Senator Jeff Sessions

The Pronk Pops Show 856, March 20, 2017, Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More — Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency (NSA) Collects And Stores All Communications Over The Internet Including Trump’s and Advisers — No Need For Warrants — Who Was The National Security Target? — Who Leaked The Content and Transcript of General Mike Flynn’s Conversations With Russian Ambassador? Time To Release The Full Transcripts of All Conversations — Videos

Posted on March 20, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Impeachment, Independence, Law, Life, Media, National Security Agency, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Security, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 808: December 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More —  Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — 

Image result for comey and gowdyImage result for comey and gowdyImage result for NSA CARTOONS SPYING ON tRUMPImage result for comey and rogers testmony todayImage result for NSA CARTOONS SPYING ON tRUMP

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FBI Director James Comey’s Testifies at House Intelligence Committee Hearing – Opening Statement

Comey: Putin hated Hillary Clinton | Comey, Rogers testify on Russia, wiretapping

Comey confirms FBI is investigating possible Russia/Trump camp collusion

James Comey Testifies On Trump Wiretapping Claims and Russian Interference 3/20/2017

Comey and Rogers Congressional Hearing: No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Stealing the 2016 Election

FBI and NSA give ONE Shocking Evidence about Russia Hacking Election

FBI COMEY: WE WIRE TAPPED THE PRESIDENT

Limbaugh on Comey Hearing: Message to Trump Is Stop the ‘Drain-the-Swamp Stuff’ or Face Impeachment

“It’s Okay For You To Cite Sources But Not Trump?” Sean Spicer Slams CBS Reporter

FBI Director On Trump’s Wiretap Allegations: No Info To Support That – Full Comments

Rep. Schiff previews FBI director’s House hearing on Russia probe

Sean Spicer HEATED press briefing on James Comey Trump Wiretap Claims Russian Interference 3/20/2017

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

While many Democrats frequently say Russia “hacked” the presidential election, National Security Administration Director Adm. Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey both confirmed today that Russian activities had no impact on tallying votes in states.

“On January 6, 2017, the intelligence community assessment assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent US elections stated that the types of systems Russians actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said.

Going to Adm. Rogers, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that Russian actors changed vote tallies in the state of Michigan?” referring to a battleground state Hillary Clinton lost.

“No, I do not,” Rogers responded, before emphasizing the NSA is a foreign intelligence agency, and does not focus domestically.

“How about the state of Pennsylvania?” Nunes asked.

“No, sir,” Rogers responded.

“The state of Wisconsin?”

“No, sir,” Rogers said.

He gave similar answers when asked about vote tallying in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Turning to Comey, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that the FBI that any votes were changed in the states I mentioned to Adm. Rogers?”

“No,” Comey responded

 

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/fbi-nsa-no-evidence-russia-manipulated-us-vote-tallying/

 

The Democrats’ Trump-Russia Conspiracy Campaign Collapses

Is sanity finally returning? After weeks of ranting and raving about Russian “interference” and Putin-Trump conspiracies, so-called ‘intelligence’ agencies and high-ranking Democrats are quietly walking back their rhetoric and managing their base’s expectations – simply put: there’s no ‘there’, there.

‘Moon of Alabama’ reminds us that a while ago Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone warned: Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media:

If we engage in Times-style gilding of every lily the leakers throw our way, and in doing so build up a fever of expectations for a bombshell reveal, but there turns out to be no conspiracy – Trump will be pre-inoculated against all criticism for the foreseeable future.

And now, as The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald writes, key Democratic officials are now warning their base not to expect

From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-17/democrats-trump-russia-conspiracy-campaign-collapses

FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

ONE OF THE most bizarre aspects of the all-consuming Russia frenzy is the Democrats’ fixation on changes to the RNC platform concerning U.S. arming of Ukraine. The controversy began in July when the Washington Post reported that “the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.”

Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he lambasted the RNC change in a July letter to the New York Times, castigating it as “dangerous thinking” that shows Trump is controlled, or at least manipulated, by the Kremlin. Democrats resurrected this line of attack this weekend when Trump advisers acknowledged that campaign officials were behind the platform change.

This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies. The original Post article that reported the RNC platform change noted this explicitly:

Of course, Trump is not the only politician to oppose sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. President Obama decided not to authorize it, despite recommendations to do so from his top Europe officials in the State Department and the military.

Early media reports about this controversy from outlets such as NPR also noted the irony at the heart of this debate: namely, that arming Ukraine was the long-time desire of hawks in the GOP such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, but the Obama White House categorically resisted those pressures:

Republicans in Congress have approved providing arms to the Ukrainian government but the White House has resisted, saying that it would only encourage more bloodshed.

It’s a rare Obama administration policy that the Trump campaign seems to agree with.

Indeed, the GOP ultimately joined with the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party to demand that Obama provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russia, but Obama steadfastly refused. As the New York Times reported in March, 2015, “President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help.” When Obama kept refusing, leaders of the two parties threatened to enact legislation forcing Obama to arm Ukraine.

The general Russia approach that Democrats now routinely depict as treasonous – avoiding confrontation with and even accommodating Russian interests, not just in Ukraine but also in Syria – was one of the defining traits of Obama’s foreign policy. This fact shouldn’t be overstated: Obama engaged in provocative acts such as moves to further expand NATO, non-lethal aid to Ukraine, and deploying “missile defense” weaponry in Romania. But he rejected most calls to confront Russia. That is one of the primary reasons the “foreign policy elite” – which, recall, Obama came into office denouncing and vowing to repudiate – was so dissatisfied with his presidency.

A new, long article by Politico foreign affairs correspondent Susan Glasser – on the war being waged against Trump by Washington’s “foreign policy elite” – makes this point very potently. Say what you will about Politico, but one thing they are very adept at doing is giving voice to cowardly Washington insiders by accommodating their cowardice and thus routinely granting them anonymity to express themselves. As journalistically dubious as it is to shield the world’s most powerful people with anonymity, this practice sometimes ends up revealing what careerist denizens of Washington power really think but are too scared to say. Glasser’s article, which largely consists of conveying the views of anonymous high-level Obama officials, contains this remarkable passage:

In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

The destructive bipartisan Foreign Policy Community was furious with Obama for not confronting Russia more, and is now furious with Trump for the same reason (though they certainly loath and fear Trump for other reasons, including the threat they believe he poses to U.S. imperial management through a combination of ineptitude, instability, toxic PR, naked rather than prettified savagery, and ideology; Glasser writes: “‘Everything I’ve worked for for two decades is being destroyed,’ a senior Republican told me”).

 

ALL OF THIS demonstrates how fundamental a shift has taken place as a result of the Democrats’ election-related fixation on The Grave Russian Threat. To see how severe the shift is, just look at this new polling data from CNN this morning that shows Republicans and Democrats doing a complete reversal on Russia in the span of eight months:

The Democrats’ obsession with Russia has not just led them to want investigations into allegations of hacking and (thus far evidence-free) suspicions of Trump campaign collusion – investigations which everyone should want. It’s done far more than that: it’s turned them into increasingly maniacal and militaristic hawks – dangerous ones – when it comes to confronting the only nation with a larger nuclear stockpile than the U.S., an arsenal accompanied by a sense of fear, if not outright encirclement, from NATO expansion.

Put another way, establishment Democrats – with a largely political impetus but now as a matter of conviction – have completely abandoned Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia and have fully embraced the belligerent, hawkish mentality of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, the CIA and Evan McMullin. It should thus come as no surprise that a bill proposed by supreme warmonger Lindsey Graham to bar Trump from removing sanctions against Russia has more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican ones.

This is why it’s so notable that Democrats, in the name of “resistance,” have aligned with neocons, CIA operatives and former Bush officials: not because coalitions should be avoided with the ideologically impure, but because it reveals much about the political and policy mindset they’ve adopted in the name of stopping Trump. They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

Instead, they’re attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). And the most ironic – and over-looked – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/06/democrats-now-demonize-the-same-russia-policies-that-obama-long-championed/

Trump claims Democrats ‘made up’ reports about Russia’s election interference

President Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election as “FAKE NEWS.” In a series of tweets, Trump alleged Democrats “made up and pushed the Russian story,” seemingly referring to the FBI- and CIA-backed reports that Russia interfered in the election to dash Hillary Clinton’s chances, thus helping Trump.

Trump claimed Democrats fabricated the story “as an excuse for running a terrible campaign”:

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Trump then noted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s remark earlier this month that a paper compiled by the DNI, NSA, FBI, and CIA included “no evidence” of Trump associates’ collusion with Russia. Clapper said neither he nor the agencies had uncovered any “evidence of such collusion.”

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

Top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) later said he was “surprised” by Clapper’s comment because he did not think that claim could be made “categorically.” “I would characterize it this way: At the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion,” Schiff said. “There was direct evidence, I think, of deception.”

Later Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers will testify before Congress about possible connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Becca Stanek

http://theweek.com/speedreads/687068/trump-claims-democrats-made-reports-about-russias-election-interference

Story 2: National Security Agency (NSA) Collects And Stores All Communications Over The Internet Including Trump and Advisers — No Need For Warrants — Who Was The National Security Target? — Who Leaked The Content and Transcript of General Mike Flynn’s Conservations With Russian Ambassador? — Time To Release The Full Transcripts of All Conservations — Videos

Image result for Hillary clinton national security not procecutedImage result for branco cartoons comey and rogers NSA FBIImage result for cartoons comey and rogers on russians and trumpImage result for NSA CARTOONS SPYING ON tRUMPImage result for NSA CARTOONS SPYING ON tRUMP

Rep. Gowdy questions Director Comey during Intelligence hearing – Part One

Rep. Gowdy questions Director Comey during Intelligence hearing – Part Two

Trey Gowdy grills FBI Comey on leaks about Michael Flynn

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Judge Napolitano – Trump is the Enemy of the Deep State, 1549

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Former NSA Employee, Bill Binney, Breaks Silence Confirms Trump Wiretapping claims

NSA WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS TRUMP WAS WIRETAPPED AND MONITORED

NSA Whistleblower William Binney on The Laura Ingraham Show (3/10/2017)

Sean Hannity talks to Mark Levin , Jay Sekulow & Bill Binney about POTUS wiretapping claims

*BOMBSHELL* SEAN HANNITY, WILLIAM BINNEY and TONY SHAFFER (3/8/17) – TALK VAULT 7

Whistleblower: NSA Still Collecting Data On Every U.S. Citizen

william binney ex nsa intelligence agent discusses trump leaks with lou dobbs

Sharyl Attkisson: Presidents CAN authorize ILLEGAL surveillance and nobody would ever know!

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 1

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjAoVEhlrPc]

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 2

Wyden: No to warrantless searches by the FBI through National Security Letters

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

NSA Surveillance and What To Do About It

Taking a Look at the NSA’s Massive Data Center

NSA’s Largest Spy Center Located in Utah (What you need to know)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE)

Edward Snowden Full Interview on Trump, Petraeus, & Having ‘No Regrets’

DOCUMENTARY: Edward Snowden – Terminal F (2015)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

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“You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying

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Comey won’t commit to investigating Obama officials over Flynn leaks

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FBI Director James Comey declined to say Monday whether his team has launched an investigation into the leaks that led to former White House national security advisor Mike Flynn’s ouster.

Comey was pressed by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to say whether he could confirm such an investigation is taking place, but Comey said he could not because it might confirm that classified information was leaked.

“I can’t, but I hope people watching know how seriously we take leaks of classified information,” he said during Monday’s hearing on Russia’s influence on the election. “But I don’t want to confirm it by saying that we’re investigating it.”

hile Democrats pushed Comey to discuss possible links between Trump’s campaign and the Russians, Republicans emphasized the impropriety of the leaks and worried that it would create opposition to the federal government’s surveillance authority.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, pushed for information about who might have known about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. Flynn refused to say if he briefed Obama on the phone calls, although he confirmed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates — whom Trump fired for refusing to enforce his immigration executive order — would have had access to the information.

“What I don’t ever want to do is compound what bad people have done and confirm something that’s in the newspaper,” Comey said. “Because sometimes the newspaper gets it right, [but] there’s a whole lot of wrong information allegedly about classified activities that’s in the newspaper — we don’t call them and correct them, either. That’s another big challenge. But we just don’t go anywhere near it because we don’t want to help and compound the offense that was committed.”

Gowdy argued that he was wrong to stand on such ceremony under the circumstances, particularly given that a major NSA surveillance program is scheduled to expire this year unless Congress reauthorizes the program. Comey emphasized that the program, known as Section 702, has nothing to do with the Flynn scandal, but Gowdy argued that the storyline is still a threat to that program.

“You are 100 percent correct and I am 100 percent correct that that is a distinction that doesn’t make a difference to most of the people watching television,” Gowdy said. “What we are reauthorizing this fall has nothing to do with what we are discussing, other than it is another government program where the people consent to allow government to pursue certain things with the explicit promise it will be protected. So, you’re right, they’re different, but in the eyes of people watching, it is the U.S. government officials leaking the name of a U.S. citizen … trust me, you and I both want to see it reauthorized. It is in jeopardy if we don’t get this resolved.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/comey-wont-commit-to-investigating-obama-officials-over-flynn-leaks/article/2617870

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“FISA” redirects here. For other uses, see FISA (disambiguation).
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.
Acronyms(colloquial) FISA
Enacted by the 95th United States Congress
Effective October 25, 1978
Citations
Public law 95-511
Statutes at Large 92 Stat.1783
Codification
Titles amended 50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created 50 U.S.C.ch. 36 § 1801 et seq.
Legislative history
Major amendments

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (“FISAPub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat.1783, 50 U.S.C.ch. 36) is a United States federal law which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism).[1] The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It has been repeatedly amended since the September 11 attacks.

Contents

 [show] 

History

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter in 1978. The bill was cosponsored by nine Senators: Birch Bayh, James O. Eastland, Jake Garn, Walter Huddleston, Daniel Inouye, Charles Mathias, John L. McClellan, Gaylord Nelson, and Strom Thurmond.

The FISA resulted from extensive investigations by Senate Committees into the legality of domestic intelligence activities. These investigations were led separately by Sam Ervin and Frank Church in 1978 as a response to President Richard Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political and activist groups.[2] The act was created to provide judicial and congressional oversight of the government’s covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the United States, while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security.

Warrantless domestic wiretapping program

The Act came into public prominence in December 2005 following publication by the New York Times of an article[3] that described a program of warrantless domestic wiretapping ordered by the Bush administration and carried out by the National Security Agency since 2002; a subsequent Bloomberg article[4] suggested that this may have already begun by June 2000.

Provisions

The subchapters of FISA provide for:

Electronic surveillance

Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two different scenarios.

Without a court order

The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year, provided that it is only to acquire foreign intelligence information,[5] that it is solely directed at communications or property controlled exclusively by foreign powers,[6] that there is no substantial likelihood that it will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party, and that it be conducted only in accordance with defined minimization procedures.[7]

The code defines “foreign intelligence information” to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.[5]

“Foreign powers” means a foreign government, any faction of a foreign nation not substantially composed of U.S. persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government.[8]The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations.[9] The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism.[10]

A “U.S. person” includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the United States.

“Minimization procedures” is defined to mean procedures that minimize the acquisition of information concerning United States persons, allow the retention of information that is evidence of a crime, and require a court order be obtained in order to retain communication involving a United States person for longer than 72 hours.

The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,[11] and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.[12]

Since 50 U.S.C.§ 1802(a)(1)(A) of this Act specifically limits warrantless surveillance to foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (1),(2), (3) and omits the definitions contained in 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (4),(5),(6) the act does not authorize the use of warrantless surveillance on: groups engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore; foreign-based political organizations, not substantially composed of United States persons; or entities that are directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments.[13] Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties[14] and civil liabilities.[15]

Under 50 U.S.C. § 1811, the President may also authorize warrantless surveillance at the beginning of a war. Specifically, he may authorize such surveillance “for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress”.[16]

With a court order

Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[17] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent.[2][18] In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons.[19] Depending on the type of surveillance, approved orders or extensions of orders may be active for 90 days, 120 days, or a year.[20]

FISA court

The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies (primarily the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven-year terms.

Proceedings before the FISA court are ex parte and non-adversarial. The court hears evidence presented solely by the Department of Justice. There is no provision for a release of information regarding such hearings, or for the record of information actually collected.

Denials of FISA applications by the FISC may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review is a three judge panel. Since its creation, the court has come into session twice: in 2002 and 2008.

FISC meets in secret, and approves or denies requests for search warrants. Only the number of warrants applied for, issued and denied, is reported. In 1980 (the first full year after its inception), it approved 322 warrants.[21]This number has steadily grown to 2,224 warrants in 2006.[22] In the period 1979–2006, a total of 22,990 applications for warrants were made to the Court of which 22,985 were approved (sometimes with modifications; or with the splitting up, or combining together, of warrants for legal purposes), and only 5 were definitively rejected.[23]

Physical searches

In addition to electronic surveillance, FISA permits the “physical search” of the “premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by” a foreign power. The requirements and procedures are nearly identical to those for electronic surveillance.

Remedies for violations

Both the subchapters covering physical searches and electronic surveillance provide for criminal and civil liability for violations of FISA.

Criminal sanctions follows violations of electronic surveillance by intentionally engaging in electronic surveillance under the color of law or through disclosing information known to have been obtained through unauthorized surveillance. The penalties for either act are fines up to US$10,000, up to five years in jail, or both.[14]

In addition, the statute creates a cause of action for private individuals whose communications were unlawfully monitored. The statute permits actual damages of not less than $1,000 or $100 per day. In addition, that statute authorizes punitive damages and an award of attorney’s fees.[15] Similar liability is found under the subchapter pertaining to physical searches. In both cases, the statute creates an affirmative defense for law enforcement personnel acting within their official duties and pursuant to a valid court order. Presumably, such a defense is not available to those operating exclusively under presidential authorization.

Lone wolf amendment

In 2004, FISA was amended to include a “lone wolf” provision. 50 U.S.C.§ 1801(b)(1)(C). A “lone wolf” is a non-U.S. person who engages in or prepares for international terrorism. The provision amended the definition of “foreign power” to permit the FISA courts to issue surveillance and physical search orders without having to find a connection between the “lone wolf” and a foreign government or terrorist group. However, “if the court authorizes such a surveillance or physical search using this new definition of ‘agent of a foreign power’, the FISC judge has to find, in pertinent part, that, based upon the information provided by the applicant for the order, the target had engaged in or was engaging in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor”.[24]

Constitutionality

Before FISA

In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirements of the Fourth Amendment applied equally to electronic surveillance and to physical searches. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). The Court did not address whether such requirements apply to issues of national security. Shortly after, in 1972, the Court took up the issue again in United States v. United States District Court, Plamondon, where the court held that court approval was required in order for the domestic surveillance to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. 407 U.S. 297 (1972). Justice Powell wrote that the decision did not address this issue that “may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents”.

In the time immediately preceding FISA, a number of courts squarely addressed the issue of “warrantless wiretaps”. In both United States v. Brown, 484 F.2d 418 (5th Cir. 1973), and United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3rd Cir. 1974), the courts upheld warrantless wiretaps. In Brown, a U.S. citizen’s conversation was captured by a wiretap authorized by the Attorney General for foreign intelligence purposes. In Butenko, the court held a wiretap valid if the primary purpose was for gathering foreign intelligence information.

A plurality opinion in Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594 (D.C. Cir. 1975), held that a warrant was required for the domestic surveillance of a domestic organization. In this case, the court found that the domestic organization was not a “foreign power or their agent”, and “absent exigent circumstances, all warrantless electronic surveillance is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional.”

Post-FISA

There have been very few cases involving the constitutionality of FISA. Two lower court decisions found FISA constitutional. In United States v. Duggan, the defendants were members of the Irish Republican Army. 743 F.2d 59 (2nd Cir., 1984). They were convicted for various violations regarding the shipment of explosives and firearms. The court held that there were compelling considerations of national security in the distinction between the treatment of U.S. citizens and non-resident aliens.

In the United States v. Nicholson, the defendant moved to suppress all evidence gathered under a FISA order. 955 F.Supp. 588 (Va. 1997). The court affirmed the denial of the motion. There the court flatly rejected claims that FISA violated Due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, Equal protection, Separation of powers, nor the Right to counsel provided by the Sixth Amendment.

However, in a third case, the special review court for FISA, the equivalent of a Circuit Court of Appeals, opined differently should FISA limit the President’s inherent authority for warrantless searches in the foreign intelligence area. In In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717, 742 (Foreign Intel. Surv. Ct. of Rev. 2002) the special court stated “[A]ll the other courts to have decided the issue [have] held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information . … We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.”

Criticism

K. A. Taipale of the World Policy Institute, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation,[25] and Philip Bobbitt of Columbia Law School,[26] among others,[27] have argued that FISA may need to be amended to include, among other things, procedures for programmatic approvals, as it may no longer be adequate to address certain foreign intelligence needs and technology developments, including: the transition from circuit-based communications to packet-based communications; the globalization of telecommunication infrastructure; and the development of automated monitoring techniques, including data mining and traffic analysis.[28]

John R. Schmidt, associate attorney general (1994–1997) in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton, expressed a need for programmatic approval of technology-enabled surveillance programs.[29] He recalled early arguments made by then-Attorney General Edward Levi to the Church Committee that foreign intelligence surveillance legislation should include provisions for programmatically authorizing surveillance programs because of the particular needs of foreign intelligence where “virtually continuous surveillance, which by its nature does not have specifically predetermined targets” may be required. In these situations, “the efficiency of a warrant requirement would be minimal.”

In a 2006 opinion, Judge Richard Posner wrote that FISA “retains value as a framework for monitoring the communications of known terrorists, but it is hopeless as a framework for detecting terrorists. [FISA] requires that surveillance be conducted pursuant to warrants based on probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a terrorist, when the desperate need is to find out who is a terrorist.”[30]

Subsequent amendments

The Act was amended in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act, primarily to include terrorism on behalf of groups that are not specifically backed by a foreign government.

An overhaul of the bill, the Protect America Act of 2007 was signed into law on August 5, 2007.[31] It expired on February 17, 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 passed by the United States Congress on July 9, 2008.[32]

Amendments

Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006

On March 16, 2006, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455),[33][34] under which the President would be given certain additional limited statutory authority to conduct electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States subject to enhanced Congressional oversight. Also on March 16, 2006, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S. 2453),[35][36] which would amend FISA to grant retroactive amnesty[37] for warrantless surveillance conducted under presidential authority and provide FISA court (FISC) jurisdiction to review, authorize, and oversight “electronic surveillance programs”. On May 24, 2006, Senator Specter and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S. 3001) asserting FISA as the exclusive means to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance.

All three competing bills were the subject of Judiciary Committee hearings throughout the summer.[38] On September 13, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve all three mutually exclusive bills, thus, leaving it to the full Senate to resolve.[39]

On July 18, 2006, U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) introduced the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825). Wilson’s bill would give the President the authority to authorize electronic surveillance of international phone calls and e-mail linked specifically to identified terrorist groups immediately following or in anticipation of an armed or terrorist attack on the United States. Surveillance beyond the initial authorized period would require a FISA warrant or a presidential certification to Congress. On September 28, 2006, the House of Representatives passed Wilson’s bill and it was referred to the Senate.[40]

Protect America Act of 2007

Main article: Protect America Act

On July 28, 2007, President Bush called on Congress to pass legislation to reform the FISA in order to ease restrictions on surveillance of terrorist suspects where one party (or both parties) to the communication are located overseas. He asked that Congress pass the legislation before its August 2007 recess. On August 3, 2007, the Senate passed a Republican-sponsored version of FISA (S. 1927) in a vote of 60 to 28. The House followed by passing the bill, 227–183. The Protect America Act of 2007 (Pub.L. 110–55, S. 1927) was then signed into law by George W. Bush on 2007-08-05.[41]

Under the Protect America Act of 2007, communications that begin or end in a foreign country may be wiretapped by the U.S. government without supervision by the FISA Court. The Act removes from the definition of “electronic surveillance” in FISA any surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. As such, surveillance of these communications no longer requires a government application to, and order issuing from, the FISA Court.

The Act provides procedures for the government to “certify” the legality of an acquisition program, for the government to issue directives to providers to provide data or assistance under a particular program, and for the government and recipient of a directive to seek from the FISA Court, respectively, an order to compel provider compliance or relief from an unlawful directive. Providers receive costs and full immunity from civil suits for compliance with any directives issued pursuant to the Act.

A summary of key provisions follows. The Act empowers the Attorney General or Director of National Intelligence (“DNI”) to authorize, for up to one year, the acquisition of communications concerning “persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States” if the Attorney General and DNI determine that each of five criteria has been met:

  • There are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition concerns persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States;
  • The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance (meaning it does not involve solely domestic communications);
  • The acquisition involves obtaining the communications data from or with the assistance of a communications service provider who has access to communications;
  • A significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and
  • Minimization procedures outlined in the FISA will be used.

This determination by the Attorney General and DNI must be certified in writing, under oath, and supported by appropriate affidavit(s). If immediate action by the government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification, the Attorney General or DNI can direct the acquisition orally, with a certification to follow within 72 hours. The certification is then filed with the FISA Court.

Once the certification is filed with the FISA Court, the Attorney General or DNI can direct a provider to undertake or assist in the undertaking of the acquisition.

If a provider fails to comply with a directive issued by the Attorney General or DNI, the Attorney General may seek an order from the FISA Court compelling compliance with the directive. Failure to obey an order of the FISA Court may be punished as a contempt of court.

Likewise, a person receiving a directive may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the FISA Court. An initial review must be conducted within 48 hours of the filing to determine whether the petition is frivolous, and a final determination concerning any non-frivolous petitions must be made – in writing – within 72 hours of receipt of the petition.

Determinations of the FISA Court may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Court of Appeals, and a petition for a writ of certiorari of a decision from the FICA can be made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All petitions must be filed under seal.

The Act allows providers to be compensated, at the prevailing rate, for providing assistance as directed by the Attorney General or DNI.

The Act provides explicit immunity from civil suit in any federal or state court for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under the Act.

Within 120 days, the Attorney General must submit to the FISA Court for its approval the procedures by which the government will determine that acquisitions authorized by the Act conform with the Act and do not involve purely domestic communications. The FISA Court then will determine whether the procedures comply with the Act. The FISA Court thereafter will enter an order either approving the procedures or directing the government to submit new procedures within 30 days or cease any acquisitions under the government procedures. The government may appeal a ruling of the FISA Court to the FICA and ultimately the Supreme Court.

On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall inform the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate of incidents of noncompliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General or the DNI, incidents of noncompliance with FISA Court-approved procedures by the Intelligence Community, and the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.

The amendments to FISA made by the Act expire 180 days after enactment, except that any order in effect on the date of enactment remains in effect until the date of expiration of such order and such orders can be reauthorized by the FISA Court.[42] The Act expired on February 17, 2008.

Subsequent developments

Legal experts experienced in national security issues are divided on how broadly the new law could be interpreted or applied. Some believe that due to subtle changes in the definitions of terms such as “electronic surveillance”, it could empower the government to conduct warrantless physical searches and even seizures of communications and computer devices and their data which belong to U.S. citizens while they are in the United States, if the government contended that those searches and potential seizures were related to its surveillance of parties outside the United States. Intelligence officials, while declining to comment directly on such possibilities, respond that such interpretations are overly broad readings of the act, and unlikely to actually occur.

In a September 10, 2007 address at a symposium on modernizing FISA held at Georgetown University Law Center‘s National Security Center, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, argued against the current six-month sunset provision in the Protect America Act of 2007, saying that the broadened surveillance powers the act provides for should be made permanent. Wainstein proposed that internal audits by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Division of the Justice Department, with reporting to select groups of Congressmen, would ensure that the expanded capability would not be abused.[43]

Also on September 10, DNI Mike McConnell testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the Protect America Act had helped foil a major terror plot in Germany. U.S. intelligence-community officials questioned the accuracy of McConnell’s testimony and urged his office to correct it, which he did in a statement issued September 12, 2007. Critics cited the incident as an example of the Bush administration’s exaggerated claims and contradictory statements about surveillance activities. Counterterrorism officials familiar with the background of McConnell’s testimony said they did not believe he made inaccurate statements intentionally as part of any strategy by the administration to persuade Congress to make the new eavesdropping law permanent. Those officials said they believed McConnell gave the wrong answer because he was overwhelmed with information and merely mixed up his facts.[44]

Speaking at National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland on September 19, 2007, President George W. Bush urged Congress to make the provisions of the Protect America Act permanent. Bush also called for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who had cooperated with government surveillance efforts, saying, “It’s particularly important for Congress to provide meaningful liability protection to those companies now facing multibillion-dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our nation, following the 9/11 attacks”.[45]

On October 4, 2007, the bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee of the Constitution Project, co-chaired by David Keene and David D. Cole, issued its “Statement on the Protect America Act”.[46] The Statement urged Congress not to reauthorize the PAA, saying the language of the bill “runs contrary to the tripartite balance of power the Framers envisioned for our constitutional democracy, and poses a serious threat to the very notion of government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Some in the legal community have questioned the constitutionality of any legislation that would retroactively immunize telecommunications firms alleged to have cooperated with the government from civil liability for having potentially violated their customers’ privacy rights.[47]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry found significant flaws in the technical implementation of the Protect America Act which they said created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by the government.[48]

On October 7, 2007, the Washington Post reported that House Democrats planned to introduce alternative legislation which would provide for one-year “umbrella” warrants, and would require the Justice Department inspector general to audit the use of those warrants and issue quarterly reports to a special FISA court and to Congress. The proposed bill would not include immunity for telecommunications firms facing lawsuits in connection with the administration’s NSA warrantless surveillance program. House Democrats said that as long as the administration withholds requested documents explaining the basis for the program that they cannot consider immunity for firms alleged to have facilitated it.[49] On October 10, 2007 comments on the White House South Lawn, President Bush said he would not sign any bill that did not provide retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations.[50]

On October 18, 2007, the House Democratic leadership put off a vote on the proposed legislation by the full chamber to avoid consideration of a Republican measure that made specific references to Osama bin Laden. At the same time, the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly reached a compromise with the White House on a different proposal that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.[51]

On November 15, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10–9 along party lines to send an alternative measure to the full Senate other than the one the intelligence committee had crafted with the White House. The proposal would leave to the full Senate whether or not to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications firms that cooperated with the NSA. Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said that granting such immunity would give the Bush administration a “blank check” to do what it wants without regard to the law. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the committee, said that court cases may be the only way Congress can learn exactly how far outside the law the administration has gone in eavesdropping in the United States. When the full Senate takes up the bill, Specter is expected to offer a compromise that would shield the companies from financial ruin but allow lawsuits to go forward by having the federal government stand in for the companies at trial.[52][needs update]

On the same day, the House of Representatives voted 227–189 to approve a Democratic bill that would expand court oversight of government surveillance inside the United States while denying immunity to telecom companies. House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers left the door open to an immunity deal in the future, but said that the White House must first give Congress access to classified documents specifying what the companies did that requires legal immunity.[53]

In February 2008, the Senate passed the version of the new FISA that would allow telecom companies immunity. On March 13, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives held a secret session to discuss related information. On March 14, the House voted 213–197 to approve a bill that would not grant telecom immunity – far short of the 2/3 majority required to override a Presidential veto.[54] The Senate and House bills are compared and contrasted in a June 12, 2008 report from the Congressional Research Service.[55]

On March 13, 2008, the House of Representatives held a secret, closed door meeting to debate changes to the FISA bill.[56]

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008[edit]

The 2008 amendment of FISA gave telecoms immunity, increased the time allotted for warrantless surveillance, and adds provisions for emergency eavesdropping. On June 20, 2008, the House of Representatives passed the amendment with a vote of 293 to 129.[57][58] It passed in the Senate 69 to 28 on July 9, 2008[59] after a failed attempt to strike Title II from the bill by Senator Dodd.[60] On July 10, 2008, President Bush signed it into law.

2015 USA Freedom Act

On June 2, 2015, many provisions of the 1978 with the passage of the USA Freedom Act.[61] The 2015 law overhauled the powerful United States National Security Agency and required the US government to undergo standard court procedures in order to gather data regarding suspicious activities.[61] However, the law did not completely repeal the controversial Patriot Act and allowed some provisions to expire in later time.[61]

See also

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

National Security Agency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“NSA” redirects here. For other uses, see NSA (disambiguation) and National Security Agency (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with NASA or National Security Council.
Yes
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Seal of the National Security Agency
Flag of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Flag of the National Security Agency
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland.jpg
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Agency overview
Formed November 4, 1952; 64 years ago[1]
Preceding agency
  • Armed Forces Security Agency
Headquarters Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.
39°6′32″N 76°46′17″WCoordinates: 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W
Motto “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future.”
Employees Classified (30,000–40,000 estimate)[2][3][4][5]
Annual budget Classified (estimated $10.8 billion, 2013)[6][7]
Agency executives
Parent agency United States Department of Defense
Website www.nsa.gov

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States federal government responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of some of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide, many of whom are United States citizens, and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]

History

Army predecessor

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[21]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

World War II and its aftermath

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

Vietnam War

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET“, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[31]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[32]:Vol I, p.79

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[33] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[34] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[35] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[35] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[36] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[37]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[35]

From 1980s to 1990s

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[38][39]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[40] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[41] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[41] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[41]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[42]

War on Terror

After Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in the 1980s, the NSA recorded all of his phone calls via satellite, logging over 2,000 minutes of conversation[43]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[44]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004. Several whistleblowers were later arrested and charged with violating federal espionage laws.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[45] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[46]

Global surveillance disclosures

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

Scope of surveillance

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[47] and “commercial secrets”.[48] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[49][50][51] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[49][52]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[53] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[54][55]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[56] It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[57] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[58] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[59][60]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[61] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[62] as well as Internet communications,[57] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[63] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[64]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[65]

Although NSA’s surveillance activities are controversial, government agencies and private enterprises have common needs, and sometimes cooperate at subtle and complex technical levels. Big data is becoming more advantageous, justifying the cost of required computer hardware, and social media lead the trend. The interests of NSA and Silicon Valley began to converge as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data and at the same time the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. On the other hand, social media sites are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own.[66]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[67]

Legal accountability

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[68] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[69] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[70] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[71] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[72] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[73] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[74][75] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[73] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[58]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[76]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[77]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[78]

Official responses

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and Internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[79] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[69]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[80] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[81][82][83]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[84][85] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[86][87] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[88]

Organizational structure

Michael S. Rogers, the director of the NSA.

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[89]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

  • The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA’s communications and information security missions.
  • The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
  • The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.[90]

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[91][92]

Structure

As of 2013, NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[93]

  • F – Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[94]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[95]
  • I – Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
  • J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
  • L – Installation and Logistics
  • M – Human Resources
  • Q – Security and Counterintelligence
  • R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.[96]
  • S – Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
    • S1 – Customer Relations
    • S2 – Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
      • S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
    • S3 – Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
      • S31 – Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
      • S32 – Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is “the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”[97]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[98] A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
      • S34 – Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
      • S35 – Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program.[98] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[99]
  • T – Technical Directorate (TD)
  • Directorate for Education and Training
  • Directorate for Corporate Leadership
  • Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
  • Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
  • Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[100]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[101]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[102]

A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with the Information Assurance Directorate into a Directorate of Operations.[103]

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

  • National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA’s current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name in 1996.[104]
  • NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.[105]

Employees

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[106]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[107] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[108]

Security issues

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[109] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[109]

Edward Snowden‘s leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule“, where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[108]Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[110]

Polygraphing

Defense Security Service (DSS) polygraph brochure given to NSA applicants

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[111] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[111]The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[112]

File:NSApolygraphvideo.webm

NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[112] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[113] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[114] Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[111]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[115] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[116] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[115] George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[116]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[117]

Arbitrary firing

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee,The Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[109]

Insignia and memorials

Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[118] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[118] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[118] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[118]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[119] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[119] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[120]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

National Cryptologic Memorial

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[121] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[121]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[122] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013 .[122] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[122]

NSANet (NSA’s intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access to SIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, and JWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[123] It is a classified network,[124] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[125] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[126]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[127]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[128] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[129] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[130]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[131]

National Computer Security Center

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[132] NCSC was part of NSA,[133] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[134] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[134]

Facilities

Headquarters

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore,[135] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[136] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[137][138] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[139]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[140] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[141] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[142] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[136][143]

NSA headquarters building in Fort Meade (left), NSOC (right)

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[144] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[144] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[144]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[145] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[144] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[146] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[147] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[146]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube“.[148] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[146] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[149][150][151]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[152]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[140]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[153]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[154] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[140] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[153]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40 million per year.[155]

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.[156] Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[157]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[157] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[158] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[157] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[159] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[159] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[159]

Fort Meade shooting

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9 am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his 20-year-old male passenger. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[160][161]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[162] FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[163] In June 2015 the FBI closed its investigation into the incident and federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges against anyone involved.[164]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[165] but her later revision does not.[166] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[167]

Computing

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[168]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[169] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[149] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[149] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[149] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[170]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54 ha; 0.21 sq mi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[149] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[149]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[155] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[155] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[155]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[171] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[152][155]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[172] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[155]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[173] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[174]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[175] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[176] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[177] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[175]

International stations

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[174]

Following the signing in 1946–1956[178] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[179] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[180] New Zealand.[181]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[182] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[183]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[184]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[185] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[185]

Thailand

Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[186] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[187]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[187] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,700–4,600 m2 (40,000–50,000 ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[188][189]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. whose job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[188]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[188]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[188]

Mission

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[190]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[191]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[192]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

Operations

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

  • Collection overseas, which falls under the responsibility of the Global Access Operations (GAO) division.
  • Domestic collection, which falls under the responsibility of the Special Source Operations (SSO) division.
  • Hacking operations, which falls under the responsibility of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

Collection overseas

Echelon

Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[193] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[175]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[194] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[195]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[196] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the ECHELON surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[197] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[198]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[199][200]

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden masks.

Other SIGINT operations overseas

The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT“, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.[201]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[202]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[203] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[204]

BoundlessInformant

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[205]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[206]

Bypassing encryption

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[207][208] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[209]Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[208]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[210][211]

Domestic activity

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[212] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[213][214]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[215] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[216] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[216]

George W. Bush administration

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[217] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records.This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[218]

Warrantless wiretaps

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[219]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[220]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[221]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[222][223]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[224] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[225] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[226]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

AT&T Internet monitoring

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[227]

Data mining

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[228]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[229] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[230]

Illegally obtained evidence

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[231][232]

Barack Obama administration

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[233] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[234]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[235] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[236] Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[237] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[238]

Section 215 metadata collection

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon‘s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call … location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[239][240]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[241]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[242]

Defenders of the program say that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[243] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[243]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015, the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[244] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

The PRISM program

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[245][246] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[247] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

June 2015 – WikiLeaks: Industrial espionage[edit]

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[248]

July 2015 – WikiLeaks: Espionage against German federal ministries[edit]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[249][250] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[251]

Claims of prevented terrorist attacks[edit]

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[252] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[253][254][255][256]

Hacking operations

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

NSA’s China hacking group

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[257][258]

Syrian internet blackout

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria‘s internet blackout in 2012.[259]

Suspected responsibility for hacking operations by the Equation Group

The espionage group named the Equation Group, described by discoverers Kaspersky Labs as one of the most advanced (if not the most advanced) in the world as of 2015,[260]:31 and connected to over 500 malware infections in at least 42 countries over many years, is suspected of being a part of NSA.[261][262] The group’s known espionage methods have been documented to include interdiction (interception of legitimate CDs sent by a scientific conference organizer by mail),[260]:15 and the “unprecedented” ability to infect and be transmitted through the hard drive firmware of several of the major hard drive manufacturers, and create and use hidden disk areas and virtual disk systems for its purposes, a feat demanding access to the manufacturer’s source code of each to achieve.[260]:16–18 The methods used to deploy the tools demonstrated “surgical precision”, going so far as to exclude specific countries by IP and allow targeting of specific usernames on discussion forums.[260]:23–26 The techniques and knowledge used by the Equation Group are considered in summary to be “out of the reach of most advanced threat groups in the world except [this group].[260]:31

Software backdoors

Linux kernel

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[263] However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[264]

When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

— Nils Torvalds, LIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[265]
Microsoft Windows
Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft‘s Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key.

IBM Notes

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[266][267]

Boomerang routing

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Hardware implanting

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald‘s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[268]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[269] Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[270]

Role in scientific research and development

NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman‘s directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.

Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.[271]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991 to 1997

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipher algorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a “backdoor” and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.

The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA’s involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design.[272][273] In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that “NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key.”[274][275]

Advanced Encryption Standard

The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to Data Encryption Standard (DES), the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition).[276] NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.[277]

NSA encryption systems

STU-III secure telephones on display at the National Cryptologic Museum

The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[278]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[279][280]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[281]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[280]
  • KY-57 VINSON tactical radio voice encryptor[281]
  • KG-84 Dedicated Data Encryption/Decryption[281]
  • STU-III secure telephone unit,[281] phased out by the STE[282]

The NSA oversees encryption in following systems which are in use today:

The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.[277]

SHA

The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.[287]

A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it,[288][289] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[290] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[288]

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

NSA promoted the inclusion of a random number generator called Dual_EC_DRBG in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s 2007 guidelines. This led to speculation of a backdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[291]

This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known.[292][293] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[294][295]

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials.[296] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[297] However, NSA’s Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.[298][299]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[300][301] It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein.[302][303] It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.

Academic research

NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research,[304] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[305]

Patents

NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA’s patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.[306]

One of NSA’s published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections.[307] Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.[308]

Legality

File:Ron Wyden and James Clapper - 12 March 2013.webm

Excerpt of James Clapper‘s false testimony to Congress on NSA surveillance programs

In the United States, at least since 2001,[309] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[310] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[311] specifically phone records. President Barack Obama has asked lawyers and his national security team to look at the tactics that are being used by the NSA. President Obama made a speech on January 17, 2014 where he defended the national security measures, including the NSA, and their intentions for keeping the country safe through surveillance. He said that it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between what is too much surveillance and how much is needed for national security because technology is ever changing and evolving. Therefore, the laws cannot keep up with the rapid advancements.

President Obama did make some changes to national security regulations and how much data can be collected and surveyed.[citation needed] The first thing he added, was more presidential directive and oversight so that privacy and basic rights are not violated. The president would look over requests on behalf of American citizens to make sure that their personal privacy is not violated by the data that is being requested. Secondly, surveillance tactics and procedures are becoming more public, including over 40 rulings of the FISC that have been declassified.[citation needed] Thirdly, further protections are being placed on activities that are justified under Section 702, such as the ability to retain, search and use data collected in investigations, which allows the NSA to monitor and intercept interaction of targets overseas. Finally, national security letters, which are secret requests for information that the FBI uses in their investigations, are becoming less secretive. The secrecy of the information requested will not be indefinite and will terminate after a set time if future secrecy is not required.[citation needed] Concerning the bulk surveillance of American’s phone records, President Obama also ordered a transition from bulk surveillance under Section 215 to a new policy that will eliminate unnecessary bulk collection of metadata.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[312] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [313] The new bill getting passed later in May taking its place is known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue hunting for terrorists by analyzing telephone links between callers but “keep the bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies.”[313] This would give phone companies the freedom to dispose the records in an 18-month period. The White House argued that this new ruling validated President Obama’s support of the government being extracted from bulk data collection and giving power to the telecommunications companies.

Previously, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[314] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[315] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[316] With this new ruling, telecommunications companies would not provide the NSA with bulk information. The companies would allow the disposal of data in every 18 months,[313] which is arguably putting the telecommunications companies at a higher advantage.

This ruling made the collecting of phone records illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill to re-authorize the Patriot Act.[317] Defenders of this surveillance program are claiming that judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ruled 37 times that this kind of collection of data is, in fact, lawful.[317] The FISC is the court specifically mandated to grant surveillance orders in the name of foreign intelligence. The new ruling made by the Second District Court of Appeals now retroactively dismisses the findings of the FISC on this program.

See also

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 841, February 17, Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 2: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Trump to news media: The public doesn’t believe you anymore! — Trump On Offense vs. Big Lie Media On Defense — President Trump Wins With Working Americans — Buy American and Hire American — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — 

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President Donald Trump Full Press Conference Addresses Ties to Russia, Leaks, and “Fake News” 2/16

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Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

 Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Trump goes on marathon rant against the media

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

rAnother part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/16/sorry-media-this-press-conference-played-very-different-with-trumps-supporters/

At Boeing, Trump returns to an economic message after a week of controversy

February 17 at 2:35 PM

Trump promises focus on jobs, lower taxes in speech at Boeing factory

President Trump promised to work to keep manufacturing companies in the U.S., and to lower taxes for businesses, speaking at the unveiling of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Feb. 17 in North Charleston, S.C. (The Washington Post)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — When President Trump took the stage here Friday to mark the launch of Boeing’s newest aircraft, it was a scene reminiscent of his airplane hangar rallies during the presidential campaign.

Except, instead of his “Trump” branded Boeing 757 parked in the background, Boeing’s newest product, the Dreamliner 787-10, glittered in the sun behind him, and off to the side stood Trump’s new ride, Air Force One.

Trump’s somewhat unusual appearance at the launch event for the company’s highly anticipated version 10 of the Dreamliner wasn’t to roll out new economic policy or even push a specific economic agenda item. Instead, it seemed that Trump was there to boost the company with a presidential endorsement for its American-made fleet, and he in turn would be the face of a major milestone for one of the country’s largest job creators.

“We’re here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” Trump said. “We’re also here today to celebrate jobs. Jobs!”

“Jobs is one of the primary reasons I’m standing here as president, and I will never ever disappoint you. Believe me,” he added.

Trump’s visit to the Boeing plant also comes at a time when the Trump administration is struggling to establish a greater sense of order and focus after weeks of distractions and negative headlines.

The White House has aimed to structure his daily schedule with at least one jobs-focused meeting each day. But much of that has been overshadowed by several all-consuming stories, the most damaging of which was the ouster of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on Monday.

Questions about the Trump administration and campaign’s ties to Russia have only intensified after multiple media reports revealed that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite Flynn’s statements to the contrary.

Friday’s event on the manufacturing floor of Boeing’s South Carolina plant offered Trump a much-needed opportunity to reset his administration and refocus an economic-based message.

“You look at what’s happening with jobs. You look at what’s happening with plants moving back to this country. All of a sudden they’re coming back,” Trump said. “As your president, I’m going to do everything that I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work.

“This is our mantra, buy American and hire American.”

A few months ago, it seemed that Trump’s relationship with Boeing was on the rocks before it even really began.

As president-elect, Trump launched into a Twitter fight with the company and its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, over the cost of a new fleet of presidential airplanes that would be used as Air Force One. Quickly, Boeing relented, promising to bring down the plane’s costs after meetings with Trump.

Less than a month into his presidency, Trump is back to Boeing on a decidedly more positive note.

“That plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old,” Trump said, pointing to the Boeing 747 that serves as Air Force One. “What can look so beautiful at 30?”

The turnabout is emblematic of Trump’s preferred mode of dealing with America’s largest and most powerful businesses. It reflects the degree to which Trump has already changed the terms of engagement with the business community, quickly creating an incentive structure where businesses are rewarded with praise from the highest office in the land when they roll out jobs or cost savings for taxpayers — and credit him for influencing their decision-making.

Over the past several weeks, chief executives including Intel’s Brian Krzanich traveled to the White House to announce new American jobs, thanks to fresh “confidence” in the economy spurred by the new administration.

“They’re keeping and bringing thousands of jobs back to our country because the business climate, they know, has already changed,” Trump said, highlighting jobs announcements from automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. “We will see more and more of that across the country as we continue to work on reducing regulations, cutting taxes — including for the middle class, including for everyone, and including for businesses.”

In this setting, Trump seems at his most comfortable.

Here, Trump reveled in his electoral victory and the adulation of a supportive crowd in a state that he won in both the Republican primary and the general election.

“This was going to be a place that was tough to win, and we won in a landslide,” Trump declared.

As the restive crowd of Boeing employees waited for hours for Trump to arrive, some cheered when his name was mentioned in the preshow. “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts dotted the sea of people on the plant’s manufacturing floor where more than 5,000 employees were gathered.

He toured the new Dreamliner with Boeing executives and could be seen sitting in the plane’s cockpit after his speech.

On Saturday, Trump plans something of a repeat performance in what the White House is dubbing the first “campaign” event of his presidency, at an airplane hangar rally in Melbourne, Fla.

Among some Boeing employees, the reception to Trump was reserved, but optimistic.

Leif Anderson, who started working at the factory six years ago after leaving the Air Force, sat Thursday night at the bar at Domino Lounge, a pool hall three miles from the Boeing plant, smoking cigarillos and sipping a shot of Crown Royal apple whiskey alongside a glass of Bud Lite.

Anderson said he voted for Trump more out of loyalty to the Republican Party, but is “not jumping to conclusions” about the president as a leader.

“I’m really curious to see what he does,” said Anderson, who leads a group of workers at the Boeing plant installing the planes’ interiors. He hopes that Trump’s economic policies succeed, which he said would help his own career along with the country as a whole.

“If he does good, then I’m going to do good,” Anderson said.

Elliott Slater, a Boeing mechanic, took the day off Friday and did not attend Trump’s speech, saying he wanted to avoid the traffic.

“I didn’t vote for him, either.” said Slater, a veteran of the Navy. “He’s not my president. He’s got to earn my respect.”

Slater, who supported the union’s unsuccessful vote to organize the plant in Wednesday’s election, said that Trump would support companies over workers. “He’s definitely pro businesses, being a business man himself. … That’s fine, but you know, how does the business treat its workers?”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/at-boeing-trump-returns-to-an-economic-message-after-a-week-of-controversy/?utm_term=.208a463653aa

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule
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President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

Regulators finalized the stream protection rule in December, but they spent most of Obama’s tenure writing it.The rule is among the most controversial environment regulations the former administration put together. The coal mining industry said it would be costly to implement and lead to job losses across the sector, which is already suffering from a market-driven downturn in demand for its product.

At the signing, Trump called the regulation “another terrible job killing rule” and said ending it would save “many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines, which, I have been promising you — the mines are a big deal.”

“This is a major threat to your jobs and we’re going to get rid of this threat,” he added. “We’re going to fight for you.”

Republicans on Congress, especially from Appalachia, supported that argument and sought to block the rule several times before finally passing the CRA resolution this month.

“In my home state of Kentucky and others across the nation, the stream buffer rule will cause major damage to communities and threaten coal jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the bill passed. “We should heed their call now and begin bringing relief to coal country.”

Environmentalists supported the administration rule, saying it would protect waterways from pollution and preserve public health. They have criticized the GOP for repealing environmental rules in the name of supporting coal mining jobs, but doing little else to help displaced workers in mining areas.

“If you want to help miners, then come address their health and safety and their pension program,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said during floor debate on the measure.

“You can protect the coal industry here with special interests and the amount of lobbying they do, or you can step up in a process and have a regulation that works for the United States of America so the outdoor industry and sportsman and fishermen can continue to thrive.”

The Senate this week sent Trump a CRA resolution blocking a gun sales regulation. Members could soon take up a measure undoing a methane rule for natural gas drilling operations on public land.

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/319938-trump-signs-bill-undoing-obama-coal-mining-rule

Dan Coats Announced as Trump’s Pick for Director of National Intelligence

President-Elect Trump Goes on Tweetstorm for Better Russia Relations 1:38

President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to serve as national intelligence director, his transition team announced Saturday.

Coats, would need to be confirmed by Senate for the role, served eight years in the House of Representatives and two years in the Senate. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

“I’m very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as Director of National Intelligence,” President-elect Trump said in a statement. “Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community.”

As director of national intelligence, Coats would serve as the head of the United States’ intelligence community and be the president’s principal adviser on the issue.

Image: Trump to name Dan Coats as Director of national intelligence
Indiana Senator Dan Coats speaks briefly with the press following his meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, USA, 30 November 2016 AALBIN LOHR-JONES / POOL / EPA

Coats will succeed James Clapper, who recently testified in front of Congress that Russia had stepped up its cyber espionage operation in an attempt to undermine the election. A redacted report about the hack and its goals was released on Friday.

First elected to the Senate in 1990 in a special election that filled the seat vacated by Dan Quayle — who departed the Senate to serve as George H. W. Bush’s vice president — Coats won reelection in 1992 before retiring from the Senate in 1998. He then was nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany in 2001, arriving there mere days before the Sept. 11 terrorism attack.

After departing as ambassador four years later, Coats worked as a prominent lobbyist in Washington D.C. and then decided to run for his former Senate seat in 2010 — an election he won.

Coats again announced his retirement from government in November 2015.

Most recently while in the Senate, Coats served as the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm,” Trump added in his statement.

“I’m pleased to hear the President-elect has nominated my colleague and friend Dan Coats to be the next head of our Intelligence Community,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Dan’s experience as a valued member of the Senate Intelligence Committee will help to guide him as the next Director of National Intelligence.”

In the past year as a senator, Coats has introduced six bills. Only two simple resolutions passed: The first recognized the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the other commemorated the bicentennial of the state of Indiana.

Coats will lead an intelligence community that already has a rocky relationship with the president-elect, as Trump has continued to float doubts about the community’s findings in the Russia hacking investigation.

While testifying before the Armed Services Committee, Clapper stopped short of calling Russia’s interference in the election an act of war, saying that was something for lawmakers to discern.

However, the committee’s chairman, John McCain (R-AZ), maintained that the attack was alarming.

“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference,” McCain said in his opening statement during the hearing. “That is why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and, when necessary, respond to foreign cyberattacks.”

On Twitter, Donald Trump seemed more concerned with the intelligence community’s findings that pertained to the legitimacy of his election rather than Russia’s involvement.

Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..

The president-elect has maintained a belief that the United States should “move on” from the attack, adding on Saturday that the country will have a good relationship and will work together with Russia under his administration.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/dan-coats-announced-trump-s-pick-director-national-intelligence-n704231

CNN’s Jeff Zucker on Covering Donald Trump — Past, Present, and Future

By Gabriel Sherman

At his press conference last week, President-elect Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, denouncing the network as a purveyor of “fake news.” Trump’s ire was in response to CNN’s explosive report that U.S. intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump on claims that the Kremlin had collected compromising information on him. In the wake of CNN’s report, BuzzFeed published the unedited, and unverified, opposition-research dossier referenced in the intel briefing, which included lurid allegations about Trump’s behavior and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

On Tuesday morning, I sat down with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker for a wide-ranging discussion about that controversial scoop, Trump’s threat to press freedom, and why he’s not worried about losing access to the White House.

After Trump attacked CNN for reporting on the intelligence chiefs’ briefing on the Russian dossier, you issued a strongly worded statement defending your story. What made CNN decide to publish reporting on the existence of the dossier?
I actually think this was a pretty easy call in terms of its news value. The fact is, the top four intelligence chiefs of the United States decided to include in their briefing to the president and president-elect a two-page summary of allegations involving the president-elect. That is newsworthy by any definition.

Even if the allegations themselves weren’t verified?
We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations. We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations.

I was at the press conference at Trump Tower, where Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump himself denounced CNN and BuzzFeed as fake news. What do you think of BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the complete dossier?
They made a decision for themselves, and they have to live with it. I’m not going to pass judgment on their decision. We did not think it was appropriate for us given that we had not been able to corroborate the allegations.

It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimizejournalism.

When you have the president-elect saying, “Don’t trust CNN, it’s fake news,” is that harmful?
It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy. I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Trump is considering moving reporters out of the West Wing. How worried are you about Trump’s attacks on the press?
As Tim Russert said, the role of the media is the accountability of government. I think the press plays a much more important role in this administration. Their willingness and inclination to cherry-pick facts, conflate and inflate things, will make covering this administration very challenging. That means our role is more important than ever. We think that CNN has a job to do, which is to hold their feet to the fire. They may not like it, but they should respect it.

Acosta didn’t get to ask a question at last week’s press conference. The first question went to Fox News, and Breitbart got to ask a question. Are you concerned about getting access to Trump?
I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over. It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN. The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.

Wouldn’t Trump say that’s what Twitter is for? He can shape his own perception.
If he’s relying on Twitter to shape his own perception in the capitals of the world then I think he’s making a big mistake.

How does CNN plan to cover Trump’s tweets?
I think we should look at his tweets on a case-by-case basis, just like we’d look at the comments of any president, and make an editorial decision on which ones to report, discuss, and cover. So I don’t think we should knee-jerk-cover every tweet just as we didn’t knee-jerk-cover every comment Barack Obama made. We should use our editorial judgment.

I noticed that Trump is sitting down with Fox & Friends. And in recent days, he’s given interviews to The Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, both Murdoch papers. What do you think of Trump’s alliance with Murdoch?
I think you’re trying to goad me here. But you’ve made the right observation. Look, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that friendly outlets have been the ones that have ended up with the interviews with Donald Trump. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London — the fact that they’re all Rupert’s publications — I don’t think it’s any coincidence those are the outlets that ended up with the interviews.

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?
I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

Trump’s feud with CNN is ironic, in a way, because you have perhaps more history with him than any media executive. Some people say you made Trump’s presidential run possible with The Apprentice. Did you?
It’s true I put him on television with The Apprentice in 2004. I’ve never run away from that. But in no way do I think that’s why he’s the president. You have to give the guy credit. He ran a campaign that worked.

So you don’t ever regret that the Trump phenomenon arguably started with you?
No. Listen, I don’t regret putting The Apprentice on television.

Another irony of the current antagonism is that CNN has sometimes been perceived as being too close to Trump. You got a lot of flak for covering his speeches in full during the primaries and for hiring his former campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski. What do you think of the criticism?
We didn’t bend over backward for Trump; we did what we felt was in the best interest of our viewers and readers to understand the story. The reason we hired a number of voices to reflect the Trump point of view was to help the audience understand who he was, where he was coming from, and what he was thinking. Given the results of the election, it turns out we were exactly right to do so. We had a much better sense on our air what the Trump point of view was than most others.

Were you in touch with Trump regularly throughout the campaign?
Obviously we’ve known each other for a long time. Just because I’ve known somebody for more than 15 years doesn’t mean they get a pass.

So how often did you talk to him?
Probably once a month?

Do you still talk to him?
I haven’t talked to him in more than a month.

Some criticized the Ivanka Trump special that aired on CNN as an effort to curry favor with the White House. Was it?
I don’t think we’re the only news organization that did a profile of Ivanka Trump. That’s silly. Let’s remember the stories we’ve broken in the last week: the original story on the intelligence briefing; the fact that Monica Crowley was a plagiarist; the fact that Congressman Price may have broken the law on his stocks; the fact that Trump’s pick for Labor was having second thoughts … All those stories were broken by CNN. Tell me another news organization that’s broken more news on Donald Trump in the last week? Please.

Your corporate owner Time Warner is currently going through an $85 billion merger with telecom giant AT&T. Trump has suggested he may try to block the deal because it would concentrate too much media power in one company. Have you spoken with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes about that?
No. It’s one of the things I respect about Time Warner and Turner: their understanding of CNN’s independence. There’s been absolutely no conversations or anything of the sort between us and Time Warner.

Some have suggested that CNN might have to be spun off in order to have the deal approved by Trump’s Justice Department. Are you worried about that?
No.

You had the biggest night in cable-news history on Election Night, 13 million viewers. What’s your plan to maintain ratings in 2017?
Our viewership continues to be significantly higher than it was a year ago and frankly much higher than we expected it to be. There’s been no evidence of any falloff at all. I think people are coming to us because they know we’ll report both sides of the story. We expected we’d be down 25 percent from last year because you had all the election nights, debates, and conventions, but if the first three weeks of this year are any indication, I’m not so sure it will be down that much.

In December, the Drudge Report reported you were wooing Megyn Kelly. Did you try to hire her?
I had one conversation with Megyn about coming to CNN in prime time. It never got serious, it never got real.

What do you think of her move to NBC?
I wish her nothing but success. I think NBC News is a great fit for her and she’ll be a big star there.

During the Bush years, MSNBC saw its ratings skyrocket by being the voice of opposition. Since Election Day, MSNBC has held on to much of its election-year audience, suggesting the network might enjoy similar success during the Trump years. What’s your assessment of MSNBC?
I think all of the cable-news networks are healthy and vibrant and at a good place in the history of cable news. In terms of audience, there’s a clear No. 1, a clear No. 2, and a clear No. 3. In terms of reporting and breaking news, there’s only one true cable-news network.

So, what would be the best scoop now? If CNN got Trump’s tax returns would you report them?
If we could verify they were real and legitimate, just like any other news organization, we would report on them. Sure.

* This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

** Disclosure: I am an MSNBC contributor.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/cnns-zucker-on-covering-trump-past-present-and-future.html

The Reason Why There Are More Leaks Traced To Former President Obama and Violating American Citizens Right To Privacy Under The Fourth Amendment To U.S. Constitution

WASHINGTON — In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence,” said Robert S. Litt, the general counsel to Mr. Clapper. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”

But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.

“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”

The N.S.A. has been required to apply similar privacy protections to foreigners’ information since early 2014, an unprecedented step that President Obama took after the disclosures of N.S.A. documents by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden. The other intelligence agencies will now have to follow those rules, too.

Under the new system, agencies will ask the N.S.A. for access to specific surveillance feeds, making the case that they contain information relevant and useful to their missions. The N.S.A. will grant requests it deems reasonable after considering factors like whether large amounts of Americans’ private information might be included and, if so, how damaging or embarrassing it would be if that information were “improperly used or disclosed.”

The move is part of a broader trend of tearing down bureaucratic barriers to sharing intelligence between agencies that dates back to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2002, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court secretly began permitting the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. to share raw intercepts gathered domestically under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act — which legalized warrantless surveillance on domestic soil so long as the target is a foreigner abroad, even when the target is communicating with an American — the court permitted raw sharing of emails acquired under that program, too.

In July 2008, the same month Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act, President George W. Bush modified Executive Order 12333, which sets rules for surveillance that domestic wiretapping statutes do not address, including techniques that vacuum up vast amounts of content without targeting anybody.

After the revision, Executive Order 12333 said the N.S.A. could share the raw fruits of such surveillance after the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, coordinating with the defense secretary, agreed on procedures. It took another eight years to develop those rules.

The Times first reported the existence of those deliberations in 2014 and later filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents about them. It ended that case last February, and Mr. Litt discussed the efforts in an interview at that time, but declined to divulge certain important details because the rules were not yet final or public.

Among the most important questions left unanswered in February was when analysts would be permitted to use Americans’ names, email addresses or other identifying information to search a 12333 database and pull up any messages to, from or about them that had been collected without a warrant.

There is a parallel debate about the FISA Amendments Act’s warrantless surveillance program. National security analysts sometimes search that act’s repository for Americans’ information, as do F.B.I. agents working on ordinary criminal cases. Critics call this the “backdoor search loophole,” and some lawmakers want to require a warrant for such searches.

By contrast, the 12333 sharing procedures allow analysts, including those at the F.B.I., to search the raw data using an American’s identifying information only for the purpose of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence investigations, not for ordinary criminal cases. And they may do so only if one of several other conditions are met, such as a finding that the American is an agent of a foreign power.

However, under the rules, if analysts stumble across evidence that an American has committed any crime, they will send it to the Justice Department.

The limits on using Americans’ information gathered under Order 12333 do not apply to metadata: logs showing who contacted whom, but not what they said. Analysts at the intelligence agencies may study social links between people, in search of hidden associates of known suspects, “without regard to the location or nationality of the communicants.”

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.

Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.

“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.

The goal for the final rules, Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement, is “to ensure that they protect privacy, civil liberties and constitutional rights while enabling the sharing of information that is important to protect national security.”

Until now, National Security Agency analysts have filtered the surveillance information for the rest of the government. They search and evaluate the information and pass only the portions of phone calls or email that they decide is pertinent on to colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. And before doing so, the N.S.A. takes steps to mask the names and any irrelevant information about innocent Americans.

The new system would permit analysts at other intelligence agencies to obtain direct access to raw information from the N.S.A.’s surveillance to evaluate for themselves. If they pull out phone calls or email to use for their own agency’s work, they would apply the privacy protections masking innocent Americans’ information — a process known as “minimization” — at that stage, Mr. Litt said.

Executive branch officials have been developing the new framework and system for years. President George W. Bush set the change in motion through a little-noticed line in a 2008 executive order, and the Obama administration has been quietly developing a framework for how to carry it out since taking office in 2009.

The executive branch can change its own rules without going to Congress or a judge for permission because the data comes from surveillance methods that lawmakers did not include in the main law that governs national security wiretapping, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

FISA covers a narrow band of surveillance: the collection of domestic or international communications from a wire on American soil, leaving most of what the N.S.A. does uncovered. In the absence of statutory regulation, the agency’s other surveillance programs are governed by rules the White House sets under a Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333.

Mr. Litt declined to make available a copy of the current draft of the proposed procedures.

“Once these procedures are final and approved, they will be made public to the extent consistent with national security,” Mr. Hale said. “It would be premature to draw conclusions about what the procedures will provide or authorize until they are finalized.”

Among the things they would not address is what the draft rules say about searching the raw data using names or keywords intended to bring up Americans’ phone calls or email that the security agency gathered “incidentally” under the 12333 surveillance programs — including whether F.B.I. agents may do so when working on ordinary criminal investigations.

Under current rules for data gathered under a parallel program — the no-warrant surveillance program governed by the FISA Amendments Act — N.S.A. and C.I.A. officials may search for Americans’ information only if their purpose is to find foreign intelligence, but F.B.I. agents may conduct such a search for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring the government to obtain a warrant before conducting such a search.

In 2013, The Washington Post reported, based on documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the N.S.A. and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had tapped into links connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s data centers overseas and that the American spy agency had collected millions of records a day from them. The companies have since taken steps to encrypt those links.

That collection occurred under 12333 rules, which had long prohibited the N.S.A. from sharing raw information gathered from the surveillance it governed with other members of the intelligence community before minimization. The same rule had also long applied to sharing information gathered with FISA wiretaps.

But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began an effort to tear down barriers that impeded different parts of the government from working closely and sharing information, especially about terrorism.

In 2002, for example, it won permission, then secret, from the intelligence court permitting the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. to share raw FISA wiretap information. The government did not disclose that change, which was first reported in a 2014 New York Times article based on documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden.

In August 2008, Mr. Bush change d 12333 to permit the N.S.A. to share unevaluated surveillance information with other intelligence agencies once procedures were developed.

Intelligence officials began working in 2009 on how the technical system and rules would work, Mr. Litt said, eventually consulting the Defense and Justice Departments. This month, the administration briefed the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent five-member watchdog panel, seeking input. Before they go into effect, they must be approved by James R. Clapper, the intelligence director; Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general; and Ashton B. Carter, the defense secretary.

“We would like it to be completed sooner rather than later,” Mr. Litt said. “Our expectation is months rather than weeks or years.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 840, February 16, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — 

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Image result for cartoons president trump press conference

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Image result for cartoons 2017 branco president trump press conference

Image result for cartoons president trump press conference

Image result for cartoons 2017 branco president trump press conference

Image result for cartoons 2017 branco president trump press conference

President Donald Trump Full Press Conference Addresses Ties to Russia, Leaks, and “Fake News” 2/16

President Trump scolds media at news conference

Trump to news media: The public doesn’t believe you anymore

President dismisses negative reporting in a media massacre

Rush Limbaugh Podcast 2/16/17 | Trump blasts ‘out of control’ media, defends agenda, administration

Laura Ingraham Show 2/16/17 | Media freaks out as some come to the conclusion that Flynn

Trump Says General Flynn Did Nothing Wrong

Tucker Carlson Tonight & Hannity Special – 2/16/2017 Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Netanyahu Interview

Scott Pelley: Trump’s “bluster, bravado, exaggeration” on display at news conference

John Dickerson on Beltway’s reaction to Trump’s press conference

Is The Intelligence Community At War With Trump?

Roger Stone Panicked Left Launching Civil War

Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Videos

Trump boasts approval rating, attacks media

President Trump scolds media at news conference

President Trump criticizes administration coverage

Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

 Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Trump goes on marathon rant against the media

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

rAnother part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/16/sorry-media-this-press-conference-played-very-different-with-trumps-supporters/

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The Pronk Pops Show 839, February 15, 2017, Story 1: Time To Stop Leaking by Government Employees By Setting A Example That Nobody Is Above The Law — Appoint A Special Prosecutor For The Many National Security and Public Corruption Crimes of Hillary Clinton and Staff — Trump Supporters Waiting For President Trump To Keep His Promise — Videos — Story 2: Eli Lake on The Political Assassination of NSA Mike Flynn and FBI Questioned Former National Security Advisory Mike Flynn — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Likes Whatever Israel and Palestine Want Regarding a Two State Solution

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10,  2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 808: December 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 804: November 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 803: November 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 802: November 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 801: November 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 800: November 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 799: November 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 798: November 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 797: November 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 796: November 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 795: November 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 794: November 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 793: November 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 792: November 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 791: November 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 790: November 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 789: November 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 788: November 2, 2016

 

Story 1: Time To Stop Leaking by Government Employees By Setting An Example That Nobody Is Above The Law — Appoint A Special Prosecutor For The Many National Security and Public Corruption Crimes of Hillary Clinton and Other Government Employees — Videos —

Trump vows to get special prosecutor to investigate Clinton

Donald Trump “You have a Point” to Crowd Chanting Hillary Clinton “Lock Her Up” (8-13-16)

Trump Decides He Won’t Pursue Criminal E-mail Investigation Case Against Clinton

Clinton’s Pay to Play State Department Not a Partisan Issue – It is a Criminal One

Donald Trump: Hillary Clinton has a lot to hide (CNN interview with Anderson Cooper)

Anonymous – Bill & Hillary Clinton: The Untold Story “Clinton Cash” Full Documentary

Anonymous – Hillary Clinton: The Hillary Files Full Documentary

 

Story 2:  Eli Lake on The Political Assassination of NSA Mike Flynn and FBI Questioned Former National Security Advisory Mike Flynn — Videos —

Trump Blasts Leaks, ‘Unfair’ Treatment of Flynn 

Was Michael Flynn Politically Assassinated?

Columnist: Flynn’s ouster will embolden Trump’s opponents

Hannity: The DC swamp is rising to take down Trump | Breaking News Today

The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn

FEB 14, 2017 10:09 AM EST

By Eli Lake

If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the vice president. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday: “Misleading the vice president really was the key here.”

That sounds about as credible as when the president told CIA employees that the media had invented the story about his enmity toward the spy agency, not even two weeks after he had taken to Twitter to compare the CIA to Nazis. It’s about as credible as President Donald Trump’s insistence that it didn’t rain during his inauguration. Or that millions of people had voted illegally in the election he just won.

The point here is that for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it’s strange that Flynn’s “lie” to Pence would get him fired. It doesn’t add up.

It’s not even clear that Flynn lied. He says in his resignation letter that he did not deliberately leave out elements of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when he recounted them to Vice President Mike Pence. The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the transcript of the phone call reviewed over the weekend by the White House could be read different ways. One White House official with knowledge of the conversations told me that the Russian ambassador raised the sanctions to Flynn and that Flynn responded that the Trump team would be taking office in a few weeks and would review Russia policy and sanctions. That’s neither illegal nor improper.

What’s more, the Washington Post reported Monday night that last month Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, had informed the White House that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak and that he could be susceptible to blackmail because he misled Pence about it. If it was the lie to Pence that sunk Flynn, why was he not fired at the end of January?

A better explanation here is that Flynn was just thrown under the bus. His tenure as national security adviser, the briefest in U.S. history, was rocky from the start. When Flynn was attacked in the media for his ties to Russia, he was not allowed by the White House to defend himself. Over the weekend, he was instructed not to speak to the press when he was in the fight for his political life. His staff was not even allowed to review the transcripts of his call to the Russian ambassador.

There is another component to this story as well — as Trump himself just tweeted. It’s very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush’s first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. “There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration,” he said. “From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern.”

Nunes said he was going to bring this up with the FBI, and ask the agency to investigate the leak and find out whether Flynn himself is a target of a law enforcement investigation. The Washington Post reported last month that Flynn was not the target of an FBI probe.

The background here is important. Three people once affiliated with Trump’s presidential campaign — Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone — are being investigated by the FBI and the intelligence community for their contacts with the Russian government. This is part of a wider inquiry into Russia’s role in hacking and distributing emails of leading Democrats before the election.

Flynn himself traveled in 2015 to Russia to attend a conference put on by the country’s propaganda network, RT. He has acknowledged he was paid through his speaker’s bureau for his appearance. That doesn’t look good, but it’s also not illegal in and of itself. All of this is to say there are many unanswered questions about Trump’s and his administration’s ties to Russia.

But that’s all these allegations are at this point: unanswered questions. It’s possible that Flynn has more ties to Russia that he had kept from the public and his colleagues. It’s also possible that a group of national security bureaucrats and former Obama officials are selectively leaking highly sensitive law enforcement information to undermine the elected government.

Flynn was a fat target for the national security state. He has cultivated a reputation as a reformer and a fierce critic of the intelligence community leaders he once served with when he was the director the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama. Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.

He was also a fat target for Democrats. Remember Flynn’s breakout national moment last summer was when he joined the crowd at the Republican National Convention from the dais calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed.

In normal times, the idea that U.S. officials entrusted with our most sensitive secrets would selectively disclose them to undermine the White House would alarm those worried about creeping authoritarianism. Imagine if intercepts of a call between Obama’s incoming national security adviser and Iran’s foreign minister leaked to the press before the nuclear negotiations began? The howls of indignation would be deafening.

In the end, it was Trump’s decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. “First it’s Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus,” he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-14/the-political-assassination-of-michael-flynn

Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn

Sources: Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn / AP

BY: Adam Kredo
February 14, 2017 3:26 pm

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.

However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

The Free Beacon first reported in January that, until its final days in office, the Obama administration hosted several pro-Iran voices who were critical in helping to mislead the American public about the terms of the nuclear agreement. This included a former Iranian government official and the head of the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has been accused of serving as Iran’s mouthpiece in Washington, D.C.

Since then, top members of the Obama administration’s national security team have launched a communications infrastructure after they left the White House, and have told reporters they are using that infrastructure to undermine Trump’s foreign policy.

“It’s actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC, and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. “They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the Obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources said.

Flynn is now “gone before anybody can see what happened” with these secret agreements, said the second insider close to Flynn and the White House.

Sources in and out of the White House are concerned that the campaign against Flynn will be extended to other prominent figures in the Trump administration.

One senior White House official told the Free Beacon that leaks targeting the former official were “not the result of a series of random events.”

“The drumbeat of leaks of sensitive material related to General Flynn has been building since he was named to his position,” said the official, who is a member of the White House’s National Security Council. “Last night was not the result of a series of random events. The president has lost a valuable adviser and we need to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again.”

Other sources expressed concern that public trust in the intelligence community would be eroded by the actions of employees with anti-Trump agendas.

“The larger issue that should trouble the American people is the far-reaching power of unknown, unelected apparatchiks in the Intelligence Community deciding for themselves both who serves in government and what is an acceptable policy they will allow the elected representatives of the people to pursue,” said the national security adviser quoted above.

“Put aside the issue of Flynn himself; that nameless, faceless bureaucrats were able to take out a president’s national security adviser based on a campaign of innuendo without evidence should worry every American,” the source explained.

Eli Lake, a Bloomberg View columnist and veteran national security reporter well sourced in the White House, told the Free Beacon that Flynn earned a reputation in the Obama administration as one of its top detractors.

“Michael Flynn was one of the Obama administration’s fiercest critics after he was forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” said Lake, who described “the political assassination of Michael Flynn” in his column published early Tuesday.

“[Flynn] was a withering critic of Obama’s biggest foreign policy initiative, the Iran deal,” Lake said. “He also publicly accused the administration of keeping classified documents found in the Osama bin Laden raid that showed Iran’s close relationship with al Qaeda. He was a thorn in their side.”

Lake noted in his column that he does not buy fully the White House’s official spin on Flynn’s resignation.

“For a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it’s strange that Flynn’s ‘lie’ to Pence would get him fired,” Lake wrote. “It doesn’t add up.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated in his daily briefing that “the evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable incidents is what led the president to ask General Flynn for his resignation.”

A third source who serves as a congressional adviser and was involved in the 2015 fight over the Iran deal told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration feared that Flynn would expose the secret agreements with Iran.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran,” the source said. “So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump,” the source said, detailing a series of leaks from within the White House in the past weeks targeting Flynn. “Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/former-obama-officials-loyalists-waged-campaign-oust-flynn/

Michael T. Flynn stepped down as national security adviser amid a scandal surrounding his contacts with Russia before President Trump took office.

 

WASHINGTON — Just days into his new position as President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn found himself in a meeting that any White House official would dread. Face to face with F.B.I. agents, he was grilled about a phone call he had had with Russia’s ambassador.

What exactly Mr. Flynn said has not been disclosed, but current and former government officials said on Tuesday that investigators had come away believing that he was not entirely forthcoming. Soon after, the acting attorney general decided to notify the White House, setting in motion a chain of events that cost Mr. Flynn his job and thrust Mr. Trump’s fledgling administration into a fresh crisis.

Mr. Flynn’s rise and fall followed familiar patterns in Washington, where ambitious figures secure positions of great authority only to lose them in a blizzard of contradictions, recriminations and scandal. But rarely has an official at such a high level risen and fallen in such a dizzyingly short time, in this case just 24 days after Mr. Flynn arrived in the West Wing to take his corner office.

Given his short stay at the top, Mr. Flynn’s case might be quickly forgotten as an isolated episode if it did not raise other questions, particularly about what the president knew and when. Even more broadly, it underscores lingering uncertainty about the relationship between the Trump administration and Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia, a subject of great interest given American intelligence reports of Moscow’s intervention in last year’s elections in the United States.

C

As leaders of both parties said on Tuesday that they expected the Senate to investigate and probably even summon Mr. Flynn to testify, more details emerged about a drama that played out largely in secret inside a White House riven by competing power centers. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, revealed that Mr. Trump had known about concerns that Mr. Flynn lied for more than two weeks before demanding his resignation on Monday night. But Vice President Mike Pence was kept in the dark and did not learn that Mr. Flynn had misled him about his Russia contacts until reading news accounts late last week.

Photo

Michael T. Flynn, right, stepped down as national security adviser on Monday night after President Trump demanded his resignation. He held the job for 24 days. CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

Mr. Spicer described a deliberative process in which a new president took his time deciding what to do with Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star general who played a major role in his campaign. The issue, Mr. Spicer said, was not about legality but credibility.

“The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for General Flynn’s resignation,” he said.

But other aides privately said that Mr. Trump, while annoyed at Mr. Flynn, might not have pushed him out had the situation not attracted such attention from the news media. Instead, according to three people close to Mr. Trump, the president made the decision to cast aside Mr. Flynn in a flash, the catalyst being a news alert of a coming article about the matter.

“Yeah, it’s time,” Mr. Trump told one of his advisers.

Until around that point, Mr. Flynn seemed to think he was going to keep his job. He told The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, on Monday that he had not violated the law. “If I did, believe me, the F.B.I. would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled,” he said. “There were no lines crossed.”

But by that evening, he was writing a resignation letter, admitting no deception, only that he had “inadvertently” passed along “incomplete information.”

The issue traced back to a call last December between Mr. Flynn, then on tap to become Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. President Barack Obama was imposing new sanctions on Russia and expelling 35 diplomats after the election meddling.

The day after the sanctions were announced, Mr. Putin said Russia would not retaliate in kind, as has been the custom in the long, tortured history of Russian-American relations, instead waiting for a new administration that he assumed would be friendlier.

Inside the Obama administration, officials were stunned. Mr. Trump publicly welcomed the decision. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin),” he wrote on Twitter. “I always knew he was very smart!”

Around the same time, Obama advisers heard separately from the F.B.I. about Mr. Flynn’s conversation with Mr. Kislyak, whose calls were routinely monitored by American intelligence agencies that track Russian diplomats. The Obama advisers grew suspicious that perhaps there had been a secret deal between the incoming team and Moscow, which could violate the rarely enforced, two-century-old Logan Act barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the United States.

The Obama officials asked the F.B.I. if a quid pro quo had been discussed on the call, and the answer came back no, according to one of the officials, who like others asked not to be named discussing delicate communications. The topic of sanctions came up, they were told, but there was no deal.

 

The events that led to Michael T. Flynn’s abrupt resignation as national security adviser stretch back to before President Trump’s inauguration.

On Jan. 12, David Ignatius, a columnist for The Washington Post, reported that Mr. Flynn had called Mr. Kislyak, setting off news media interest in what was said. Mr. Spicer, then the spokesman for Mr. Trump’s transition team, went to Mr. Flynn, who he said told him that sanctions had not come up during the call. Briefing reporters the next day, Mr. Spicer repeated the misinformation, saying that the conversation had “never touched on the sanctions.”

Mr. Flynn told the same thing to Mr. Pence and Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, who were scheduled to go on the Sunday talk shows and expected that they would be asked about the matter, according to the two men. On Jan. 15, Mr. Pence went on “Face the Nation” on CBS and on “Fox News Sunday” and repeated that sanctions had not been discussed, while Mr. Priebus said much the same on “Meet the Press” on NBC.

The topic came up again after Mr. Trump and his team moved into the White House. At his first full briefing on Jan. 23, Mr. Spicer said that Mr. Flynn’s conversation had touched on only four subjects, none of them sanctions. That caught the attention of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department.

Sally Q. Yates, an Obama appointee held over as acting attorney general until Mr. Trump’s choice was confirmed, concluded that the disparity between what was said on the call and what Mr. Flynn had evidently told the vice president and others about it might make the new national security adviser vulnerable to blackmail. When foreign governments hold information that could prove embarrassing, it is considered a potential leverage point.

Soon after the Jan. 23 briefing, James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, sent agents to interview Mr. Flynn. If he told the agents what he said publicly for more than a week after that interview — that his conversations with the ambassador had been innocuous and did not involve sanctions — then he could face legal trouble. If the authorities concluded that he knowingly lied to the F.B.I., it could expose him to a felony charge.

Document: Michael Flynn’s Resignation Letter

It was not clear whether Mr. Flynn had a lawyer for his interview or whether anyone at the White House knew the interview was happening. But they knew afterward because Ms. Yates, with the support of Mr. Comey, reached out to Donald F. McGahn II, the new White House counsel, on Jan. 26 to give him what Mr. Spicer called a “heads up” about the discrepancy.

Mr. Trump was told “immediately,” Mr. Spicer said, and directed Mr. McGahn to look into the matter. After an “extensive review” that lasted several days, Mr. McGahn concluded that nothing in the conversation had violated federal law, Mr. Spicer said.

But the president then set out to determine whether he could still trust Mr. Flynn. Mr. Spicer said Mr. Flynn stuck to his original account, making matters worse.

“We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue, with the level of trust between the president and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change,” Mr. Spicer said. “The president was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others.”

Asked if Mr. Trump had instructed Mr. Flynn to talk about sanctions with Mr. Kislyak, Mr. Spicer said, “No, absolutely not.” Asked if Mr. Trump knew that the issue had come up before the Justice Department told the White House, Mr. Spicer said, “No, he was not aware.”

Vice President Mike Pence, left, learned that Mr. Flynn had misled him about a call to the Russian ambassador after reading news media reports last week. CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Mr. Spicer emphasized that there was “nothing wrong” with Mr. Flynn’s talking with representatives of other countries to prepare for the new president taking office, and that, in fact, Mr. Trump wanted him to.

By that point, Mr. Trump’s relationship with Mr. Flynn had grown more awkward. One person close to the president, who asked to remain anonymous to describe private discussions, said Mr. Trump had been “uncomfortable” with Mr. Flynn for weeks. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had expressed concern about Mr. Flynn’s appointment even before the inauguration, according to another person briefed on the discussions.

Mr. Trump’s views were coming around to the same point. “What he knew was that Flynn was too much about Flynn, versus Mattis,” the person close to the president said. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was seen as deferential to the chain of command. “He loves Mattis because Mattis is respectful and self-confident.”

Another key figure with growing concerns about Mr. Flynn was Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist whom Mr. Flynn perceived as a rival for control over national security. Mr. Trump began asking Mr. Mattis about two weeks ago for suggestions of possible replacements for Mr. Flynn. The defense secretary recommended retired Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward. Mr. Bannon reached out to Mr. Harward last week, two senior officials said.

The situation escalated late Thursday when word reached the White House that The Washington Post was reporting that the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s call showed that he had discussed sanctions, contrary to his assurances to Mr. Pence and others.

White House officials confronted Mr. Flynn, who only then said that it was possible they had come up, but that he did not remember. “His story remained the same until that night,” Mr. Spicer said. “That’s when his response changed.”

That was also when Mr. Pence first learned that the Justice Department had proof that Mr. Flynn had not told the truth and had warned the White House two weeks earlier, according to Marc Lotter, his spokesman. “He did an inquiry based on those media accounts,” Mr. Lotter added, without elaborating.

Another person who speaks frequently with him said Mr. Pence went “ballistic,” or at least what qualifies as ballistic for the coolheaded vice president.

Mr. Pence, Mr. Priebus and Mr. Bannon urged Mr. Trump to fire the national security adviser, according to officials, but the president could not bring himself to do it, in part for fear of losing face. When a reporter on Air Force One heading to Florida on Friday asked him about The Post’s report, Mr. Trump said he had not read it. “I don’t know about that,” he said. “I haven’t seen it.”

As late as Monday, he was sticking by Mr. Flynn. He sent his counselor, Kellyanne Conway, to tell a television interviewer that he had “full confidence” in Mr. Flynn. And Mr. Flynn phoned a reporter for The Daily Caller on Monday to say the president had “expressed confidence” in him and urged him to “go out and talk more.”

In that interview, posted on Tuesday, Mr. Flynn said he had discussed the Russian diplomats’ expulsion with Mr. Kislyak. “It wasn’t about sanctions,” he said. “It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out.” Mr. Flynn added: “It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”

Either way, it was too late. When the matter came to overshadow the president’s glitch-free meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and word arrived of another Post article on Ms. Yates’s warning to the White House, Mr. Trump ordered an end to the situation. “He made a determination late in the day,” Mr. Spicer said, “and he executed on it.”

 

Story 3: President Trump Likes Whatever Israel and Palestine Want Regarding a Two State Solution — Videos

Trump Says Separate States Not Needed in Mideast Deal

Trump Netanyahu joint press conference full event

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The Pronk Pops Show 799, November 18, 2016, Story 1: Trump Selects Senator Session As Attorney General To Enforce The Law Including Immigration, National Security and Public Corruption — Criminal Illegal Aliens and Clintons Getting Out of Dodge — Three Cheers For Senator Sessions — Will Obama Pardon Clinton For Her Many Crimes? Yes — Videos — Story 2: Trump Selects Representative Mike Pompeo As Central Intelligence Agency Director and Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn As National Security Adviser — Videos — Story 3: Will Trump Offer Mitt Romney The Secretary of State Position? Romney is A Progressive Interventionist, Trump’s First Big Mistake? — Let Romney Cleanup The Mess At The Veterans Administration — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Selects Senator Session As Attorney General To Enforce The Law Including Immigration, National Security and Public Corruption — Criminal Illegal Aliens and Clintons Getting Out of Dodge — Three Cheers For Senator Sessions — Will Obama Pardon Clinton For Her Many Crimes? Yes — Videos —

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Breaking News: Donald Trump Selects Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Questions raised about Trump’s choice for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Jeff Sessions

10 things to know about Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general

November 18 at 7:45 AM

Trump’s Transition: Who is Jeff Sessions?

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President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general.(Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

In Donald Trump’s world, most roads, it seems, lead back to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), President-elect Trump’s pick for attorney general.

After Sessions became one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump this February, he became an adviser on almost every major decision and policy proposal Trump made during the campaign:

–A top Sessions aide helped Trump communicate his immigration policy

–Sessions chaired Trump national security advisory committee

–Sessions advised Trump on who to choose for vice president. (Sessions was also in the running himself for the No. 2 job.)

“The president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s attorney general and U.S. attorney,” a Trump transition statement released Thursday read. “It is no wonder the people of Alabama re-elected him without opposition.”

In a relatively short time, Sessions has elevated himself from back-bencher to a “arguably one of the top 5 power players in the country now,” said Alabama GOP consultant Brent Buchanan. Here’s crash course in a politician likely to be a pivotal figure in Trump’s administration:

The basics: Sessions has served as a senator from Alabama for two decades. But Alabama is such a loyal state to its top lawmakers that Sessions is actually the junior senator from the state; Sen. Richard Shelby (R) has been in office three decades.

Sessions is popular back home: Aside from his first election in 1996, Sessions has never won with less than 59 percent of the vote. In 2014, he ran unopposed.

His full name is: Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III.

He’s “amnesty’s worst enemy”: The conservative National Review crowned Sessions with that title in 2014, with good reason. Sessions has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate the past two decades that has included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

He’s also fought legal immigration, including guest worker programs for illegal immigrants and visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high-tech. In 2007, Sessions got a bill passed essentially banning for 10 years federal contractors who hire illegal immigrants.

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“Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States,” Sessions argued in a 2015 Washington Post op-ed. “… What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.”

He’s a debt hawk and a military hawk: Sessions, a lawyer before he became a politician, is known for touring Alabama with charts warning of the United States’ “crippling” debt. On foreign policy, Sessions has advocated a get-tough approach, once voting against an amendment banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of prisoners.

These are two positions that could put him at odd with the president he’ll serve: Trump has expensive plans that involve significant spending, like $1 trillion on an infrastructure program — and he campaigned on a strong non-interventionist worldview (often claiming, inaccurately, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started).

He’s a climate change skeptic: Here’s Sessions in a 2015 hearing questioning Environmental Protection Agency’s Gina McCarthy: “Carbon pollution is CO2, and that’s really not a pollutant; that’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases.”

Accusations of racism have dogged Sessions’s career: Actually, they almost derailed it. In 1986, a Senate committee denied Sessions, then a 39-year-old U.S. attorney in Alabama, a federal judgeship. His former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”

By the time the testimony was finished, Sessions’s “reputation was in tatters,” wrote Isaac Stanley-Becker in The Post this July, on the eve of Sessions delivering a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention for Trump.

In 1986, Sessions defended himself against accusations of racism. “I am not the Jeff Sessions my detractors have tried to create,” he told the very same Senate Judiciary Committee he now sits on. “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks.”

And he told Stanley-Becker this summer: “Racism is totally unacceptable in America. Everybody needs to be treated fairly and objectively.”

But the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich, who tracks hate speech, said Sessions is guilty of it, and that his mere presence in Trump’s inner circle is “a tragedy for American politics.”

He’s got a populist streak: Here’s one area where he and Trump likely get along swell. Wall Street and corporate executives are often the antagonists in the Alabama senator’s speeches. “A small group of CEOs don’t get to set immigration policy for the country,” he said in a 2014 speech opposing a multi-billion-dollar bill to help control the stem of influx of Central American refugees on the border.

As hard-line as Sessions can be, he’s worked with Democrats before: “Say what you will about him,” former longtime Senate Democratic communications aide Jim Manley told the Almanac of American Politics. “He was always nice to [the late Ted] Kennedy and other Democrats as well.”

Even people who have run against him have nice things to say about him. Stanley-Becker talked to Susan Parker, a Democrat who tried to unseat Sessions in 2002. During a debate, she asked for a tissue and Sessions handed her one. She joked she would use it to dry her eyes when Sessions made her cry, and he responded: “Please don’t say that. That’s my nightmare. I promise I’ll be nice.”

Sessions has joined with Democrats to support criminal justice reform legislation like reducing the disparity between sentence time for crack and powder cocaine (although civil rights advocates say more recently he opposed a bipartisan criminal justice reform package that in part reduced federal sentences.) In 2010 he teamed up with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on a proposal to put strict limits on non-military federal spending. It fell one vote short of passing.

Sen. Jeff Sessions endorses Donald Trump

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s White House bid during a joint appearance in his home state. (Reuters)

In 2016, he’s gone from fringe to mainstream: Aside from immigration battles, Sessions mostly operated in the background on Capitol Hill. Until 2016. His mix of hard-line immigration position and a populist streak had made him a tea party star and thus a coveted endorsement catch for Republican presidential candidates catering to the tea party. In presidential primary debates, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) would even brag about his ties to Sessions.

In the end, Sessions chose Trump, surprising the political establishment by jumping on stage with him at a rally in February in Madison, Ala., two days before Super Tuesday and donning a “Make America Great Again” hat.

“I told Donald Trump this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement,” Sessions said at the time.

Nine months later, Sessions will be a central figure in transitioning that “movement” into a working government

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/18/10-things-to-know-about-sen-jeff-sessions-donald-trumps-pick-for-attorney-general/

Will Jeff Sessions Roll Back Civil-Rights Protections?

Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general has a record of hostility toward the federal government’s role in curtailing discrimination on the basis of race, sexuality, and immigration status.

Mike Segar / Reuters

 By ADAM SERWER

Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man whose views on race once led a Senate committee to deem him unfit for a federal judgeship, is Donald Trump’s choice to head the federal agency that enforces the nation’s civil-rights laws.

In his 1986 confirmation hearing, witnesses testified that Sessions referred to a black attorney as “boy,” described the Voting Rights Act as “intrusive,” attacked the NAACP and ACLU as “un-American” for “forcing civil rights down the throats of people,” joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was ok until he found out they smoked marijuana, and referred to a white attorney who took on voting-rights cases as a  “traitor to his race.” As Ryan J. Reilly reported, Sessions also faced allegations that he referred to a Democratic official in Alabama as a nigger.

“It’s unimaginable that Senator Sessions would be the chief law enforcement officer for the nation’s civil rights laws,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “This demonstrates that the president-elect is continuing to select individuals for his team that have a demonstrated record of hostility to equal rights and justice, and to civil rights.”

The Justice Department does far more than prosecute federal crimes. It is the primary federal agency responsible for ensuring that Americans’ rights are protected regardless of race, religion, disability, or gender. It ensures that Americans have the right to vote; that they can find a place to live, work, or get an education without discrimination; that local law enforcement agencies do not violate the constitutional rights of the communities they police; and that the nation’s civil-rights laws are defended and preserved in court.

Defenders of Sessions might argue that his racist views may have changed, that he has reformed, that the sins of Sessions’s past should not bear on his future. After all, Sessions has made many statements since in favor of racial egalitarianism, and even said in 2010 that the work of the civil-rights division “provides tremendous benefit to American citizens.”

Yet the evidence that Sessions’s views on law and policy have changed is thin. Since becoming a senator, Sessions has denounced federal efforts to protect the rights of marginalized Americans as intrusive, decried the extension of equal rights to gays and lesbians as a threat to Western civilization, and fought to preserve punitive laws in the face of a bipartisan trend toward criminal-justice reform. Sessions’s selection as attorney general augurs an era in which the federal agency charged with protecting the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBT Americans will be led by a man who has been openly skeptical of, if not opposed, to  its past efforts to do so. Which means that Sessions’s tenure as attorney general could leave some of the most vulnerable Americans defenseless, should he conclude that the civil-rights laws that protect them are not worth enforcing.

The choice of Sessions, a hardliner who has long criticized the Obama administration’s immigration policy as too lenient and opposed the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, also suggests that Trump has every intention of engaging in the massive crackdown on immigration he advertised during his campaign.

“The attorney general occupies the most important law-enforcement role in the nation and, as such, must be someone committed to equal justice under law for all,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. “There were questions about [Sessions] ability to be fair and impartial on the bench back then and those questions remain today.”

Under President George W. Bush, the political appointees to the Justice Department’s civil-rights division were found in an internal investigation to have violated civil-service laws by considering partisan affiliation in hiring. The head of the division, Bradley Schlozman, declared his intent in an email to “gerrymander those crazy libs out of the section,” referring to the part of the division that enforces voting rights. He wanted to replace them with “real Americans” and “right-thinking Americans.” A 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office found a “significant drop in the enforcement of several major antidiscrimination and voting rights laws.” While civil-rights enforcement lagged, many of the division’s lawyers were instead compelled by the Bush leadership to work deportation cases.

Under the Obama administration, enforcement of the nation’s civil-rights laws again became a top priority, with the division taking on the racially discriminatory financial practices that lead to the 2008 financial crisis, more forcefully enforcing and defending votingrights laws, and moving against anti-LGBT discrimination, particularly in schools.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/trumps-pick-for-attorney-general-foreshadows-a-civil-rights-rollback/508172/

Jeff Sessions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions official portrait.jpg
United States Attorney General
Designate
Taking office
January 20, 2017*
President Donald Trump(Elect)
Succeeding Loretta Lynch
United States Senator
from Alabama
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Serving with Richard Shelby
Preceded by Howell Heflin
44th Attorney General of Alabama
In office
January 16, 1995 – January 3, 1997
Governor Fob James
Preceded by Jimmy Evans
Succeeded by Bill Pryor
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
In office
1981–1993
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William Kimbrough, Jr.
Succeeded by Don Foster
Personal details
Born Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
December 24, 1946 (age 69)
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Blackshear
Children 3
Alma mater Huntingdon College(BA)
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa(JD)
Religion United Methodist
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1973–1977
Rank US military captain's rank.gifCaptain
Unit 1184th United States Army Transportation Terminal Unit
United States Army Reserve
*Pending Senate confirmation

Jefferson BeauregardJeffSessions III (born December 24, 1946) is the juniorUnited States Senator from Alabama. First elected in 1996, Sessions is a member of the Republican Party.

From 1981 to 1993 he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. Sessions was ranked by National Journal in 2007 as the fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator, siding strongly with the Republican Party on political issues. He supported the major legislative efforts of the George W. Bush administration, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages, the Iraq War, and a proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He was one of 25 senators to oppose the establishment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He has opposed the Democratic leadership since 2007 on most major legislation, including the stimulus bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act. As the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he opposed all three of President Barack Obama’s nominees for the Supreme Court.

Sessions was considered as a possible running mate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but Mike Pence of Indiana was ultimately selected for the ticket. On November 18, 2016, the transition team announced via press release that President-elect Trump had picked Sessions as his designee for Attorney General.

Early life and education

Sessions was born in Hybart, Alabama[1] on December 24, 1946, the son of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jr and Abbie Powe.[2] His father owned a general store in Hybart, Alabama and then a farm equipment dealership. Both of Sessions’ parents were of primarily English ancestry, with some Scots-Irish.[3][4] In 1964, Sessions became an Eagle Scout and earned the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. [5]

After attending school in nearby Camden, Sessions studied at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans and was student body president.[6] Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law and graduated with his J.D. in 1973.[7]

Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile,[8] where he now lives.[9] He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s, achieving the rank of captain.[8]

Sessions and his wife Mary have three children and six grandchildren.[10]

Political career

U.S. Attorney

Sessions was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama beginning in 1975. In 1981, President Reagan nominated Sessions to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. The Senate confirmed him and he held that position for 12 years.[8]

Failed nomination to the district court

In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.[11] Sessions’s judicial nomination was recommended and actively backed by Republican Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton.[12] A substantial majority of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which rates nominees to the federal bench, rated Sessions “qualified,” with a minority voting that Sessions was “not qualified”.[13]

At Sessions’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people”.[14]

Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot“. Sessions later said that the comment was not serious, but did apologize for it.[15] Figures also testified that on one occasion, when the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division sent the office instructions to investigate a case that Sessions had tried to close, Figures and Sessions “had a very spirited discussion regarding how the Hodge case should then be handled; in the course of that argument, Mr. Sessions threw the file on a table, and remarked, ‘I wish I could decline on all of them,'” by which Figures said Sessions meant civil rights cases generally. After becoming Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Sessions was asked in an interview about his civil rights record as a U.S Attorney. He denied that he had not sufficiently pursued civil rights cases, saying that “when I was [a U.S. Attorney], I signed 10 pleadings attacking segregation or the remnants of segregation, where we as part of the Department of Justice, we sought desegregation remedies”.[16]

Figures also said that Sessions had called him “boy.”[11] He also testified that “Mr. Sessions admonished me to ‘be careful what you say to white folks.'”[17] In 1992, Figures was indicted by a federal grand jury with attempting to bribe a witness by offering a $50,000 to a convicted drug dealer who was to testify against his client. Figures claimed the indictment was in retaliation for his role in blocking Sessions nomination.[18]Sessions was also reported to have called a white civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.”[19]

Sessions responded to the testimony by denying the allegations, saying his remarks were taken out of context or meant in jest, and also stating that groups could be considered un-American when “they involve themselves in un-American positions” on foreign policy. Sessions said during testimony that he considered the Klan to be “a force for hatred and bigotry.” In regards to the marijuana quote, Sessions said the comment was a joke but apologized.[15]

In response to a question from Joe Biden on whether he had called the NAACP and other civil rights organizations “un-American”, Sessions replied “I’m often loose with my tongue. I may have said something about the NAACP being un-American or Communist, but I meant no harm by it.”[13]

On June 5, 1986, the Committee voted 10–8 against recommending the nomination to the Senate floor, with Republican Senators Charles Mathias of Maryland and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voting with the Democrats. It then split 9–9 on a vote to send Sessions’ nomination to the Senate floor with no recommendation, this time with Specter in support. A majority was required for the nomination to proceed.[20] The pivotal votes against Sessions came from his home state’s Democratic Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama. Although Heflin had previously backed Sessions, he began to oppose Sessions after hearing testimony, concluding that there were “reasonable doubts” over Sessions’ ability to be “fair and impartial.” The nomination was withdrawn on July 31, 1986.[13]

Sessions became only the second nominee to the federal judiciary in 48 years whose nomination was killed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.[15] He was quoted then as saying that the Senate on occasion had been insensitive to the rights and reputation of nominees.[21][22] A law clerk from the U.S. District Court in Mobile who had worked with Sessions later acknowledged the confirmation controversy, but stated that he observed Sessions as “a lawyer of the highest ethical and intellectual standards.”[23]

After joining the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions remarked that his presence there, alongside several of the members who voted against him, was a “great irony.”[21] When Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania left the GOP to join the Democratic Party on April 28, 2009, Sessions was selected to be the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. At that time, Specter said that his vote against Sessions’ nomination was a mistake, because he had “since found that Sen. Sessions is egalitarian.”[24]

Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senate

Sessions speaking at a campaign event for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on August 31, 2016.

Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in November 1994, unseating incumbent Democrat Jimmy Evans with 57% of the vote. In 1996, Sessions won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after a runoff, and then defeated Democrat Roger Bedford 53%–46% in the November general election.[6] He succeeded Howell Heflin, who had retired after 18 years in the Senate. In 2002, Sessions won reelection by defeating Democratic State Auditor Susan Parker. In 2008, Sessions defeated Democratic State SenatorVivian Davis Figures (sister-in-law of Thomas Figures, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who testified at Sessions’ judicial confirmation hearing) to win a third term. Sessions received 63 percent of the vote to Figures’ 37 percent. Sessions successfully sought a fourth term in 2014[25] and was uncontested in both the Republican primary and the general election.[26][27]

Sessions was only the second freshman Republican senator from Alabama since Reconstruction and gave Alabama two Republican senators, a first since Reconstruction. He was easily reelected in 2002, becoming the first Republican reelected to the Senate from Alabama since Reconstruction (given that his colleague Richard Shelby, who won reelection as a Republican in 1998, had previously run as a Democrat, switching parties in 1994).[26]

2016 presidential election

Sessions was an early supporter of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, and was a major policy adviser to the Trump campaign, especially in regard to immigration and national security.[28] Sessions donned a “Make America Great Again” cap at a Trump rally in August 2015, and Stephen Miller, Sessions’s longtime-communications director, joined the Trump campaign.[29] On February 28, 2016, Sessions officially endorsed Donald Trump for president. The Trump campaign considered Sessions for the position of running mate, and Sessions was widely seen as a potential Cabinet secretary in a Trump administration.[28] After winning the presidential election, Trump announced that he would nominate Sessions to be Attorney General, succeeding Loretta Lynch.[30]

Political positions

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions addressing voters in 2011.

Sessions was ranked by National Journal as the fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator in their March 2007 Conservative/Liberal Rankings.[31] He backs conservative Republican stances on foreign policy, taxes, and social issues. He opposes abortion and illegal immigration.

Sessions is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Budget Committee,[32] a former ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Sessions was a supporter of the “nuclear option,” a tactic considered by then-Senate Majority LeaderBill Frist in the spring of 2005 to change longstanding Senate rules to stop Democratic filibusters (or, “talking a bill to death”) of some of George W. Bush’s nominees to the federal courts. When the “Gang of 14” group of moderate Senators reached an agreement to allow filibusters under “extraordinary circumstances,” Sessions accepted the agreement but argued that “a return to the tradition of up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees would… strengthen the Senate.”[33]

Sessions is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[34]

Foreign and military policy

Senator Sessions speaks during Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) 2012 in Nashville, TN

In 2005, Sessions spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. in favor of the War in Iraq that was held in opposition to an anti-war protest held the day before. Sessions said of the anti-war protesters: “The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don’t know what they represent, other than to blame America first.”[35]

In the 109th Congress, Sessions introduced legislation to increase the death gratuity benefit for families of servicemembers from $12,420 to $100,000.[36] The bill also increased the level of coverage under the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance from $250,000 to $400,000. Sessions’ legislation was accepted in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005.[37]

Sessions was one of only three senators to vote against additional funding for the VA medical system. He opposed the bill due to cost concerns and indicated that Congress should instead focus on “reforms and solutions that improve the quality of service and the effectiveness that is delivered.”[38]

Crime and security

Senator Sessions and Indiana Governor/VP candidate Mike Pence at an immigration policy speech in Phoenix, Arizona in August 2016

On October 5, 2005, he was one of nine Senators who voted against a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government.[39]

Sessions has taken a strong stand against any form of citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sessions was one of the most vocal critics of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. He is a supporter of E-Verify, the federal database that allows businesses to electronically verify the immigration status of potential new hires,[40] and has advocated for expanded construction of a Southern border fence.[41] In 2013, Sessions claimed that an opt-out provision in immigration legislation before Congress would allow Sec. Janet Napolitano to skip building a border fence. PolitiFact called the claim “False,” stating that the provision would allow Napolitano to determine where the fence was built, but not opt out of building it entirely.[42]

In November 2010, Sessions was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the committee voted unanimously in favor of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration.[43] The proposed law would allow the Attorney General to ask a court to issue a restraining order on Internet domain names that host copyright-infringing material.[43]

Sessions has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime.[44] Sessions opposes “any reform” of civil forfeiture legislation.[45]

Economic issues

Sessions voted for the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, and said he would vote to make them permanent if given the chance.[46]

In 2006, Sessions received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB),[47] an honor that the organization bestows upon legislators who vote in accord with its stance on small business issues at least 70% of the time.[48] He was recognized by the NFIB again in 2008[49] and 2010;[48] in 2014 the organization endorsed him in his run for a fourth term, noting that he had achieved a 100% NFIB voting record on key issues for small businesses in the 112th Congress.[50]

He voted for an amendment to the 2008 budget resolution, offered by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, which would have placed a one-year moratorium on the practice of earmarking.[citation needed]

Sessions was one of 25 senators to vote against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the bank bailout), arguing that it “undermines our heritage of law and order, and is an affront to the principle of separation of powers.”[51]

Sessions opposed the $837 billion stimulus bill, calling it “the largest spending bill in the history of the republic.”[52] In late 2011 he also expressed skepticism about the $447 billion jobs bill proposed by President Obama, and disputed the notion that the bill would be paid for without adding to the national debt.[53]

Higher education and research

In 2013, Sessions sent a letter to National Endowment for the Humanities enquiring why the foundation funded projects that he deemed frivolous.[54] He also criticized the foundation for distributing books related to Islam to hundreds of U.S. libraries, saying “Using taxpayer dollars to fund education program grant questions that are very indefinite or in an effort to seemingly use Federal funds on behalf of just one religion, does not on its face appear to be the appropriate means to establish confidence in the American people that NEH expenditures are wise.”[55]

Social issues

As Attorney General of Alabama, Sessions worked to deny funding to student Gay-Straight Alliances at Auburn University and The University of South Alabama, stating “an organization that professes to be comprised of homosexuals and/or lesbians may not receive state funding or use state-supported facilities to foster or promote those illegal, *1551 sexually deviate activities defined in the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws.” [56]The U.S. District court ruled against these actions as a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Sessions has been an opponent of same-sex marriage and has earned a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the United States’ largest LGBTQ advocacy group.[57] He voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which added acts of bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate-crimes law,[58] Sessions voted in favor of advancing the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006, a U.S. constitutional amendment which would have permanently restricted federal recognition of marriage to those between a man and a woman.[58] Sessions voted against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.[59]

Sessions has also said regarding the appointment of a gay Supreme Court justice, “I do not think that a person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies is disqualified, per se, for the job”[60] but “that would be a big concern that the American people might feel—might feel uneasy about that.”[61]

Sessions is against legalizing cannabis for either recreational or medicinal use. “I’m a big fan of the DEA”, he said during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee.[62] Sessions was “heartbroken” and found “it beyond comprehension” when President Obama claimed that cannabis is not as dangerous as alcohol.[63]

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Sessions is pro-life and was one of 37 Senators to vote against funding for embryonic stem cell research.[64]

Health care reform

Sessions opposed President Barack Obama’s health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[65] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[66]

Following Senator Ted Cruz‘s 21-hour speech opposing the Affordable Care Act, Sessions joined Cruz and 17 other Senators in a failed vote against cloture on a comprehensive government funding bill that would have continued funding healthcare reform.[67]

Energy and environment

Sessions is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change.[68] He has voted in favor of legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.[69] Sessions is a proponent of nuclear power, and has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.[citation needed] The League of Conservation Voters, a pro-environment advocacy group, gave him a lifetime score of 7%.[70]

Marijuana

Sessions is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. In April 2016, he said that it was important to foster “knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about… and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”[71]

Supreme Court nominations

While serving as the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress, Sessions was the senior Republican who questioned Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama‘s nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Sessions focused on Sotomayor’s views on empathy as a quality for a judge, arguing that “empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.”[72] Sessions also questioned the nominee about her views on the use of foreign law in deciding cases,[73] as well as her role in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). On July 28, 2009, Sessions joined five Republican colleagues in voting against Sotomayor’s nomination in the Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Sotomayor by a vote of 13–6.[74] Sessions also voted against Sotomayor when her nomination came before the full Senate. He was one of 31 senators (all Republicans) to do so, while 68 voted to confirm the nominee.[75]

Sessions also served as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the nomination process for Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Sessions based his opposition on the nominee’s lack of experience, her background as a political operative (Kagan had said that she worked in the Clinton White House not as a lawyer but as a policy adviser[76]), and her record on guns, abortion, and gay rights. Sessions pointed out that Kagan “has a very thin record legally, never tried a case, never argued before a jury, only had her first appearance in the appellate courts a year ago.”[77]

Sessions focused the majority of his criticism on Kagan’s treatment of the military while she was dean of Harvard Law School. During her tenure, Kagan reinstated the practice of requiring military recruiters to coordinate their activities through a campus veterans organization, rather than the school’s Office of Career Services. Kagan argued that she was trying to comply with a law known as the Solomon Amendment, which barred federal funds from any college or university that did not grant military recruiters equal access to campus facilities. Sessions asserted that Kagan’s action was a violation of the Solomon Amendment and that it amounted to “demeaning and punishing the military.”[78] He also argued that her action showed a willingness to place her politics above the law.[78]

On July 20, 2010, Sessions and five Republican colleagues voted against Kagan’s nomination. Despite this, the Judiciary Committee approved the nomination by a 13–6 vote. Sessions also voted against Kagan in the full Senate vote, joining 36 other senators (including one Democrat) in opposition. 63 senators voted to confirm Kagan. Following the vote, Sessions remarked on future nominations and elections, saying that Americans would “not forgive the Senate if we further expose our Constitution to revision and rewrite by judicial fiat to advance what President Obama says is a broader vision of what America should be.”[79]

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Sessions refused to consider any nominee for the position. Sessions maintained his opposition after President Obama nominated D.C. Circuit judge Merrick Garland, joining other Republican Senators in delaying a Supreme Court hearing until the inauguration of a new president.[80]

Legislation

On December 11, 2013, Sessions cosponsored the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 1799; 113th Congress), a bill that would reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and would authorize funding through 2018 to help child abuse victims.[81] Sessions argued that “there is no higher duty than protecting our nation’s children, and this bill is an important step to ensure the most vulnerable children receive the care and support they deserve.”[81]

Political contributors

During his career, Sessions’ largest donors have come from the legal, health, real estate, and insurance industries.[82] From 2005 to 2010, the corporations employing donors who gave the most to his campaign were the Southern Company utility firm, Balch & Bingham law firm, Harbert Management investment firm, Drummond Company coal mining firm, and WPP Group, a UK-based communications services company.[83]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

2014
United States Senate election in Alabama, 2014[85]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Sessions (Incumbent) 795,606 97.25
Write-ins Other 22,484 2.75
Total votes 818,090 100
Republicanhold
2008
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election – 2008
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions* 199,690 92.27
Republican Zach McCann 16,718 7.73
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions* 1,305,383 63.36 + 4.78
Democratic Vivian Davis Figures 752,391 36.52
Write-ins 2,417 0.12
2002
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions* 792,561 58.58 + 6.13
Democratic Susan Parker 538,878 39.83
Libertarian Jeff Allen 20,234 1.50
Write-ins 1,350 0.10
1996
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 82,373 37.81
Republican Sid McDonald 47,320 21.72
Republican Charles Woods 24,409 11.20
Republican Frank McRight 21,964 10.08
Republican Walter D. Clark 18,745 8.60
Republican Jimmy Blake 15,385 7.06
Republican Albert Lipscomb 7,672 3.52
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Runoff Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 81,681 59.26
Republican Sid McDonald 56,156 40.74
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions 786,436 52.45
Democratic Roger Bedford 681,651 45.46
Libertarian Mark Thornton 21,550 1.44
Natural Law Charles R. Hebner 9,123 0.61
Write-ins Write-ins 633 0.04

1994

Alabama Attorney General Election – 1994
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 667,010 56.87
Democrat Jimmy Evans* 505,137 43.07
Write-ins Write-ins 660 0.00

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

Story 2: Trump Selects Representative Mike Pompeo As Central Intelligence Agency Director and General Michael Flynn As National Security Adviser — Videos

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Donald Trump Picks Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn As National Security Advisor

Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn

LT Flynn spoke to a packed crowd of Young America’s Foundation’s students and supporters at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. to celebrate freedom.

“Field of Fight” with Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

He was one of the most respected intel officers of his generation. Now he’s leading ‘Lock her up’ chants.

In campaign appearances for Donald Trump, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has cast the presidential race as a continuation of the career he spent battling dangerous enemies in distant wars.

“The enemy camp in this case is Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said at a rally in Florida this month, pointing his thumbs down in disgust. “This is a person who does not know the difference between a lie and the truth. . . . She is somebody who will leave Americans behind on the battlefield.”

As chants of “Lock her up!” rose from the crowd, Flynn nodded with enthusiasm and said he was “so proud, standing up here, to be an American.”

It was a jarring moment in a race full of them — a retired three-star general comparing a presidential candidate to the al-Qaeda militants he faced in Afghanistan and Iraq, calling for a former senator and secretary of state to be imprisoned.

The appearance was only the latest eyebrow-raising episode involving Flynn, 56, who was one of the most respected military intelligence officers of his generation but who has spurned the decorum traditionally expected of retired U.S. flag officers and become the only national security figure of his rank and experience to publicly align himself with Trump, the Republican nominee.

The unruly 2016 campaign has drawn dozens of former senior national security officials into the fray, including 50 who served Republican presidents and who this month signed a lettersaying Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president. Denunciations of Trump from retired Marine Gen. John Allen — who spoke at the Democratic National Convention — and former acting CIA director Michael J. Morell struck some as compromising their former institutions’ apolitical role in American democracy.

But Flynn, who vaulted to public attention with his speech at the Republican National Convention last month, has rattled even some of his most long-standing colleagues, engaging in harsh, partisan rhetoric that, to his critics, seems to clash with the principles and values he spent a career defending.

He has called President Obama a “liar,” declared the U.S. justice system “corrupt” and insisted that he was pushed out of his assignment as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency because of his views on radical Islam. The claim has left former superiors seething, including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to current and former officials who said Flynn was removed because of management problems.

Like Trump, Flynn has advocated forging closer ties with Russia. In interviews with The Washington Post, Flynn acknowledged being paid to give a speech and attend a lavish anniversary party for the Kremlin-controlled RT television network in Moscow last year, where he was seated next to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

“People went crazy,” said retired Brig. Gen. Peter B. Zwack, a former U.S. military attache in Moscow. “They thought it was so out of bounds, so unusual.” Zwack emphasized that he considers Flynn a “patriot” who “would never sell out his country.”

Flynn, who was no longer in government but received a DIA briefing on Russia before the trip, said the invitation and payment came through his speaker’s bureau. He said he used the visit to press for collaboration on Syria, Iran and the Middle East, and dismissed the ensuing controversy as “boring.” Asked why he would want to be so closely associated with a Kremlin propaganda platform, Flynn said he sees no distinction between RT and other news outlets.

“What’s CNN? What’s MSNBC? Come on!” said Flynn, who also has appeared occasionally as an unpaid on-air analyst for RT and other foreign broadcasters.

Dismayed by Flynn’s behavior since he left the military, former colleagues have contacted him to urge him to show more restraint. Among them are retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who relied heavily on Flynn in Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired Adm. Michael Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. McChrystal declined to comment for this article.

Mullen provided a written statement saying that “for retired senior officers to take leading and vocal roles as clearly partisan figures is a violation of the ethos and professionalism of apolitical military service.” Officers are sworn to execute orders without regard for political positions, an oath to the Constitution that “is inviolable and presidents must never question it or doubt it,” he said.

Flynn and Allen “have violated this principle and confused that clarity,” Mullen said. “This is not about the right to speak out, it is about the disappointing lack of judgment in doing so for crass partisan purposes. This is made worse by using hyperbolic language all the while leveraging the respected title of ‘general.’ ”

Allen noted that retired U.S. military officers have frequently taken public positions in presidential campaigns, including a number of recent chairmen, and that he did so out of concern with Trump’s calls for resuming the use of torture, killing families of terrorism suspects and mass-bombing cities in Syria.

“Retired senior officers should not take lightly the impact of public commentary in a political environment,” Allen said. “I chose to do so because I believe that Trump was proposing policies and orders to the U.S. military as a potential Commander in Chief, which I believed would create a civil-military crisis. This is a matter of conscience for me, because in moments of crisis such as these, credible voices must speak out.”

In interviews, Flynn said he respects his former superiors but rejected their entreaties as attempts to silence him and impinge on his free speech rights. “When someone says, ‘You’re a general, so you have to shut up,’ ” he said, “I say, ‘Do I have to stop being an American?’ ”

Flynn dismisses his critics as closet Clinton supporters or misguided colleagues who have put their pursuit of corporate board seats and lucrative consulting contracts ahead of their concern for the country. Most retired generals “are afraid to speak out,” he said, because they use their stars “for themselves, for their businesses.”

Flynn said his foray into politics began last year when he volunteered to advise five Republican candidates. He said that he first met Trump 11 months ago and that he spoke with him by phone several times before being asked to speak at the Republican convention.

Trump is a “very serious guy. Good listener. Asked really good questions,” he said. Flynn’s role in the campaign has yet to be defined. He said he has never met with Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and has not been promised any position if the real estate developer wins.

Flynn’s credentials and backing of Trump have fueled speculation that he could be in line for a high-level national security job if Trump is elected. He was briefly considered a potential Trump running mate before the candidate picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Rather than scaling back, Flynn, a registered Democrat, has become an avid campaigner for Trump whose views and impulses increasingly echo those of the Republican candidate.

He sees the nation as beset by darkness and corruption, with voters split between “centrist nationalists” and “socialists.”

The divide has weakened the nation’s ability to grasp what he considers an existential threat from “a diseased component” of Islam. “There’s something going on in the Muslim world,” he said. “Why do we have heightened security at our airports? It’s not because the Catholic Church is falling apart.”

Flynn’s sudden political prominence represents a departure from a 33-year military career spent largely in the shadowy realm of military intelligence and Special Operations missions. Former colleagues said they could not recall Flynn ever discussing politics while in uniform or voicing the views he has embraced since his career came to an abrupt end.

The son of a World War II and Korean War veteran, Flynn was one of nine children in a close-knit Irish family in Rhode Island. His brother Charlie is a two-star general in the Army.

Flynn’s early years in uniform coincided with the end of the Cold War, but he made his mark after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an intense officer with a string of important intelligence assignments.

He has held senior positions in the 18th Airborne Corps, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and at U.S. Central Command, which runs U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Throughout his career, he was viewed as a charismatic and unconventional officer with a talent for mapping terrorist networks — qualities prized by superiors. But his hard-charging approach was at times considered disruptive or undisciplined.

He is best known for his integral role in the lethal machine that McChrystal assembled in Iraq to eviscerate the al-Qaeda affiliate there. Together, they perfected an approach known as “find, fix, finish” that relied on the elite Joint Special Operations Command to carry out raids and then used intelligence from captured militants and materials to identify new targets at a blistering tempo.

When McChrystal was put in charge of the war in Afghanistan, he tapped Flynn again to serve as his top intelligence officer. Flynn used that job to position himself as a gifted strategist, helping to co-write a 26-page article, “Fixing Intel,” that depicted the intelligence-gathering mission in Afghanistan as a failing endeavor that was too focused on finding targets rather than understanding cultural complexities. Some in the military praised the article as insightful, but critics considered it grandstanding at the expense of his predecessors.

Some of Flynn’s other moves angered superiors. Former U.S. officials said he was scolded after traveling to Pakistan in 2009 or early 2010 and revealing to Pakistani officials sensitive U.S. intelligence on the militant Haqqani network accused of staging attacks on American forces. U.S. officials said that the move was aimed at prodding Pakistan to crack down on the militant group, but that Flynn exposed U.S. intelligence capabilities that only helped Pakistan protect an organization it used as a proxy ally.

Flynn also came under investigation by the Pentagon because of an allegation that he had inappropriately shared highly classified intelligence with Australian and British forces. “I’m proud of that one,” Flynn said in an interview. “Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies. Please!”

The inquiry delayed but did not derail Flynn’s ascent through the ranks. Always pushing for a deeper understanding of terrorist networks, Flynn persuaded Clapper in 2011 to let him form a team to reexamine the materials recovered from bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, searching for clues overlooked by the CIA. In 2012, Obama tapped him for one of the highest positions a military intelligence officer can attain, running the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn arrived with a mandate for change. He began trying to reorganize the agency into regionally focused centers, station more analysts overseas and build a spying capability that could rival that of the CIA. In public remarks, he warned any employees who resisted his agenda that he would “move them or fire them.”

Almost from the outset there were concerns at the Pentagon that Flynn was struggling to execute his reform plans and that the agency was beset by turmoil. A career staff officer, Flynn had little experience running a large organization, let alone a plodding institution such as the DIA, with nearly 20,000 employees.

Former subordinates at the DIA said Flynn was so prone to dubious pronouncements that senior aides coined a term — “Flynn facts” — for assertions that seemed questionable or inaccurate.

The DIA job is ordinarily a three-year assignment. But early in Flynn’s second year, his bosses — Clapper and then-Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers — summoned him to a meeting at the Pentagon to tell him that he was being removed.

As the search for a replacement stalled, Flynn attempted an end-run around his superiors, appealing directly to the vice chief of staff of the Army to extend his tenure. The move infuriated Clapper, according to former officials who said the DNI warned Flynn that if he made any other attempt to circumvent the outcome he would be fired on the spot. Clapper declined to comment for this article, but several current and former officials confirmed the account.

Flynn disputed the account as well as the claim that he had shared sensitive intelligence with Pakistan, saying in an email that the claims are “all false.”

He characterizes his ouster as a political purge orchestrated by an administration unwilling to heed the warnings he was sounding about militant Islam. Asked for evidence, he said, “I just know!” adding that Clapper had once told him that the issue behind Flynn’s ouster was “not your leadership, or I would have removed you right away.”

The decision to remove Flynn was “about turbulence and a destructive climate,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official. “I don’t think anybody in the administration was even aware of his views” on radical Islam.

Flynn’s positions have become more strident since he left DIA and are increasingly aimed at Obama. He said he is “sick and tired” of the president taking credit for approving the 2011 mission that led to the death of bin Laden. “This decision to kill bin Laden . . . so what?!” he said. “What did it really do?”

Once firmly against waterboarding and other banned interrogation measures, Flynn now appears at least willing to consider supporting Trump’s threat to reinstate those methods, saying he would be reluctant to take options off the table. Asked on Al Jazeera in May whether he would allow the military to carry out Trump’s threat to kill any families of suspected terrorists, Flynn replied, “I would have to see the circumstances of that situation.”

In February, Flynn posted a video about a Pakistani terrorist group on his Twitter account with the comment: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

His views are difficult to reconcile with some of the prescriptions for fighting terrorism that he outlines in a recent book, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” that he co-wrote with neoconservative analyst Michael Ledeen.

In the book, Flynn argues that the United States needs new partnerships with Middle Eastern countries and a deeper understanding of radical ideology. He said Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia should shoulder more of the responsibility for ridding themselves of terrorists, accept more Syrian refugees and deploy troops in Syria.

Asked whether his comments about Islam or Trump’s behavior — threatening to ban Muslims from entering the United States, vilifying the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier — might alienate those potential Middle East partners, Flynn said, “I don’t see it that way. I see a lot of Muslims who actually want this conversation. They want this point to be made.”

Greg Jaffe and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nearly-the-entire-national-security-establishment-has-rejected-trumpexcept-for-this-man/2016/08/15/d5072d96-5e4b-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html

 

Michael T. Flynn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named Michael Flynn, see Michael Flynn (disambiguation).
Mike Flynn
Michael T Flynn.jpg
National Security Advisor
Designate
Taking office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump(Elect)
Succeeding Susan Rice
Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
In office
July 24, 2012 – August 7, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ronald Burgess
Succeeded by David Shedd(Acting)
Personal details
Born Michael Thomas Flynn
December 1958 (age 57)
Middletown, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Rhode Island, Kingston(BS)
Golden Gate University(MBA)
United States Army Command and General Staff College(MMAS)
Naval War College(MA)
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1981–2014
Rank US-O9 insignia.svgLieutenant General
Unit Defense Intelligence Agency
Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Battles/wars Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Awards Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal(2 oak leaf clusters)
Legion of Merit(oak leaf cluster)
Bronze Star Medal(3 oak leaf clusters)
Meritorious Service Medal(5 oak leaf clusters)
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal(5 oak leaf clusters)

Michael Thomas “Mike” Flynn[1] (born December 1958) is a retired United States Armylieutenant general[2][3] who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and chair of the Military Intelligence Board from July 24, 2012, to August 2, 2014.[4] Prior to that, he served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence. Flynn co-authored a report in January 2010 through the Center for a New American Security entitled Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,[5]

Flynn’s military career was primarily operational, with numerous combat arms, conventional and special operations senior intelligence assignments. He also served as the senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. Flynn is a published author, with articles appearing in Small Wars Journal, Military Review, Joint Forces Quarterly and other military and intelligence publications.

In May 2016, he emerged as one of several leading possibilities to be the vice presidentialrunning mate for Republican nominee Donald Trump.[6][7][8][9] Flynn was not chosen as Trump’s running mate; the vice presidential pick was ultimately Indiana GovernorMike Pence.[10] At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Flynn delivered what the Los Angeles Times called a “fiery speech”.[11]

On November 18, 2016, the Transition announced via press release that President-elect Donald Trump had named General Flynn his National Security Advisor.[12]

Early life and education

Flynn was born in Middletown, Rhode Island in December 1958,[1] the son of Helen Frances (Andrews), who worked in real estate, and Charles Francis Flynn, a banker.[13][14][15][16] The Flynns were an Irish Catholic family, Michael Flynn’s grandfather, also Charles Flynn, having been born in 1889 in Blacklands, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, and later settling in Rhode Island after emigrating to the United States in 1913.[17][18][19][20]

Michael Flynn graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in management science in 1981 and was a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He also earned a Master of Business Administration in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University, a Master of Military Art and Science from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.[3]

Flynn is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course, Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and Naval War College.[3]

Career

1981 to 2001

Flynn’s military assignments after joining the Army in 1981 included multiple tours at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, and Joint Special Operations Command, where he deployed for Invasion of Grenada in Grenada and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.[21] He also served with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.[3]

2001 to 2012

Flynn served as the assistant chief of staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from June 2001 and the director of intelligence, Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004.[3]

Flynn was the director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom). He served as the director of intelligence, United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008, as the director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 2008 to June 2009, then the director of intelligence, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010.[3]

In September 2011, Flynn was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Flynn speaks during the change of directorship for the Defense Intelligence Agency on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

On April 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Flynn to be the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.[22][23] Flynn took command of the DIA in July 2012.[24] In October 2012, Flynn announced plans to release his paper “VISION2020: Accelerating Change Through Integration”, a broad look at how the Defense Intelligence Agency must transform to meet the national security challenges for the 21st Century.[25] It was meant to emphasize “integration, interagency teamwork and innovation of the whole workforce, not just the technology but the people.” [26]

On April 30, 2014, Flynn announced his retirement effective later in 2014, about a year earlier than he had been scheduled to leave his position. He was reportedly effectively forced out of the DIA after clashing with superiors over his allegedly chaotic management style and vision for the agency.[27][28] According to what Flynn had told in one final interview as DIA director, he felt like a lone voice in thinking that the United States was less safe from the threat of Islamic terrorism in 2014 than it was prior to the 9/11 attacks; he went on to believe that he was pressed into retirement for questioning the Obama administration’s public narrative that Al Qaeda was close to defeat.[29] According to the New York Times, Flynn exhibited a loose relationship with facts, leading his subordinates to refer to Flynn’s repeated dubious assertions as “Flynn facts”.[30] He retired as of August 7.

Post-retiremen

Consulting firm

Main article: Flynn Intel Group

Flynn, along with son Michael G. Flynn, runs Flynn Intel Group which provides intelligence services for business and governments.[31] Several sources, including Politico, have written that Flynn’s consulting company is allegedly lobbying for Turkey. A company tied to Erdogan’s government, which supports Muslim Brotherhood, is known to have hired Flynn’s lobbying firm.[32][33][34][35][36][37] On election day 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed calling for U.S. backing for Erdogan’s government and criticized the regime’s opponent, Fethullah Gulen; Flynn did not disclose that Flynn’s consulting firm had received funds from a company with ties to Erdogan’s government.[38]

Flynn sat in on classified national security briefings with then-candidate Trump at the same time that Flynn was working for foreign clients, which raises ethical concerns and conflicts of interest.[39]

Attendance of RT Gala Dinner

In 2015, Flynn attended a gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT, a Russian government-owned English-language propaganda outlet on which he made semi-regular appearances as an analyst after he retired from U.S. government service. Before the gala, Flynn gave a paid talk on world affairs.[40][41] Flynn defended the Russian payment in an interview with Michael Isikoff.[41] Journalist Michael Crowley of Politico reported that “at a moment of semi-hostility between the U.S. and Russia, the presence of such an important figure at Putin’s table startled” U.S. officials.[40]

2016 U.S. presidential election

Flynn at a campaign rally for then-Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, in October 2016.

Having already been consulted regarding national security by candidates Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump,[42] Flynn was asked in February 2016 to serve as an adviser to the Trump campaign.[43] In July 2016, it was reported he was being considered as Trump’s running mate; Flynn later confirmed that he had submitted vetting documents to the campaign and was willing to accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination if chosen.[44][45]

As one of the keynote speakers during the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention Flynn gave what the Los Angeles Times described as a “fiery” speech, in which he stated: “We are tired of Obama’s empty speeches and his misguided rhetoric. This, this has caused the world to have no respect for America’s word, nor does it fear our might”;[11] he also accused Obama of choosing to conceal the actions of Osama bin Laden and ISIS.[46] Flynn went on to critically address political correctness and joined the crowd in a chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. During the chants he told those in the audience, “Get fired up! This is about our country.”[11][47] During the speech, Flynn also joined chants of “Lock her up!”, referring to the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and stated that she should quit the presidential race.[48][49] He repeated in subsequent interviews that she should be “locked up”.[50] While campaigning for Trump, Flynn also referred to Clinton as the “enemy camp”.[48]

Flynn was once opposed to waterboarding and other extreme interrogation techniques that have now been banned; however, according to an August 2016 Washington Postarticle, he said at one point, in the context of Trump’s apparent openness to reinstating such techniques, that “he would be reluctant to take options off the table.”[48] In May 2016, Flynn was asked by an Al Jazeerareporter if he would support Trump’s stated plan to kill the families of suspected terrorists. In response, Flynn stated, “I would have to see the circumstances of that situation”.[48] In an interview with Al Jazeera, Flynn criticized the reliance on drones as a “failed strategy”, stating that “what we have is this continued investment in conflict. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”[51][52]

On November 18, 2016, Flynn accepted president-elect Donald Trump’s offer of the position of National Security Advisor.[53]

Political view

Flynn is a registered Democrat, having grown up in a “very strong Democratic family”.[54] However, he was a keynote speaker during the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention,[11] and he is a surrogate and top national security adviser for president-elect Donald Trump.

During a July 10, 2016 interview on ABC News’ This Week, when asked by host Martha Raddatz about the issue of abortion, Flynn stated, “women have to be able to choose.”[54][55] The next day, Flynn said on Fox News that he is a “pro-life Democrat”.[56]

Flynn has been a board member of ACT! for America[53] and sees the Muslim faith as one of the root causes of Islamist terrorism.[57] He has described Islam as a political ideology and a cancer,[57][58] and stated in Twitter that the “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL [sic].”[53] Initially supportive of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, Flynn later told Al Jazeera that a blanket ban was unworkable and has called instead for “vetting” of entrants from countries like Syria.[53]

In a review of Flynn’s book The Field of Fight,Will McCants of the Brookings Institution described Flynn’s worldview as a confused combination of neoconservatism (an insistence on destroying what he sees as an alliance of tyranny, dictatorships, and radical Islamist regimes) and realism (support for working with “friendly tyrants”).[59]

Awards

Flynn’s non-military awards and decorations include the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and National Security Agency Distinguished Service Medal.[60] His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal,[61]Defense Superior Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), and several service and campaign medals. Flynn also earned the Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, and Joint Staff Identification Badge.[3]

Flynn is also the recipient of the Congressionally approved Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the 2012 Association of Special Operations Professionals Man of the Year award.

Flynn has an honorary doctorate from The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.[3]

Books

  • The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, with Michael Ledeen, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016.[62]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_T._Flynn

Story 3: Will Trump Offer Mitt Romney The Secretary of State Position? Romney is A Progressive Interventionist, Trump’s First Big Mistake? — — Let Romney Cleanup The Mess At The Veterans Administration — Videos Videos

Image result for cartoon trump select romney of secretary of stateImage result for cartoon trump makes up with romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump makes up with romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for trump meets with romneyImage result for trump meets with romney

Mitt Romney leaves after meeting with Donald Trump in NJ. (11-19-16)

Romney: Veterans Hospitals Need Competition, Standards

Trump unveils plan to help veterans and reform the VA

Romney Donated Thousands of Pints of Milk Weekly to a Veteran’s Shelter for 2 Years ~ Anonymously

Published on Sep 25, 2012

Mitt Romney anonymously donated 7,000 pints of milk, at 1/2 price, weekly to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans for 2 Years. This homeless shelter for veterans is in an old VA hospital in downtown Boston. When the milkman retired he finally told the staff at the shelter that the donor was Mitt Romney. The former director of the homeless shelter, Ken Smith, tells the full story in an interview that aired on “The Blaze TV” on Friday, September 14, 2012. I hope to have that interview uploaded soon.

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Rand Paul on Donald Trump Appointing Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney Considered For Secretary Of State | MSNBC

Donald Trump Considering Mitt Romney For Secretary Of State | TODAY

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Mark Levin: Mitt Romney is now being considered for Secretary of State… (November 17 2016)

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Donald Trump’s Full Response to Mitt Romney Speech (3-3-16)

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Mitt Romney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the American politician. For the American football player who went by the same name, see Milton Romney.
Mitt Romney
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney
70th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 2003 – January 4, 2007
Lieutenant Kerry Healey
Preceded by Jane Swift (Acting)
Succeeded by Deval Patrick
Personal details
Born Willard Mitt Romney
March 12, 1947 (age 69)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Romney (m. 1969)
Children 5, including Tagg
Parents George W. Romney
Lenore Romney
Education Stanford University
Brigham Young University, Utah(BA)
Harvard University (JD/MBA)
Net worth ~ $250 million (2007)[1]
Signature
Website Official website

Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and politician who served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and was the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election.

Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, by his parents George and Lenore Romney, he spent 2½ years in France as a Mormon missionary, starting in 1966. He married Ann Davies in 1969, and they have five sons. By 1971, he had participated in the political campaigns of both parents. He earned a BA at Brigham Young University in 1971 and a joint JD–MBA at Harvard University in 1975.

Romney entered the management consulting industry, and in 1977 secured a position at Bain & Company. Later serving as Bain’s chief executive officer (CEO), he helped lead the company out of a financial crisis. In 1984, he co-founded and led the spin-off company Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm that became one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), he served during his business career as the bishop of his ward (head of his local congregation) and then stake president in his home area near Boston.

After stepping down from Bain Capital and his local leadership role in the LDS Church, Romney ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 Massachusetts election for U.S. Senate. Upon losing to longtime incumbent Ted Kennedy, he resumed his position at Bain Capital. Years later, a successful stint as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics led to a relaunch of his political career.

Elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney helped develop and enact into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, which provided near-universal health insurance access through state-level subsidies and individual mandates to purchase insurance. He also presided over the elimination of a projected $1.2–1.5 billion deficit through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. He did not seek re-election in 2006, instead focusing on his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He won several primaries and caucuses; however, he lost to the eventual nominee, Senator John McCain. His considerable net worth, estimated in 2012 at $190–250 million, helped finance his political campaigns prior to 2012.

Following his term as Governor of Massachusetts in 2007, Romney was the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. He won the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first Mormon to be a major party presidential nominee. He was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election, losing by 332–206 electoral college votes. The popular vote margin was 51–47 percent in Obama’s favor. Following the election, he initially kept a low profile, and later became more visible politically.

Early life and education

Heritage and youth

See also: Romney family

Willard Mitt Romney[2] was born on March 12, 1947, at Harper University Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,[3] one of four children born to automobile executive George W. Romney (1907–1995) and homemaker Lenore Romney (née LaFount; 1908–1998).[4] His mother was a native of Logan, Utah, and his father was born to American parents in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.[5][6] Of primarily English descent, he also has Scottish and German ancestry.[7][8][9] A fifth-generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), he is a great grandson of Miles Park Romney and a great-great-grandson of Miles Romney, who converted to the faith in its first decade. Another great-great-grandfather, Parley P. Pratt, helped lead the early Church.[10][11]

Romney has three elder siblings; Margo, Jane, and Scott (Mitt followed them after a gap of nearly six years).[12] His parents named him after a family friend, businessman J. Willard Marriott, and his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney, a former quarterback for the Chicago Bears.[13] Romney was referred to as “Billy” until kindergarten, when he indicated a preference for “Mitt”.[14] In 1953, the family moved from Detroit to the affluent suburb of Bloomfield Hills.[15] His father became the chairman and CEO of American Motors the following year, soon helping the company avoid bankruptcy and return to profitability.[15] By 1959, his father had become a nationally known figure in print and on television,