district court judgeAndre M. Davis to replace Murnaghan.[7] The nomination was a part of Clinton’s effort to integrate the Fourth Circuit, which up to that point had never had an African-American Circuit Court of Appeals judge. However, since Davis was nominated after July 1, 2000, the unofficial start date of the Thurmond Rule during a presidential election year, no hearings were scheduled on his nomination, and the nomination was returned to Clinton at the end of his term.

Bush unsuccessfully attempted to fill the seat three times. During the spring of 2001, Bush intended to nominate Washington, D.C. lawyer Peter Keisler, a resident of Bethesda, Maryland, to the Maryland seat on the Fourth Circuit, but was blocked from doing so by Democratic senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski on the grounds that he wasn’t sufficiently a member of the Maryland legal community.[8] Keisler later became a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006, which was also blocked by the Senate, and Acting United States Attorney General of the United States after the resignation of Alberto Gonzales in 2007.

In 2004, in an attempt to bypass the necessary approval of Democrats Sarbanes and Mikulski, Bush sought to transfer the open circuit seat to Virginia, which had two Republican senators at the time, John Warner and George Allen. He nominated Virginia resident Claude Allen, an African American member of the Bush administration, to succeed Murnaghan on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Allen’s nomination was opposed by the People for the American Way, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women.[9]Because of the opposition of Sarbanes and Mikulski, Allen’s nomination was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and lapsed on December 8, 2005. Bush chose not to renominate Allen.

Rosenstein, a state resident, was afterward nominated to fill the Maryland seat. Mikulski and new Democratic Maryland senator, Benjamin Cardin, blocked Rosenstein’s confirmation, stating that he did not have strong enough Maryland legal ties,[10] and due to this Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed. Davis later was renominated to the same seat and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

Nomination for Deputy Attorney General

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on January 13, 2017.[11] He was confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017 by a vote of 94-6.[12][13]

Personal life

Rod Rosenstein is married to Lisa Barsoomian, an Armenian American lawyer who works for the National Institutes of Health. They have two daughters.[14]

See also

References

Notes

  1. Jump up^ “Meet the U.S. Attorney”. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Clarke, Sara (March 8, 2017). “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Rod Rosenstein”. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  3. Jump up^ Fritze, John (April 24, 2017). “Rosenstein poised for confirmation as deputy attorney general”. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e “Profile of Rod Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for Maryland”. The Washington Post. October 9, 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  5. Jump up^ Dolan, Matthew (August 12, 2005). “Rosenstein takes office as top U.S. prosecutor”. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Rector, Kevin (November 20, 2016). “Maryland leaders hope state’s long-serving U.S. attorney will survive Trump transition”. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  7. Jump up^ Office of the Press Secretary – President Clinton nominates Judge Andre M. Davis to the Federal Bench. | M2 Presswire | Find Articles at BNET.com
  8. Jump up^ Lewis, Neil A. (June 26, 2001). “Washington Talk; Road to Federal Bench Gets Bumpier in Senate“. New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  9. Jump up^ Independent Judiciary, webpage on Allen nomination
  10. Jump up^ Judges, and Justice, Delayed” [editorial]. Washington Post. April 15, 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  11. Jump up^ “U.S. attorney in Baltimore is Trump’s pick to be deputy attorney general”. Washington Post. 14 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. Jump up^ http://www.wbaltv.com/article/rod-rosenstein-confirmed-as-deputy-attorney-general/9246350
  13. Jump up^ “Roll Call Vote PN56”. United States Senate. April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  14. Jump up^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/profile-of-rod-rosenstein-us-attorney-for-maryland/2011/09/29/gIQAfOTWYL_story.html?utm_term=.7957e3514b81

Sources

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document “Rod J. Rosenstein, District of Maryland“. from the U.S. Department of Justice

External links

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

Federal Bureau of Investigation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg

Flag of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg

Flag of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Badge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.png
Badge of an FBI agent
Agency overview
Formed July 26, 1908; 108 years ago as the Bureau of Investigation
Jurisdiction U.S. Government
Headquarters J. Edgar Hoover Building
Northwest, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Motto Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity
Employees 35,104[1] (October 31, 2014)
Annual budget 8.3 billion USD (FY 2014)[1]
Agency executives
Parent agency Department of Justice
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Website fbi.gov

FBI field divisions map

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, which simultaneously serves as the nation’s prime federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is concurrently a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.[2] A leading U.S. counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.[3]

Although many of the FBI’s functions are unique, its activities in support of national security are comparable to those of the British MI5 and the Russian FSB. Unlike the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has no law enforcement authority and is focused on intelligence collection overseas, the FBI is primarily a domestic agency, maintaining 56 field offices in major cities throughout the United States, and more than 400 resident agencies in lesser cities and areas across the nation. At an FBI field office, a senior-level FBI officer concurrently serves as the representative of the Director of National Intelligence.[4][5]

Despite its domestic focus, the FBI also maintains a significant international footprint, operating 60 Legal Attache (LEGAT) offices and 15 sub-offices in U.S. embassies and consulates across the globe. These overseas offices exist primarily for the purpose of coordination with foreign security services and do not usually conduct unilateral operations in the host countries.[6] The FBI can and does at times carry out secret activities overseas,[7] just as the CIA has a limited domestic function; these activities generally require coordination across government agencies.

The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, the BOI or BI for short. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. The FBI headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, located in Washington, D.C.

Contents

 [show

Budget, mission, and priorities

FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide

In the fiscal year 2012, the Bureau’s total budget was approximately $8.12 billion.[8]

The FBI’s main goal is to protect and defend the United States, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.[3]

Currently, the FBI’s top priorities are:[9]

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attacks,
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage,
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes,
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels,
  5. Protect civil rights,
  6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises,
  7. Combat major white-collar crime,
  8. Combat significant violent crime,
  9. Support federal, state, local and international partners, and
  10. Upgrade technology to enable, and further, the successful performances of its missions as stated above.

History

Background

In 1896, the National Bureau of Criminal Identification was founded, which provided agencies across the country with information to identify known criminals. The 1901 assassination of President William McKinley created a perception that America was under threat from anarchists. The Departments of Justice and Labor had been keeping records on anarchists for years, but President Theodore Roosevelt wanted more power to monitor them.[10]

The Justice Department had been tasked with the regulation of interstate commerce since 1887, though it lacked the staff to do so. It had made little effort to relieve its staff shortage until the Oregon land fraud scandal at the turn of the 20th Century. President Roosevelt instructed Attorney General Charles Bonaparte to organize an autonomous investigative service that would report only to the Attorney General.[11]

Bonaparte reached out to other agencies, including the Secret Service, for personnel, investigators in particular. On May 27, 1908, the Congress forbade this use of Treasury employees by the Justice Department, citing fears that the new agency would serve as a secret police department.[12] Again at Roosevelt’s urging, Bonaparte moved to organize a formal Bureau of Investigation, which would then have its own staff of special agents.[10]

Creation

The Bureau of Investigation (BOI) was created on July 26, 1908, after the Congress had adjourned for the summer.[10] Attorney General Bonaparte, using Department of Justice expense funds,[10] hired thirty-four people, including some veterans of the Secret Service,[13][14] to work for a new investigative agency. Its first “Chief” (the title is now known as “Director”) was Stanley Finch. Bonaparte notified the Congress of these actions in December 1908.[10]

The bureau’s first official task was visiting and making surveys of the houses of prostitution in preparation for enforcing the “White Slave Traffic Act,” or Mann Act, passed on June 25, 1910. In 1932, the bureau was renamed the United States Bureau of Investigation. The following year it was linked to the Bureau of Prohibition and rechristened the Division of Investigation (DOI) before finally becoming an independent service within the Department of Justice in 1935.[13] In the same year, its name was officially changed from the Division of Investigation to the present-day Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.

J. Edgar Hoover as director

J. Edgar Hoover, Director from 1924 to 1972

J. Edgar Hoover served as Director from 1924 to 1972, a combined 48 years with the BOI, DOI, and FBI. He was chiefly responsible for creating the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, or the FBI Laboratory, which officially opened in 1932, as part of his work to professionalize investigations by the government. Hoover was substantially involved in most major cases and projects that the FBI handled during his tenure. But as detailed below, his proved to be a highly controversial tenure as Bureau Director, especially in its later years. After Hoover’s death, the Congress passed legislation that limited the tenure of future FBI Directors to ten years.

Early homicide investigations of the new agency included the Osage Indian murders. During the “War on Crime” of the 1930s, FBI agents apprehended or killed a number of notorious criminals who carried out kidnappings, robberies, and murders throughout the nation, including John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, Kate “Ma” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Other activities of its early decades included a decisive role in reducing the scope and influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Additionally, through the work of Edwin Atherton, the FBI claimed success in apprehending an entire army of Mexican neo-revolutionaries along the California border in the 1920s.

Hoover began using wiretapping in the 1920s during Prohibition to arrest bootleggers.[15] In the 1927 case Olmstead v. United States, in which a bootlegger was caught through telephone tapping, the United States Supreme Court ruled that FBI wiretaps did not violate the Fourth Amendment as unlawful search and seizure, as long as the FBI did not break into a person’s home to complete the tapping.[15] After Prohibition’s repeal, Congress passed the Communications Act of 1934, which outlawed non-consensual phone tapping, but did allow bugging.[15] In the 1939 case Nardone v. United States, the court ruled that due to the 1934 law, evidence the FBI obtained by phone tapping was inadmissible in court.[15] After the 1967 case Katz v. United States overturned the 1927 case that had allowed bugging, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control Act, allowing public authorities to tap telephones during investigations, as long as they obtained warrants beforehand.[15]

National security

Beginning in the 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, the bureau investigated cases of espionage against the United States and its allies. Eight Nazi agents who had planned sabotage operations against American targets were arrested, and six were executed (Ex parte Quirin) under their sentences. Also during this time, a joint US/UK code-breaking effort called “The Venona Project“—with which the FBI was heavily involved—broke Soviet diplomatic and intelligence communications codes, allowing the US and British governments to read Soviet communications. This effort confirmed the existence of Americans working in the United States for Soviet intelligence.[16] Hoover was administering this project, but he failed to notify the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of it until 1952. Another notable case was the arrest of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in 1957.[17] The discovery of Soviet spies operating in the US allowed Hoover to pursue his longstanding obsession with the threat he perceived from the American Left, ranging from Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) union organizers to American liberals.

Japanese American internment

In 1939, the Bureau began compiling a custodial detention list with the names of those who would be taken into custody in the event of war with Axis nations. The majority of the names on the list belonged to Issei community leaders, as the FBI investigation built on an existing Naval Intelligence index that had focused on Japanese Americans in Hawaii and the West Coast, but many German and Italian nationals also found their way onto the secret list.[18] Robert Shivers, head of the Honolulu office, obtained permission from Hoover to start detaining those on the list on December 7, 1941, while bombs were still falling over Pearl Harbor.[19] Mass arrests and searches of homes (in most cases conducted without warrants) began a few hours after the attack, and over the next several weeks more than 5,500 Issei men were taken into FBI custody.[20] On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. FBI Director Hoover opposed the subsequent mass removal and confinement of Japanese Americans authorized under Executive Order 9066, but Roosevelt prevailed.[21] The vast majority went along with the subsequent exclusion orders, but in a handful of cases where Japanese Americans refused to obey the new military regulations, FBI agents handled their arrests.[19] The Bureau continued surveillance on Japanese Americans throughout the war, conducting background checks on applicants for resettlement outside camp, and entering the camps (usually without the permission of War Relocation Authority officials) and grooming informants to monitor dissidents and “troublemakers.” After the war, the FBI was assigned to protect returning Japanese Americans from attacks by hostile white communities.[19]

Civil Rights Movement

During the 1950s and 1960s, FBI officials became increasingly concerned about the influence of civil rights leaders, whom they believed either had communist ties or were unduly influenced by communists or “fellow travelers.” In 1956, for example, Hoover sent an open letter denouncing Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a civil rights leader, surgeon, and wealthy entrepreneur in Mississippi who had criticized FBI inaction in solving recent murders of George W. Lee, Emmett Till, and other blacks in the South.[22] The FBI carried out controversial domestic surveillance in an operation it called the COINTELPRO, a portmanteau derived from “COunter-INTELligence PROgram.”[23] It was to investigate and disrupt the activities of dissident political organizations within the United States, including both militant and non-violent organizations. Among its targets was the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading civil rights organization whose clergy leadership included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is addressed in more detail below.[24]

The FBI frequently investigated Martin Luther King, Jr. In the mid-1960s, King began publicly criticizing the Bureau for giving insufficient attention to the use of terrorism by white supremacists. Hoover responded by publicly calling King the most “notorious liar” in the United States.[25] In his 1991 memoir, Washington Post journalist Carl Rowan asserted that the FBI had sent at least one anonymous letter to King encouraging him to commit suicide.[26]Historian Taylor Branch documents an anonymous November 1964 “suicide package” sent by the Bureau that combined a letter to the civil rights leader telling him, “You are done. There is only one way out for you…” with audio recordings of King’s sexual indiscretions.[27]

In March 1971, the residential office of an FBI agent in Media, Pennsylvania was burgled by a group calling itself the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. Numerous files were taken and distributed to a range of newspapers, including The Harvard Crimson.[28] The files detailed the FBI’s extensive COINTELPRO program, which included investigations into lives of ordinary citizens—including a black student group at a Pennsylvania military college and the daughter of Congressman Henry Reuss of Wisconsin.[28] The country was “jolted” by the revelations, which included assassinations of political activists, and the actions were denounced by members of the Congress, including House Majority Leader Hale Boggs.[28] The phones of some members of the Congress, including Boggs, had allegedly been tapped.[28]

Kennedy’s assassination

When President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed, the jurisdiction fell to the local police departments until President Lyndon B. Johnson directed the FBI to take over the investigation.[29] To ensure clarity about the responsibility for investigation of homicides of federal officials, the Congress passed a law that included investigations of such deaths of federal officials, especially by homicide, within FBI jurisdiction. This new law was passed in 1965.[30][31][32]

Organized crime

An FBI surveillance photograph of Joseph D. Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco), Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero and Edgar Robb (aka Tony Rossi), 1980s

In response to organized crime, on August 25, 1953, the FBI created the Top Hoodlum Program. The national office directed field offices to gather information on mobsters in their territories and to report it regularly to Washington for a centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers.[33] After the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO Act, took effect, the FBI began investigating the former Prohibition-organized groups, which had become fronts for crime in major cities and small towns. All of the FBI work was done undercover and from within these organizations, using the provisions provided in the RICO Act. Gradually the agency dismantled many of the groups. Although Hoover initially denied the existence of a National Crime Syndicate in the United States, the Bureau later conducted operations against known organized crime syndicates and families, including those headed by Sam Giancana and John Gotti. The RICO Act is still used today for all organized crime and any individuals who may fall under the Act’s provisions.

In 2003 a congressional committee called the FBI’s organized crime informant program “one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement.”[34] The FBI allowed four innocent men to be convicted of the March 1965 gangland murder of Edward “Teddy” Deegan in order to protect Vincent Flemmi, an FBI informant. Three of the men were sentenced to death (which was later reduced to life in prison), and the fourth defendant was sentenced to life in prison.[34] Two of the four men died in prison after serving almost 30 years, and two others were released after serving 32 and 36 years. In July 2007, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner in Boston found that the Bureau had helped convict the four men using false witness accounts given by mobster Joseph Barboza. The U.S. Government was ordered to pay $100 million in damages to the four defendants.[35]

Special FBI teams

FBI SWAT agents in a training exercise

In 1982, the FBI formed an elite unit[36] to help with problems that might arise at the 1984 Summer Olympics to be held in Los Angeles, particularly terrorism and major-crime. This was a result of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, when terrorists murdered the Israeli athletes. Named the Hostage Rescue Team, or HRT, it acts as the FBI lead for a national SWAT team in related procedures and all counter-terrorism cases. Also formed in 1984 was the Computer Analysis and Response Team, or CART.[37]

From the end of the 1980s to the early 1990s, the FBI reassigned more than 300 agents from foreign counter-intelligence duties to violent crime, and made violent crime the sixth national priority. With reduced cuts to other well-established departments, and because terrorism was no longer considered a threat after the end of the Cold War,[37] the FBI assisted local and state police forces in tracking fugitives who had crossed state lines, which is a federal offense. The FBI Laboratory helped develop DNA testing, continuing its pioneering role in identification that began with its fingerprinting system in 1924.

Notable efforts in the 1990s

An FBI Agent tags the cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990 on the deck of the USS Grapple (ARS 53) at the crash site on November 13, 1999.

Between 1993 and 1996, the FBI increased its counter-terrorism role in the wake of the first 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City, New York; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the arrest of the Unabomber in 1996. Technological innovation and the skills of FBI Laboratory analysts helped ensure that the three cases were successfully prosecuted.[38] But Justice Department investigations into the FBI’s roles in the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents were found to have been obstructed by agents within the Bureau. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, the FBI was criticized for its investigation of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. It has settled a dispute with Richard Jewell, who was a private security guard at the venue, along with some media organizations,[39] in regard to the leaking of his name during the investigation; this had briefly led to his being wrongly suspected of the bombing.

After Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA, 1994), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 1996), and the Economic Espionage Act (EEA, 1996), the FBI followed suit and underwent a technological upgrade in 1998, just as it did with its CART team in 1991. Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center (CITAC) and the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) were created to deal with the increase in Internet-related problems, such as computer viruses, worms, and other malicious programs that threatened US operations. With these developments, the FBI increased its electronic surveillance in public safety and national security investigations, adapting to the telecommunications advancements that changed the nature of such problems.

September 11 attacks

September 11 attacks at the Pentagon

During the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, FBI agent Leonard W. Hatton Jr. was killed during the rescue effort while helping the rescue personnel evacuate the occupants of the South Tower, and he stayed when it collapsed. Within months after the attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller, who had been sworn in a week before the attacks, called for a re-engineering of FBI structure and operations. He made countering every federal crime a top priority, including the prevention of terrorism, countering foreign intelligence operations, addressing cyber security threats, other high-tech crimes, protecting civil rights, combating public corruption, organized crime, white-collar crime, and major acts of violent crime.[40]

In February 2001, Robert Hanssen was caught selling information to the Russian government. It was later learned that Hanssen, who had reached a high position within the FBI, had been selling intelligence since as early as 1979. He pleaded guilty to treason and received a life sentence in 2002, but the incident led many to question the security practices employed by the FBI. There was also a claim that Hanssen might have contributed information that led to the September 11, 2001, attacks.[41]

The 9/11 Commission‘s final report on July 22, 2004, stated that the FBI and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were both partially to blame for not pursuing intelligence reports that could have prevented the September 11, 2001, attacks. In its most damning assessment, the report concluded that the country had “not been well served” by either agency and listed numerous recommendations for changes within the FBI.[42] While the FBI did accede to most of the recommendations, including oversight by the new Director of National Intelligence, some former members of the 9/11 Commission publicly criticized the FBI in October 2005, claiming it was resisting any meaningful changes.[43]

On July 8, 2007, The Washington Post published excerpts from UCLA Professor Amy Zegart’s book Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11.[44] The Post reported, from Zegart’s book, that government documents showed that both the CIA and the FBI had missed 23 potential chances to disrupt the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The primary reasons for the failures included: agency cultures resistant to change and new ideas; inappropriate incentives for promotion; and a lack of cooperation between the FBI, CIA and the rest of the United States Intelligence Community. The book blamed the FBI’s decentralized structure, which prevented effective communication and cooperation among different FBI offices. The book suggested that the FBI had not evolved into an effective counter-terrorism or counter-intelligence agency, due in large part to deeply ingrained agency cultural resistance to change. For example, FBI personnel practices continued to treat all staff other than special agents as support staff, classifying intelligence analysts alongside the FBI’s auto mechanics and janitors.[45]

Faulty bullet analysis

For over 40 years, the FBI crime lab in Quantico had believed that lead alloys used in bullets had unique chemical signatures. It was analyzing the bullets with the goal of matching them chemically, not only to a single batch of ammunition coming out of a factory, but also to a single box of bullets. The National Academy of Sciences conducted an 18-month independent review of comparative bullet-lead analysis. In 2003, its National Research Council published a report whose conclusions called into question 30 years of FBI testimony. It found the analytic model used by the FBI for interpreting results was deeply flawed, and the conclusion, that bullet fragments could be matched to a box of ammunition, was so overstated that it was misleading under the rules of evidence. One year later, the FBI decided to stop conducting bullet lead analyses.[46]

After a 60 Minutes/Washington Post investigation in November 2007, two years later, the Bureau agreed to identify, review, and release all pertinent cases, and notify prosecutors about cases in which faulty testimony was given.[47]

Organization

Organizational structure

Organization chart for the FBI as of July 15, 2014

Redacted policy guide for the Counterterrorism Division (part of the FBI National Security Branch)

The FBI is organized into functional branches and the Office of the Director, which contains most administrative offices. An executive assistant director manages each branch. Each branch is then divided into offices and divisions, each headed by an assistant director. The various divisions are further divided into sub-branches, led by deputy assistant directors. Within these sub-branches there are various sections headed by section chiefs. Section chiefs are ranked analogous to special agents in charge.

Four of the branches report to the deputy director while two report to the associate director. The functions branches of the FBI are:

The Office of the Director serves as the central administrative organ of the FBI. The office provides staff support functions (such as finance and facilities management) to the five function branches and the various field divisions. The office is managed by the FBI associate director, who also oversees the operations of both the Information and Technology and Human Resources Branches.

  • Office of the Director
    • Immediate Office of the Director
    • Office of the Deputy Director
    • Office of the Associate Director
    • Office of Congressional Affairs
    • Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs
    • Office of the General Counsel
    • Office of Integrity and Compliance
    • Office of the Ombudsman
    • Office of Professional Responsibility
    • Office of Public Affairs
    • Inspection Division
    • Facilities and Logistics Services Division
    • Finance Division
    • Records Management Division
    • Resource Planning Office
    • Security Division

An FBI agent at the crime scene

Rank structure

The following is a complete listing of the rank structure found within the FBI (in ascending order):[48]

  • Field Agents
    • Probationary Agent
    • Special Agent
    • Senior Special Agent
    • Supervisory Special Agent
    • Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge (ASAC)
    • Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC)

      James Comey speaks at the White House following his nomination by President Barack Obama to be the next director of the FBI, 21 June 2013

  • FBI Management
    • Deputy Assistant Director
    • Assistant Director
    • Associate Executive Assistant Director
    • Executive Assistant Director
    • Associate Deputy Director
    • Deputy Chief of Staff
    • Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to the Director
    • Deputy Director
    • Director

Legal authority

FBI badge and service pistol, a Glock Model 22, .40 S&W caliber

The FBI’s mandate is established in Title 28 of the United States Code (U.S. Code), Section 533, which authorizes the Attorney General to “appoint officials to detect and prosecute crimes against the United States.”[49] Other federal statutes give the FBI the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes.

The FBI’s chief tool against organized crime is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The FBI is also charged with the responsibility of enforcing compliance of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 and investigating violations of the act in addition to prosecuting such violations with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The FBI also shares concurrent jurisdiction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The USA PATRIOT Act increased the powers allotted to the FBI, especially in wiretapping and monitoring of Internet activity. One of the most controversial provisions of the act is the so-called sneak and peek provision, granting the FBI powers to search a house while the residents are away, and not requiring them to notify the residents for several weeks afterwards. Under the PATRIOT Act’s provisions, the FBI also resumed inquiring into the library records[50] of those who are suspected of terrorism (something it had supposedly not done since the 1970s).

In the early 1980s, Senate hearings were held to examine FBI undercover operations in the wake of the Abscam controversy, which had allegations of entrapment of elected officials. As a result, in following years a number of guidelines were issued to constrain FBI activities.

A March 2007 report by the inspector general of the Justice Department described the FBI’s “widespread and serious misuse” of national security letters, a form of administrative subpoena used to demand records and data pertaining to individuals. The report said that between 2003 and 2005, the FBI had issued more than 140,000 national security letters, many involving people with no obvious connections to terrorism.[51]

Information obtained through an FBI investigation is presented to the appropriate U.S. Attorney or Department of Justice official, who decides if prosecution or other action is warranted.

The FBI often works in conjunction with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in seaport and airport security,[52] and the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating airplane crashes and other critical incidents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) has nearly the same amount of investigative manpower as the FBI, and investigates the largest range of crimes. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, then-Attorney General Ashcroft assigned the FBI as the designated lead organization in terrorism investigations after the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE-HSI and the FBI are both integral members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Indian reservations

FBI Director visits the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota

The federal government has the primary responsibility for investigating[53] and prosecuting serious crime on Indian reservations.[54]

There are 565 federally recognized American Indian Tribes in the United States, and the FBI has federal law enforcement responsibility on nearly 200 Indian reservations. This federal jurisdiction is shared concurrently with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS).

Located within the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, the Indian Country Crimes Unit (ICCU) is responsible for developing and implementing strategies, programs, and policies to address identified crime problems in Indian Country (IC) for which the FBI has responsibility.

— Overview, Indian Country Crime[55]

The FBI does not specifically list crimes in Native American land as one of its priorities.[56] Often serious crimes have been either poorly investigated or prosecution has been declined. Tribal courts can impose sentences of up to three years, under certain restrictions.[57][58]

Infrastructure

J. Edgar Hoover Building, FBI Headquarters

FBI Mobile Command Center, Washington Field Office

The FBI is headquartered at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., with 56 field offices[59] in major cities across the United States. The FBI also maintains over 400 resident agencies across the United States, as well as over 50 legal attachés at United States embassies and consulates. Many specialized FBI functions are located at facilities in Quantico, Virginia, as well as a “data campus” in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where 96 million sets of fingerprints “from across the United States are stored, along with others collected by American authorities from prisoners in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.”[60] The FBI is in process of moving its Records Management Division, which processes Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, to Winchester, Virginia.[61]

According to The Washington Post, the FBI “is building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.”[60]

The FBI Laboratory, established with the formation of the BOI,[62] did not appear in the J. Edgar Hoover Building until its completion in 1974. The lab serves as the primary lab for most DNA, biological, and physical work. Public tours of FBI headquarters ran through the FBI laboratory workspace before the move to the J. Edgar Hoover Building. The services the lab conducts include Chemistry, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), Computer Analysis and Response, DNA Analysis, Evidence Response, Explosives, Firearms and Tool marks, Forensic Audio, Forensic Video, Image Analysis, Forensic Science Research, Forensic Science Training, Hazardous Materials Response, Investigative and Prospective Graphics, Latent Prints, Materials Analysis, Questioned Documents, Racketeering Records, Special Photographic Analysis, Structural Design, and Trace Evidence.[63] The services of the FBI Laboratory are used by many state, local, and international agencies free of charge. The lab also maintains a second lab at the FBI Academy.

The FBI Academy, located in Quantico, Virginia, is home to the communications and computer laboratory the FBI utilizes. It is also where new agents are sent for training to become FBI Special Agents. Going through the 21-week course is required for every Special Agent.[64] First opened for use in 1972, the facility located on 385 acres (1.6 km2) of woodland. The Academy trains state and local law enforcement agencies, which are invited to the law enforcement training center. The FBI units that reside at Quantico are the Field and Police Training Unit, Firearms Training Unit, Forensic Science Research and Training Center, Technology Services Unit (TSU), Investigative Training Unit, Law Enforcement Communication Unit, Leadership and Management Science Units (LSMU), Physical Training Unit, New Agents’ Training Unit (NATU), Practical Applications Unit (PAU), the Investigative Computer Training Unit and the “College of Analytical Studies.”

In 2000, the FBI began the Trilogy project to upgrade its outdated information technology (IT) infrastructure. This project, originally scheduled to take three years and cost around $380 million, ended up over budget and behind schedule.[65] Efforts to deploy modern computers and networking equipment were generally successful, but attempts to develop new investigation software, outsourced to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), were not. Virtual Case File, or VCF, as the software was known, was plagued by poorly defined goals, and repeated changes in management.[66] In January 2005, more than two years after the software was originally planned for completion, the FBI officially abandoned the project. At least $100 million (and much more by some estimates) was spent on the project, which never became operational. The FBI has been forced to continue using its decade-old Automated Case Support system, which IT experts consider woefully inadequate. In March 2005, the FBI announced it was beginning a new, more ambitious software project, code-named Sentinel, which they expected to complete by 2009.[67]

The FBI Field Office in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Carnivore was an electronic eavesdropping software system implemented by the FBI during the Clinton administration; it was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. After prolonged negative coverage in the press, the FBI changed the name of its system from “Carnivore” to “DCS1000.” DCS is reported to stand for “Digital Collection System”; the system has the same functions as before. The Associated Press reported in mid-January 2005 that the FBI essentially abandoned the use of Carnivore in 2001, in favor of commercially available software, such as NarusInsight.

The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division[68] is located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Organized beginning in 1991, the office opened in 1995 as the youngest agency division. The complex is the length of three football fields. It provides a main repository for information in various data systems. Under the roof of the CJIS are the programs for the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), Fingerprint Identification, Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), NCIC 2000, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Many state and local agencies use these data systems as a source for their own investigations and contribute to the database using secure communications. FBI provides these tools of sophisticated identification and information services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.

FBI is in charge of National Virtual Translation Center, which provides “timely and accurate translations of foreign intelligence for all elements of the Intelligence Community.”[69]

Personnel

An FBI Evidence Response Team

Agents in training on the FBI Academy firing range

As of December 31, 2009, the FBI had a total of 33,852 employees. That includes 13,412 special agents and 20,420 support professionals, such as intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, information technology specialists, and other professionals.[70]

The Officer Down Memorial Page provides the biographies of 58 FBI agents killed in the line of duty from 1925 to 2011.[71]

Hiring process

To apply to become an FBI agent, one must be between the ages of 23 and 37. Due to the decision in Robert P. Isabella v. Department of State and Office of Personnel Management, 2008 M.S.P.B. 146, preference-eligible veterans may apply after age 37. In 2009, the Office of Personnel Management issued implementation guidance on the Isabella decision.[72] The applicant must also hold American citizenship, be of high moral character, have a clean record, and hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. At least three years of professional work experience prior to application is also required. All FBI employees require a Top Secret (TS) security clearance, and in many instances, employees need a TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearance.[73] To obtain a security clearance, all potential FBI personnel must pass a series of Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBI), which are conducted by the Office of Personnel Management.[74] Special Agents candidates also have to pass a Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which includes a 300-meter run, one-minute sit-ups, maximum push-ups, and a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) run. Personnel must pass a polygraph test with questions including possible drug use.[75] Applicants who fail polygraphs may not gain employment with the FBI.[76]

BOI and FBI directors

FBI Directors are appointed by the President of the United States. They must be confirmed by the United States Senate and serve a term of office of five years, with a maximum of ten years, if reappointed, unless they resign or are fired by the President before their term ends. J. Edgar Hoover, appointed by Calvin Coolidge in 1924, was by far the longest-serving director, serving until his death in 1972. In 1968, Congress passed legislation as part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act Pub.L. 90–351, June 19, 1968, 82 Stat. 197 that specified a 10-year limit, a maximum of two 5-year terms, for future FBI Directors, as well as requiring Senate confirmation of appointees. As the incumbent, this legislation did not apply to Hoover, only to his successors. The last FBI Director was James B. Comey, who was appointed in 2013 by Barack Obama. In 2017 he was fired by President Donald J. Trump.[77]

The FBI director is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the FBI. Along with his deputies, the director makes sure cases and operations are handled correctly. The director also is in charge of making sure the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices is manned with qualified agents. Before the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the FBI director would directly brief the President of the United States on any issues that arise from within the FBI. Since then, the director now reports to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who in turn reports to the President.

Firearms

A Glock 22 pistol in .40 S&W caliber

Upon qualification, an FBI special agent is issued a full-size Glock 22 or compact Glock 23 semi-automatic pistol, both of which are chambered in the .40 S&W cartridge. If they fail their first qualification, they are issued either a full-size Glock 17 or compact Glock 19, both in the lower recoiling 9×19mm Parabellum, to aid in their next qualification. In May 1997, the FBI officially adopted the Glock, in .40 S&W, for general agent use, and first issued it to New Agent Class 98-1 in October 1997. At present, the Glock 23 “FG&R” (finger groove and rail; either 3rd generation or “Gen4”) is the issue sidearm.[78] New agents are issued firearms, on which they must qualify, on successful completion of their training at the FBI Academy. The Glock 26 (subcompact 9mm Parabellum), Glock 23 and Glock 27 (.40 S&W compact and subcompact, respectively) are authorized as secondary weapons. Special agents are authorized to purchase and qualify with the Glock 21 in .45 ACP.

Special agents of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and regional SWAT teams are issued the Springfield Custom Professional 1911-A1 pistol in .45 ACP.

In 2016, the FBI awarded Glock a contract for new handguns. Unlike the currently issued .40 S&W chambered Glock pistols, the new Glocks will be chambered for 9mm Parabellum. The contract is for the Glock 17M and the Glock 19M. The “M” means the Glocks have been modified to meet government standards specified by a 2015 government request for proposal.[79][80][81][82]

Publications

The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is published monthly by the FBI Law Enforcement Communication Unit,[83] with articles of interest to state and local law enforcement personnel. First published in 1932 as Fugitives Wanted by Police,[84] the FBI Law Bulletin covers topics including law enforcement technology and issues, such as crime mapping and use of force, as well as recent criminal justice research, and Vi-CAP alerts, on wanted suspects and key cases.

The FBI also publishes some reports for both law enforcement personnel as well as regular citizens covering topics including law enforcement, terrorism, cybercrime, white-collar crime, violent crime, and statistics.[85] However, the vast majority of federal government publications covering these topics are published by the Office of Justice Programs agencies of the United States Department of Justice, and disseminated through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

Crime statistics

In the 1920s, the FBI began issuing crime reports by gathering numbers from local police departments.[86] Due to limitations of this system found during the 1960s and 1970s—victims often simply did not report crimes to the police in the first place—the Department of Justice developed an alternate method of tallying crime, the victimization survey.[86]

Uniform Crime Reports

The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) compile data from over 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. They provide detailed data regarding the volume of crimes to include arrest, clearance (or closing a case), and law enforcement officer information. The UCR focuses its data collection on violent crimes, hate crimes, and property crimes.[85] Created in the 1920s, the UCR system has not proven to be as uniform as its name implies. The UCR data only reflect the most serious offense in the case of connected crimes and has a very restrictive definition of rape. Since about 93% of the data submitted to the FBI is in this format, the UCR stands out as the publication of choice as most states require law enforcement agencies to submit this data.

Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2006 was released on June 4, 2006. The report shows violent crime offenses rose 1.3%, but the number of property crime offenses decreased 2.9% compared to 2005.[87]

National Incident Based Reporting System

The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) crime statistics system aims to address limitations inherent in UCR data. The system is used by law enforcement agencies in the United States for collecting and reporting data on crimes. Local, state, and federal agencies generate NIBRS data from their records management systems. Data is collected on every incident and arrest in the Group A offense category. The Group A offenses are 46 specific crimes grouped in 22 offense categories. Specific facts about these offenses are gathered and reported in the NIBRS system. In addition to the Group A offenses, eleven Group B offenses are reported with only the arrest information. The NIBRS system is in greater detail than the summary-based UCR system. As of 2004, 5,271 law enforcement agencies submitted NIBRS data. That amount represents 20% of the United States population and 16% of the crime statistics data collected by the FBI.

eGuardian

eGuardian is the name of an FBI system, launched in January 2009, to share tips about possible terror threats with local police agencies. The program aims to get law enforcement at all levels sharing data quickly about suspicious activity and people.[88]

eGuardian enables near real-time sharing and tracking of terror information and suspicious activities with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies. The eGuardian system is a spin-off of a similar but classified tool called Guardian that has been used inside the FBI, and shared with vetted partners since 2005.[89]

Controversies

Throughout its history, the bureau has been the subject of a number of controversial cases, both at home and abroad.

Files on US citizens

The FBI has maintained files on numerous people, including celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, John Lennon, Jane Fonda, Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, the band MC5, Lou Costello, Sonny Bono, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Mickey Mantle. The files were collected for various reasons. Some of the subjects were investigated for alleged ties to the Communist party (Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx), or in connection with antiwar activities during the Vietnam War (John Denver, John Lennon, and Jane Fonda). Numerous celebrity files concern threats or extortion attempts against them (Sonny Bono, John Denver, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra).[90]

Covert operations on political groups

Image from the FBI monograph of the Nation of Islam (1965): Elijah Muhammad

COINTELPRO tactics have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence.[91][92] The FBI’s stated motivation was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”[93]

FBI records show that 85% of COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed “subversive”,[94] including communist and socialist organizations; organizations and individuals associated with the Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Congress of Racial Equality and other civil rights organizations; black nationalist groups (e.g., Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party); the American Indian Movement; a broad range of organizations labeled “New Left“, including Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen; almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, as well as individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; the National Lawyers Guild; organizations and individuals associated with the women’s rights movement; nationalist groups such as those seeking independence for Puerto Rico, United Ireland, and Cuban exile movements including Orlando Bosch‘s Cuban Power and the Cuban Nationalist Movement. The remaining 15% of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert white hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and the National States’ Rights Party.[95][96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105]

Files on Puerto Rican independence advocates

The FBI also spied upon and collected information on Puerto Rican independence leader Pedro Albizu Campos and his Nationalist political party in the 1930s. Abizu Campos was convicted three times in connection with deadly attacks on US government officials: in 1937 (Conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States), in 1950 (attempted murder), and in 1954 (after an armed assault on the US House of Representatives while in session; although not present, Abizu Campos was considered the mastermind).[106] The FBI operation was covert and did not become known until U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez had it made public via the Freedom of Information Act in the 1980s.[107]

In the 2000s, researchers obtained files released by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act revealing that the San Juan FBI office had coordinated with FBI offices in New York, Chicago and other cities, in a decades-long surveillance of Albizu Campos and Puerto Ricans who had contact or communication with him. The documents available are as recent as 1965.[108][109]

Activities in Latin America

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the governments of many Latin American and Caribbean countries were infiltrated by the FBI.[110]

Internal investigations of shootings

During the period from 1993 to 2011, FBI agents fired their weapons on 289 occasions; FBI internal reviews found the shots justified in all but 5 cases, in none of the 5 cases were people wounded. Samuel Walker, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha said the number of shots found to be unjustified was “suspiciously low.” In the same time period, the FBI wounded 150 people, 70 of whom died; the FBI found all 150 shootings to be justified. Likewise, during the period from 2011 to the present, all shootings by FBI agents have been found to be justified by internal investigation. In a 2002 case in Maryland, an innocent man was shot, and later paid $1.3 million by the FBI after agents mistook him for a bank robber; the internal investigation found that the shooting was justified, based on the man’s actions.[111]

The Whitey Bulger case

The FBI has been criticized for its handling of Boston organized crime figure Whitey Bulger.[112][113][114] Beginning in 1975, Bulger served as an informant for the FBI.[115] As a result, the Bureau largely ignored his organization in exchange for information about the inner workings of the Italian American Patriarca crime family.[116][117][118]

In December 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding. For 16 years, he remained at large. For 12 of those years, Bulger was prominently listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.[119] Beginning in 1997, the New England media exposed criminal actions by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials tied to Bulger. The revelation caused great embarrassment to the FBI.[120][121][122] In 2002, Special Agent John J Connolly was convicted of federal racketeering charges for helping Bulger avoid arrest. In 2008, Special Agent Connolly completed his term on the federal charges and was transferred to Florida where he was convicted of helping plan the murder of John B Callahan, a Bulger rival. In 2014, that conviction was overturned on a technicality. Connolly was the agent leading the investigation of Bulger.[123]

In June 2011, the 81-year-old Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California.[124][125][126][127][128] Bulger was tried on 32 counts of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and weapons charges; including complicity in 19 murders.[129] In August 2013, the jury found him guilty on 31 counts, and having been involved in 11 murders.[130] Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years.[131]

Robert Hanssen

On 20 February 2001, the bureau announced that a special agent, Robert Hanssen (born 1944) had been arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and then Russia from 1979 to 2001. He is serving 15 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole at ADX Florence, a federal supermax prison near Florence, Colorado. Hanssen was arrested on February 18, 2001, at Foxstone Park[132] near his home in Vienna, Virginia, and was charged with selling US secrets to the USSR and subsequently Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period.[133] On July 6, 2001, he pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.[134][135] His spying activities have been described by the US Department of Justice‘s Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history”.[136]

Death of Filiberto Ojeda Rios

Puerto Rican Nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos died in a gun battle with FBI agents in 2005.

In 2005, fugitive Puerto Rican Nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos died in a gun battle with FBI agents that some charged was an assassination.[citation needed] Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá criticized the FBI assault as “improper” and “highly irregular” and demanded to know why his government was not informed of it.[137] The FBI refused to release information beyond the official press release, citing security and agent privacy issues. The Puerto Rico Justice Department filed suit in federal court against the FBI and the US Attorney General, demanding information crucial to the Commonwealth’s own investigation of the incident. The case was dismissed by the U.S Supreme Court.[138] Ojeda Rios’ funeral was attended by a long list of dignitaries, including the highest authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves, ex-Governor Rafael Hernández Colón, and numerous other personalities.[139]

In the aftermath of his death, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization approved a draft resolution urging a “probe of [the] pro-independence killing, human rights abuses”, after “Petitioner after petitioner condemned the assassination of Mr. Ojeda Rios by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)”.[140]

Wikipedia edits

In August 2007 Virgil Griffith, a Caltech computation and neural-systems graduate student, created WikiScanner, a searchable database that linked changes made by anonymous Wikipedia editors to companies and organizations from which the changes were made. The database cross-referenced logs of Wikipedia edits with publicly available records pertaining to the Internet IP addresses edits were made from.[141] Griffith was motivated by the edits from the United States Congress,[142][143][144][145] and wanted to see if others were similarly promoting themselves. The tool was designed to detect conflict of interest edits.[146] Among his findings were that FBI computers were used to edit the FBI article on Wikipedia.[147] Although the edits correlated with known FBI IP addresses, there was no proof that the changes actually came from a member or employee of the FBI, only that someone who had access to their network had edited the FBI article on Wikipedia.[143] Wikipedia spokespersons received Griffith’s “WikiScanner” positively, noting that it helped prevent conflicts of interest from influencing articles[147] as well as increasing transparency[143][148] and mitigating attempts to remove or distort relevant facts.[149]

Hillary Clinton email investigation

On July 5, 2016, FBI Director Comey announced the bureau’s recommendation that the United States Department of Justice file no criminal charges relating to the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[150] During an unusual 15 minute press conference in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Comey called Secretary Clinton’s and her top aides’ behavior “extremely careless”, but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”.[150] Comey’s public comments came after Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that she would “fully” accept the recommendation of the FBI regarding the probe. It was the first time the FBI disclosed its prosecutorial recommendation to the Department of Justice publicly.[150] On July 7, 2016, Comey was questioned by a Republican-led House committee during a hearing regarding the FBI’s recommendation.[151][152]

On October 28, 2016, less than two weeks before the presidential election, Director Comey, a long-time Republican, announced in a letter to Congress that additional emails potentially related to the Clinton email controversy had been found and that the FBI will investigate “to determine whether they contain classified information as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”[153] At the time Comey sent his letter to Congress, the FBI had still not obtained a warrant to review any of the e-mails in question and was not aware of the content of any of the e-mails in question.[154] Comey’s announcement was inconsistent with Justice Department policy and he was warned by lawyers at the Department of Justice against proceeding with his letter to Congress. Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, as well as both the Clinton and Trump campaigns have called on Comey to provide additional details.[155]

After Comey’s letter to Congress, commentator Paul Callan of CNN and Niall O’Dowd of Irish Central compared Comey to J. Edgar Hoover in attempting to influence and manipulate elections.[156][157] On October 30, 2016, Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush Administration, published an op-ed piece in the NY Times, stating that he had filed a complaint against the FBI with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates possible violations of the Hatch Act of 1939, and with the Office of Government Ethics with respect to the sending of the letter. In the days after the FBI intervention, Rudy Giuliani indicated that the Trump campaign was briefed by the FBI days before Comey’s letter was sent to Congress.[158][159]

On November 6, 2016, in the face of constant pressure from both Republicans and Democrats, Comey conceded in a second letter to Congress that through the FBI’s review of the new e-mails, there was no wrongdoing by Clinton. Comey conceded, “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July.” While the e-mail matter is resolved, legal questions on Comey’s actions remain.[160][161] Comey and the FBI have been broadly criticized on the editorial pages from both the right and the left, with headlines reading: “James Comey should be fired” (Chicago Tribune);[162] “FBI chief James Comey should resign” (The Washington Times);[163] and “FBI Director James Comey is Unfit for Public Service” (Newsweek).[164] On November 12, 2016, unsuccessful presidential candidate Hillary Clinton directly attributed her election loss to FBI Director James Comey.[165]

On January 12, 2017, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General announced a formal investigation into whether the FBI followed proper procedures in its investigation of Clinton or whether “improper considerations” were made by FBI personnel.[166]

On May 9, 2017, President Trump dismissed FBI Director Comey after Comey had misstated several key findings of the email investigation in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.[167] With Comey’s firing, Deputy Director Andrew MacCabe is now the Acting Director until a replacement is officially named.[168]

Media portrayal

The popular 1993–2002 TV series The X-Files depicted the fictional FBI Special Agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) who investigated paranormal phenomena.

The FBI has been frequently depicted in popular media since the 1930s. The bureau has participated to varying degrees, which has ranged from direct involvement in the creative process of film or TV series development, to providing consultation on operations and closed cases.[169] A few of the notable portrayals of the FBI on television are the 1993–2002 series The X-Files, which concerned investigations into paranormal phenomena by five fictional Special Agents, and the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agency in the TV drama 24, which is patterned after the FBI Counterterrorism Division. The 1991 movie Point Break is based on the true story of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated a gang of bank robbers. The 1997 movie Donnie Brasco is based on the true story of undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone infiltrating the Mafia. The 2015 TV series Quantico, so titled after the location of the Bureau’s training facility, deals with Probationary and Special Agents, not all of whom, within the show’s format, may be fully reliable or even trustworthy.

Notable FBI personnel

See also

References

Further reading

External links

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

Story 2: Lying Lunatic Left Losers Conspiracies Theories Not Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion — Videos

Image result for cartoons no evidence of russian trump collusionImage result for cartoons no evidence of russian trump collusionImage result for cartoons no evidence of russian trump collusion

James Clapper: ‘Still no EVIDENCE of any Russian Collusion with Trump Campaign’

Former Senate Intel Chair Dianne Feinstein: No Evidence Of Russia-Trump Camp Collusion

Manchin Admits No Evidence of Collusion Between Trump and Russia

Graham Questions Dir. Comey on Trump-Russia Connections

Comey: DNI Clapper “Right” To Say No Evidence Of Collusion Between Russia And Trump Campaign

Fmr. DNI James Clapper: I HAVE SEEN NO EVIDENCE OF TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION

OBAMA DNI CLAPPER: NO TRUMP-RUSSIAN COLLUSION

Pelosi On Clapper’s ‘No Evidence’ Of Trump-Russia ‘Collusion’ — We Still Need An Investigation

Glenn Greenwald: Independent Probe Needed to Uncover Truth Behind Russia’s Role in 2016 Election

Paul: Dems Pushing a ‘Huge Myth’ About Trump Collusion With Russia

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he’s seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, accusing Democrats of pushing a “huge myth.”

Paul said Democrats will now clamor for a special prosecutor to look into the matter following the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“I don’t think there’s been any facts presented that anybody broke the law. … I don’t think there’s any evidence that anybody broke the law,” he said on “Fox & Friends” today.

Paul said he has not even heard an “accusation” on what crime Democrats believe may have been committed.

“[Democrats] were for getting rid of Comey too, but now they’re gonna say it’s all about this Russia investigation, which hasn’t produced one iota of evidence,” said Paul.

He said Comey’s firing “could not happen soon enough,” calling out Democrats for criticizing the move despite previously declaring they had lost faith in Comey after his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Watch the interview above.


Hannity: ‘National Embarrassment’ Comey ‘Should Be Ashamed of Himself’

Huckabee-Sanders: ‘President Hillary’ Would’ve Fired Comey Too

Former US Attorney: ‘Out Of Control’ Comey ‘Acted Like He Was Attorney General’

Napolitano: Comey ‘Demeaned’ FBI’s Work, ‘Undermined Their Integrity’

‘This Is Nixonian’: Democrats Blast Trump For Firing FBI Director Comey

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/05/10/rand-paul-comey-firing-dems-pushing-huge-myth-about-trump-russia

REPORT: CIA Director John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Falsify Trump-Russia Connections

George Neumayr | American Spectator —

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).

https://www.redflagnews.com/headlines-2017/report-cia-director-john-brennan-colluded-with-foreign-spies-to-falsify-trump-russia-connections

This is the open scandal that Congress should investigate.

n article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).

The Guardian says that British spy head Robert Hannigan “passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan.” To ensure that these flaky tips leaked out, Brennan disseminated them on Capitol Hill. In August and September of 2016, he gave briefings to the “Gang of Eight” about them, which then turned up on the front page of the New York Times.

All of this took place at the very moment Brennan was auditioning for Hillary. He desperately wanted to keep his job and despised Trump for his alleged “Muslim ban,” a matter near and dear to Brennan’s heart. Not only was he an apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood, but Brennan’s Islamophilia dated to his days in college, when he spent a year in Cairo learning Arabic and taking courses in Middle Eastern studies. He later got a graduate degree with an emphasis in Middle Eastern studies. In 1996, his ties to the Islamic world tightened after he became the CIA’s station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He once recalled that “during a 25-year career in government, I was privileged to serve in positions across the Middle East — as a political officer with the State Department and as a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina. I marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that privilege — that pilgrimage.”

Out of this Islamophilia came a special dislike of Michael Flynn, who had planned to rip up the Obama-era “reset” with Muslim countries. Furious with Flynn for his apostasy from political correctness, Brennan and other Obama aides couldn’t resist the temptation to take him out after rifling through transcripts of his calls with the Russian ambassador. They caught him in a lie to Mike Pence and made sure the press knew about it.

Were the media not so completely in the tank for Obama and Hillary, all of this political mischief would make for a compelling 2016 version of All the President’s Men. Instead, the public gets a steady stream of Orwellian propaganda about the sudden propriety of political espionage. The headline writers at Pravda couldn’t improve on this week’s official lie, tweeted out by the Maggie Habermans: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both Dem and Republican House Aides.”

Liberals pompously quote the saying — “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” — even as their media enshrine it. Historians will look back on 2016 and marvel at the audacity of its big lie: whispers of an imaginary Trump-Russia collusion that wafted up from the fever swamps of a real collusion between John Brennan and foreign powers seeking Trump’s defeat.

https://spectator.org/confirmed-john-brennan-colluded-with-foreign-spies-to-defeat-trump/

British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia

Exclusive: GCHQ is said to have alerted US agencies after becoming aware of contacts in 2015

Donald Trump on the phone in the Oval Office.
It is understood that GCHQ was not carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team, but picked up the alleged conversations by chance. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.

It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US.

The issue of GCHQ’s role in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and Moscow is highly sensitive. In March Trump tweeted that Barack Obama had illegally “wiretapped” him in Trump Tower.

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, claimed the “British spying agency” GCHQ had carried out the bugging. Spicer cited an unsubstantiated report on Fox News. Fox later distanced itself from the report.

The claims prompted an extremely unusual rebuke from GCHQ, which generally refrains from commenting on all intelligence matters. The agency described the allegations first made by a former judge turned media commentator, Andrew Napolitano, as “nonsense”.

“They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,” a spokesperson for GCHQ said.

Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.

The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.

“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” the source added. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’

“The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”

Robert Hannigan, former head of GCHQ
Robert Hannigan delivering a speech at GCHQ in Cheltenham in 2015. Photograph: Ben Birchall/Reuters

According to one account, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level”. After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.

In late August and September Brennan gave a series of classified briefings to the Gang of Eight, the top-ranking Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He told them the agency had evidence the Kremlin might be trying to help Trump to win the presidency, the New York Times reported.

One person familiar with the matter said Brennan did not reveal sources but made reference to the fact that America’s intelligence allies had provided information. Trump subsequently learned of GCHQ’s role, the person said.

The person described US intelligence as being “very late to the game”. The FBI’s director, James Comey, altered his position after the election and Trump’s victory, becoming “more affirmative” and with a “higher level of concern”.

Comey’s apparent shift may have followed a mid-October decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) court to approve a secret surveillance order. The order gave permission for the Department of Justice to investigate two banks suspected of being part of the Kremlin’s undercover influence operation.

According to the BBC, the justice department’s request came after a tipoff from an intelligence agency in one of the Baltic states. This is believed to be Estonia.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the same order covered Carter Page, one of Trump’s associates. It allowed the FBI and the justice department to monitor Page’s communications. Page, a former foreign policy aide, was suspected of being an agent of influence working for Russia, the paper said, citing US officials.

The application covered contacts Page allegedly had in 2013 with a Russian foreign intelligence agent, and other undisclosed meetings with Russian operatives, the Post said. Page denies wrongdoing and complained of “unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance”.

Late last year Comey threw more FBI resources into what became a far-reaching counter-intelligence investigation. In March he confirmed before the House intelligence committee that the agency was examining possible cooperation between Moscow and members of the Trump campaign to sway the US election.

Comey and the NSA director, Admiral Michael Rogers, said there was no basis for the president’s claim that he was a victim of Obama “wiretapping”. Trump had likened the unproved allegation to “McCarthyism”.

Britain’s MI6 spy agency played a part in intelligence sharing with the US, one source said. MI6 declined to comment. Its former chief Sir Richard Dearlove described Trump’s wiretapping claim on Thursday as “simply deeply embarrassing for Trump and the administration”.

“The only possible explanation is that Trump started tweeting without understanding how the NSA-GCHQ relationship actually works,” Dearlove told Prospect magazine.

A GCHQ spokesperson said: “It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters”.

It is unclear which individuals were picked up by British surveillance.

In a report last month the New York Times, citing three US intelligence officials, said warning signs had been building throughout last summer but were far from clear. As WikiLeaks published emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, US agencies began picking up conversations in which Russians were discussing contacts with Trump associates, the paper said.

European allies were supplying information about people close to Trump meeting with Russians in Britain, the Netherlands and in other countries, the Times said.

There are now multiple investigations going on in Washington into Trump campaign officials and Russia. They include the FBI-led counter-espionage investigation and probes by both the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House committee, has expressed an interest in hearing from Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer whose dossieraccuses the president of long-term cooperation with Vladimir Putin’s Moscow. Trump and Putin have both dismissed the dossier as fake.

One source suggested the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-spot-trump-team-links-russia

James Clapper: Still no evidence of any Russian collusion with Trump campaign

by Todd Shepherd | May 8, 2017, 3:36 PM

James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday that he still has not seen any evidence of any kind of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian foreign nationals.Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-N.C., asked if Clapper’s prior statement was correct, when he said on NBC that there was “no evidence’ of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. When asked if that is still accurate, Clapper said Monday, “it is .”On NBC weeks earlier, Clapper said, “We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, ‘our,’ that’s NSA, FBI and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.”When former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was asked the same question, she declined to answer indicating that to do so might reveal classified information.But Yates clarified further by saying, “Just because I say I can’t answer it, you should now draw from than an assumption that the answer is ‘yes.'”When Graham asked Clapper why the original report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not include the so-called “Russian dossier” which cropped up weeks later in the Trump administration, Clapper said, “We couldn’t corroborate the sourcing.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 887, May 5, 2017, Story 1: Labor Participation Rate Falls To 62.9% and Not In Labor Force Rises by 162,000 To 94,375,000 — Need To Get Back To Labor Participation Rate Between 66% to 67% — Do Not Celebrate 4.4% Unemployment Rate! — Not A Wow Number Except For Economics Challenged — Videos — Story 2: Republicans Bailing Out Insurance Companies By Subsidizing Individual Insurance — Republican Party Now For Socialized Medicine! — Videos — Story 3: Senator Rand Paul’s Repeal and Replacement Bill Is The Way To Go — Videos

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Story 1: Labor Participation Rate Falls To 62.9% and Not In Labor Force Rises by 162,000 To 94,375,000 — Need To Get Back To Labor Participation Rate Between 66% to 67% — Do Not Celebrate 4.4% Unemployment Rate! — Videos —

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Civilian Labor Force

160,213,000

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155695(1) 155268 154990 155356 155514 155747 155669 155587 155731 154709 155328 155151
2014 155295(1) 155485 156115 155378 155559 155682 156098 156117 156100 156389 156421 156238
2015 157022(1) 156771 156781 157043 157447 156993 157125 157109 156809 157123 157358 157957
2016 158362(1) 158888 159278 158938 158510 158889 159295 159508 159830 159643 159456 159640
2017 159716(1) 160056 160201 160213
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

 

Labor Participation Rate

62.9%

 

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.1 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8 63.6 63.7
2013 63.6 63.4 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.3 63.3 62.8 63.0 62.9
2014 62.9 62.9 63.1 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.7
2015 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.6 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.5 62.5 62.7
2016 62.7 62.9 63.0 62.8 62.6 62.7 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.6 62.7
2017 62.9 63.0 63.0 62.9

Employment Level

153,156,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143225(1) 143315 143319 143603 143856 144006 144318 144304 144466 143577 144536 144741
2014 145055(1) 145102 145715 145673 145819 146222 146461 146501 146845 147426 147361 147521
2015 148061(1) 148108 148244 148522 148792 148742 148890 149092 148932 149255 149419 150030
2016 150533(1) 151043 151301 151028 151058 151090 151546 151655 151926 151902 152048 152111
2017 152081(1) 152528 153000 153156
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

U-3 Unemployment Rate

4.4%

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.3 7.2 7.2 6.9 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.2 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
2016 4.9 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.8 4.6 4.7
2017 4.8 4.7 4.5 4.4

U-6 Unemployment Rate

8.6%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.4 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.8 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.5 14.4 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.7 13.6 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.1 12.0 12.2 12.0 11.8 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.9 10.8 10.7 10.5 10.3 10.2 10.0 9.8 9.9 9.9
2016 9.9 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.5 9.3 9.2
2017 9.4 9.2 8.9 8.6

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                  USDL-17-0551
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, May 5, 2017

Technical information:
 Household data:     (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data: (202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:      (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                          THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- APRIL 2017


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April, and the unemployment
rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social
assistance, financial activities, and mining.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
at 7.1 million, changed little in April. Over the year, the unemployment rate has
declined by 0.6 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has fallen by 854,000.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.0
percent in April. The jobless rates for adult women (4.1 percent), teenagers (14.7
percent), Whites (3.8 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and
Hispanics (5.2 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially
unchanged at 1.6 million in April and accounted for 22.6 percent of the unemployed. Over
the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 433,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in April and has
shown little movement over the past year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.2
percent, was also little changed over the month but was up by 0.5 percentage point since
December. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 281,000 to 5.3 million in April. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time
jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of persons employed part time for economic
reasons has decreased by 698,000. (See table A-8.)

In April, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 
181,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a
job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 455,000 discouraged workers in April, down
by 113,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged
workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are 
available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor
force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or
family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April. Employment rose in
leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and
mining. (See table B-1.)

In April, leisure and hospitality added 55,000 jobs. Employment in food services and
drinking places continued to trend up over the month (+26,000) and has increased by
260,000 over the year.

Employment in health care and social assistance increased by 37,000 in April. Health
care employment continued to trend up over the month (+20,000). This is in line with
the industry's average monthly job growth during the first quarter of this year but
below the average gain of 32,000 per month in 2016. Social assistance added 17,000
jobs in April, with all of the gain in individual and family services.

In April, financial activities added 19,000 jobs, with insurance carriers and related
activities accounting for most of the gain (+14,000). Over the year, financial
activities has added 173,000 jobs.

Employment in mining rose by 9,000 in April, with most of the increase in support
activities for mining (+7,000). Since a recent low in October 2016, mining has added
44,000 jobs, with three-fourths of the gain in support activities for mining.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in April
(+39,000). The industry has added 612,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale
trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government,
showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1
hour to 34.4 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to
40.7 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek
for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by
0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 7 cents to $26.19. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents,
or 2.5 percent. In April, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $21.96. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from +219,000
to +232,000, and the change for March was revised down from +98,000 to +79,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 6,000 lower than
previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal
factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 174,000.

______________
The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 2, 2017,
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).



 

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Apr.
2016
Feb.
2017
Mar.
2017
Apr.
2017
Change from:
Mar.
2017-
Apr.
2017

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

252,969 254,246 254,414 254,588 174

Civilian labor force

158,938 160,056 160,201 160,213 12

Participation rate

62.8 63.0 63.0 62.9 -0.1

Employed

151,028 152,528 153,000 153,156 156

Employment-population ratio

59.7 60.0 60.1 60.2 0.1

Unemployed

7,910 7,528 7,202 7,056 -146

Unemployment rate

5.0 4.7 4.5 4.4 -0.1

Not in labor force

94,031 94,190 94,213 94,375 162

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

5.0 4.7 4.5 4.4 -0.1

Adult men (20 years and over)

4.6 4.3 4.3 4.0 -0.3

Adult women (20 years and over)

4.5 4.3 4.0 4.1 0.1

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

16.0 15.0 13.7 14.7 1.0

White

4.3 4.1 3.9 3.8 -0.1

Black or African American

8.8 8.1 8.0 7.9 -0.1

Asian

3.8 3.4 3.3 3.2 -0.1

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

6.1 5.6 5.1 5.2 0.1

Total, 25 years and over

4.1 3.9 3.8 3.6 -0.2

Less than a high school diploma

7.5 7.9 6.8 6.5 -0.3

High school graduates, no college

5.4 5.0 4.9 4.6 -0.3

Some college or associate degree

4.1 4.0 3.7 3.7 0.0

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.4 2.4 2.5 2.4 -0.1

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

3,864 3,709 3,519 3,538 19

Job leavers

864 802 798 789 -9

Reentrants

2,337 2,197 2,066 2,032 -34

New entrants

847 773 790 712 -78

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,573 2,566 2,334 2,335 1

5 to 14 weeks

2,155 2,138 2,109 2,135 26

15 to 26 weeks

1,281 1,057 1,115 1,108 -7

27 weeks and over

2,059 1,801 1,687 1,626 -61

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

5,970 5,704 5,553 5,272 -281

Slack work or business conditions

3,706 3,574 3,402 3,174 -228

Could only find part-time work

1,993 1,864 1,852 1,802 -50

Part time for noneconomic reasons

20,471 20,773 20,723 20,700 -23

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,715 1,723 1,595 1,534

Discouraged workers

568 522 460 455

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Apr.
2016
Feb.
2017
Mar.
2017(p)
Apr.
2017(p)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

153 232 79 211

Total private

158 222 77 194

Goods-producing

-9 88 23 21

Mining and logging

-9 12 9 10

Construction

-1 54 1 5

Manufacturing

1 22 13 6

Durable goods(1)

-1 4 8 -3

Motor vehicles and parts

8.8 -5.5 2.3 2.8

Nondurable goods

2 18 5 9

Private service-providing

167 134 54 173

Wholesale trade

5.1 10.8 1.1 8.2

Retail trade

-5.7 -28.7 -27.4 6.3

Transportation and warehousing

11.3 7.6 6.6 3.5

Utilities

-0.1 -0.4 -0.3 0.7

Information

2 -6 -6 -7

Financial activities

18 5 4 19

Professional and business services(1)

66 35 57 39

Temporary help services

7.0 9.8 13.0 5.8

Education and health services(1)

52 68 10 41

Health care and social assistance

36.9 35.8 16.4 36.8

Leisure and hospitality

15 33 9 55

Other services

4 10 0 7

Government

-5 10 2 17

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

205 201 176 174

Total private

189 192 168 164

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

Total nonfarm women employees

49.5 49.6 49.5 49.5

Total private women employees

48.1 48.1 48.1 48.1

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.3 82.4 82.5 82.4

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.4 34.3 34.3 34.4

Average hourly earnings

$25.54 $26.10 $26.12 $26.19

Average weekly earnings

$878.58 $895.23 $895.92 $900.94

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

105.0 106.3 106.3 106.8

Over-the-month percent change

0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.5

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

128.3 132.6 132.8 133.7

Over-the-month percent change

0.5 0.2 0.2 0.7

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

Total private (261 industries)

52.1 65.1 58.8 60.2

Manufacturing (78 industries)

42.3 64.7 55.1 53.2

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(p) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2016 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.b.htm

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Fact check: Pence makes strange claim about selling health insurance across state lines

Glenn KesslerWashington Post

“Under President Trump‘s leadership, we’re actually also going to finally allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines – the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance.”

Vice President Mike Pence, speech in Louisville, March 12, 2017G

“Who could be against allowing insurance to be sold over state lines? It’s something that you can do [with] your car insurance.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, news briefing, March 14

“We’re going to give the American people the freedom to buy health insurance across state lines – the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance.”

– Pence, speech in Jacksonville, Florida, March 18

“President Trump’s vision is very simple . . . allowing the American people to purchase health insurance across state lines the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance.”

– Pence, speech to the Club for Growth, West Palm Beach, Fla., March 19

– – –

One of President Donald Trump’s signature promises is to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. This was supposed to be tackled in “phase three” of the administration’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, now in doubt because of the administration’s failure to advance the “phase one” bill in the House.

Many experts are skeptical about whether buying health insurance across state lines would work – more on that below – but we were interested in claims made by administration officials such as Vice President Pence and White House press secretary Sean Spicer that this would be similar to buying life insurance and car insurance.

The way they talk about it, we have to wonder whether administration officials even understand how insurance is bought and sold in the United States.

The Facts

In 1945, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempted insurance companies from aspects of federal antitrust law and ensured that individual states remained the primary regulators of insurance. That had been the case since 1868, but a Supreme Court ruling had placed the state role in doubt until Congress reaffirmed it.

So insurance companies must be licensed in each state. In other words, this standard exists with all insurance products. Generally, there are two types of insurance companies: life and health insurance companies; and property and casualty insurance companies. The latter sell products such as homeowners’ insurance and automobile insurance.

There are obviously big differences among the products. Car insurance is strictly limited to a period of time, and rates depend on the value of the vehicle, the use of the vehicle, the driver’s record and so forth. Health insurance, by contrast, is heavily regulated at the federal level (especially after the Affordable Care Act mandated that all plans cover a group of essential benefits). And health insurance companies are required to set up provider networks and negotiate prices.

But the bottom line is that all insurance products are sold state by state, overseen by state insurance commissioners. You may be able to get Geico car insurance in both Virginia and California, but the products may be different, depending on state regulations. Similarly, you may buy Aetna health insurance policies in each state, but again they are subject to state regulations and obviously have different provider networks.

Essentially, if Trump were to push through a plan to sell health insurance across state lines, he would need to repeal all or part of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. But as we mentioned, that act applies to all insurance products.

“Insurance is regulated at the state level in accordance with the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which has been in place for 64 years,” said Lynne McChristian, executive director of Florida State University’s Center for Risk Management Education and Research. “It is not accurate to say that car insurance and life insurance are regulated across state lines. In fact, it is false.”

She said that many people may not realize that when they call an insurer that has an out-of-state location, they are talking to someone who is licensed to contract business in the prospective customer’s state of residence. If you move to a different state, you might stick with the same company, but your policy is updated to reflect the laws of the new state – and your premiums are likely to change.

Five states have passed laws that have either allowed interstate health-insurance sales or encouraged the concept of forming a compact, allowing for products to be sold in a group of states. But no insurance company has shown much interest, in part because entering a new health insurance market is time-consuming and difficult.

An official at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the concept was especially unworkable for health insurance because different states may mandate different coverage, leading to fewer people getting insured, reducing insurance options for consumers and preventing regulators from protecting consumers in their states.

For example, one state might require coverage of autism, while another might not. If insurance could be bought across state lines, people seeking autism coverage would flock to the product with coverage. That in turn would make the risk pool unbalanced and force premiums up. Moreover, when people have complaints about insurance coverage today, they can seek redress from a state insurance commissioner. That would be more difficult if someone bought a product from another state.

The ACA, in section 1333, encouraged the formation of such regional compacts after January 2016, although as far as we can tell, no regulatory guidance was issued by the Obama administration.

Chris Jennings, a health-care consultant who worked for presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, says the provision – which allows two or more states to form a regional health-insurance compact – was inserted by a Republican lawmaker during Senate markups of the ACA. But he thinks the Obama administration did not promote the option “because it was a low priority and there was no evidence it would make a positive difference addressing the myriad of issues they thought they were dealing with.”

Now that the ACA remains intact, however, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could issue guidance on the provision and the administration could claim to have begun to fulfill a campaign promise without even passing a law in Congress.

We sought an explanation from Pence’s office and from the White House communications staff but did not get a response.

The Pinocchio Test

Car and life insurance currently is sold exactly the same way as health insurance – regulated by state insurance regulators, with policies tailored to the rules and laws set by the state. So it is false to suggest there is any difference.

Rating: Pence and Spicer earn Four Pinocchios.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/factcheck/ct-fact-check-pence-insurance-state-lines-20170401-story.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 881, April 26, 2017, Story 1: District Court Judge in 9th Circuit Commits Judicial Fraud Makes Up A Violation of Law — Trump Executive Order Requires Existing Federal Laws Passed By Congress Be Enforced — Videos — Story 2: Senator Ted Cruz Great Idea For Paying For The Wall — Videos — Story 3: Trump’s Latest Tax Proposal — Good But Not Great — Missed Opportunity To Transition From An Income Tax Based System To A Broad Based Consumption Tax — FairTax or Fair Tax Less — Forget The Republican Establishment Border Adjustment Tax — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

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Story 1: District Court Judge in 9th Circuit Commits Judicial Fraud Makes Up A Violation of Law — Trump Executive Order Requires Existing Federal Laws Passed By Congress Be Enforced — Videos — 

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Federal judge rules Trump cannot punish sanctuary cities by withholding funds

Sanctuary Cities, Fed Money, and 9th Circuit Judge Block!

CA Fed Judge: Pres Trump Can’t Punish Sanctuary Cities By Withholding Funds – Tucker Carlson

San Francisco sues over Trump’s executive order targeting sanctuary cities

Judge Blocks Attempts To Withhold Funding For Sanctuary Cities

9th Circuit Court “Going Bananas”

A Ruling About Nothing

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY April 26, 2017 1:45 PM

A federal judge suspends Trump’s unenforced ban on funding for sanctuary cities.

A federal judge suspends Trump’s unenforced ban on funding for sanctuary cities. A showboating federal judge in San Francisco has issued an injunction against President Trump’s executive order cutting off federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities. The ruling distorts the E.O. beyond recognition, accusing the president of usurping legislative authority despite the order’s express adherence to “existing law.” Moreover, undeterred by the inconvenience that the order has not been enforced, the activist court — better to say, the fantasist court — dreams up harms that might befall San Francisco and Santa Clara, the sanctuary jurisdictions behind the suit, if it were enforced. The court thus flouts the standing doctrine, which limits judicial authority to actual controversies involving concrete, non-speculative harms.

Although he vents for 49 pages, Judge William H. Orrick III gives away the game early, on page 4. There, the Obama appointee explains that his ruling is about . . . nothing. That is, Orrick acknowledges that he is adopting the construction of the E.O. urged by the Trump Justice Department, which maintains that the order does nothing more than call for the enforcement of already existing law. Although that construction is completely consistent with the E.O. as written, Judge Orrick implausibly describes it as “implausible.”

That is, Orrick acknowledges that he is adopting the construction of the E.O. urged by the Trump Justice Department, which maintains that the order does nothing more than call for the enforcement of already existing law. Although that construction is completely consistent with the E.O. as written, Judge Orrick implausibly describes it as “implausible.”

Since Orrick ultimately agrees with the Trump Justice Department, and since no enforcement action has been taken based on the E.O., why not just dismiss the case? Why the judicial theatrics?

There appear to be two reasons.

The first is Orrick’s patent desire to embarrass the White House, which rolled out the E.O. with great fanfare. The court wants it understood that Trump is a pretender: For all the hullaballoo, the E.O. effectively did nothing. Indeed, Orrick rationalizes his repeated misreadings of what the order actually says by feigning disbelief that what it says could possibly be what it means. Were that the case, he suggests, there would have been no reason to issue the order in the first place.

Thus, taking a page from the activist left-wing judges who invalidated Trump’s “travel ban” orders, Orrick harps on stump speeches by Trump and other administration officials. One wonders how well Barack “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” Obama would have fared under the judiciary’s new Trump Doctrine: The extravagant political rhetoric by which the incumbent president customarily sells his policies relieves a court of the obligation to grapple with the inevitably more modest legal text of the directives that follow.

Of course, the peer branches of government are supposed to presume each other’s good faith in the absence of a patent violation of the law. But let’s put aside the unseemliness of Orrick’s barely concealed contempt for a moment, because he is also wrong. The proper purpose of an executive order is to direct the operations of the executive branch within the proper bounds of the law. There is, therefore, nothing untoward about an E.O. that directs the president’s subordinates to take enforcement action within the confines of congressional statutes.

In fact, it is welcome.

It is the president’s burden to set federal law-enforcement priorities. After years of Obama’s lax enforcement of immigration law and apathy regarding sanctuary jurisdictions, an E.O. openly manifesting an intent to execute the laws vigorously can have a salutary effect. And indeed, indications are that the cumulative effect of Trump’s more zealous approach to enforcement, of which the sanctuary-city E.O. is just one component, has been a significant reduction in the number of aliens seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.

In any event, eight years of Obama’s phone and pen have made it easy to forget that the president is not supposed to make law, and thus that we should celebrate, not condemn, an E.O. that does not break new legal ground. Orrick, by contrast, proceeds from the flawed premise that if a president is issuing an E.O., it simply must be his purpose to usurp congressional authority. Then he censures Trump for a purported usurpation that is nothing more than a figment of his own very active imagination.

Orrick’s second reason for issuing his Ruling About Nothing is to rationalize what is essentially an advisory opinion. It holds — I know you’ll be shocked to hear this — that if Trump ever did try to cut off funds from sanctuary cities, it would be an epic violation of the Constitution. Given that courts are supposed to refrain from issuing advisory opinions, the Constitution is actually more aggrieved by Orrick than by Trump. * * *

In a nutshell, the court claims that the E.O. is presidential legislation, an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Orrick insists that the E.O. directs the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to cut off any federal funds that would otherwise go to states and municipalities if they “willfully refuse to comply” with a federal law (Section 1373 of Title 8) that calls for state and local cooperation in enforcing immigration law.

According to Judge Orrick, Trump’s E.O. is heedless of whether Congress has approved any terminations of state funding from federal programs it has enacted. In one of the opinion’s most disingenuous passages, Orrick asserts that the E.O. “directs the Attorney General and the [Homeland Security] Secretary to ensure that ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ are ‘not eligible to receive’ federal grants.” (Emphasis in original.)

But this is just not true; Orrick has omitted key context from the relevant passage, which actually states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants.” (Emphasis added.) In plain English, the president has expressly restricted his subordinates to the limits that Congress has enacted. Under Trump’s order, there can be no suspension or denial of funding from a federal program unless congressional statutes authorize it. The president is not engaged in an Obama-

Of course, the peer branches of government are supposed to presume each other’s good faith in the absence of a patent violation of the law. But let’s put aside the unseemliness of Orrick’s barely concealed contempt for a moment, because he is also wrong. The proper purpose of an executive order is to direct the operations of the executive branch within the proper bounds of the law. There is, therefore, nothing untoward about an E.O. that directs the president’s subordinates to take enforcement action within the confines of congressional statutes. In fact, it is welcome.

It is the president’s burden to set federal law-enforcement priorities. After years of Obama’s lax enforcement of immigration law and apathy regarding sanctuary jurisdictions, an E.O. openly manifesting an intent to execute the laws vigorously can have a salutary effect. And indeed, indications are that the cumulative effect of Trump’s more zealous approach to enforcement, of which the sanctuary-city E.O. is just one component, has been a significant reduction in the number of aliens seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. In any event, eight years of Obama’s phone and pen have made it easy to forget that the president is not supposed to make law, and thus that we should celebrate, not condemn, an E.O. that does not break new legal ground. Orrick, by contrast, proceeds from the flawed premise that if a president is issuing an E.O., it simply must be his purpose to usurp congressional authority. Then he censures Trump for a purported usurpation that is nothing more than a figment of his own very active imagination.

Orrick’s second reason for issuing his Ruling About Nothing is to rationalize what is essentially an advisory opinion. It holds — I know you’ll be shocked to hear this — that if Trump ever did try to cut off funds from sanctuary cities, it would be an epic violation of the Constitution. Given that courts are supposed to refrain from issuing advisory opinions, the Constitution is actually more aggrieved by Orrick than by Trump. * * *

In a nutshell, the court claims that the E.O. is presidential legislation, an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Orrick insists that the E.O. directs the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to cut off any federal funds that would otherwise go to states and municipalities if they “willfully refuse to comply” with a federal law (Section 1373 of Title 8) that calls for state and local cooperation in enforcing immigration law. According to Judge Orrick, Trump’s E.O. is heedless of whether Congress has approved any terminations of state funding from federal programs it has enacted. In one of the opinion’s most disingenuous passages, Orrick asserts that the E.O. “directs the Attorney General and the [Homeland Security] Secretary to ensure that ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ are ‘not eligible to receive’ federal grants.” (Emphasis in original.)

But this is just not true; Orrick has omitted key context from the relevant passage, which actually states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants.” (Emphasis added.)

In plain English, the president has expressly restricted his subordinates to the limits that Congress has enacted. Under Trump’s order, there can be no suspension or denial of funding from a federal program unless congressional statutes authorize it. The president is not engaged in an Obama-esque rewrite of federal law; he explicitly ordered his subordinates to follow federal law.

It is not enough to say Orrick mulishly ignores the clear text of the executive order. Again and again, Justice Department lawyers emphasized to the court that Trump’s order explicitly reaffirmed existing law. Orrick refused to listen because, well, what fun would that be? If the president is simply directing that the law be followed, there is no basis for a progressive judge to accuse him of violating the law.

Were he to concede that, how would Orrick then win this month’s Social Justice Warrior in a Robe Award for Telling Donald Trump What For? Orrick can’t confine himself to merely inventing a violation, either, because there is no basis for a lawsuit unless a violation results in real damages. So, the judge also has to fabricate some harm. This takes some doing since, in addition to merely directing that the law be enforced, the Trump administration has not actually taken any action against any sanctuary jurisdiction to this point.

No problem: Orrick theorizes that because San Francisco and Santa Clara receive lots of government funding, Trump’s order afflicts them with “pre-enforcement” anxiety. They quake in fear that their safety-net and services budgets will be slashed. Sanctuary cities? Maybe we should call them snowflake cities. As noted above, there is a transparent agenda behind Orrick’s sleight of hand. The judge is keen to warn the president that, if ever his administration were to deny funds to sanctuary cities, it would violate the Constitution. It is in connection with this advisory opinion that the judge makes the only point worthy of consideration — albeit not in the case before him. Here, it is useful to recall the Supreme Court’s first Obamacare ruling.

Sanctuary cities? Maybe we should call them snowflake cities.

As noted above, there is a transparent agenda behind Orrick’s sleight of hand. The judge is keen to warn the president that, if ever his administration were to deny funds to sanctuary cities, it would violate the Constitution. It is in connection with this advisory opinion that the judge makes the only point worthy of consideration — albeit not in the case before him. Here, it is useful to recall the Supreme Court’s first Obamacare ruling.

Sanctuary cities? Maybe we should call them snowflake cities. As noted above, there is a transparent agenda behind Orrick’s sleight of hand. The judge is keen to warn the president that, if ever his administration were to deny funds to sanctuary cities, it would violate the Constitution. It is in connection with this advisory opinion that the judge makes the only point worthy of consideration — albeit not in the case before him. Here, it is useful to recall the Supreme Court’s first Obamacare ruling.

As noted above, there is a transparent agenda behind Orrick’s sleight of hand. The judge is keen to warn the president that, if ever his administration were to deny funds to sanctuary cities, it would violate the Constitution. It is in connection with this advisory opinion that the judge makes the only point worthy of consideration — albeit not in the case before him. Here, it is useful to recall the Supreme Court’s first Obamacare ruling.

While conservatives inveighed against Chief Justice Roberts’s upholding of the individual mandate, the decision had a silver lining: The majority invalidated Obamacare’s Medicaid mandate, which required the states, as a condition of qualifying for federal Medicaid funding, to enforce the federal government’s generous new Medicaid qualifications. In our system, the states are sovereign — the federal government may not dictate to them in areas of traditional state regulation, nor may it conscript them to enforce federal law. The Supremes therefore explained that state agreements to accept federal funding in return for adopting federal standards (e.g., to accept highway funding in exchange for adopting the federally prescribed 55-mph speed limit) are like contracts. The state must agree to the federal government’s terms. Once such an agreement is reached, the feds may not unilaterally make material changes in the terms, nor may they use their superior bargaining position to extort a state into acceding to onerous new terms in order to get the federal money on which it has come to depend. Whether a particular case involves such an extortion, as opposed to a permissible nudge, depends on the facts. If the feds are too heavy-handed, they run the risk of violating the Tenth Amendment’s federalist division of powers.

Who knew federal judges in ur-statist San Francisco had become such federalists? Orrick contends that if Trump were to cut off funds from sanctuary cities for failure to assist federal immigration-enforcement officials, it would offend the Tenth Amendment. This is highly unlikely. First, let’s remember — though Orrick studiously forgets — that Trump’s order endorses only such stripping of funds as Congress has already approved. Thus, sanctuary jurisdictions would be ill-suited to claim that they’d been sandbagged.

Second, the money likely to be at issue would surely be nothing close to Medicaid funding. Finally, Trump would not be unilaterally rewriting an existing federal–state contract; he’d be calling for the states to follow federal laws that (a) were on the books when the states started taking federal money and (b) pertain to immigration, a legal realm in which the courts have held the federal government is supreme and the states subordinate. Still, all that said, whether any Trump-administration effort to cut off funding would run afoul of the Tenth Amendment would depend on such considerations as how much funding was actually cut; whether Congress had authorized the cut in designing the funding program; whether the funding was tightly related or unrelated to immigration enforcement; and how big a burden it would be for states to comply with federal demands. Those matters will be impossible to evaluate unless and until the administration actually directs a slashing of funds to a sanctuary jurisdiction. If that happens, there will almost certainly be no legal infirmity as long as Trump’s E.O. means what it says — namely, that any funding cuts must be consistent with existing federal law. But it hasn’t happened. And as long as it hasn’t happened, there is no basis for a court to involve itself, much less issue an anticipatory ruling. Such niceties matter only if you’re practicing law, though. Judge Orrick is practicing politics.

Thus, taking a page from the activist left-wing judges who invalidated Trump’s “travel ban” orders, Orrick harps on stump speeches by Trump and other administration officials. One wonders how well Barack “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” Obama would have fared under the judiciary’s new Trump Doctrine: The extravagant political rhetoric by which the incumbent president customarily sells his policies relieves a court of the obligation to grapple with the inevitably more modest legal text of the directives that follow.

Here, it is useful to recall the Supreme Court’s first Obamacare ruling. While conservatives inveighed against Chief Justice Roberts’s upholding of the individual mandate, the decision had a silver lining: The majority invalidated Obamacare’s Medicaid mandate, which required the states, as a condition of qualifying for federal Medicaid funding, to enforce the federal government’s generous new Medicaid qualifications.

 

In our system, the states are sovereign — the federal government may not dictate to them in areas of traditional state regulation, nor may it conscript them to enforce federal law. The Supremes therefore explained that state agreements to accept federal funding in return for adopting federal standards (e.g., to accept highway funding in exchange for adopting the federally prescribed 55-mph speed limit) are like contracts. The state must agree to the federal government’s terms. Once such an agreement is reached, the feds may not unilaterally make material changes in the terms, nor may they use their superior bargaining position to extort a state into acceding to onerous new terms in order to get the federal money on which it has come to depend. Whether a particular case involves such an extortion, as opposed to a permissible nudge, depends on the facts. If the feds are too heavy-handed, they run the risk of violating the Tenth Amendment’s federalist division of powers.

Who knew federal judges in ur-statist San Francisco had become such federalists?

Orrick contends that if Trump were to cut off funds from sanctuary cities for failure to assist federal immigration-enforcement officials, it would offend the Tenth Amendment. This is highly unlikely. First, let’s remember — though Orrick studiously forgets — that Trump’s order endorses only such stripping of funds as Congress has already approved. Thus, sanctuary jurisdictions would be ill-suited to claim that they’d been sandbagged. Second, the money likely to be at issue would surely be nothing close to Medicaid funding. Finally, Trump would not be unilaterally rewriting an existing federal–state contract; he’d be calling for the states to follow federal laws that (a) were on the books when the states started taking federal money and (b) pertain to immigration, a legal realm in which the courts have held the federal government is supreme and the states subordinate.

Still, all that said, whether any Trump-administration effort to cut off funding would run afoul of the Tenth Amendment would depend on such considerations as how much funding was actually cut; whether Congress had authorized the cut in designing the funding program; whether the funding was tightly related or unrelated to immigration enforcement; and how big a burden it would be for states to comply with federal demands. Those matters will be impossible to evaluate unless and until the administration actually directs a slashing of funds to a sanctuary jurisdiction.

If that happens, there will almost certainly be no legal infirmity as long as Trump’s E.O. means what it says — namely, that any funding cuts must be consistent with existing federal law. But it hasn’t happened. And as long as it hasn’t happened, there is no basis for a court to involve itself, much less issue an anticipatory ruling.

Such niceties matter only if you’re practicing law, though. Judge Orrick is practicing politics.

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447058/trump-administration-sanctuary-city-executive-order-activist-liberal-judge-william-h-orrick

Story 2: Senator Ted Cruz Great Idea For Paying For The Wall — Videos —

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Is a wall an expensive, ineffective solution to border security?

How we can build Trump’s border wall

Is Trump’s Wall Possible?

Trump Maintains Mexico Will Pay for Border Wall

Donald Trump’s ‘Simple’ Response to How He Will Get Mexico To Pay for Wall

BREAKING: Trump’s ENTIRE Wall Just Got Paid For By ONE Person & You Won’t Believe Who!

Senator Ted Cruz Has a Great Plan to Pay for the Wall! Watch!

BREAKING Ted Cruz Teams With Trump, Figures Out PERFECT Way To Pay For Border Wall… – News

Inside the Homes of the Biggest Drug Kingpins

How El Chapo Became World’s Biggest Drug Lord

10 Massive TRUMP Walls That Already Exist

Sessions: Fed To Cut “Sanctuary Cities” Funding- Full Q & A

Mexico–United States barrier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Border fence near El Paso, Texas

Border fence between San Diego‘s border patrol offices in California (left) and Tijuana, Mexico (right)

The Mexico–United States barrier is a series of walls and fences along the Mexico–United States border aimed at preventingillegal crossings from Mexico into the United States and vice versa.[1] The barrier is not one continuous structure, but a grouping of relatively short physical walls, secured in between with a “virtual fence” which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by the United States Border Patrol.[2] As of January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of barriers in place.[3]The total length of the continental border is 1,989 miles (3,201 km).

Background

Two men scale the border fence into Mexico near Douglas, Arizona, in 2009

Two men scale the border fence into Mexico near Douglas, Arizona, in 2009

The barriers were built from 1994 as part of three larger “Operations” to taper transportation of illegal drugs manufactured in Latin America and immigration: Operation Gatekeeper in California, Operation Hold-the-Line[4] in Texas, and Operation Safeguard[5] in Arizona.

96.6 per cent of apprehensions by the Border Patrol in 2010 occurred at the southwest border.[6] The number of Border Patrol apprehensions declined 61% from 1,189,000 in 2005 to 723,840 in 2008 to 463,000 in 2010. The decrease in apprehensions may be due to a number of factors including changes in U.S. economic conditions and border enforcement efforts. Border apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972.[6] In March 2017 there were 17,000 apprehensions, which was the fifth month in a row of decline. In December 2016 apprehensions were at 58,478.[7]

The 1,954-mile (3,145 km) border between the United States and Mexico traverses a variety of terrains, including urban areas and deserts. The barrier is located on both urban and uninhabited sections of the border, areas where the most concentrated numbers of illegal crossings and drug trafficking have been observed in the past. These urban areas include San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. As of August 29, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had built 190 miles (310 km) of pedestrian border fence and 154.3 miles (248.3 km) of vehicle border fence, for a total of 344.3 miles (554.1 km) of fence. The completed fence is mainly in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, with construction underway in Texas.[8]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of fence in place by the second week of January 2009.[3] Work is still under way on fence segments in Texas and on the Border Infrastructure System in California.

The border fence is not one continuous structure and is actually a grouping of short physical walls that stop and start, secured in between with “virtual fence” which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by Border Patrol Agents.[2]

As a result of the effect of the barrier, there has been a marked increase in the number of people trying to illegally cross the Sonoran Desert and crossing over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona.[9] Such illegal immigrants must cross 50 miles (80 km) of inhospitable terrain to reach the first road, which is located in the Tohono O’odhamIndian Reservation.[9][10]

Status

Aerial view of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; the border can clearly be seen as it divides the two cities at night

Aerial view of El Paso, Texas (on the left) and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua (on the right), the border can clearly be seen as it divides the two cities at night

The wall in Tijuana, Mexico.

U.S. RepresentativeDuncan Hunter, a Republican from California and the then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, proposed a plan to the House on November 3, 2005 calling for the construction of a reinforced fence along the entire United States–Mexican border. This would also have included a 100-yard (91 m) border zone on the U.S. side. On December 15, 2005, Congressman Hunter’s amendment to the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) passed in the House. This plan called for mandatory fencing along 698 miles (1,123 km) of the 1,954-mile (3,145-km) border.[11] On May 17, 2006 the U.S. Senate proposed with Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) what could be 370 miles (600 km) of triple layered-fencing and a vehicle fence. Although that bill died in committee, eventually the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006.[12]

The government of Mexico and ministers of several Latin American countries condemned the plans. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, also expressed his opposition saying that instead of closing the border it should be opened more and through technology support legal and safe migration.[13] The barrier expansion was also opposed by a unanimous vote of the Laredo, Texas City Council.[14] Laredo’s Mayor, Raul G. Salinas, was concerned about defending his town’s people by saying that the Bill which included miles of border wall would devastate Laredo. He stated “These are people that are sustaining our economy by forty percent, and I am gonna [sic] close the door on them and put [up] a wall? You don’t do that. It’s like a slap in the face.” He hoped that Congress would revise the Bill to better reflect the realities of life on the border.[15] There are no plans to build border fence in Laredo at this time.[citation needed]However, there is a large Border Patrol presence in Laredo.

Secure Fence Act

H.R. 6061, the “Secure Fence Act of 2006“, was introduced on September 13, 2006. It passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on September 14, 2006 with a vote of 283–138.

On September 29, 2006, by a vote of 80–19 the U.S. Senate confirmed H.R. 6061 authorizing, and partially funding the “possible” construction of 700 miles (1,125 km) of physical fence/barriers along the border. The very broad support implied that many assurances were been made by the Administration—to the Democrats, Mexico, and the pro “Comprehensive immigration reform” minority within the GOP—that Homeland Security would proceed very cautiously. Secretary of Homeland SecurityMichael Chertoff, announced that an eight-month test of the virtual fence he favored would precede any construction of a physical barrier.

On October 26, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 6061 which was voted upon and passed by the 109th Congress of the United States.[16] The signing of the bill came right after a CNN poll showed that most Americans “prefer the idea of more Border Patrol agents to a 700-mile (1,125-kilometer) fence.”[17] The Department of Homeland Security has a down payment of $1.2 billion marked for border security, but not specifically for the border fence.

As of January 2010, the fence project had been completed from San Diego, California to Yuma, Arizona.[dubious ] From there it continued into Texas and consisted of a fence that was 21 feet (6.4 m) tall and 6 feet (1.8 m) deep in the ground, cemented in a 3-foot (0.91 m)-wide trench with 5000 psi (345 bar; 352 kg/cm²) concrete. There were no fatalities during construction, but there were 4 serious injuries with multiple aggressive acts against building crews. There was one reported shooting with no injury to a crew member in Mexicali region. All fence sections are south of the All-American Canal, and have access roads giving border guards the ability to reach any point easily, including the dunes area where a border agent was killed 3 years before and is now sealed off.

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform stated that “The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built.”[18] The Secure Fence Act’s costs were estimated at $6 billion,[19] more than the Customs and Border Protection’s entire annual discretionary budget of $5.6 billion.[20] The Washington Office on Latin America noted on its Border Fact Check site in about the year 2013 that the cost of complying with the Secure Fence Act’s mandate was the reason it had not been completely fulfilled.[21]

Rethinking the expansion

In January 2007 incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) announced that Congress would revisit the fence plan, with committee chairs holding up funding until a comprehensive border security plan was presented by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Then the Republican senators from Texas, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, advocated revising the plan, as well.[14]

The REAL ID Act, attached as a rider to a supplemental appropriations bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decreed, “Not withstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads.” Secretary Chertoff used his new power to “waive in their entirety” the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act to extend triple fencing through the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve near San Diego.[22] The Real ID Act further stipulates that the Secretary’s decisions are not subject to judicial review, and in December 2005 a federal judge dismissed legal challenges by the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and others to Chertoff’s decision.[citation needed]

Secretary Chertoff exercised his waiver authority on April 1, 2008. In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a lower court ruling upholding the waiver authority in a case filed by the Sierra Club.[23] In September 2008 a federal district court judge in El Paso dismissed a similar lawsuit brought by El Paso County, Texas.[24]

By January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security had spent $40 million on environmental analysis and mitigation measures aimed at blunting any possible adverse impact that the fence might have on the environment. On January 16, 2009, DHS announced it was pledging an additional $50 million for that purpose, and signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior for utilization of the additional funding.[25]

Expansion freeze

On March 16, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security announced that there would be a halt to expand the “virtual fence” beyond two pilot projects in Arizona.[26]

Contractor Boeing Corporation had numerous delays and cost overruns. Boeing had initially used police dispatching software that was unable to process all of the information coming from the border. The $50 million of remaining funding would be used for mobile surveillance devices, sensors, and radios to patrol and protect the border. At the time, the Department of Homeland Security had spent $3.4 billion on border fences and had built 640 miles (1,030 km) of fences and barriers as part of the Secure Border Initiative.[26]

Local efforts

In response to a perceived lack of will on the part of the federal government to build a secure border fence, and a lack of state funds, Arizona officials plan to launch a website allowing donors to help fund a state border fence.[citation needed]

Piecemeal fencing has also been established. In 2005, under its president, Ramón H. Dovalina, Laredo Community College, located on the border, obtained a 10-foot fence built by the United States Marine Corps. The structure was not designed as a border barrier per se but was intended to divert smugglers and illegal immigrants to places where the authorities can halt entrance into the United States.[27]

Trump administration

Further information: Executive Order 13767

Donald Trump signing Executive Order 13767

Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump called for the construction of a much larger and fortified wall along the Mexico–United States border, and claimed Mexico will pay for its construction, estimated at $8 to $12 billion, while others state there are enough uncertainties to drive up the cost between $15 to $25 billion.[28][29][30][31] In January 2017, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the country would not pay,[32][28] and later compared then President-elect Trump’s rhetoric to the former Dictator of Italy Benito Mussolini.[33] On January 25, 2017, the Trump administration signed a Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Executive Order, 13767 to commence the building of the border wall.[34]In response, Peña Nieto gave a national televised address confirming they would not pay, adding “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls”, and cancelled a scheduled meeting with Trump at the White House.[35][36]

In March 2017, President Donald Trump submitted a budget amendment for fiscal year (FY) 2017 that included an extra $3 billion for border security and immigration enforcement. Trump’s FY 2018 Budget Blueprint increases discretionary funds for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by $2.8 billion (to $44.1 billion). DHS would be the agency in charge of building the border wall.[7]

DHS Secretary John F. Kelly told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during a hearing that the Budget Blueprint “includes $2.6 billion for high-priority border security technology and tactical infrastructure, including funding to plan, design and construct the border wall.” Specific details will come in mid-May 2017, he said.[7]

According to Homeland Preparedness News, “Former members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection downplayed the idea that a wall alone would be enough to strengthen the U.S. southern border in a Senate hearing on [April 4, 2017], framing it as part of a broader strategy.”[37]

One vocal critic of the wall is U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). She said during the hearing that while Americans want a secure border, she has “not met anyone that says the most effective way is to build a wall across the entirety of our southern border. The only one who keeps talking about that is President Trump.”[37]

Controversy

The barrier has been criticized for being easy to get around. Some methods include digging under it (sometimes using complex tunnel systems), climbing the fence (using wire cutters to remove barbed-wire) or locating and digging holes in vulnerable sections of the wall. Many Latin-Americans have also traveled by boat through the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Coast.

Divided land

Tribal lands of three indigenous nations would be divided by the proposed border fence.[38][39]

On January 27, 2008, a U.S. Native American human rights delegation, which included Margo Tamez (Lipan Apache-Jumano Apache) and Teresa Leal (Opata-Mayo) reported the removal of the official International Boundary obelisks of 1848 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Las Mariposas, Sonora-Arizona sector of the Mexico–U.S. border.[40][41] The obelisks were moved southward approximately 20 meters, onto the property of private landowners in Sonora, as part of the larger project of installing the 18-foot (5.5 m) steel barrier wall.[42]

The proposed route for the border fence would divide the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville into two parts, according to Antonio N. Zavaleta, a vice president of the university.[43] There have been campus protests against the wall by students who feel it will harm their school.[2] In August 2008, UT-Brownsville reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the university to construct a portion of the fence across and adjacent to its property. The final agreement, which was filed in federal court on Aug 5 and formally signed by the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees later that day, ended all court proceedings between UTB/TSC and DHS. On August 20, 2008, the university sent out a request for bids for the construction of a 10-foot (3.0 m) high barrier that incorporates technology security for its segment of the border fence project. The southern perimeter of the UTB/TSC campus will be part of a laboratory for testing new security technology and infrastructure combinations.[44] The border fence segment on the UTB campus was substantially completed by December 2008.[45]

Hidalgo County

In the spring of 2007 more than 25 landowners, including a corporation and a school district, from Hidalgo and Starr County in Texas refused border fence surveys, which would determine what land was eligible for building on, as an act of protest.[46]

In July 2008, Hidalgo County and Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the construction of a project that combines the border fence with a levee to control flooding along the Rio Grande. Construction of two of the Hidalgo County fence segments are under way; five more segments are scheduled to be built during the fall of 2008; the Hidalgo County section of the border fence will constitute 22 miles (35 km) of combined fence and levee.[47]

Mexico’s condemnations

Mexico-United States barrier at the pedestrian border crossing in Tijuana

Mexico-United States barrier at the pedestrian border crossing in Tijuana

In 2006, the Mexican government vigorously condemned the Secure Fence act of 2006. Mexico has also urged the U.S. to alter its plans for expanded fences along their shared border, saying that it would damage the environment and harm wildlife.[48]

In June 2007, it was announced that a section of the barrier had been mistakenly built from 1 to 6 feet (2 meters) inside Mexican territory. This will necessitate the section being moved at an estimated cost of over $3 million (U.S.).[49]

In 2012, then presidential candidate of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto was campaigning in Tijuana at the Playas de Monumental, less than 600 yards (550 m) from the U.S.–Mexico border adjacent to Border Field State Park. In one of his speeches he criticized the U.S. government for building the barriers, and asked for them to be removed. Ultimately, he mocked Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” speech from Berlin in 1987.[citation needed]

Migrant deaths

The Wall at the border of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego. The crosses represent migrants who died in the crossing attempt. Some identified, some not. Surveillance tower in the background.

Between 1994 and 2007, there were around 5,000 Migrant deaths along the Mexico–United States border, according to a document created by the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico, also signed by the American Civil Liberties Union.[50] Between 43 and 61 people died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert from October 2003 to May 2004; three times that of the same period the previous year.[9] In October 2004 the Border Patrol announced that 325 people had died crossing the entire border during the previous 12 months.[51] Between 1998 and 2004, 1,954 persons are officially reported to have died along the US-Mexico border. Since 2004, the bodies of 1,086 migrants have been recovered in the southern Arizona desert.[52]

U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector reported on October 15, 2008 that its agents were able to save 443 undocumented immigrants from certain death after being abandoned by their smugglers, during FY 2008, while reducing the number of deaths by 17% from 202 in FY 2007 to 167 in FY 2008. Without the efforts of these agents, hundreds more could have died in the deserts of Arizona.[53] According to the same sector, border enhancements like the wall have allowed the Tucson Sector agents to reduce the number of apprehensions at the borders by 16% compared with fiscal year 2007.[54]

Environmental impact

"Wildlife-friendly" border wall in Brownsville, Texas, which would allow wildlife to cross the border. A young man climbs wall using horizontal beams for foot support.

“Wildlife-friendly” border wall in Brownsville, Texas, which would allow wildlife to cross the border. A young man climbs wall using horizontal beams for foot support.

In April 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to waive more than 30 environmental and cultural laws to speed construction of the barrier. Despite claims from then Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff that the department would minimize the construction’s impact on the environment, critics in Arizona and Texas asserted the fence endangered species and fragile ecosystems along the Rio Grande. Environmentalists expressed concern about butterfly migration corridors and the future of species of local wildcats, the ocelot, the jaguarundi, and the jaguar.[55]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted environmental reviews of each pedestrian and vehicle fence segment covered by the waiver, and published the results of this analysis in Environmental Stewardship Plans (ESPs).[56] Although not required by the waiver, CBP has conducted the same level of environmental analysis (in the ESPs) that would have been performed before the waiver (in the “normal” NEPA process) to evaluate potential impacts to sensitive resources in the areas where fence is being constructed.

ESPs completed by CBP contain extremely limited surveys of local wildlife. For example, the ESP for border fence built in the Del Rio Sector included a single survey for wildlife completed in November 2007, and only “3 invertebrates, 1 reptile species, 2 amphibian species, 1 mammal species, and 21 bird species were recorded.” The ESPs then dismiss the potential for most adverse effects on wildlife, based on sweeping generalizations and without any quantitative analysis of the risks posed by border barriers. Approximately 461 acres (187 ha) of vegetation will be cleared along the impact corridor. From the Rio Grande Valley ESP: “The impact corridor avoids known locations of individuals of Walker’s manioc and Zapata bladderpod, but approaches several known locations of Texas ayenia. For this reason, impacts on federally listed plants are anticipated to be short-term, moderate, and adverse.” This excerpt is typical of the ESPs in that the risk to endangered plants is deemed short-term without any quantitative population analysis.[citation needed]

By August 2008, more than 90 percent of the southern border in Arizona and New Mexico had been surveyed. In addition, 80 percent of the California/Mexico border has been surveyed.[8]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico%E2%80%93United_States_barrier

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