The Pronk Pops Show 878, April 21, 2017, Story 1: French Confirm Killing of Police Officer By Radical Islamic Terrorist Killer, Karim Cheurfi, Connected To Islamic State, — Videos — Story 2: Will Marine Le Pen Win In The First Round of French Presidential Election? First Round –Yes — — Making France Great Again — Second Round –Marine Le Pen May Be First Woman President or Emmannuel Marcon The Youngest — Videos — Story 3: Trump Administration Rolls Out New Tax Reform Plan and House Votes On Repeal and Replace Compromise Bill — By Day 100 — American People Want The FairTax And Full Repeal of Obamacare and Republican Establishment Wants Partial Repeal of Obamacare and Border Adjustment Tax — Stupid Party? — Videos — Story 4: Democrats Want To Shut-down Government Over Trump’s Wall — Republicans Pass Continuing Resolution — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

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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

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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

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Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Masked police officers were photographed standing on top of a vehicle on the Champs Elysees following an incident which left one officer deadEmmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.Image result for trump omb director mike mulveney

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Story 1: French Confirm Killing of Police Officer By Radical Islamic Terrorist Killer, Karim Cheurfi, Connected To Islamic State,  — Videos — 

ISIS Reportedly Claims Responsibility For Paris Attack That Left 1 Officer Dead | TODAY

Is Marine Le Pen the Donald Trump of France?

Paris shooting: Gunman was ‘focus of anti-terror’ probe – BBC News

Police search home of shooting suspect in Paris suburb

Raw: Memorial For Officer Killed In Paris Shooting

Geert Wilders message for Europe

Revealed: ISIS terrorist who shot dead cop in Paris attack was arrested TWO MONTHS ago for threatening to kill police and served 15 years for trying to murder two officers

  • Policeman Xavier Jugele, 37, was killed last night after being ‘targeted’ on the Champs Elysees in central Paris
  • The attacker was eventually shot dead after French police officers rushed to the scene in the heart of the city
  • The gunman’s Audi contained a pump action shotgun, knives and ID of known ‘extremist’ Karim Cheurfi 
  • Two other police officers were ‘seriously injured’ and a ‘female foreign tourist’ was wounded in the incident
  • A note declaring allegiance to ISIS was discovered on the Champs Elysees and is being investigated by police 

French security services are today facing troubling questions as to how they failed to prevent an ISIS gunman from slaughtering one policeman and wounding two other officers in Paris when he was arrested as recently as February.

Karim Cheurfi, 39, had served 15 years of a 20-year jail sentence for attempting to kill two officers in 2001, before his release last year.

In February, the terrorist tried to obtain weapons and made threats to kill police officers, but was let go in early March due to lack of evidence.

On Thursday night, the fanatic was killed by police after he got out of his Audi and opened fire at police who had stopped at a red light on Champs Elysees. His car was packed with more weapons, including a pump action shotgun and knives. A copy of the Koran was also found in the vehicle.

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele, 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police. A ricocheting bullet fired by the terrorist also wounded a female foreign tourist passing by.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and nicknamed the attacker ‘Abu Yousuf al-Belgiki’, which translates to ‘the Belgian’ in Arabic – a name which was listed in uncovered documents from the terror group last year.

A note declaring allegiance to ISIS was discovered on the Champs Elysees and is being investigated by police. Its presence and the speed at which ISIS claimed responsibility may suggest the attack was directed by the jihadist group rather than carried out by a lone supporter.

Karim Cheurfi

Pictured is the suspected ISIS gunman, who has been identified locally as 39-year-old father Karim Cheurfi

Pictured (left and right) is the suspected ISIS gunman, who has been identified locally as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi

The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi - who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 - parked his Audi and opened fire after police stopped at a red light on the world famous avenue. Pictured is his arrest warrant from last month, when he was detained for trying to obtain weapons 'to kill police'

The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi – who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 – parked his Audi and opened fire after police stopped at a red light on the world famous avenue. Pictured is his arrest warrant from last month, when he was detained for trying to obtain weapons ‘to kill police’

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele (pictured), 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police

Traffic officer Xavier Jugele (pictured), 37, died instantly with a shot to the head, while the other two were hurt before Cheurfi himself was gunned down by nearby armed police

Pictured is armed police crowded two other officers, believed to have been shot in the attack, on Champs Elysees on Thursday night

Pictured is armed police crowded two other officers, believed to have been shot in the attack, on Champs Elysees on Thursday night

French police leave the home of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi in the suburb of Chelles, in Paris, following last night's attack

French police leave the home of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi in the suburb of Chelles, in Paris, following last night’s attack

A woman places a flower near the spot on the Champs Elysees where the shooting occurred last night in the French capital

A woman places a flower near the spot on the Champs Elysees where the shooting occurred last night in the French capital

A body is removed from the scene after a traffic officer was killed by an ISIS gunman in central Paris last night

A body is removed from the scene after a traffic officer was killed by an ISIS gunman in central Paris last night

French police officers and forensic teams searched a vehicle which was close to the scene on the Champs Elysees in Paris

French police officers and forensic teams searched a vehicle which was close to the scene on the Champs Elysees in Paris

A police lorry seized the Audi which the attacker was driving, before he got out and shot at traffic officers last night

A police lorry seized the Audi which the attacker was driving, before he got out and shot at traffic officers last night

A still image from video footage shows police forensic investigators inspect the car used by the attacker in Paris last night

A still image from video footage shows police forensic investigators inspect the car used by the attacker in Paris last night

In the latest developments after the attack:

  • French police have this morning arrested three family members of ISIS gunman Karim Cheurfi 
  • Police are hunting a second suspect, who was brought to their attention by Belgian authorities 
  • A man whose image appeared on social media as ‘second suspect’ handed himself to police in Antwerp claiming he was not linked to the plot. Detectives have said this man had nothing to do with the attack 
  • Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called for all French terror suspects to be expelled
  • France’s government has reviewed its already extensive election security measures and says it is ‘fully mobilised’ and nothing will stop Sunday’s presidential vote
  • US President Donald Trump believes the attack will have a ‘big effect’ on the outcome of the election 
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has sent condolences to the French president following the latest attack but the pair have not spoken directly since last night 
  • Iran’s foreign secretary Bahram Ghasemi said France was feeling a blowback for its support of rebels in Syria 

French officials revealed that Cheurfi was detained in Meaux, 24 miles east of Paris, on February 23 this year, after it emerged he was trying to buy weapons ‘to kill police’.

On Friday night, but prosecutors tonight denied that he was on a security watch list and added the terrorist showed no signs of radicalisation before the attack.

He reportedly used the alias ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’ and reportedly made threats to murder officers using the social media app Telegram, an instant messaging service.

Despite having a long list of police-hating convictions, he was able to obtain a Kalashnikov, a pump action shotgun and several knives ahead of last night’s attack.

He had been jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen.  He opened fire five times with a .38 revolver following a car chase in 2001, leaving the officers and a third victim wounded. All three survived the attack in Roissy-en-Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne department of northern France.

An armed police officer hoists his weapon as they storm the streets of Paris after the latest terror attack to hit the city

An armed police officer hoists his weapon as they storm the streets of Paris after the latest terror attack to hit the city

Armed police outside a shop in central Paris after an ISIS gunman killed a traffic officer and injured three other people

Armed police outside a shop in central Paris after an ISIS gunman killed a traffic officer and injured three other people

Armed police officers on the streets of Paris after a gunman killed a traffic cop and seriously injured two others last night

Armed police officers on the streets of Paris after a gunman killed a traffic cop and seriously injured two others last night

Armed police officers stood guard after they rushed to the scene in the centre of the capital following the incident which left frightened witnesses sprinting for their lives 

Armed police officers stood guard after they rushed to the scene in the centre of the capital following the incident which left frightened witnesses sprinting for their lives

A team of forensic detectives examine the Audi, which the gunman was driving. ID of Karim Cheurfi was found in the vehicle

A team of forensic detectives examine the Audi, which the gunman was driving. ID of Karim Cheurfi was found in the vehicle

Cheurfi, who was born in France, was a recluse who blamed police for ruining his life, a friend of the family revealed today.

OFFICER SHOT DEAD GUARDED BATACLAN AT ITS REOPENING

By Sam Tonkin for MailOnline 

The policeman killed by an ISIS gunman on the Champs-Elysees was today named as Xavier Jugelé, a 37-year-old Paris officer who defiantly said ‘no to terrorists’ at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre last November.

He was shot in the head when the terrorist – identified today as French national Karim Cheurfi, 39 – launched his attack on three police officers at around 9pm last night.

Jugelé, who was a proud defender of gay rights, was named as the victim who died by French newspaper Le Parisien.

It has since emerged that Jugelé was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year - a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead.
Jugelé

It has since emerged that Jugelé (pictured left and right) was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year – a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead

It has since emerged that Jugelé was on duty at the reopening of the Bataclan theatre on November last year – a year on from the Paris attacks which left 130 dead.

As British singer Sting marked the occasion with a performance at the concert hall, Jugelé defiantly told PEOPLE.com that he was there ‘to say no to terrorists’.

The policeman added: ‘I’m happy to be here. Glad the Bataclan is reopening. It’s symbolic.

‘We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.

‘It doesn’t feel strange, it feels important,’ he added. ‘Symbolic.’

He did not attend formal mosque prayer services and became fascinated by jihadist propaganda via the internet, a confident of his mother claimed.

‘Karim did not pray, he drank alcohol and watched jihadist propaganda,’ neighbour Hakim, 50, told MailOnline.

‘He was not a good Muslim, he was a lost soul. He had no friends, no girlfriend, he never went out. He stayed at home all day watching stuff on the internet.’

Another neighbour added: ‘Karim didn’t go to the mosque. He just stayed at home. You never saw him.’

Hakim continued: ‘Karim blamed the police for ruining his life. He fired (a pistol) at police during a burglary and got sentenced to 15 years prison.

‘He was only 20 at the time. He hated the police, he said they had ruined his life. He was ‘anti-cop’. He would swear at officers in the street, call them bastards. He didn’t care.’

Hakim, whose family is close to Cheurfi’s mother, said the gunman had only recently returned to the quiet residential street after spending years behind bars.

Cheurfi lived separately from his mother in a purpose-built apartment in the front of the property.

Hakim added: ‘He lived in the studio in the garden. The mother lived in the big house.’

Cheurfi’s Algerian-born mother had divorced his father and had married a Frenchman with who she had second son. She later divorced her second son.

Another neighbour said: ‘His parents split up but they stayed living at the same property.

‘The father Salat lived in the apartment in the front of the garden and the mother lived in the house at the back of the property.

‘The mother married again, to a Frenchman, and they had a son together but the father stayed living at the property.

‘So it was a bit complicated but that’s life. Karim got on well with his half brother who is called Stephane.

‘But he went to live in the apartment with his father when he got of prison.’

Another neighbor added: ‘The mother is not here. She is in Algeria. She goes there every few months to visit relatives. She’s not been well.’

Officers have been searching the home of Karim in east Paris and arrested three of his family members.

A French government spokesman said the ISIS gunman began firing against police using ‘a weapon of war’.

The fatal incident unfolded as presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, debated on a TV show nearby before Sunday’s election.

Paris police search the suspected Champs-Elysee attacker’s house

A French police officer has been shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) - just days before the French presidential election 

A French police officer has been shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) – just days before the French presidential election

People held their hands up as they walked towards officers close to the scene where a policeman was fatally shot in Paris

People held their hands up as they walked towards officers close to the scene where a policeman was fatally shot in Paris

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Pictured is the scene of a restaurant in Paris when the gunman opened fire on the streets outside. Diners are seen cowering on the ground in fear

Pictured is the scene of a restaurant in Paris when the gunman opened fire on the streets outside. Diners are seen cowering on the ground in fear

An armed policeman speaks to diners in a nearby Parisien restuarant, who cowered to the floor in fear of the ISIS gunman

An armed policeman speaks to diners in a nearby Parisien restuarant, who cowered to the floor in fear of the ISIS gunman

The gunman has been identified by police but they will not officially reveal his name until investigators determine whether he had accomplices, according to the Paris prosecutor.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said: ‘The identity of the attacker is known and has been checked. I will not give it because investigations with raids are ongoing.

‘The investigators want to be sure whether he had or did not have accomplices.’

The Interior Ministry spokesman said the officers were deliberately targeted and the police union added that the policeman was killed while sat in a car at a red light.

US President Donald Trump said: ‘It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It never ends.’

The attack which took place on the Champs Elysees (pictured) comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France's tense presidential election

The attack which took place on the Champs Elysees (pictured) comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election

A French police officer stood guard on the Champs Elysees in central Paris following the fatal shooting, which has been described as 'terrorist related' 

A French police officer stood guard on the Champs Elysees in central Paris following the fatal shooting, which has been described as ‘terrorist related’

Police officers secured the area after a gunman got of an Audi vehicle and targeted officers by firing an automatic gun towards them 

Police officers secured the area after a gunman got of an Audi vehicle and targeted officers by firing an automatic gun towards them

A man and a woman put their hands in the air as armed officers stood just yards away from them following the incident in the city 

A man and a woman put their hands in the air as armed officers stood just yards away from them following the incident in the city

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital 

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital

People were seen running away from the area after Thursday night's attack, which has been described as being 'terrorist related'

People were seen running away from the area after Thursday night’s attack, which has been described as being ‘terrorist related’

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday 

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday

The Audi which is believed to belong to the attacker was taken away from the scene on the back of a lorry as police rushed to the popular avenue 

The Audi which is believed to belong to the attacker was taken away from the scene on the back of a lorry as police rushed to the popular avenue

Forensic experts and police officers were seen examining evidence from a van on the Champs Elysees in central Paris 

Forensic experts and police officers were seen examining evidence from a van on the Champs Elysees in central Paris

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and dramatic video footage showed the immediate aftermath of the incident which left one policeman dead.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for the French Interior Ministry, confirmed that both injured officers in hospital were now ‘out of danger’ and ‘stable’, while the female tourist was far less badly hurt.

Mr Brandet did not name any of the victims, but praised the officers for ‘helping to avoid a bloodbath’ by ‘neutralising’ the attacker as quickly as possible.

French President Francois Hollande said the attack was ‘terrorist related’ and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings on Thursday evening.

Mr Hollande said a national tribute will be paid to the policeman and added that a ‘passerby was hit’ before the ‘assailant was neutralised’.

Conservative contender Francois Fillon, who has campaigned against ‘Islamic totalitarianism,’ said on France 2 television that he was canceling his planned campaign stops Friday.

Far-right candidate Le Pen, who campaigns against immigration and Islamic fundamentalism, took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers ‘once again targeted.’

She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his ‘full support’ to police against terrorism.

Le Pen and Francois Fillon announced that they have both cancelled their campaigning on Friday.

Paris gunman’s neighbour speaks out as police raid suspect’s home

French presidential election candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon (pictured) took part in the TV show just days before the election 

French presidential election candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon (pictured) took part in the TV show just days before the election

French presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen (pictured), took part in a key debate

French presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen (pictured), took part in a key debate

Mr Brandet said ‘all lines of investigation were being pursued’, while intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’.

This means he would have been under surveillance, because he was a known risk to the country.

An eyewitness, called Chelloug, said: ‘It was a terrorist. He came out with a Kalashnikov and started shooting, but he could’ve shot us on the pavement and killed more people with a spray of shots.

‘But he targeted the policemen and fortunately there were the policemen who killed him.’

Another witness said: ‘I saw someone shoot at the police officers. They returned fire, they killed him, he fell on the floor. And then the emergency services came.

‘It took place by Zara and there was a CRS (Republican Security Companies) van parked up and the man shot the police officers. He took out a weapon and shot them.

‘I think the police officer was killed on the spot and his colleagues fired back and killed the individual.’

The attack comes just three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election.

A witness, identified only as Ines, told BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man’s body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

It comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.

Police officers quickly secured the area - which is popular with tourists and Parisians - after the attack and the road was on lockdown by 9pm 

Police officers quickly secured the area – which is popular with tourists and Parisians – after the attack and the road was on lockdown by 9pm

Police search the car reportedly used in Paris attack

Police officers took positions near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the gunman - who was known to the security services - launched the attack 

Police officers took positions near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the gunman – who was known to the security services – launched the attack

An armed soldier spoke to a man a told him to leave the area following the fatal shooting close to the Arc de Triomphe (pictured) 

An armed soldier spoke to a man a told him to leave the area following the fatal shooting close to the Arc de Triomphe (pictured)

French soldiers secure the Champs Elysees Avenue after a police officer was killed when a gunman opened fire in Paris

French soldiers secure the Champs Elysees Avenue after a police officer was killed when a gunman opened fire in Paris

French police officers searched the area after some of their colleagues were shot in the heart of Paris on Thursday evening

French police officers searched the area after some of their colleagues were shot in the heart of Paris on Thursday evening

French President Francois Hollande (pictured) said the attack was 'terrorist related' and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings

French President Francois Hollande (pictured) said the attack was ‘terrorist related’ and scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings

‘Stay back, stay back!’ Police warn after shooting in Paris

LE PEN ACCUSED OF ‘EXPLOITING’ ATTACK FOR VOTES

By Thomas Burrows for MailOnline 

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has accused far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of ‘exploiting’ the Champs-Elysees terror attack to win votes ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.

In the wake of the shooting Le Pen called for foreign terror suspects to be expelled immediately and claimed France needed a ‘presidency which acts and protects us.’

Responding to that, Cazeneuve, a Socialist, said Le Pen’s National Front (FN) ‘after each attack, seeks to exploit it and use it for purely political means.’

Experts believe the shooting last night could boost Le Pen’s chances of getting elected just days before France goes to the polls.

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French

Voters could flock to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen following the latest terror attack

Voters could flock to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen following the latest terror attack

In last night’s attack a police officer was killed and two more were injured after a gunman opened fire close to the Champs-Elysees.

Le Pen today called for foreign terror suspects to be kicked out the country despite the fact the ISIS gunman was French. The 39-year-old had used the war name ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’.

Officials confirmed the homegrown fanatic was a French national despite his nickname.

A manhunt is underway for the second suspect who travelled by train to France from Belgium.

The Champs-Elysees terror attack could boost far-right candidate Marine Le Pen's chances of getting elected, experts believe

The Champs-Elysees terror attack could boost far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s chances of getting elected, experts believe

The shooting took place just four days before the French election and experts believe it could bolster Le Pen’s chances of being elected.

Le Pen has made immigration and security the core part of her campaign. She has pledged to tighten French borders controls and build more jails, and claimed authorities were not doing enough to protect citizens from terror attacks.

More than half of police officers in France had already said they were voting for Le Pen because of her strong anti-terror stance, according to an IFOP poll.

Experts believe it could increase her chances of winning Sunday’s election.

Fredrik Erixon, director at the European Centre for International Political Economy, told CNBC: ‘[It could lead to] a greater performance of Marine Le Pen than otherwise would have been the case.

‘It’s difficult to see how this attack will not play into the hands of political forces that want this campaign to be focused only on issues around migration and terrorism.’

Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, added: ‘The Paris gunman attack may well swing support in her favor; and this may not be picked up by the polls in a timely manner.’

Armed police officers were quick on the scene and closed the world famous avenue following the incident which shocked the city

Armed police officers were quick on the scene and closed the world famous avenue following the incident which shocked the city

The world famous was shut at around 9pm and it is believed police are still searching for a second suspect in relation to the attack 

The world famous was shut at around 9pm and it is believed police are still searching for a second suspect in relation to the attack

Police officers blocked the access of a street near the Champs Elysees in Paris after the fatal shooting on Thursday, April 20

Police officers blocked the access of a street near the Champs Elysees in Paris after the fatal shooting on Thursday, April 20

Officers were wearing vests and helmets as they patrolled the area close to where the fatal shooting took. A 39-year-old man is believed to be responsible for the shooting 

Officers were wearing vests and helmets as they patrolled the area close to where the fatal shooting took. A 39-year-old man is believed to be responsible for the shooting

The world famous street was put on lockdown by 9pm and officers guarded the area in central Paris (pictured, the Eiffel Tower in the background) 

The world famous street was put on lockdown by 9pm and officers guarded the area in central Paris (pictured, the Eiffel Tower in the background)

A policeman attended the scene and was armed with a gun following the incident. Police have reportedly issued a warrant for a second attacker

A policeman attended the scene and was armed with a gun following the incident. Police have reportedly issued a warrant for a second attacker

Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.

For weeks, centrist former banker Le Pen has been out in front but opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round runoff on May 7.

Scandal-plagued conservative Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.

A COUNTRY UNDER SIEGE: TIMELINE OF FRANCE TERROR

By Rory Tingle for MailOnline 

March, 18, 2017 – Convicted criminal with links to radical Islam shouted ‘I am here to die for Allah, there will be deaths’ seconds before he was shot dead during an attack at Orly airport. The 39-year-old, named locally as career criminal Ziyed Ben Belgacem, was killed after wrestling a soldier’s gun from her and fleeing into a McDonald’s. He sent a text message to his brother and father stating ‘I shot the police’, shortly before he was killed.

February 3, 2017 – A man is shot five times outside the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris after attempting to storm the historic art gallery.

July 14, 2016 – Amid Bastille Day celebrations in the Riviera city of Nice, a large truck is driven into a festive crowd. Some 86 people from a wide variety of countries are killed. The driver is shot dead. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility for the attack. The state of emergency in France is extended and extra protection, including robust barriers to prevent similar attacks, is put in place at major sites in France.

June 13, 2016 – Two French police officers are murdered in their home in front of their 3-year-old son. Islamic State claims responsibility for the slaying, which was carried out by a jihadist with a prior terrorist conviction. He is killed by police on the scene.

Nov. 13, 2015 – Islamic State militants kill 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II. A series of suicide bomb and shooting attacks are launched on crowded sites in central Paris, as well as the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. Most of those killed are in a crowded theater where hostages are taken. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility and say it was in retaliation for French participation in airstrikes on the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq. It leads to the declaration of a state of emergency in France. Police powers are expanded.

Jan. 7, 2015 – Two brothers kill 11 people inside the Paris building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is headquartered in what Islamic State extremists claim is retaliation for the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. More are killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There are 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers are killed.

The UK Foreign Office said: ‘The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

‘You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.

‘If you’re in the area and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.’

 were photographed standing on top of a vehicle on the Champs Elysees following an incident which left one officer dead

French police officers reacted after the shooting which left one officer dead and two more seriously injured in Paris 

French police officers reacted after the shooting which left one officer dead and two more seriously injured in Paris

French soldiers were armed with guns (pictured) and stood guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysees in Paris

French soldiers were armed with guns (pictured) and stood guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysees in Paris

Heavily armed officers had flooded the area following the gunshots which were heard in a busy part of the French capital 

Heavily armed officers had flooded the area following the gunshots which were heard in a busy part of the French capital

Reports have suggested that two police officers have been killed on the Champs Elysees in central Paris (pictured) this evening

Reports have suggested that two police officers have been killed on the Champs Elysees in central Paris (pictured) this evening

It was originally believed the other officer was seriously wounded while the attacker was killed on the world famous avenue (pictured)

It was originally believed the other officer was seriously wounded while the attacker was killed on the world famous avenue (pictured)

The incident last night comes as France remains in a state of emergency following the Paris attacks in 2015 and the Bastille Day killings in Nice in 2016.

The shooting comes just hours after one of the busiest roads in Paris was closed off by police as officers dealt with a ‘suspicious package’.

Reports suggested that items were discovered by officers as Rue de Rivoli remained shut. Stunned witnesses described seeing a large police presence on the two-mile-long road.

Rue de Rivoli is a busy commercial street just north of the River Seine which is home to some of the most fashionable shops in the world.

CHAMPS-ELYSEES: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AVENUE IN THE WORLD

By Thomas Burrows for MailOnline 

The Champs-Elysees – the scene of Thursday night’s terror attack – is the beating historic heart of Paris.

It has been described as the ‘most beautiful avenue’ in the world and is visited by millions of tourists every year.

Tens of thousands of people daily throng the tree-lined 1.2 mile avenue that is home to luxury stores and chain stores, cafes, cinemas and high-end offices.

A tourist draw as famed as the Eiffel Tower just across the River Seine, the avenue, stretching from the Arc de Triomphe down to Concorde Square, was first laid out in 1670.

Over the decades people have gathered there to mark momentous moments in French history.

During the French Revolution in 1789 an angry mob set off from the avenue to march on Versailles, Louis XVI’s opulent retreat.

It was also the site chosen by General Charles de Gaulle to celebrate the August 25, 1944, liberation of Paris from the Germans during World War Two.

More recently, hundreds of thousands congregated along the avenue to celebrate France’s 1998 World Cup victory (sealed with a 3-0 win over Brazil) on home soil.

The Champs Elysees is famously the finish line for the world’s toughest cycling race, the Tour de France.

Thursday was not the first time violence has been visited on the avenue.

In 1986, it witnessed two attacks – the first, on February 3, seeing one death and eight injured at the Claridge shopping arcade.

A second attack on March 20 at the Point Show arcade killed two and injured 29. Both attacks were linked to Middle East terrorism.

On Bastille Day in 2002, president Jacques Chirac survived an assassination attempt by a right-wing extremist who fired off one shot from a rifle hidden in a guitar case before bystanders wrestled him to the ground.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4429938/Paris-terror-attack-video-shows-police-shoot-gunman.html#ixzz4evbT4kjq

Story 2: Will Marine Le Pen Win In The First Round of French Presidential Election? First Round –Yes — — Making France Great Again —  Second Round –Marine Le Pen May Be First Woman President or Emmanuel Marcon The Youngest President — Videos

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“Marine Le Pen will be the next French President” – Christopher Dickey

Dear French People | French Presidential Election 2017

Who will be France’s next leader? | DW English

France’s Presidential Election: What You Need to Know

French election 2017: Who’s who – BBC News

France’s presidential election: A populist front

French Presidential Election 2017 Explained

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and Europe’s far-right movement

Le Pen vs Macron

RT – Why Marine Le Pen is The Only Way to Save Europe #Frexit #EndEU

Le Pen destroys Merkel

Marine Le Pen will not put up with any nonsense from BBC reporter

Marine Le Pen gets poll boost after Paris attack as Donald Trump says her chances of victory have improved

Donald Trump Marine Le Pen

Donald Trump has said the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen’s presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.

The US president said the shooting would “probably help” Ms Le Pen in Sunday’s election, because she is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

“Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election,” he said.

Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally in Marseille
Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally in Marseille CREDIT: EPA

US presidents typically avoid weighing in on specific candidates running in overseas election. But Mr Trump suggested his opinion was no different from an average observer, saying: “Everybody is making predictions on who is going to win. I’m no different than you.”

Cancelling visits and meetings on Friday, candidates traded blows across the airwaves as it emerged that the Isil-backed gunman had been kept in custody just 24 hours in February despite attempts to procure weapons to murder police.

Xavier Jugelé, 37, a policeman who had been deployed in the 2015 Bataclan attack, was killed in the shooting.

This undated image provided on Friday, April 21, 2017, by FLAG, an association of LGBT police officers, shows French police officer Xavier Jugele
This undated image provided on Friday, April 21, 2017, by FLAG, an association of LGBT police officers, shows French police officer Xavier Jugele CREDIT: FLAG VIA AP

Ms Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, blasted the mainstream “naive” Left and Right for failing to get tough on Islamism, calling for France to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.

François Fillon, the mainstream conservative candidate, pledged an “iron fist” in the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” – his priority if elected. “We are at war, it’s either us or them,” said the conservative, whose campaign has been weighed down by allegations he gave his British wife a “fake job”.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist, whom critics dismiss as a soft touch, hit back at claims shutting borders and filling French prisons would solve the problem, saying: “There’s no such thing as zero risk. Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful.”

Sticking to his campaign agenda, far-Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon told everyone to keep a “cool head” as he took part in a giant picnic.

A last-minute Odoxa poll taken after the attack suggested that Mr Macron was still on course to come first in Sunday’s first round, with Ms Le Pen just behind and through to the May 7 runoff.

However, Mr Fillon and Mr Mélenchon were still snapping at their heels.

The government on Friday announced elite units would join 50,000 police and troops to guard polling booths on Sunday in France’s first presidential election to be held in a state of emergency.

Matthieu Croissandeau, editor of Nouvel Obs magazine, said the French are now thicker-skinned after two years of bloodshed. “The French are unfortunately getting used to terror attacks on home soil and I don’t think this latest one created the shock and awe that might have made a significant difference,” he said.

Ms Le Pen has struggled to get the campaign to focus on her party’s pet issues of security, Islam and immigration. By contrast, she has been thrown on the defensive over her position to pull out of the eurozone.

After the attack, she called on the “notoriously feeble” socialist, President François Hollande, to instantly reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services. She said: “We cannot afford to lose this war. But for the past 10 years, Left-wing and Right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it.

“We need a presidency which acts and protects us,” she said from her Paris campaign headquarters. Elected French president, I would immediately, and with no hesitation, carry out the battle plan against Islamist terrorism and against judicial laxity.”

Marine Le Pen reacts to the terror attack in Paris
But Ms Le Pen was not the only one to issue stern pledges. Mr Fillon, who also talks tough on security, said the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the next president’s priority.

“It will require an unyielding determination and a cool head,” the former prime minister said. “We are at war, there is no alternative, it’s us or them.”

Mr Fillon, though knocked off his initial course towards victory by incessant allegations involving “fake job” payments to his British wife, promised to govern with “an iron fist”.

But the moderate Mr Macron, whom other candidates have portrayed as too inexperienced, took a different tack, warning against any attempts to use the shooting for political gain. “I think we must once and for all have a spirit of responsibility at this extreme time and not give in to panic and not allow it to be exploited, which some might try to do,” he told French radio.

Karim Cheurfi had been detained in February after reports that he had threatened police 
Karim Cheurfi had been detained in February after reports that he had threatened police 

Ms Le Pen’s solutions, he said, were woefully simplistic and “would not protect France”. And he added that to promise a “zero risk” scenario “is both irresponsible and deceitful”.

He also took a swipe at Mr Fillon, saying that intelligence had been depleted on his watch as the prime minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency.

Meanwhile, Bernard Cazeneuve, the Socialist prime minister, accused Le Pen of “shamelessly seeking to exploit fear and emotion”.

Footage shows moments after suspected terrorist is shot in Paris

00:24

Opinion polls have for months forecast that Le Pen would make it through to the run-off, but then lose in the final vote. Given the margin of error, none of the leading four candidates is a sure bet to reach the final. All hope to woo the third of French voters still undecided.

Previous terror attacks ahead of elections – such as the November 2015 attacks in Paris before regional ballots – did not effect those ballots.

Analyst Who Predicted Trump’s Ascendancy Bets on Le Pen Win

April 21, 2017, 3:41 AM CDT April 21, 2017, 5:42 AM CDT
  • Undecided voters bad news for Macron, says GaveKal’s founder
  • Recommends overweight sterling, large-caps; bond shorts
 How Will Markets React to Elections in France?

Don’t bank on a relief rally in the euro area anytime soon.

Markets are underpricing the prospect of Marine Le Pen emerging victorious in the French election as a sea of undecided voters throws into sharp relief pronounced apathy for center-leftist Emmanuel Macron — the front-runner by a whisker — and the backlash against the European Union project.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Charles Gave, founder of Hong-Kong based asset-allocation consultancy GaveKal Research, who predicted the triumph of Donald Trump in the U.S. election, and is now betting on a win for the anti-euro National Front candidate.

“Le Pen’s momentum is a slow-moving reaction against the men of Davos — as we have seen with Brexit and Trump — but markets don’t want to believe it,” he said by phone before the first round of the French poll on April 23.

Given the prospect of a Le Pen victory, Gave, who has been researching tactical asset allocation for more than 40 years, is advising clients to adopt long positioning in the pound as the U.K. would benefit from haven bids, and shorts on inflation-linked German bonds amid the risk of deflation in the euro area.

Safer Bet

The French economist also recommends bets on the likely outperformance of publicly-listed European multinationals, given their outsize share of income in foreign currencies. In effect, for investors obliged to invest liquidity in euros, Gave says a basket of high-quality stocks is a safer bet than euro-denominated government bonds.

“The market is talking about the nightmare scenario but it’s not pricing it in” said Mark Tinker, head of AXA Framlington Asia. Tinker’s a GaveKal client, and admirer of Gave’s tail-risk warnings over the past year. “After Sunday, we will have more information to make a considered risk-return wager to trade and hedge, but high-quality European companies and German bonds look like an attractive bet,” Tinker said.

Markets are pining for a scenario that would preserve the status quo: Macron, an independent candidate, defeating Le Pen in the second round on May 7. Thursday saw something of a French relief rally, with strong demand at a government debt auction, while France’s benchmark CAC 40 Index rose 1.5 percent aspolls showed Macron pulling marginally ahead of Le Pen.

The euro held steady on Friday and French bonds gained after a police officer was shot in Paris, which may influence the outcome of the first-round vote, according to some analysts. The CAC 40 dropped for the first time in three days, declining 0.5 percent.

The stars, however, appear to be aligning for the National Front candidate, said Gave. The fact two candidates for the runoff are likely to be determined by voters who have yet to make up their minds — as many as 40 percent — is a bad omen for the centrist contender, he said.

Momentum Curtailed

At least half of the far-left and half of the center-right won’t vote for Macron in the second round if he is pitted against Le Pen, believing he is“tainted” by his association with Francois Hollande’s government, and would rather abstain, Gave said.

Supporters of Francois Fillon, a center-right candidate whose momentum has been curtailed by graft charges, and a sizable chunk of Macron’s followers would probably rally to Le Pen’s cause if she were to face leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the final round, according to Gave. He sees only Fillon with a chance to defeat Le Pen in the run-off.

If she emerges victorious, the euro would tank as markets would price in the prospect of its dissolution, rather than focus on Le Pen’s legislative hurdles to exit the single-currency bloc. French and Italian bonds will be “unquotable” given vanishing bids, and the European banking system would be beset by seismic turmoil, he said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-21/analyst-who-predicted-trump-ascendancy-is-betting-on-le-pen-win

French Elections: Marine Le Pen Backed By Quiet Army of Women

Image: Marine Le Pen campaign rally in Paris

Le Pen waves at the audience after speaking at a rally in Paris on April 17. Christophe Petit Tesson / EPA

COGOLIN, France — Muslims preoccupy Jennifer Troin.

“I’m worried about my nieces having to wear the veil,” said the soft-spoken 29-year-old.

This fear has helped propel the young mother to the far-right of the political spectrum ahead of key presidential elections Sunday — and into the arms of the hard-line National Front party.

Troin sells children’s clothes at a store in Cogolin, a town of 11,000 a few miles from the jet-set resorts of the French Riviera. In 2014, Cogolin became one of a handful of communities nationwide to elect mayors from the National Front, which is also known by the acronym FN.

Image: Jennifer Troin, 29, is a sales assistant in a children's clothes store in Cogolin on April 13, 2017

Jennifer Troin, 29, is a sales assistant in a children’s clothes store in Cogolin, France on April 13, 2017.Saphora Smith / for NBC News

Troin told NBC News that it wasn’t just the FN’s stance on Islam and immigration that attracted her, but also the party’s populist take on the economy.

But most of all, it was the party’s charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, who captured Troin’s loyalty.

“She fights for women’s rights against Islam,” she said. “I vote because of Marine.”

Troin is part of a quiet army of female National Front supporters, who could well tip the balance of the election and give the presidency to the hard-right.

An FN victory would rewrite the continent’s political playbook, given the party’s pledge to take France out of the European Union. Were it to win, it would not have been an easy ride for a movement that peaked in 2002 when founder Jean Mari Le Pen — Marine Le Pen’s father — reached the second and final round of the presidential election.

French voters flocked to the polls in the runoff to ensure Le Pen did not win, instead electing former President Jacques Chirac with a resounding 78 percent of the vote. Most pollsters expect a similar outcome in May’s second-round vote, predicting moderate voters to rally once again to shut out the FN.

But few doubt that the party’s anti-immigrant and anti-establishment platform is resonating.

The Front’s anti-Islamic message is especially potent in France, whose 4.7 million Muslims make up around 7.5 percent of the population. Islamist militant attacks have killed more than 230 people over two years and plunged the country into a long-term state of emergency.

Play
Marine Le Pen: Mass Immigration Is a Tragedy for France 1:00

This anxiety deepened on the eve of the election after a gunman ambushed three Parisian police officers on the Champs-Elysees late Thursday, killing one and wounding two others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting and French President Francois Hollande said it was likely a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, the FN’s influence has spread from its heartlands along the Mediterranean coast and in the rust-belt north, into rural “forgotten” France.

‘Marine is different’

Polling institute Elabe recently predicted that 22 percent of women would vote for the National Front in the first round Sunday — almost 5 percent more than in 2012.

With just days to go, polls show the race is tightening. Centrist Emmanuel Macron is edging his way ahead on 24 percent and Le Pen is a fraction behind on 22.5 percent, according to Bloomberg polling.

Just below them, hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has enjoyed a late surge and scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon has hung in there despite a slew of allegations that he paid thousands of euros to his British-born wife for assistance she allegedly did not provide. A third of voters remain undecided.

Image: French far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen is kissed by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen
Front National leader Marine Le Pen is kissed by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen after being re-elected as president of the party on Nov. 30, 2014.Laurent Cipriani / AP, file

The FN’s ability to motivate French women could be decisive. Traditionally, it has struggled to attract female voters amid accusations of sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.

In its early years under Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party advocated a traditional image of women, opposed abortion rights and developed a reputation for a macho, strongman culture.

This bias showed. The FN was far less successful at attracting women than men. During Jean-Marie Le Pen’ time in charge, around 12 percent of French women supported the party compared with 17 percent of men, according toSciences Po Cevipof, a political institute based in Paris.

Marine Le Pen changed this.

Since taking over in 2011, she has softened the party’s image, steering the FN away from some of its overtly anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric in an effort to broaden its electoral base. In 2015, she expelled her father after he repeated his view that the Holocaust was a “detail of history.”

In the run up to the this year’s election, Le Pen dropped her last name from campaign handouts, referring to herself simply as Marine.

More recently, she specifically targeted the female vote. She has published special pamphlets and a campaign video that describes her as a woman and a mother and shows her flicking through family photo albums. She has also changed the party’s logo from a flame to a blue rose.

‘Hitler-like figure’

For Troin, the children’s clothes seller in Cogolin, her interest in the National Front has grown with Marine Le Pen’s rise. While immigration, job security and her fear of Islam remained underlying motivators, she was also attracted to the party’s re-brand.

For her, the former leader “was too outspoken, too offensive. He was a Hitler-like figure,” Troin said. “But Marine is different.”

In the last presidential election in 2012 — the first with Marine Le Pen as leader — the party’s gender gap closed to 1.5 percentage points. It’s what Cevipof professor and FN expert Nonna Mayer called the “Marine Le Pen effect.”

The party has long advocated clamping down on immigration and securing borders, and throughout her campaign Le Pen has consistently made the country’s Muslims a target.

Image: Marine Le Pen supporters cheer
Marine Le Pen supporters cheer at a rally in the southern city of Marseille on Wednesday.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

“In France we respect women, we don’t beat them, we don’t ask them to hide themselves behind a veil as if they were impure. We drink wine when we want, we can criticize religion and speak freely,” she said during a rally Monday night, comments clearly aimed at Muslims.

During the rally, Le Pen pledged to suspend all visas from non-European migrants hoping to join their families in France — often code for immigrants from mainly Muslim North Africa and the Middle East.

After Thursday night’s attack in Paris, she again singled out what she sees as the threat posed by Islam.

“It is a war in which there can be no retreat because all our population and all our territory are exposed,” she said.

And for all her rebranding, Marine Le Pen can also fall back into the older, harsher style of messaging.

Cathy, a 50-year-old dental assistant who was shopping for groceries in Cogolin, said she was all set to vote FN but was taken aback by Le Pen’s recent comments that the French were not to blame for the anti-Jewish policies of the government during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Referring to the “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of Jews by French police in July 1942, in which nearly 13,000 were detained and deported to concentration camps, Le Pen told French radio earlier this month she thought France was “not responsible.”

Cathy, who didn’t want to be identified by her second name, said Le Pen’s remarks had made her pause.

“Perhaps she has the same ideas as her father but they’re just hidden behind good PR skills,” she said. “So I’m still thinking.”

Others needed no time to reflect.

“The FN is xenophobic, racist and anti-feminist,” said retired teacher Mireille Escarrat. “For me it feels like the 1930s. We’re going backwards.”

‘I don’t talk politics here’

Many of the National Front supporters interviewed by NBC News were reluctant to admit it, and others were concerned about being named.

“I don’t talk politics here,” a local woman said, having led the way into a backroom of her business in the town. The 60-year-old asked not to be named or for her business to be described because she felt that admitting her loyalty to the FN would damage her reputation.

“I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t for my business,” she added, out of earshot of her customers. “But this is somewhere everyone can come whether you vote communist or for the right.”

Even in this town — where 53 percent of the population voted FN in 2014 — voting Le Pen still carries a social stigma. There’s no telling just how many closet female FN voters there may be.

The party’s marriage of socialist economic policy and right-wing identity politics is working in the town, which sits in the FN’s traditional southern heartland. With the decline of traditional industries and unemployment at 18 percent, locals worry Cogolin is being reduced to a seasonal economy dependent on rich resort communities.

Newly-converted women at the FN’s regional headquarters in neighboring Sainte-Maxime said Sunday’s election would be the first time they voted for the Front in a presidential race.

“We didn’t vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen because he scared us,” said Monique Guckert, 67, a retired shop assistant. “His ideas were too fascist, too racist. It was too much.”

Image: Mayor Marc Etienne Lansade sits at his desk
Cogolin’s mayor Marc Etienne Lansade sits at his desk.Saphora Smith / for NBC News

Even the FN mayor of Cogolin, Marc Etienne Lansade, admitted his mother would never have voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“He drove her crazy,” he said. “Women understand Marine Le Pen, she’s divorced, she has three children, she works — she’s a modern woman,” he added, sitting in his second-floor office in the town hall.

Still, not all women appreciate Le Pen’s message. On Monday, a topless protester carrying flowers charged the candidate during a rally northern Paris.

Le Pen does not try to make out that she is a feminist. Of her 144 manifesto pledges, only one addresses women’s issues. In it, she promises to defend women’s rights by fighting against Islam, implementing a plan for equal pay and combating social and job insecurity.

“She’s a fake feminist,” said Camille Froidevaux-Metterie, a political scientist and expert on women in politics at the University of Reims.

Asked if a Le Pen win would be a victory for women, she said that though symbolically “it would not be nothing.” She said it would mean France is ready for a female president but would have elected one on a non-feminist agenda.

“It’s a sort of paradox,” she said.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/french-elections-marine-le-pen-backed-quiet-army-women-n748136

French elections: New poll shows Macron’s lead over Le Pen is narrowing

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The Pronk Pops Show 877, April 20, 2017, Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos — Story 2: Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement Legacy Heading Towards The Wastebasket? No. Certification Granted and Sanctions Suspended — All Talk–No Action — Bad Appeasement Deal Stands — Videos– Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos — Story 4 Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —

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Story 1: Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Bomb North Korea If You Must — Videos —

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Iran could be the next North Korea

Tillerson Threatens Iran: ‘The Great Destabilizer’?

Trump Shies Away From Striking Down Obama Era Iran Deal: Why It Doesn’t Matter

What’s In The Iran Nuclear Deal?

Implementation of the JCPOA: Is It Working?

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson described a landmark Iran nuclear deal as a failure on Wednesday, only hours after the State Department said Tehran was complying with its terms. But the top United States diplomat stopped short of threatening to jettison the 2015 agreement that was brokered by world powers, or saying whether the Trump administration would punish Iran with new sanctions.

The whiplash left Republicans on Capitol Hill, who had universally excoriated the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and voted against its implementation, uncertain of how to respond. Its architects, however, said they were cautiously optimistic that the deal would stay in place.

The nuclear deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” Mr. Tillerson said. “It only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state.”

He said that Iran continued to threaten the United States and the rest of the world, and he announced that the Trump administration was reviewing ways to counter challenges posed by Tehran.

It was an attempt to clarify a State Department certification, issued shortly before a midnight deadline on Tuesday, that said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement that also eased crippling international sanctions against the Islamic republic’s economy. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump denounced the agreement as “the worst deal ever,” and Vice President Pence promised to rip it up.

In a hastily called news conference at the State Department on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson likened Iran to North Korea, whose nuclear weaponry and burgeoning missile technology is what the administration now believes is the gravest risk to world peace and security. Mr. Pence visited Seoul, South Korea, this week to declare that the United States was united with its allies to stem North Korea’s threat.

The Iran deal “represents the same failed approach to the past that brought us to the current imminent threat that we face from North Korea,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters. “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear: Iran’s provocative actions threaten the United States, the region and the world.”

Once the National Security Council completes a review of the nuclear deal, Mr. Tillerson said, “we will meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction.”

Hours earlier, late on Tuesday night, Mr. Tillerson sent a terse letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan pledging to evaluate whether earlier suspension of sanctions against Iran, as required under the terms of the nuclear agreement, “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

A man of few words, Mr. Tillerson has sometimes found that his cryptic remarks create more confusion than clarity among allies, friends and even adversaries. Earlier on Wednesday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, offered little additional information about the Iran certification. He refused to say whether the Trump administration would add the Iran deal to a series of other stunning foreign policy reversals it has made by deciding to retain it instead of ripping it up or renegotiating the agreement as promised.

“I think part of the review, the interagency process, is to determine where Iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the president on the path forward,” Mr. Spicer said.

The enigmatic remarks left top Republicans on Capitol Hill nonplused. Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican who led congressional opposition to the Iran deal, said in a statement that the administration’s “certification is shaky, and it doesn’t mean that the intentions behind Iran’s nuclear program are benign.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration appeared to be preparing a tougher line against Iran.

“Secretary Tillerson made clear that regardless of Iran’s technical compliance with the nuclear deal, the administration is under no illusion about the continued threat from Tehran and is prepared to work closely with Congress to push back,” Mr. Corker said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s certification extends sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for continued constraints on its nuclear program. American sanctions, as approved by Congress, were suspended instead of revoked; they can be reimposed with the stroke of a presidential pen.

The Trump administration has given itself 90 days to complete its review, but it will need to make a series of decisions in coming weeks about whether to continue its support of the deal, which was also brokered with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Those governments, along with representatives of the United States and Iran, will meet next week in Vienna to review the pact’s progress.

Mr. Trump faces a mid-May deadline, as imposed by Congress, to decide whether to continue the suspension of sanctions.

Backing away from the agreement would spur enormous consternation across Europe and in Moscow.

In their first congratulatory phone calls to Mr. Trump after his electoral victory, both President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany emphasized the need to keep the Iran deal in place. And after her first meeting with Mr. Tillerson in February, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign minister, said the Trump administration pledged “to stick to the full strict implementation of the agreement in all its parts.”

Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.

“I’m glad this deal has held up to this point, and I hope it continues to hold up,” said Wendy Sherman, a former under secretary of state who was deeply involved in negotiating terms of the deal during the Obama administration.

Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was involved in Iran policy under President Barack Obama, said it was “pretty much a foregone conclusion” that Mr. Trump would keep the nuclear agreement in place.

Still, the administration has sought since its first days in office to ratchet up pressure on Iran. In January, before he resigned, Michael T. Flynn, then the national security adviser, walked into the White House briefing room and declared that the administration was “officially putting Iran on notice” after it launched a ballistic missile.

The Trump administration has returned the United States to closer ties with its traditional Arab friends in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Part of those ties means supporting those nations, which are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, in their intense rivalry with Iran, a Shiite power.

By contrast, by the end of his second term, Mr. Obama had begun to view those sectarian tensions with a jaundiced eye, believing the United States should not intervene in a millennium-old religious struggle.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Tillerson attended a United States-Saudi Arabia chief executive summit meeting where he declared that he was “pleased to be here today to reaffirm the very strong partnership that exists between the United States and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that sought to defeat the Iran deal, said the administration may still walk away from the agreement or renegotiate it. He contended that the administration “should not be bound by arms control agreements that are deeply flawed.”

And even Ms. Sherman shied away from predicting it will remain in place. “I’m taking this one day at a time,” she said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/world/middleeast/trump-administration-grudgingly-confirms-irans-compliance-with-nuclear-deal.html?_r=0

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement.
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location Vienna, Austria
Signatories Iran, P5+1, European Union
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; Persian: برنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, translit. barnāme jāme‘ eqdām moshtarak‎, acronym: برجامBARJAM),[3][4] known commonly as the Iran deal or Iran nuclear deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChina, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement and in July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 agreed on the plan.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.

Background

A nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (P-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[7][8][9] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[10] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary fornuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[11] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[9][11]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[12] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[12]

In 1979, the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[12] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[12]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khan network.[12] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment.”[12] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencies have long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[12] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[13]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility.[12][14] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[12] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[14] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[14]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[12][14] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[14] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[12][14] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[12] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[12]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[14][15] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[12][14] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[12][14]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[12][14] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[14] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[14] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[14] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[14]Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[16] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[16] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[12][14] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[16][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[12] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[22] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[14]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[23] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[23] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[23]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[24] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[24]

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[14][25] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[14][26] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[27] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[28] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[14][28]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[29] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[28] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[30] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[28][30]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the ArakIR-40heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[31]

Negotiations

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[32][33]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[34] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[35] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[36] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[37]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[38][39] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2014, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburg lasting for seventeen days.[40] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[40] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[40] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[40]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[41] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[42]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[43][44] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[43] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[43]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system.”[45]

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[46]

Signatories

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[33] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[33][47][48]

Nuclear

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[49]Belfer Center[50]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0 Unconstrained
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained Unconstrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg Unconstrained
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg Unconstrained
  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[33][51][52][53] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[51][52][54]However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[55] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[51][52][53] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[50][56]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[33][51] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[31][52][53] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[57][58] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[51]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[31] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[51]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[59] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[31] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[60] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[61] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[31]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[31][51][53]
  • Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[62]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[51][52][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[73] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[74] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[74][75] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[43][76] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[73]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[43]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[75] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[77] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[75] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[75] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[75] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[78][79] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[78] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[79]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[33][51][80][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[50] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[82][83] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[84]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[33][80] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[33][80] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[50]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to January 16, 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[85] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[86]

Sanctions

Further information: Sanctions against Iran

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[87]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[88]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[89] by presidential action or executive waiver.[90]Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[91]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[89][92][93]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[33][94]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[53][95] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[88]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[96]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[51][52][96]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[53][97] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[97] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[42][97] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[57]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[97] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[98]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[99][100][101][102][103]

The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II.[104] Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations CharterIran – has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[104][105][106] All other cases have ended through either regime change, war or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[107]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing countryIran[104][108] and backs an agreement (JCPOA) signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[104][109] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country –Iran– was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it –1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835, 1929– without even one day of implementating them.[104]Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[104]

In the 47-year history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[110]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[111]Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[104] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[112] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[104]

Pictured here, Iranian foreign affairs minister and U.S. secretary of state shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquarters for the first time.[113]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates –sometimes multiple occasions a day– and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[114] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations –which counts as Iranian soil– to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[114][115] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, U.S. PresidentBarack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[116] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[117]

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

Story 3: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack In Paris, France Target Police One Officer Killed and One Wounded and One Shooter Killed and One Escaped — Videos — 

Image result for paris france shootings april 20, 2017 Image result for paris france shootings april 20, 2017

One Officer Killed, One Wounded In Paris Shooting | NBC News

Trump Says Paris Shooting Looks Like Terror Attack

BREAKING Paris ISLAMIC Terrorist with Machine Gun kills police officer 2nd hurt April 20 2017 News

BREAKING!!! TERROR ATTACK IN PARIS!!!

Paris shooting ‘looks like another terrorist attack’ Trump says: ‘It just never ends’

  • The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon in the White House’s East Room
  • French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act’ 
  • ‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump said 

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’

The U.S. president addressed the assault on two police officers at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

‘It just never ends,’ he said of the terror threat from the White House’s East Room.

French police say the incident involving at least two gunman was probably a ‘terrorist act.’

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today 'looks like another terrorist attack.'

President Donald Trump says a shooting in Paris today ‘looks like another terrorist attack.’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said just before the news conference began that Trump had been briefed on the shooting that happened while he was meeting with the Italian prime minister.

‘Condolences from our country to the people for France again. It’s happening it seems,’ Trump said from the podium. ‘I just saw it as I was walking in, so it’s a terrible thing and it’s a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today.’

Trump did not comment on the assault at the top of his remarks but said after he was asked for a reaction, ‘It looks like another terrorist attack, and what can you say? It just never ends.

‘We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,’ Trump told Fox News’ John Roberts.

France is in the process of holding a national election. The first round of voting begins on April 23.

A gunman wielding an AK-47 killed one police officer and wounded another today on the Champs-Elysees. The assailant was killed in the showdown with police, Paris police have said. Another suspect is believed to have been involved, as well.

Police just two days ago arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015 and have killed over 230 people.

Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.

‘Stay back, stay back!’ Police warn after shooting in Paris

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

Police closed off the popular avenue (pictured) after a policeman was killed during a shooting incident in the French capital

A French police officer was tonight shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) - just as presidential candidates took part in a TV debate nearby

A French police officer was tonight shot dead on the Champs Elysees in Paris (pictured) – just as presidential candidates took part in a TV debate nearby

Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.

For weeks, centrist Emanuel Macron and National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen have been out in front.

Scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.

Opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round run-off on May 7 if none of them reach a majority in this weekend’s election.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4430264/Paris-shooting-looks-like-terror-Trump-says.html

PARIS SHOOTING

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and ‘two seriously injured’ as ‘ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s’ open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

The officers were gunned down in the central boulevard of the famous street at around 9pm local time

A POLICEMAN has died and two are seriously injured after at least one gunman opened fire “with an AK47” in central Paris this evening.

A 39-year-old gunman was killed by police following the “terror attack” at the central boulevard of the Champs-Élysé, which ISIS have claimed responsibility for.

Paris

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Three policemen have been shot – one dead – in Paris

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A man raises his arms in front of police officers close to the scene in Paris

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Forensics search a car thought to have been driven by the attacker

Arc De Triomph

EPA
Emergency services guard the Arc De Triomph
 

Footage potentially show s the moments after the Paris shootingPolice say the suspect was from an eastern Paris in suburb, despite ISIS naming him as a Belgian national on their Amaq news agency.

He is thought to have been known to security services for “extremist links”.

The shooter’s house in an eastern Paris suburb and other addresses are being searched by officers, a source told Reuters.

Cops have said they are hunting a second suspect who may or may not be involved in the incident.

Local police advised people to avoid the area after shots were fired at around 9pm local time.

Witnesses said the attacker pulled up beside a stationery police car and fired through the window.

“He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov and I heard six gunshots,” a witness named Chelloug said.

“I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no one.

“In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police.

Champs-Élysée

TWITTER
The officers were gunned down at around 9pm local time

police

REUTERS
A police van at the scene in Paris, where a policeman has been shot
 

Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman

 

Two French police officers killed by gunman in Paris ‘terror’ attack”I think he hit a policeman. As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell, I think.

“As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside (a building). We hid and I went up to the first floor and we saw them (the policeman) shoot him (the perpetrator).”

He added: ” I was afraid. I have a two year-old girl and I thought I was going to die… He shot straight at the police officer.”

President Francois Hollande said officials are “convinced” the incident is a terror attack.

Paris Prosecutor’s anti-terror office has opened an inquiry.

Champs-Elysees boulevard

GETTY IMAGES
The shooting took place at the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard

as-map-paris-shooting

The policeman was shot dead on the central boulevard of the Champs-Elysees

Paris

Police on high alert after three officers were shot in Paris

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and 'two seriously injured' as 'ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s' open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

Women raise their arms as they head towards armed police

Eyewitness of the Paris shooting says he heard six gun shots between police and the gunman

 

ISIS claims it was behind Paris police shootingYvan Assioma of the police union Alliance said: “The exact circumstances are still unclear but I can confirm the tragic death of one of our colleagues. Our thoughts are very much with the family.

“One or several attackers have been shot dead by the police. Some officers were hit but the bullets were stopped by their bulletproof vests, but two were hit.

“Nothing is being ruled out for the time being, terrorism or a criminal act.”

Eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower is seen behind police cars

Paris

TWITTER/JAMES MATE
As police car at the scene in Paris, where a police officer has reportedly been killed

Paris shooting leaves one policeman dead and 'two seriously injured' as 'ISIS terrorists armed with AK47s' open fire on the Champs-Élysée in Paris

A soldier stands guard in front of the illuminated Arc De Triomphe
 

Champs-Elysees in Paris evacuated after two police officers shot dead

 

French police closes traffic on Champs Elysees after shootingA Government spokesperson said: “An automatic weapon was used against police, a weapon of war.

“The shooting started shortly after 9pm, when a car stopped alongside a stationary police car.

“A man immediately got out and opened fire on the police car, fatally wounding a police officer. He also wounded a second one, it would seem very seriously.”

The shooting happened near the Métro station Franklin D Roosevelt and the Marks and Spencer store on the Champs-Elysées.

It is one of the most famous streets in the world and a busy tourist hub.

Armed police and emergency services have been spotted at the scene.

Paris

Passersby raise their arms as they pass the scene

Police

An armed policeman stands guard with the Arc de Triomphe in the background

Police

Emergency services at the scene of a fatal shooting in Paris

Paris

Members of the public have been advised to steer clear of the area

police

A police cordon is in place around the scene
 

Armed officers tak e position behind a kiosk on the Champs ElyséesFrance’s President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings.

French Presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Francois Fill0n have cancelled their trips tomorrow.

The shooting comes just just days ahead of France’s presidential election.

On Tuesday, days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

PAris

A soldier guides people away from the scene in Paris

PAris

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
A police officer close to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris

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Armed police at the scene in Paris

Paris

Emergency services rushed to the scene in Paris
 

Policeman shot dead and ‘two seriously injured’ on Champs-Élysé, Paris

 

Police officers evacuate people off the Champs Elysees after ‘terror attack’France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

The UK Foreign Office said: “The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.

“If you’re in the area and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3376910/paris-shooting-terror-attack-champs-elysees/

Story 4: Republicans Return Repeal Replace Obamacare — Compromise Should Pass House by April 28, 2017 Videos —

House Republicans Close To Obamacare Repeal

Published on Apr 20, 2017

House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans are edging closer to a deal on repealing Obamacare. The agreement, brokered by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s community rating system, a rule that prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender, or health status. States that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.

Ryan Claims GOP Healthcare Bill Still Alive

Reviving Obamacare repeal and replace efforts an uphill battle for GOP?

Andy Puzder on Trump’s renewed push to repeal, replace ObamaCare

It’s going to be nearly impossible for Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare next week

Paul Ryan donald trump

The developing plan from House Republicans to push forward their overhaul of the US healthcare system has one big problem: timing.

According to reports, the White House is pushing to get a deal done on the American Health Care Act by April 28 to show progress on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days.

A new amendment leaked Wednesday night appears to be a compromise between the leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Tuesday Group that could produce some movement on the bill in that timeframe.

But Congress faces another looming deadline by April 28: funding the federal government. If no new funding bill is passed by next Friday, parts of the federal government will shut down.

Washington is not known for multitasking, and it could be difficult to get a funding bill passed as the White House and lawmakers push to add policy proposals to the funding bill. Given the political ramifications of the issue, the shutdown fight could consume the calendar.

According to Politico, the White House and Congress are considering passage of a one-week extension on funding in order to hash out a more considered funding bill and possibly give the House time to take up the AHCA, which became colloquially known as “Trumpcare.”

Barring such an extension, however, it would be highly unlikely that the American Health Care Act moves forward before Trump’s 100th day in the Oval Office.

http://www.businessinsider.com/trumpcare-ahca-house-gop-government-shutdown-problem-2017-4

Here’s the plan that some Republican leaders think will get their Obamacare repeal bill to pass

Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, said on Wednesday that the GOP was putting the “finishing touches” on an Obamacare deal. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Republicans are closing in on a deal to try — again — to push their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare through the House.

The compromise, first reported by Matt Fuller and Jonathan Cohn at The Huffington Post, would allow states to obtain a waiver from the federal government to do away with certain protections from the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

According to The Huffington Post, the deal would initially keep two provisions — essential health benefits and community rating — favored by moderate GOP lawmakers but allow states to waive these protections. In order to waive the protections, states would have to fulfill two provisions: prove that the waiver would bring down costs and either join a federal high-risk pool or establish their own.

The full text of the proposed amendment, obtained by Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, states that the waiver would be granted by the federal government if the state can prove that it has an alternative to “reduce premium costs, increase the number of persons with healthcare coverage, or advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

Essential health benefits require insurers to cover a baseline of health procedures such as prenatal care and emergency room visits. Community rating means that insurers must charge people living in the same area the same price for insurance regardless of things such as age, gender, or preexisting conditions.

“The gist of this is that federal protections for pre-existing conditions and required benefits remain…unless a state doesn’t want them to,” tweeted Larry Levitt, senior vice president at health policy think thank The Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday.

Without the community rating, insurers could charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums and some policy experts fear this could price sick people out of the market.

However, this means that the Trump administration, most likely Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, would have final say on whether or not a waiver is granted.

While the deal was reportedly reached by conservative House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows and moderate Tuesday Group chair Rep. Tom MacArthur, it also bears similarities to a previous deal that drew the ire of moderates for going too far in pulling back protections.

Additionally, it does not address the concerns of moderates such as the defunding of Medicaid expansion or the estimates that the Affordable Health Care Act could leave up to 24 million fewer people without health coverage over the next 10 years.

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported after the amendment’s outline was leaked that the GOP leadership is planning to release the exact language for the amendment later on Thursday and are targeting Wednesday for a vote on the revised bill, but that could change.

According to CNBC, a Freedom Caucus source said the changes would bring 18 to 20 members of the group who were originally against the AHCA over to a “yes” vote on the bill. It is unclear how many moderate Republicans would shift to a “no.” By most accounts the House GOP was as many as 33 votes short of the needed number when the AHCA went to the House floor on March 24.

The amendment comes the day after reports that the White House was pushing for a deal to be completed by the end of next week in order to show progress during Trump’s first 100 days as president. Additionally, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in London on Wednesday that the GOP was putting the “finishing touches” on an Obamacare deal.

Passing the AHCA, even with the proposed changes, would be difficult in the short-term as Congress must also pass a bill to fund the federal government before parts of it shut down on April 28.

Read the full summary of the amendment, via Politico (PDF) »

Treasury’s Mnuchin: We’re ‘pretty close’ to bringing forward ‘major tax reform’

Jacob Pramuk |

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at 2017 Institute of International Finance (IIF) policy summit in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2017.

Mnuchin: Most significant tax code change since Reagan  9 Hours Ago | 01:19

The Trump administration is close to bringing forward “major tax reform,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday, days after he tempered expectations for how quickly it will pass.

Mnuchin, who this week backed off of his earlier goal of passing tax reform by August, said the White House will unveil a plan “very soon.” However, the Trump administration previously missed several of its deadlines for releasing its tax plan.

In terms of timing, he said he hoped passing a tax overhaul will not “take till the end of the year.”

Mnuchin spoke at the Institute of International Finance Washington Policy Summit, where White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn was set to appear later Thursday.

In a Financial Times interview published Monday, Mnuchin said getting a bill to President Donald Trump‘s desk before August is “highly aggressive to not realistic at this point.” He said in February that he wanted to see “very significant” tax reform passed by Congress’ August recess.

The business community has hoped Republicans can move quickly on overhauling the American tax system, a prospect that partly fueled stock market gains in the months following Trump’s election. However, political realities have tempered expectations for changes to the tax system.

Republicans attempted to pass legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act before moving to a tax reform bill. That effort failed late last month, and Mnuchin said the setback contributed to his assessment that passing a tax overhaul by August could be difficult.

Trump put the pressure back on Tuesday after Mnuchin and Cohn appeared to walk back expectations for how quickly tax reform will happen. He called out Mnuchin by name during a speech at Snap-on headquarters in Wisconsin.

“So we’re in very good shape on tax reform. We have the concept of the plan. We’re going to be announcing it very soon,” Trump said at that time. “But health care, we have to get the health care taken care of, and as soon as health care takes care of we are going to march very quickly. You’re going to watch. We’re going to surprise you. Right, Steve Mnuchin? Right?”

Even though the president sounded optimistic Tuesday, the Trump administration has set deadlines for tax policy before that have not come to pass. In late February, Trump said the tax plan was “very well finalized,” only a day after press secretary Sean Spicer said it would be released “in the next couple weeks.

Republicans have refocused on resurrecting the effort to repeal the ACA, better known as Obamacare, as they get set to return from a recess next week. House GOP leaders are trying to balance the concerns of the both the party’s conservative and moderate wings as they try to follow through on a major campaign pledge.

Mnuchin said Thursday that “whether health care gets done or health care doesn’t get done, we’re going to get tax reform done.”

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/treasurys-mnuchin-were-pretty-close-to-bringing-forward-major-tax-reform.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 866, April 3, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Obamagate Surveillance/Spying Scandal Spreading — Abuse of Power By Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice — Requested Revealing or Unmasking of American Citizen Identities Including Trump and Trump Campaign and Transition Teams For 7 Months (July 2016 – January 2017) — The Smoking Gun — What Did President Obama Know and When Did He Know It? — Videos — Story 2: Lying Lunatic Left Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez Cracks up — Trump Didn’t Win Election — Videos —

Posted on April 3, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, News, Obama, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Senate, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Breaking News — Story 1: Obamagate Surveillance/Spying Scandal Spreading — Abuse of Power By Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice — Requested Revealing or Unmasking of American Citizen Identities Including Trump and Trump Campaign and Transition Teams For 7 Months (July 2016 – January 2017) — The Smoking Gun — Videos — 

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Rice asked for Trump transition associates to be unmasked

Where does the Susan Rice story go from here?

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Obama’s SPY Susan Rice CAUGHT SPYING ON TRUMP and Trump’s Team said Rush Limbaugh

Furious AG Sessions: we will convict some people to make the leaking stop

Susan Rice Unmasked Trump Team, 1566

Published on Apr 3, 2017

This video is about Susan Rice Unmasked Trump Team, 1566

President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, deliberately unmasked President-Elect Donald Trump, and other incoming Trump officials, according to reporter Michael Chernovich.
Furthermore, Chernovich learned that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman has had this story for at least 48 hours, and has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of Obama.
According to Chernovich:
“The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests.”
“The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.”
According to Chernovich two other people close to Obama had authorization to unmask the names of Americans as well: CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Yesterday, Fox News announced that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif, knew who unmasked General Michael Flynn, saying that the person was:
“… very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world.”
I had speculated that that person may have been Jeh Johnson, the former Director of Homeland Security. We will see in the morning if the Fox report confirms that it was indeed Susan Rice.
If it was Rice, that puts the source of this felonious conduct right at the door of former President Obama.

Susan Rice On Unmasking Of Trump Team, ‘I Know Nothing’

Multiple Felonies Committed By Obama Admin. Obama Surveillance on Trump.

Obama Official Admits They Were Surveilling Trump & His Team, Unmasking Names & Leaking Intel

Team Obama Gets Caught Committing Political Espionage, Spying on Trump & His Team

Susan Rice Reportedly “Unmasked” Trump in Incidental Data Collection

Trump Proven 100% Right about Obama Admin “Wiretapping”(Surveilling) Him & His Team

 Donald Trump’s Administration was Wiretapped | Rand Paul

Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, John Brennan are suspects: James Comey Intelligence Hearing @ congressRand Paul Calls For Susan Rice To Testify On Unmasking Trump Officials

Susan Rice requested to unmask names of Trump transition officials, sources say

Multiple sources tell Fox News that Susan Rice, former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.

The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.

The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office.

It was not clear how Rice knew to ask for the names to be unmasked, but the question was being posed by the sources late Monday.

Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. “Spied on before nomination.” The real story.

“What I know is this …  If the intelligence community professionals decide that there’s some value, national security, foreign policy or otherwise in unmasking someone, they will grant those requests,” former Obama State Department spokeswoman and Fox News contributor Marie Harf told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on “The First 100 Days. “And we have seen no evidence … that there was partisan political notice behind this and we can’t say that unless there’s actual evidence to back that up.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, asked about the revelations at Monday’s briefing, declined to comment specifically on what role Rice may have played or officials’ motives.

“I’m not going to comment on this any further until [congressional] committees have come to a conclusion,” he said, while contrasting the media’s alleged “lack” of interest in these revelations with the intense coverage of suspected Trump-Russia links.

When names of Americans are incidentally collected, they are supposed to be masked, meaning the name or names are redacted from reports – whether it is international or domestic collection, unless it is an issue of national security, crime or if their security is threatened in any way. There are loopholes and ways to unmask through backchannels, but Americans are supposed to be protected from incidental collection. Sources told Fox News that in this case, they were not.

This comes in the wake of Evelyn Farkas’ television interview last month in which the former Obama deputy secretary of defense said in part: “I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill – it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”

Meanwhile, Fox News also is told that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes knew about unmasking and leaking back in January, well before President Trump’s tweet in March alleging wiretapping.

Nunes has faced criticism from Democrats for viewing pertinent documents on White House grounds and announcing their contents to the press. But sources said “the intelligence agencies slow-rolled Nunes. He could have seen the logs at other places besides the White House SCIF [secure facility], but it had already been a few weeks. So he went to the White House because he could protect his sources and he could get to the logs.”

As the Obama administration left office, it also approved new rules that gave the NSA much broader powers by relaxing the rules about sharing intercepted personal communications and the ability to share those with 16 other intelligence agencies.

Rice is no stranger to controversy. As the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, she appeared on several Sunday news shows to defend the adminstration’s later debunked claim that the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya was triggered by an Internet video.

Rice also told ABC News in 2014 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction” and that he “wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.”

Bergdahl is currently facing court-martial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for allegedly walking off his post in Afghanistan.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/03/susan-rice-requested-to-unmask-names-trump-transition-officials-sources-say.html

JULIEGRACE BRUFKE,  Capitol Hill Reporter

GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he believes former National Security Advisor Susan Rice should testify before Congress on her request to unmask the names of Trump transition officials collected during routine intelligence-gathering operations.

Paul argued the situation should not be downplayed, saying reforms need to be made to prevent individuals from being blackmailed on personal aspects of their lives through unmasking. He noted there was nothing stopping the former administration from looking through Trump officials and national security advisors’ conversations during the transition window.

“If it is allowed, we shouldn’t be allowing it, but I don’t think should just discount how big a deal it is that Susan Rice was looking at these,” he told reporters Monday. “And she needs to be asked, ‘Did President Obama ask her to do this? Was this a directive from President Obama?  I think she should testify under oath on this.”

Paul said he has long thought there are too many people with the ability to unmask individuals.

“The law says you can’t reverse target people, but how would you know that once you get inside the brain and the people that are unmasking people,” Paul continued. “So, what if I decided to unmask and I’m there and I only unmask the conversations of my Democrat opponents — shouldn’t there be more restrictions for unmasking people in the political process?”

He said he believes there should be two individuals at the top of the agency to allow for identities to be unmasked. Paul noted the process is indiscriminate, noting the United States previously captured every phone call in Italy for a month.

“Basically there’s no Fourth Amendment when you use these kinds of things, you go with a lower standard because we’ve got to protect the country and we don’t care about spying on foreigners,” he said, adding there are said to be millions of Americans caught up in the country’s foreign targeting.

Paul said the president did not bring up the matter on their golf trip Sunday, but he voiced his opinion on the matter.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/03/rand-paul-calls-for-susan-rice-to-testify-on-unmasking-trump-officials/#ixzz4dDyYjidj

Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel

By Eli Lake

APRIL 3, 2017 10:13 AM EDT

White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.

Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning. Her role in requesting the identities of Trump transition officials adds an important element to the dueling investigations surrounding the Trump White House since the president’s inauguration.

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.

Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

Rice’s requests to unmask the names of Trump transition officials do not vindicate Trump’s own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower. There remains no evidence to support that claim.

But Rice’s multiple requests to learn the identities of Trump officials discussed in intelligence reports during the transition period does highlight a longstanding concern for civil liberties advocates about U.S. surveillance programs. The standard for senior officials to learn the names of U.S. persons incidentally collected is that it must have some foreign intelligence value, a standard that can apply to almost anything. This suggests Rice’s unmasking requests were likely within the law.

The news about Rice also sheds light on the strange behavior of Nunes in the last two weeks. It emerged last week that he traveled to the White House last month, the night before he made an explosive allegation about Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. At the time he said he needed to go to the White House because the reports were only on a database for the executive branch. It now appears that he needed to view computer systems within the National Security Council that would include the logs of Rice’s requests to unmask U.S. persons.

The ranking Democrat on the committee Nunes chairs, Representative Adam Schiff, viewed these reports on Friday. In comments to the press over the weekend he declined to discuss the contents of these reports, but also said it was highly unusual for the reports to be shown only to Nunes and not himself and other members of the committee.

Indeed, much about this is highly unusual: if not how the surveillance was collected, then certainly how and why it was disseminated.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-03/top-obama-adviser-sought-names-of-trump-associates-in-intel

White House logs indicate Susan Rice consumed unmasked intel on Trump associates

by Sara Carter and John Solomon

Computer logs that former President Obama’s team left behind in the White House indicate his national security adviser Susan Rice accessed numerous intelligence reports during Obama’s last seven months in office that contained National Security Agency intercepts involving Donald Trump and his associates, Circa has learned.

Intelligence sources said the logs discovered by National Security Council staff suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.

The exact national security justifications for Rice accessing the reports isn’t clear and may require additional documentation that the House and Senate intelligence committees have requested from the NSA, America’s lead agency in spying on foreign powers.

Rice has not returned repeated calls for comment from Circa. But in an interview with PBS recently, she said she had no idea what House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes was talking about when he said Obama officials were monitoring Trump associates after the election.

Both the Republican chairman and Democratic vice chairman of the Housing Intelligence Committee have been shown the documents discovered by the NSC over the last 10 days.

But Circa reported last week that Obama opened the door for his political aides like Rice to more easily gain access to unmasked Americans’ names in NSA intercepts through a series of rule changes beginning in 2011.

http://circa.com/politics/accountability/white-house-logs-indicate-susan-rice-consumed-unmasked-intel-on-trump-associates

Obama adviser Ben Rhodes claims Obama didn’t spy on Americans — instantly receives brutal fact check

Chris Enloe

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early on Saturday to bash NBC News anchor Chuck Todd for reporting on the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia instead of focusing on “Obama surveillance.”

Trump tweeted:

When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?

But Ben Rhodes, who served as a senior national security adviser for former President Barack Obama, took issue with Trump’s claim that the Obama administration surveyed him.

“There is no Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL even when you capitalize the words,” he tweeted at Trump.

However, Twitter was quick to hit back at Rhodes, given the Obama administration’s record of surveillance — which isn’t the best. Under Obama’s leadership, domestic spying became a key issue after they were caught spying on journalists from the Associated Press and Fox News correspondent James Rosen.

The Obama administration was even forced to weather a massive NSA spying scandal after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked thousands of NSA documents, which revealed government collection programs like PRISM.

Needless to say, no one was buying Rhodes’ lies.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/01/obama-adviser-ben-rhodes-claims-obama-didnt-spy-on-americans-instantly-receives-brutal-fact-check/

Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present)

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“Global surveillance disclosures” redirects here. For disclosures published before those of Edward Snowden, see Global surveillance disclosures (1970–2013).

Ongoing news reports in the international media have revealed operational details about the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and its international partners’ global surveillance[1] of foreign nationals and US citizens. The reports mostly emanate from a cache of top secret documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which he obtained whilst working for Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the largest contractors for defense and intelligence in the United States.[2] In addition to a trove of US federal documents, Snowden’s cache reportedly contains thousands of Australian, British and Canadian intelligence files that he had accessed via the exclusive “Five Eyes” network. In June 2013, the first of Snowden’s documents were published simultaneously by The Washington Post and The Guardian, attracting considerable public attention.[3] The disclosure continued throughout 2013, and a small portion of the estimated full cache of documents was later published by other media outlets worldwide, most notably The New York Times (United States), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Der Spiegel (Germany), O Globo (Brazil), Le Monde (France), L’espresso (Italy), NRC Handelsblad (the Netherlands), Dagbladet (Norway), El País (Spain), and Sveriges Television (Sweden).[4]

These media reports have shed light on the implications of several secret treaties signed by members of the UKUSA community in their efforts to implement global surveillance. For example, Der Spiegel revealed how the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) transfers “massive amounts of intercepted data to the NSA”,[5] while Swedish Television revealed the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) provided the NSA with data from its cable collection, under a secret treaty signed in 1954 for bilateral cooperation on surveillance.[6]Other security and intelligence agencies involved in the practice of global surveillance include those in Australia (ASD), Britain (GCHQ), Canada (CSEC), Denmark (PET), France (DGSE), Germany (BND), Italy (AISE), the Netherlands (AIVD), Norway (NIS), Spain (CNI), Switzerland (NDB), Singapore (SID) as well as Israel (ISNU), which receives raw, unfiltered data of US citizens that is shared by the NSA.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

On June 14, 2013, United States prosecutorscharged Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.[15] In late July 2013, he was granted a one-year temporary asylum by the Russian government,[16] contributing to a deterioration of Russia–United States relations.[17][18] On August 6, 2013, US President Barack Obama made a public appearance on national television where he told Americans that “We don’t have a domestic spying program” and that “There is no spying on Americans”.[19] Towards the end of October 2013, the British Prime Minister David Cameron warned The Guardiannot to publish any more leaks, or it will receive a DA-Notice.[20] In November 2013, a criminal investigation of the disclosure was being undertaken by Britain’s Metropolitan Police Service.[21] In December 2013, The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said: “We have published I think 26 documents so far out of the 58,000 we’ve seen.”[22]

The extent to which the media reports have responsibly informed the public is disputed. In January 2014, Obama said that “the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light”[23] and critics such as Sean Wilentz have noted that many of the Snowden documents released do not concern domestic surveillance.[24] In its first assessment of these disclosures, the Pentagon concluded that Snowden committed the biggest “theft” of U.S. secrets in the history of the United States.[25] Sir David Omand, a former director of GCHQ, described Snowden’s disclosure as the “most catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever”.[26]

Background

Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who led The Washington Posts coverage of Snowden’s disclosures, summarized the leaks as follows:

“Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations.”

The disclosure revealed specific details of the NSA’s close cooperation with U.S. federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)[28][29] and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)[30][31] in addition to the agency’s previously undisclosed financial payments to numerous commercial partners and telecommunications companies,[32][33][34] as well as its previously undisclosed relationships with international partners such as Britain,[35][36] France[12][37] Germany,[5][38] and its secret treaties with foreign governments that were recently established for sharing intercepted data of each other’s citizens.[7][39][40][41] The disclosures were made public over the course of several months since June 2013, by the press in several nations from the trove leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden,[42] who obtained the trove while working for Booz Allen Hamilton.[2]

George Brandis, the current Attorney-General of Australia, asserted that Snowden’s disclosure is the “most serious setback for Western intelligence since the Second World War.”[43]

Global surveillance

Main article: Global surveillance

As of December 2013, global surveillance programs include:

Global surveillance programs
Program International contributors and/or partners Commercial partners
United StatesPRISM
United StatesXKeyscore
United KingdomTempora
United KingdomMUSCULAR
GermanyProject 6
Stateroom
Lustre

The NSA was also getting data directly from telecommunications companies codenamed Artifice, Lithium, Serenade, SteelKnight, and X. The real identities of the companies behind these codenames were not included in the Snowden document dump because they were protected as Exceptionally Controlled Information which prevents wide circulation even to those (like Snowden) who otherwise have the necessary security clearance.[65][66]

Disclosures

Although the exact size of Snowden’s disclosure remains unknown, the following estimates have been put up by various government officials:

As a contractor of the NSA, Snowden was granted access to U.S. government documents along with top secret documents of several allied governments, via the exclusive Five Eyes network.[69] Snowden claims that he is currently not in physical possession of any of these documents, after having surrendered all copies to the journalists he met in Hong Kong.[70]

According to his lawyer, Snowden has pledged not to release any documents while in Russia, leaving the responsibility for further disclosures solely to journalists.[71] As of 2014, the following news outlets have accessed some of the documents provided by Snowden: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Channel 4, Der Spiegel, El Pais, El Mundo, L’espresso, Le Monde, NBC, NRC Handelsblad, Dagbladet, O Globo, South China Morning Post, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sveriges Television, The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Historical context

In the 1970s, NSA analyst Perry Fellwock (under the pseudonym “Winslow Peck”) revealed the existence of the UKUSA Agreement, which forms the basis of the ECHELON network, whose existence was revealed in 1988 by Lockheed employee Margaret Newsham.[72][73] Months before the September 11 attacks and during its aftermath, further details of the global surveillance apparatus were provided by various individuals such as the former MI5 official David Shayler and the journalist James Bamford,[74][75] who were followed by:

In the aftermath of Snowden’s revelations, The Pentagon concluded that Snowden committed the biggest theft of U.S. secrets in the history of the United States.[25] In Australia, the coalition government described the leaks as the most damaging blow dealt to Australian intelligence in history.[43] Sir David Omand, a former director of GCHQ, described Snowden’s disclosure as the “most catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever”.[26]

Timeline

The Mira hotel in Hong Kong, where Edward Snowden hosted his first meeting with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and journalist Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian[86]

In April 2012, NSA contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents.[87] That year, Snowden had made his first contact with journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and he contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in January 2013.[88][89]

2013

May

In May 2013, Snowden went on temporary leave from his position at the NSA, citing the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy. Towards the end of May, he traveled to Hong Kong.[90][91] Greenwald, Poitras and the Guardian’s defence and intelligence correspondent Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong to meet Snowden.

June

After the U.S.-based editor of The Guardian, Janine Gibson, held several meetings in New York City, it was decided that Greenwald, Poitras and the Guardians defence and intelligence correspondent Ewen MacAskill would fly to Hong Kong to meet Snowden. On June 5, in the first media report based on the leaked material,[92]The Guardian exposed a top secret court order showing that the NSA had collected phone records from over 120 million Verizon subscribers.[93] Under the order, the numbers of both parties on a call, as well as the location data, unique identifiers, time of call, and duration of call were handed over to the FBI, which turned over the records to the NSA.[93] According to The Wall Street Journal, the Verizon order is part of a controversial data program, which seeks to stockpile records on all calls made in the U.S., but does not collect information directly from T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless, in part because of their foreign ownership ties.[94]

On June 6, 2013, the second media disclosure, the revelation of the PRISM surveillance program (which collects the e-mail, voice, text and video chats of foreigners and an unknown number of Americans from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple and other tech giants),[95][96][97][98] was published simultaneously by The Guardian and The Washington Post.[86][99]

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Der Spiegel revealed NSA spying on multiple diplomatic missions of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Headquarters in New York.[100][101] During specific episodes within a four-year period, the NSA hacked several Chinese mobile-phone companies,[102] the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University in Beijing,[103] and the Asian fiber-optic network operator Pacnet.[104] Only Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK are explicitly exempted from NSA attacks, whose main target in the EU is Germany.[105] A method of bugging encrypted fax machines used at an EU embassy is codenamed Dropmire.[106]

During the 2009 G-20 London summit, the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intercepted the communications of foreign diplomats.[107] In addition, GCHQ has been intercepting and storing mass quantities of fiber-optic traffic via Tempora.[108] Two principal components of Tempora are called “Mastering the Internet” (MTI) and “Global Telecoms Exploitation“.[109] The data is preserved for three days while metadata is kept for thirty days.[110] Data collected by GCHQ under Tempora is shared with the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States.[109]

From 2001 to 2011, the NSA collected vast amounts of metadata records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans via Stellar Wind,[111] which was later terminated due to operational and resource constraints. It was subsequently replaced by newer surveillance programs such as ShellTrumpet, which “processed its one trillionth metadata record” by the end of December 2012.[112]

The NSA follows specific procedures to target non-U.S. persons[113] and to minimize data collection from U.S. persons.[114] These court-approved policies allow the NSA to:[115][116]

  • keep data that could potentially contain details of U.S. persons for up to five years;
  • retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;
  • preserve “foreign intelligence information” contained within attorney–client communications; and
  • access the content of communications gathered from “U.S. based machine[s]” or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the U.S., for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

According to Boundless Informant, over 97 billion pieces of intelligence were collected over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. Out of all 97 billion sets of information, about 3 billion data sets originated from U.S. computer networks[117] and around 500 million metadata records were collected from German networks.[118]

In August 2013, it was revealed that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) of Germany transfers massive amounts of metadata records to the NSA.[119]

Der Spiegel disclosed that Germany is the most targeted country of the 27 members of the European Union due to the NSA systematic monitoring and storage of Germany’s telephone and Internet connection data. According to the magazine the NSA stores data from around half a billion communications connections in Germany each month. This data includes telephone calls, emails, mobile-phone text messages and chat transcripts.[120]

On June 11, 2013, The Guardian published a snapshot of the NSA’s global map of electronic data collection for the month of March 2013. Known as the Boundless Informant, the program is used by the NSA to track the amount of data being analyzed over a specific period of time. The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance). Outside the Middle East, only China, Germany, India, Kenya, Colombia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are colored orange or yellow

July[edit]

The NSA gained massive amounts of information captured from the monitored data traffic in Europe. For example, in December 2013, the NSA gathered on an average day metadata from some 15 million telephone connections and 10 million Internet datasets. The NSA also monitored the European Commission in Brussels and monitored EU diplomatic Facilities in Washington and at the United Nations by placing bugs in offices as well as infiltrating computer networks.[121]

The U.S. government made as part of its UPSTREAM data collection program deals with companies to ensure that it had access to and hence the capability to surveil undersea fiber-optic cables which deliver e-mails, Web pages, other electronic communications and phone calls from one continent to another at the speed of light.[122][123]

According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the NSA spied on millions of emails and calls of Brazilian citizens,[124][125] while Australia and New Zealand have been involved in the joint operation of the NSA’s global analytical system XKeyscore.[126][127] Among the numerous allied facilities contributing to XKeyscore are four installations in Australia and one in New Zealand:

O Globo released an NSA document titled “Primary FORNSAT Collection Operations“, which revealed the specific locations and codenames of the FORNSAT intercept stations in 2002.[128]

According to Edward Snowden, the NSA has established secret intelligence partnerships with many Western governments.[127] The Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD) of the NSA is responsible for these partnerships, which, according to Snowden, are organized such that foreign governments can “insulate their political leaders” from public outrage in the event that these global surveillance partnerships are leaked.[129]

In an interview published by Der Spiegel, Snowden accused the NSA of being “in bed together with the Germans”.[130] The NSA granted the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) access to its controversial XKeyscore system.[131] In return, the BND turned over copies of two systems named Mira4 and Veras, reported to exceed the NSA’s SIGINT capabilities in certain areas.[5] Every day, massive amounts of metadata records are collected by the BND and transferred to the NSA via the Bad Aibling Station near Munich, Germany.[5] In December 2012 alone, the BND handed over 500 million metadata records to the NSA.[132][133]

In a document dated January 2013, the NSA acknowledged the efforts of the BND to undermine privacy laws:

“The BND has been working to influence the German government to relax interpretation of the privacy laws to provide greater opportunities of intelligence sharing”.[133]

According to an NSA document dated April 2013, Germany has now become the NSA’s “most prolific partner”.[133] Under a section of a separate document leaked by Snowden titled “Success Stories”, the NSA acknowledged the efforts of the German government to expand the BND’s international data sharing with partners:

“The German government modifies its interpretation of the G-10 privacy law … to afford the BND more flexibility in sharing protected information with foreign partners.”[50]

In addition, the German government was well aware of the PRISM surveillance program long before Edward Snowden made details public. According to Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert, there are two separate PRISM programs – one is used by the NSA and the other is used by NATO forces in Afghanistan.[134] The two programs are “not identical”.[134]

The Guardian revealed further details of the NSA’s XKeyscore tool, which allows government analysts to search through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals without prior authorization.[135][136][137] Microsoft “developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the interception of encrypted chats on Outlook.com, within five months after the service went into testing. NSA had access to Outlook.com emails because “Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”[47]

In addition, Microsoft worked with the FBI to enable the NSA to gain access to its cloud storage service SkyDrive. An internal NSA document dating from August 3, 2012 described the PRISM surveillance program as a “team sport“.[47]

Even if there is no reason to suspect U.S. citizens of wrongdoing, the CIA‘s National Counterterrorism Center is allowed to examine federal government files for possible criminal behavior. Previously the NTC was barred to do so, unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.[138]

Snowden also confirmed that Stuxnet was cooperatively developed by the United States and Israel.[139] In a report unrelated to Edward Snowden, the French newspaper Le Monde revealed that France’s DGSE was also undertaking mass surveillance, which it described as “illegal and outside any serious control”.[140][141]

August

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden that were seen by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and Norddeutscher Rundfunk revealed that several telecom operators have played a key role in helping the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) tap into worldwide fiber-optic communications. The telecom operators are:

Each of them were assigned a particular area of the international fiber-optic network for which they were individually responsible. The following networks have been infiltrated by GCHQ: TAT-14 (Europe-USA), Atlantic Crossing 1 (Europe-USA), Circe South (France-UK), Circe North (The Netherlands-UK), Flag Atlantic-1, Flag Europa-Asia, SEA-ME-WE 3 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe), SEA-ME-WE 4 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe), Solas (Ireland-UK), UK-France 3, UK-Netherlands 14, ULYSSES (Europe-UK), Yellow (UK-USA) and Pan European Crossing.[143]

Telecommunication companies who participated were “forced” to do so and had “no choice in the matter”.[143] Some of the companies were subsequently paid by GCHQ for their participation in the infiltration of the cables.[143]According to the SZ, GCHQ has access to the majority of internet and telephone communications flowing throughout Europe, can listen to phone calls, read emails and text messages, see which websites internet users from all around the world are visiting. It can also retain and analyse nearly the entire European internet traffic.[143]

GCHQ is collecting all data transmitted to and from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe via the undersea fibre optic telecommunications cable SEA-ME-WE 3. The Security and Intelligence Division (SID) of Singapore co-operates with Australia in accessing and sharing communications carried by the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable. The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) is also in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia’s international phone and internet traffic.[144]

The U.S. runs a top-secret surveillance program known as the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is based in over 80 U.S. consulates and embassies worldwide.[145][146] The NSA hacked the United Nations’ video conferencing system in Summer 2012 in violation of a UN agreement.[145][146]

The NSA is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, but also searching the contents of vast amounts of e-mail and text communications into and out of the country by Americans who mention information about foreigners under surveillance.[147] It also spied on the Al Jazeera and gained access to its internal communications systems.[148]

The NSA has built a surveillance network that has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic.[149][150][151] U.S. Law-enforcement agencies use tools used by computer hackers to gather information on suspects.[152][153] An internal NSA audit from May 2012 identified 2776 incidents i.e. violations of the rules or court orders for surveillance of Americans and foreign targets in the U.S. in the period from April 2011 through March 2012, while U.S. officials stressed that any mistakes are not intentional.[154][155][156][157][158][159][160]

The FISA Court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the U.S. government’s vast spying programs has limited ability to do so and it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.[161] A legal opinion declassified on August 21, 2013, revealed that the NSA intercepted for three years as many as 56,000 electronic communications a year of Americans not suspected of having links to terrorism, before FISA court that oversees surveillance found the operation unconstitutional in 2011.[162][163][164][165][166] Under the Corporate Partner Access project, major U.S. telecommunications providers receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year from the NSA.[167] Voluntary cooperation between the NSA and the providers of global communications took off during the 1970s under the cover name BLARNEY.[167]

A letter drafted by the Obama administration specifically to inform Congress of the government’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone communications data was withheld from lawmakers by leaders of the House Intelligence Committee in the months before a key vote affecting the future of the program.[168][169]

The NSA paid GCHQ over £100 Million between 2009 and 2012, in exchange for these funds GCHQ “must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight.” Documents referenced in the article explain that the weaker British laws regarding spying are “a selling point” for the NSA. GCHQ is also developing the technology to “exploit any mobile phone at any time.”[170] The NSA has under a legal authority a secret backdoor into its databases gathered from large Internet companies enabling it to search for U.S. citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant.[171][172]

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board urged the U.S. intelligence chiefs to draft stronger US surveillance guidelines on domestic spying after finding that several of those guidelines have not been updated up to 30 years.[173][174] U.S. intelligence analysts have deliberately broken rules designed to prevent them from spying on Americans by choosing to ignore so-called “minimisation procedures” aimed at protecting privacy[175][176] and used the NSA’s agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests.[177]

After the U.S. Foreign Secret Intelligence Court ruled in October 2011 that some of the NSA’s activities were unconstitutional, the agency paid millions of dollars to major internet companies to cover extra costs incurred in their involvement with the PRISM surveillance program.[178]

Mastering the Internet” (MTI) is part of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) of the British government that involves the insertion of thousands of DPI (deep packet inspection) “black boxes” at various internet service providers, as revealed by the British media in 2009.[179]

In 2013, it was further revealed that the NSA had made a £17.2 million financial contribution to the project, which is capable of vacuuming signals from up to 200 fibre-optic cables at all physical points of entry into Great Britain.[180]

September

The Guardian and The New York Times reported on secret documents leaked by Snowden showing that the NSA has been in “collaboration with technology companies” as part of “an aggressive, multipronged effort” to weaken the encryption used in commercial software, and GCHQ has a team dedicated to cracking “Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook” traffic.[181][182][183][184][185][186]

Germany’s domestic security agency Bundesverfassungsschutz (BfV) systematically transfers the personal data of German residents to the NSA, CIA and seven other members of the United States Intelligence Community, in exchange for information and espionage software.[187][188][189] Israel, Sweden and Italy are also cooperating with American and British intelligence agencies. Under a secret treaty codenamed “Lustre“, French intelligence agencies transferred millions of metadata records to the NSA.[63][64][190][191]

The Obama Administration secretly won permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases. The searches take place under a surveillance program Congress authorized in 2008 under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that law, the target must be a foreigner “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States, and the court must approve the targeting procedures in an order good for one year. But a warrant for each target would thus no longer be required. That means that communications with Americans could be picked up without a court first determining that there is probable cause that the people they were talking to were terrorists, spies or “foreign powers.” The FISC extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years with an extension possible for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes. Both measures were done without public debate or any specific authority from Congress.[192]

A special branch of the NSA called “Follow the Money” (FTM) monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions and later stores the collected data in the NSA’s own financial databank “Tracfin”.[193] The NSA monitored the communications of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff and her top aides.[194] The agency also spied on Brazil’s oil firm Petrobras as well as French diplomats, and gained access to the private network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and the SWIFT network.[195]

In the United States, the NSA uses the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs of American citizens to create sophisticated graphs of their social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.[196] The NSA routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about U.S. citizens.[7][197]

In an effort codenamed GENIE, computer specialists can control foreign computer networks using “covert implants,” a form of remotely transmitted malware on tens of thousands of devices annually.[198][199][200][201] As worldwide sales of smartphones began exceeding those of feature phones, the NSA decided to take advantage of the smartphone boom. This is particularly advantageous because the smartphone combines a myriad of data that would interest an intelligence agency, such as social contacts, user behavior, interests, location, photos and credit card numbers and passwords.[202]

An internal NSA report from 2010 stated that the spread of the smartphone has been occurring “extremely rapidly”—developments that “certainly complicate traditional target analysis.”[202] According to the document, the NSA has set up task forces assigned to several smartphone manufacturers and operating systems, including Apple Inc.‘s iPhone and iOS operating system, as well as Google‘s Android mobile operating system.[202] Similarly, Britain’s GCHQ assigned a team to study and crack the BlackBerry.[202]

An NSA presentation called “Your target is using a BlackBerry? Now what?” shows an intercepted Mexican government e-mail.

Under the heading “iPhone capability”, the document notes that there are smaller NSA programs, known as “scripts”, that can perform surveillance on 38 different features of the iOS 3 and iOS 4 operating systems. These include the mapping feature, voicemail and photos, as well as Google Earth, Facebook and Yahoo! Messenger.[202]

On September 9, 2013, an internal NSA presentation on iPhone Location Services was published by Der Spiegel. One slide shows scenes from Apple’s 1984-themed television commercial alongside the words “Who knew in 1984…”; another shows Steve Jobs holding an iPhone, with the text “…that this would be big brother…”; and a third shows happy consumers with their iPhones, completing the question with “…and the zombies would be paying customers?”[203]

October

On October 4, 2013, The Washington Post and The Guardian jointly reported that the NSA and GCHQ had made repeated attempts to spy on anonymous Internet users who have been communicating in secret via the anonymity network Tor. Several of these surveillance operations involved the implantation of malicious code into the computers of Tor users who visit particular websites. The NSA and GCHQ had partly succeeded in blocking access to the anonymous network, diverting Tor users to insecure channels. The government agencies were also able to uncover the identity of some anonymous Internet users.[204][205][206][207][208][209][210][211][212]

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been using a program called Olympia to map the communications of Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry by targeting the metadata of phone calls and emails to and from the ministry.[213][214]

The Australian Federal Government knew about the PRISM surveillance program months before Edward Snowden made details public.[215][216]

The NSA gathered hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world. The agency did not target individuals. Instead it collected contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.[217][218][219][220]

The NSA monitored the public email account of former Mexican president Felipe Calderón (thus gaining access to the communications of high-ranking cabinet members), the emails of several high-ranking members of Mexico’s security forces and text and the mobile phone communication of current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto.[221][222] The NSA tries to gather cellular and landline phone numbers—often obtained from American diplomats—for as many foreign officials as possible. The contents of the phone calls are stored in computer databases that can regularly be searched using keywords.[223][224]

The NSA has been monitoring telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.[225] The U.S. government’s first public acknowledgment that it tapped the phones of world leaders was reported on October 28, 2013, by the Wall Street Journal after an internal U.S. government review turned up NSA monitoring of some 35 world leaders.[226]GCHQ has tried to keep its mass surveillance program a secret because it feared a “damaging public debate” on the scale of its activities which could lead to legal challenges against them.[227]

The Guardian revealed that the NSA had been monitoring telephone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another U.S. government department. A confidential memo revealed that the NSA encouraged senior officials in such Departments as the White House, State and The Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency could add the telephone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. Reacting to the news, German leader Angela Merkel, arriving in Brussels for an EU summit, accused the U.S. of a breach of trust, saying: “We need to have trust in our allies and partners, and this must now be established once again. I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany.”[225] The NSA collected in 2010 data on ordinary Americans’ cellphone locations, but later discontinued it because it had no “operational value.”[228]

Under Britain’s MUSCULAR programme, the NSA and GCHQ have secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Googledata centers around the world and thereby gained the ability to collect metadata and content at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts.[229][230][231][232][233]

The mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel might have been tapped by U.S. intelligence.[234][235][236][237][238][239][240] According to the Spiegel this monitoring goes back to 2002[241][242][243] and ended in the summer of 2013,[226] while The New York Times reported that Germany has evidence that the NSA’s surveillance of Merkel began during George W. Bush‘s tenure.[244] After learning from Der Spiegel magazine that the NSA has been listening in to her personal mobile phone, Merkel compared the snooping practices of the NSA with those of the Stasi.[245] It was reported in March 2014, by Der Spiegel that Merkel had also been placed on an NSA surveillance list alongside 122 other world leaders.[246]

On October 31, 2013, Hans-Christian Ströbele, a member of the German Bundestag, met Snowden in Moscow and revealed the former intelligence contractor’s readiness to brief the German government on NSA spying.[247]

A highly sensitive signals intelligence collection program known as Stateroom involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic. It is operated out of the diplomatic missions of the Five Eyes (Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, United States) in numerous locations around the world. The program conducted at U.S. diplomatic missions is run in concert by the U.S. intelligence agencies NSA and CIA in a joint venture group called “Special Collection Service” (SCS), whose members work undercover in shielded areas of the American Embassies and Consulates, where they are officially accredited as diplomats and as such enjoy special privileges. Under diplomatic protection, they are able to look and listen unhindered. The SCS for example used the American Embassy near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to monitor communications in Germany’s government district with its parliament and the seat of the government.[240][248][249][250]

Under the Stateroom surveillance programme, Australia operates clandestine surveillance facilities to intercept phone calls and data across much of Asia.[249][251]

In France, the NSA targeted people belonging to the worlds of business, politics or French state administration. The NSA monitored and recorded the content of telephone communications and the history of the connections of each target i.e. the metadata.[252][253] The actual surveillance operation was performed by French intelligence agencies on behalf of the NSA.[63][254] The cooperation between France and the NSA was confirmed by the Director of the NSA, Keith B. Alexander, who asserted that foreign intelligence services collected phone records in “war zones” and “other areas outside their borders” and provided them to the NSA.[255]

The French newspaper Le Monde also disclosed new PRISM and Upstream slides (See Page 4, 7 and 8) coming from the “PRISM/US-984XN Overview” presentation.[256]

In Spain, the NSA intercepted the telephone conversations, text messages and emails of millions of Spaniards, and spied on members of the Spanish government.[257] Between December 10, 2012 and January 8, 2013, the NSA collected metadata on 60 million telephone calls in Spain.[258]

According to documents leaked by Snowden, the surveillance of Spanish citizens was jointly conducted by the NSA and the intelligence agencies of Spain.[259][260]

On October 4, 2013, The Washington Post published a powerpoint presentation leaked by Snowden, showing how the NSA had compromised the Tor encrypted network that is being employed by hundreds of thousands of people to circumvent “nation state internet policies”. By secretly exploiting a JavaScriptplug-in, the NSA was able to uncover the identities of various anonymous Internet users such as dissidents, terrorists, and other targets

November

The New York Times reported that the NSA carries out an eavesdropping effort, dubbed Operation Dreadnought, against the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. During his 2009 visit to Iranian Kurdistan, the agency collaborated with GCHQ and the U.S.’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, collecting radio transmissions between aircraft and airports, examining Khamenei’s convoy with satellite imagery, and enumerating military radar stations. According to the story, an objective of the operation is “communications fingerprinting”: the ability to distinguish Khamenei’s communications from those of other people in Iran.[261]

The same story revealed an operation code-named Ironavenger, in which the NSA intercepted e-mails sent between a country allied with the United States and the government of “an adversary”. The ally was conducting a spear-phishing attack: its e-mails contained malware. The NSA gathered documents and login credentials belonging to the enemy country, along with knowledge of the ally’s capabilities for attacking computers.[261]

According to the British newspaper The Independent, the British intelligence agency GCHQ maintains a listening post on the roof of the British Embassy in Berlin that is capable of intercepting mobile phone calls, wi-fi data and long-distance communications all over the German capital, including adjacent government buildings such as the Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) and the Chancellery (seat of Germany’s head of government) clustered around the Brandenburg Gate.[262]

Operating under the code-name “Quantum Insert”, GCHQ set up a fake website masquerading as LinkedIn, a social website used for professional networking, as part of its efforts to install surveillance software on the computers of the telecommunications operator Belgacom.[263][264][265] In addition, the headquarters of the oil cartel OPEC were infiltrated by GCHQ as well as the NSA, which bugged the computers of nine OPEC employees and monitored the General Secretary of OPEC.[263]

For more than three years GCHQ has been using an automated monitoring system code-named “Royal Concierge” to infiltrate the reservation systems of at least 350 upscale hotels in many different parts of the world in order to target, search and analyze reservations to detect diplomats and government officials.[266] First tested in 2010, the aim of the “Royal Concierge” is to track down the travel plans of diplomats, and it is often supplemented with surveillance methods related to human intelligence (HUMINT). Other covert operations include the wiretapping of room telephones and fax machines used in targeted hotels as well as the monitoring of computers hooked up to the hotel network.[266]

In November 2013, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian revealed that the Australian Signals Directorate (DSD) had attempted to listen to the private phone calls of the president of Indonesia and his wife. The Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, confirmed that he and the president had contacted the ambassador in Canberra. Natalegawa said any tapping of Indonesian politicians’ personal phones “violates every single decent and legal instrument I can think of—national in Indonesia, national in Australia, international as well”.[267]

Other high-ranking Indonesian politicians targeted by the DSD include:

Carrying the title “3G impact and update”, a classified presentation leaked by Snowden revealed the attempts of the ASD/DSD to keep up to pace with the rollout of 3G technology in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia. The ASD/DSD motto placed at the bottom of each page reads: “Reveal their secrets—protect our own.”[268]

Under a secret deal approved by British intelligence officials, the NSA has been storing and analyzing the internet and email records of UK citizens since 2007. The NSA also proposed in 2005 a procedure for spying on the citizens of the UK and other Five-Eyes nations alliance, even where the partner government has explicitly denied the U.S. permission to do so. Under the proposal, partner countries must neither be informed about this particular type of surveillance, nor the procedure of doing so.[39]

Towards the end of November, The New York Times released an internal NSA report outlining the agency’s efforts to expand its surveillance abilities.[269] The five-page document asserts that the law of the United States has not kept up with the needs of the NSA to conduct mass surveillance in the “golden age” of signals intelligence, but there are grounds for optimism because, in the NSA’s own words:

“The culture of compliance, which has allowed the American people to entrust NSA with extraordinary authorities, will not be compromised in the face of so many demands, even as we aggressively pursue legal authorities…”[270]

The report, titled “SIGINT Strategy 2012–2016″, also said that the U.S. will try to influence the “global commercial encryption market” through “commercial relationships”, and emphasized the need to “revolutionize” the analysis of its vast data collection to “radically increase operational impact”.[269]

On November 23, 2013, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported that the Netherlands was targeted by U.S. intelligence agencies in the immediate aftermath of World War II. This period of surveillance lasted from 1946 to 1968, and also included the interception of the communications of other European countries including Belgium, France, West Germany and Norway.[271] The Dutch Newspaper also reported that NSA infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide, often covertly, with malicious spy software, sometimes in cooperation with local authorities, designed to steal sensitive information.[42][272]

On November 23, 2013, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad released a top secret NSA presentation leaked by Snowden, showing five “Classes of Accesses” that the NSA uses in its worldwide signals intelligence operations.[42][272] These five “Classes of Accesses” are:

 3rd PARTY/LIAISON—refers to data provided by the international partners of the NSA. Within the framework of the UKUSA Agreement, these international partners are known as “third parties”.
 REGIONAL—refers to over 80 regional Special Collection Services (SCS). The SCS is a black budget program operated by the NSA and the CIA, with operations based in many cities such as Athens, Bangkok, Berlin, Brasília, Budapest, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lagos, Milan, New Delhi, Paris, Prague, Vienna, and Zagreb, and others, targeting Central America, the Arabian Peninsula, East Asia, and Continental Europe.
 CNE—an abbreviation for “Computer Network Exploitation“. It is performed by a special cyber-warfare unit of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which infected over 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information, and is mostly aimed at Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and parts of Eastern Europe
 LARGE CABLE—20 major points of accesses, many of them located within the United States
 FORNSAT—an abbreviation for “Foreign Satellite Collection”. It refers to intercepts from satellites that process data used by other countries such as Britain, Norway, Japan, and the Philippines.

December

According to the classified documents leaked by Snowden, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate, had offered to share intelligence information it had collected with the other intelligence agencies of the UKUSA Agreement. Data shared with foreign countries include “bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata” it had collected. The ASD provided such information on the condition that no Australian citizens were targeted. At the time the ASD assessed that “unintentional collection [of metadata of Australian nationals] is not viewed as a significant issue”. If a target was later identified as being an Australian national, the ASD was required to be contacted to ensure that a warrant could be sought. Consideration was given as to whether “medical, legal or religious information” would be automatically treated differently to other types of data, however a decision was made that each agency would make such determinations on a case-by-case basis.[273] Leaked material does not specify where the ASD had collected the intelligence information from, however Section 7(a) of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Commonwealth) states that the ASD’s role is “…to obtain intelligence about the capabilities, intentions or activities of people or organisations outside Australia…”.[274] As such, it is possible ASD’s metadata intelligence holdings was focused on foreign intelligence collection and was within the bounds of Australian law.

The Washington Post revealed that the NSA has been tracking the locations of mobile phones from all over the world by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones. In the process of doing so, the NSA collects more than five billion records of phone locations on a daily basis. This enables NSA analysts to map cellphone owners’ relationships by correlating their patterns of movement over time with thousands or millions of other phone users who cross their paths.[275][276][277][278][279][280][281][282]

The Washington Post also reported that both GCHQ and the NSA make use of location data and advertising tracking files generated through normal internet browsing (with cookies operated by Google, known as “Pref”) to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.[283][284][285]

The Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), which cooperates with the NSA, has gained access to Russian targets in the Kola Peninsula and other civilian targets. In general, the NIS provides information to the NSA about “Politicians”, “Energy” and “Armament”.[286] A top secret memo of the NSA lists the following years as milestones of the Norway–United States of America SIGINT agreement, or NORUS Agreement:

The NSA considers the NIS to be one of its most reliable partners. Both agencies also cooperate to crack the encryption systems of mutual targets. According to the NSA, Norway has made no objections to its requests from the NIS.[287]

On December 5, Sveriges Television reported the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been conducting a clandestine surveillance operation in Sweden, targeting the internal politics of Russia. The operation was conducted on behalf of the NSA, receiving data handed over to it by the FRA.[288][289] The Swedish-American surveillance operation also targeted Russian energy interests as well as the Baltic states.[290] As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, regarding collaboration and intelligence sharing.[291]

As a result of Snowden’s disclosures, the notion of Swedish neutrality in international politics was called into question.[citation needed] In an internal document dating from the year 2006, the NSA acknowledged that its “relationship” with Sweden is “protected at the TOP SECRET level because of that nation’s political neutrality.”[292] Specific details of Sweden’s cooperation with members of the UKUSA Agreement include:

  • The FRA has been granted access to XKeyscore, an analytical database of the NSA.[293]
  • Sweden updated the NSA on changes in Swedish legislation that provided the legal framework for information sharing between the FRA and the Swedish Security Service.[52]
  • Since January 2013, a counterterrorism analyst of the NSA has been stationed in the Swedish capital of Stockholm[52]
  • The NSA, GCHQ and the FRA signed an agreement in 2004 that allows the FRA to directly collaborate with the NSA without having to consult GCHQ.[52] About five years later, the Riksdag passed a controversial legislative change, briefly allowing the FRA to monitor both wireless and cable bound signals passing the Swedish border without a court order,[294] while also introducing several provisions designed to protect the privacy of individuals, according to the original proposal.[295] This legislation was amended 11 months later,[296] in an effort to strengthen protection of privacy by making court orders a requirement, and by imposing several limits on the intelligence-gathering.[297][298][299]

According to documents leaked by Snowden, the Special Source Operations of the NSA has been sharing information containing “logins, cookies, and GooglePREFID” with the Tailored Access Operations division of the NSA, as well as Britain’s GCHQ agency.[300]

During the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit, the U.S. embassy in Ottawa was transformed into a security command post during a six-day spying operation that was conducted by the NSA and closely coordinated with the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC). The goal of the spying operation was, among others, to obtain information on international development, banking reform, and to counter trade protectionism to support “U.S. policy goals.”[301] On behalf of the NSA, the CSEC has set up covert spying posts in 20 countries around the world.[10]

In Italy the Special Collection Service of the NSA maintains two separate surveillance posts in Rome and Milan.[302] According to a secret NSA memo dated September 2010, the Italian embassy in Washington, D.C. has been targeted by two spy operations of the NSA:

  • Under the codename “Bruneau”, which refers to mission “Lifesaver”, the NSA sucks out all the information stored in the embassy’s computers and creates electronic images of hard disk drives.[302]
  • Under the codename “Hemlock”, which refers to mission “Highlands”, the NSA gains access to the embassy’s communications through physical “implants”.[302]

Due to concerns that terrorist or criminal networks may be secretly communicating via computer games, the NSA, GCHQ, CIA, and FBI have been conducting surveillance and scooping up data from the networks of many online games, including massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, as well as virtual worlds such as Second Life, and the Xbox gaming console.[303][304][305][306]

The NSA has cracked the most commonly used cellphone encryption technology, A5/1. According to a classified document leaked by Snowden, the agency can “process encrypted A5/1” even when it has not acquired an encryption key.[307] In addition, the NSA uses various types of cellphone infrastructure, such as the links between carrier networks, to determine the location of a cellphone user tracked by Visitor Location Registers.[308]

US district court judge for the District of Columbia, Richard Leon, declared[309][310][311][312][313][314] on December 16, 2013, that the mass collection of metadata of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency probably violates the fourth amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.[315] Leon granted the request for a preliminary injunction that blocks the collection of phone data for two private plaintiffs (Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, father of a cryptologist killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down in 2011)[316] and ordered the government to destroy any of their records that have been gathered. But the judge stayed action on his ruling pending a government appeal, recognizing in his 68-page opinion the “significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”[315]

However federal judge William H. Pauley III in New York City ruled[317] the U.S. government’s global telephone data-gathering system is needed to thwart potential terrorist attacks, and that it can only work if everyone’s calls are swept in. U.S. District Judge Pauley also ruled that Congress legally set up the program and that it does not violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The judge also concluded that the telephone data being swept up by NSA did not belong to telephone users, but to the telephone companies. He further ruled that when NSA obtains such data from the telephone companies, and then probes into it to find links between callers and potential terrorists, this further use of the data was not even a search under the Fourth Amendment. He also concluded that the controlling precedent is Smith v. Maryland: “Smith’s bedrock holding is that an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information provided to third parties,” Judge Pauley wrote.[318][319][320][321] The American Civil Liberties Union declared on January 2, 2012 that it will appeal Judge Pauley’s ruling that NSA bulk the phone record collection is legal. “The government has a legitimate interest in tracking the associations of suspected terrorists, but tracking those associations does not require the government to subject every citizen to permanent surveillance,” deputy ACLU legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.[322]

In recent years, American and British intelligence agencies conducted surveillance on more than 1,100 targets, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and a European Union official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses.[323]

A catalog of high-tech gadgets and software developed by the NSA’sTailored Access Operations (TAO) was leaked by the German news magazine Der Spiegel.[324] Dating from 2008, the catalog revealed the existence of special gadgets modified to capture computer screenshots and USB flash drives secretly fitted with radio transmitters to broadcast stolen data over the airwaves, and fake base stations intended to intercept mobile phone signals, as well as many other secret devices and software implants listed here:

The Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division of the NSA intercepted the shipping deliveries of computers and laptops in order to install spyware and physical implants on electronic gadgets. This was done in close cooperation with the FBI and the CIA.[324][325][326][327][328][329][330] NSA officials responded to the Spiegel reports with a statement, which said: “Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies. [TAO’s] work is centred on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection.”[331]

In a separate disclosure unrelated to Snowden, the French Trésor public, which runs a certificate authority, was found to have issued fake certificates impersonating Google in order to facilitate spying on French government employees via man-in-the-middle attacks.[332]

On December 4, 2013, The Washington Post released an internal NSA chart illustrating the extent of the agency’s mass collection of mobile phone location records, which amounts to about five billion on a daily basis.[275] The records are stored in a huge database known as FASCIA, which received over 27 terabytes of location data within seven months.[333]

2014

January

The NSA is working to build a powerful quantum computer capable of breaking all types of encryption.[334][335][336][337][338] The effort is part of a US$79.7 million research program known as “Penetrating Hard Targets”. It involves extensive research carried out in large, shielded rooms known as Faraday cages, which are designed to prevent electromagnetic radiation from entering or leaving.[335] Currently, the NSA is close to producing basic building blocks that will allow the agency to gain “complete quantum control on two semiconductorqubits“.[335] Once a quantum computer is successfully built, it would enable the NSA to unlock the encryption that protects data held by banks, credit card companies, retailers, brokerages, governments and health care providers.[334]

According to The New York Times, the NSA is monitoring approximately 100,000 computers worldwide with spy software named Quantum. Quantum enables the NSA to conduct surveillance on those computers on the one hand, and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks on the other hand. Among the targets are the Chinese and Russian military, but also trade institutions within the European Union. The NYT also reported that the NSA can access and alter computers which are not connected with the internet by a secret technology in use by the NSA since 2008. The prerequisite is the physical insertion of the radio frequency hardware by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user. The technology relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target. The technology can also transmit malware back to the infected computer.[42]

Channel 4 and The Guardian revealed the existence of Dishfire, a massive database of the NSA that collects hundreds of millions of text messages on a daily basis.[339] GCHQ has been given full access to the database, which it uses to obtain personal information of Britons by exploiting a legal loophole.[340]

Each day, the database receives and stores the following amounts of data:

  • Geolocation data of more than 76,000 text messages and other travel information[341]
  • Over 110,000 names, gathered from electronic business cards[341]
  • Over 800,000 financial transactions that are either gathered from text-to-text payments or by linking credit cards to phone users[341]
  • Details of 1.6 million border crossings based on the interception of network roaming alerts[341]
  • Over 5 million missed call alerts[341]
  • About 200 million text messages from around the world[339]

The database is supplemented with an analytical tool known as the Prefer program, which processes SMS messages to extract other types of information including contacts from missed call alerts.[341]

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board report on mass surveillance was released on January 23, 2014. It recommends to end the bulk telephone metadata, i.e., bulk phone records – phone numbers dialed, call times and durations, but not call content collection – collection program, to create a “Special Advocate” to be involved in some cases before the FISA court judge and to release future and past FISC decisions “that involve novel interpretations of FISA or other significant questions of law, technology or compliance.”[342][343][344]

According to a joint disclosure by The New York Times, The Guardian, and ProPublica,[345][346][347][348][349] the NSA and GCHQ have begun working together to collect and store data from dozens of smartphoneapplication software by 2007 at the latest. A 2008 GCHQ report, leaked by Snowden asserts that “anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system”. The NSA and GCHQ have traded recipes for various purposes such as grabbing location data and journey plans that are made when a target uses Google Maps, and vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and geographic data embedded in photos posted on the mobile versions of numerous social networks such as Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services. In a separate 20-page report dated 2012, GCHQ cited the popular smartphone game “Angry Birds” as an example of how an application could be used to extract user data. Taken together, such forms of data collection would allow the agencies to collect vital information about a user’s life, including his or her home country, current location (through geolocation), age, gender, ZIP code, marital status, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, number of children, etc.[350][351]

A GCHQ document dated August 2012 provided details of the Squeaky Dolphin surveillance program, which enables GCHQ to conduct broad, real-time monitoring of various social media features and social media traffic such as YouTube video views, the Like button on Facebook, and Blogspot/Blogger visits without the knowledge or consent of the companies providing those social media features. The agency’s “Squeaky Dolphin” program can collect, analyze and utilize YouTube, Facebook and Blogger data in specific situations in real time for analysis purposes. The program also collects the addresses from the billions of videos watched daily as well as some user information for analysis purposes.[352][353][354]

During the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the NSA and its Five Eyes partners monitored the communications of delegates of numerous countries. This was done to give their own policymakers a negotiating advantage.[355][356]

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been tracking Canadian air passengers via free Wi-Fi services at a major Canadian airport. Passengers who exited the airport terminal continued to be tracked as they showed up at other Wi-Fi locations across Canada. In a CSEC document dated May 2012, the agency described how it had gained access to two communications systems with over 300,000 users in order to pinpoint a specific imaginary target. The operation was executed on behalf of the NSA as a trial run to test a new technology capable of tracking down “any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions.” This technology was subsequently shared with Canada’s Five Eyes partners – Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and the United States.[357][358][359][360]

On January 27, 2014, The New York Times released[347] an internal NSA document from a 2010 meeting that details the extent of the agency’s surveillance on smartphones. Data collected include phone settings, network connections, Web browsing history, buddy lists, downloaded documents, encryption usage, and user agents. Notice the following line of text at the bottom – “TOP SECRET//COMINT//REL TO USA, FVEY” – which is used to indicated that this top secret document is related to communications intelligence (COMINT), and can be accessed by the USA and its Five Eyes (FVEY) partners in Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand

February

According to research by Süddeutsche Zeitung and TV network NDR the mobile phone of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was monitored from 2002 onwards, reportedly because of his government’s opposition to military intervention in Iraq. The source of the latest information is a document leaked by Edward Snowden. The document, containing information about the National Sigint Requirement List (NSRL), had previously been interpreted as referring only to Angela Merkel‘s mobile. However Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR claim to have confirmation from NSA insiders that the surveillance authorisation pertains not to the individual, but the political post – which in 2002 was still held by Schröder. According to research by the two media outlets, Schröder was placed as number 388 on the list, which contains the names of persons and institutions to be put under surveillance by the NSA.[361][362][363][364]

GCHQ launched a cyber-attack on the activist network “Anonymous“, using denial-of-service attack (DoS) to shut down a chatroom frequented by the network’s members and to spy on them. The attack, dubbed Rolling Thunder, was conducted by a GCHQ unit known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The unit successfully uncovered the true identities of several Anonymous members.[365][366][367][368]

The NSA Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program which seeks to stockpile records on all calls made in the U.S. is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cellphone use according to the Washington Post. The controversial program permits the NSA after a warrant granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to record numbers, length and location of every call from the participating carriers.[369][370]

The Intercept reported that the U.S. government is using primarily NSA surveillance to target people for drone strikes overseas. In its report The Intercept author detail the flawed methods which are used to locate targets for lethal drone strikes, resulting in the deaths of innocent people.[371] According to the Washington Post NSA analysts and collectors i.e. NSA personnel which controls electronic surveillance equipment use the NSA’s sophisticated surveillance capabilities to track individual targets geographically and in real time, while drones and tactical units aimed their weaponry against those targets to take them out.[372]

An unnamed US law firm, reported to be Mayer Brown, was targeted by Australia’s ASD. According to Snowden’s documents, the ASD had offered to hand over these intercepted communications to the NSA. This allowed government authorities to be “able to continue to cover the talks, providing highly useful intelligence for interested US customers”.[373][374]

NSA and GCHQ documents revealed that the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks and other activist groups were targeted for government surveillance and criminal prosecution. In particular, the IP addresses of visitors to WikiLeaks were collected in real time, and the US government urged its allies to file criminal charges against the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, due to his organization’s publication of the Afghanistan war logs. The WikiLeaks organization was designated as a “malicious foreign actor”.[375]

Quoting an unnamed NSA official in Germany, Bild am Sonntag reported that whilst President Obama’s order to stop spying on Merkel was being obeyed, the focus had shifted to bugging other leading government and business figures including Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a close confidant of Merkel. Caitlin Hayden, a security adviser to President Obama, was quoted in the newspaper report as saying, “The US has made clear it gathers intelligence in exactly the same way as any other states.”[376][377]

The Intercept reveals that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets among them people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats. The two main tactics that are currently used are the injection of all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and the use of social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.[378][379][380][381]

The Guardian reported that Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats (one image every five minutes) in bulk and saved them to agency databases. The agency discovered “that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person”, estimating that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains “undesirable nudity”.[382]

March

The NSA has built an infrastructure which enables it to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process. The NSA relies on an automated system codenamed TURBINE which in essence enables the automated management and control of a large network of implants (a form of remotely transmitted malware on selected individual computer devices or in bulk on tens of thousands of devices). As quoted by The Intercept, TURBINE is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”[383] The NSA has shared many of its files on the use of implants with its counterparts in the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance – the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Among other things due to TURBINE and its control over the implants the NSA is capable of:

  • breaking into targeted computers and to siphoning out data from foreign Internet and phone networks
  • infecting a target’s computer and exfiltrating files from a hard drive
  • covertly recording audio from a computer’s microphone and taking snapshots with its webcam
  • launching cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites
  • exfiltrating data from removable flash drives that connect to an infected computer

The TURBINE implants are linked to, and relies upon, a large network of clandestine surveillance “sensors” that the NSA has installed at locations across the world, including the agency’s headquarters in Maryland and eavesdropping bases used by the agency in Misawa, Japan and Menwith Hill, England. Codenamed as TURMOIL, the sensors operate as a sort of high-tech surveillance dragnet, monitoring packets of data as they are sent across the Internet. When TURBINE implants exfiltrate data from infected computer systems, the TURMOIL sensors automatically identify the data and return it to the NSA for analysis. And when targets are communicating, the TURMOIL system can be used to send alerts or “tips” to TURBINE, enabling the initiation of a malware attack. To identify surveillance targets, the NSA uses a series of data “selectors” as they flow across Internet cables. These selectors can include email addresses, IP addresses, or the unique “cookies” containing a username or other identifying information that are sent to a user’s computer by websites such as Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Twitter, unique Google advertising cookies that track browsing habits, unique encryption key fingerprints that can be traced to a specific user, and computer IDs that are sent across the Internet when a Windows computer crashes or updates.[383][384][385][386][387][388][389][390][391][392][393][394][395][396][397][398]

The CIA was accused by U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of spying on a stand-alone computer network established for the committee in its investigation of allegations of CIA abuse in a George W. Bush-era detention and interrogation program.[399]

A voice interception program codenamed MYSTIC began in 2009. Along with RETRO, short for “retrospective retrieval” (RETRO is voice audio recording buffer that allows retrieval of captured content up to 30 days into the past), the MYSTIC program is capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the NSA to rewind and review conversations up to 30 days and the relating metadata. With the capability to store up to 30 days of recorded conversations MYSTIC enables the NSA to pull an instant history of the person’s movements, associates and plans.[400][401][402][403][404][405]

On March 21, Le Monde published slides from an internal presentation of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, which attributed a piece of malicious software to French intelligence. The CSEC presentation concluded that the list of malware victims matched French intelligence priorities and found French cultural reference in the malware’s code, including the name Babar, a popular French children’s character, and the developer name “Titi”.[406]

The French telecommunications corporation Orange S.A. shares its call data with the French intelligence agency DGSE, which hands over the intercepted data to GCHQ.[407]

The NSA has spied on the Chinese technology company Huawei.[408][409][410] Huawei is a leading manufacturer of smartphones, tablets, mobile phone infrastructure, and WLAN routers and installs fiber optic cable. According to Der Spiegel this “kind of technology […] is decisive in the NSA’s battle for data supremacy.”[411] The NSA, in an operation named “Shotgiant”, was able to access Huawei’s email archive and the source code for Huawei’s communications products.[411] The US government has had longstanding concerns that Huawei may not be independent of the People’s Liberation Army and that the Chinese government might use equipment manufactured by Huawei to conduct cyberespionage or cyberwarfare. The goals of the NSA operation were to assess the relationship between Huawei and the PLA, to learn more the Chinese government’s plans and to use information from Huawei to spy on Huawei’s customers, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, and Cuba. Former Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese Trade Ministry, banks, as well as telecommunications companies were also targeted by the NSA.[408][411]

The Intercept published a document of an NSA employee discussing how to build a database of IP addresses, webmail, and Facebook accounts associated with system administrators so that the NSA can gain access to the networks and systems they administer.[412][413]

At the end of March 2014, Der Spiegel and The Intercept published, based on a series of classified files from the archive provided to reporters by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, articles related to espionage efforts by GCHQ and NSA in Germany.[414][415] The British GCHQ targeted three German internet firms for information about Internet traffic passing through internet exchange points, important customers of the German internet providers, their technology suppliers as well as future technical trends in their business sector and company employees.[414][415] The NSA was granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the authority for blanket surveillance of Germany, its people and institutions, regardless whether those affected are suspected of having committed an offense or not, without an individualized court order specifying on March 7, 2013.[415] In addition Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel was listed in a surveillance search machine and database named Nymrod along with 121 others foreign leaders.[414][415] As The Intercept wrote: “The NSA uses the Nymrod system to ‘find information relating to targets that would otherwise be tough to track down,’ according to internal NSA documents. Nymrod sifts through secret reports based on intercepted communications as well as full transcripts of faxes, phone calls, and communications collected from computer systems. More than 300 ‘cites’ for Merkel are listed as available in intelligence reports and transcripts for NSA operatives to read.”[414]

April

Towards the end of April, Edward Snowden said that the United States surveillance agencies spy on Americans more than anyone else in the world, contrary to anything that has been said by the government up until this point.[416]

May

An article published by Ars Technica shows NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) employees intercepting a Cisco router.[417]

The Intercept and WikiLeaks revealed information about which countries were having their communications collected as part of the MYSTIC surveillance program. On May 19, The Intercept reported that the NSA is recording and archiving nearly every cell phone conversation in the Bahamas with a system called SOMALGET, a subprogram of MYSTIC. The mass surveillance has been occurring without the Bahamian government’s permission.[418] Aside from the Bahamas, The Intercept reported NSA interception of cell phone metadata in Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico and a fifth country it did not name due to “credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.” WikiLeaks released a statement on May 23 claiming that Afghanistan was the unnamed nation.[419]

In a statement responding to the revelations, the NSA said “the implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.”[418]

Through its global surveillance operations the NSA exploits the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications to harvest millions of images. These images are then used by the NSA in sophisticated facial recognition programs to track suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets.[420]

June

Vodafone revealed that there were secret wires that allowed government agencies direct access to their networks.[421] This access does not require warrants and the direct access wire is often equipment in a locked room.[421] In six countries where Vodafone operates, the law requires telecommunication companies to install such access or allows governments to do so.[421] Vodafone did not name these countries in case some governments retaliated by imprisoning their staff.[421]Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty said “For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying. Snowden revealed the internet was already treated as fair game. Bluster that all is well is wearing pretty thin – our analogue laws need a digital overhaul.”[421] Vodafone published its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report on June 6, 2014.[421] Vodafone group privacy officer Stephen Deadman said “These pipes exist, the direct access model exists. We are making a call to end direct access as a means of government agencies obtaining people’s communication data. Without an official warrant, there is no external visibility. If we receive a demand we can push back against the agency. The fact that a government has to issue a piece of paper is an important constraint on how powers are used.”[421] Gus Hosein, director of Privacy International said “I never thought the telcos would be so complicit. It’s a brave step by Vodafone and hopefully the other telcos will become more brave with disclosure, but what we need is for them to be braver about fighting back against the illegal requests and the laws themselves.”[421]

Above-top-secret documentation of a covert surveillance program named Overseas Processing Centre 1 (OPC-1) (codenamed “CIRCUIT”) by GCHQ was published by The Register. Based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, GCHQ taps into undersea fiber optic cables via secret spy bases near the Strait of Hormuz and Yemen. BT and Vodafone are implicated.[422]

The Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information and The Intercept revealed on June 19, 2014, the NSA mass surveillance program codenamed RAMPART-A. Under RAMPART-A, ‘third party’ countries tap into fiber optic cables carrying the majority of the world’s electronic communications and are secretly allowing the NSA to install surveillance equipment on these fiber-optic cables. The foreign partners of the NSA turn massive amounts of data like the content of phone calls, faxes, e-mails, internet chats, data from virtual private networks, and calls made using Voice over IP software like Skype over to the NSA. In return these partners receive access to the NSA’s sophisticated surveillance equipment so that they too can spy on the mass of data that flows in and out of their territory. Among the partners participating in the NSA mass surveillance program are Denmark and Germany.[423][424][425]

July

During the week of July 4, a 31-year-old male employee of Germany‘s intelligence service BND was arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States. The employee is suspected of spying on the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal.[426]

Former NSA official and whistleblower William Binney spoke at a Centre for Investigative Journalism conference in London. According to Binney, “at least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.” He also stated that the majority of fiber optic cables run through the U.S., which “is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in.”[427]

The Washington Post released a review of a cache provided by Snowden containing roughly 160,000 text messages and e-mails intercepted by the NSA between 2009 and 2012. The newspaper concluded that nine out of ten account holders whose conversations were recorded by the agency “were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.” In its analysis, The Post also noted that many of the account holders were Americans.[428]

On July 9, a soldier working within Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) fell under suspicion of spying for the United States.[429] As a result of the July 4 case and this one, the German government expelled the CIA station chief in Germany on July 17.[430]

On July 18, former State Department official John Tye released an editorial in The Washington Post, highlighting concerns over data collection under Executive Order 12333. Tye’s concerns are rooted in classified material he had access to through the State Department, though he has not publicly released any classified materials.[431]

August

The Intercept reported that the NSA is “secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a ‘Google-like’ search engine” called ICREACH. The database, The Intercept reported, is accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration and was built to contain more than 850 billion metadata records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and text messages.[432][433]

2015

February

Based on documents obtained from Snowden, The Intercept reported that the NSA and GCHQ had broken into the internal computer network of Gemalto and stolen the encryption keys that are used in SIM cards no later than 2010. As of 2015, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards, making about two billion cards a year. With the keys, the intelligence agencies could eavesdrop on cell phones without the knowledge of mobile phone operators or foreign governments.[434]

March

The New Zealand Herald, in partnership with The Intercept, revealed that the New Zealand government used XKeyscore to spy on candidates for the position of World Trade Organization director general[435] and also members of the Solomon Islands government.[436]

April

In January 2015, the DEA revealed that it had been collecting metadata records for all telephone calls made by Americans to 116 countries linked to drug trafficking. The DEA’s program was separate from the telephony metadata programs run by the NSA.[437] In April, USA Today reported that the DEA’s data collection program began in 1992 and included all telephone calls between the United States and from Canada and Mexico. Current and former DEA officials described the program as the precursor of the NSA’s similar programs.[438] The DEA said its program was suspended in September 2013, after a review of the NSA’s programs and that it was “ultimately terminated.”[437]

2016

January

August

Reaction

Reactions of citizens

The disclosure provided impetus for the creation of social movements against mass surveillance, such as Restore the Fourth, and actions like Stop Watching Us and The Day We Fight Back. On the legal front, the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined a coalition of diverse groups filing suit against the NSA. Several human rights organizations have urged the Obama administration not to prosecute, but protect, “whistleblower Snowden”: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, and the Index on Censorship, among others.[442][443][444][445] On the economic front, several consumer surveys registered a drop in online shopping and banking activity as a result of the Snowden revelations.[446]

Reactions of political leaders

United States

File:US President Barack Obama, surveillance activities, June 2013.ogv

On June 7, 2013, President Obama emphasized the importance of surveillance to prevent terrorist attacks

Domestically, President Barack Obama claimed that there is “no spying on Americans”,[447][448] and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney asserted that the surveillance programs revealed by Snowden have been authorized by Congress.[449]

On the international front, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “we cannot target even foreign persons overseas without a valid foreign intelligence purpose.”[450]

United Kingdom

Prime Minister David Cameron warned journalists that “if they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.”[451]Deputy Prime MinisterNick Clegg emphasized that the media should “absolutely defend the principle of secrecy for the intelligence agencies”.[452]

Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed that “we take great care to balance individual privacy with our duty to safeguard the public and UK national security.”[453] Hague defended the Five Eyes alliance and reiterated that the British-U.S. intelligence relationship must not be endangered because it “saved many lives”.[454]

Australia

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that “every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official at home and abroad, operates in accordance with the law”.[455] Abbott criticized the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for being unpatriotic due to its reporting on the documents provided by Snowden, whom Abbott described as a “traitor”.[456][457] Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also denounced Snowden as a traitor and accused him of “unprecedented” treachery.[458] Bishop defended the Five Eyes alliance and reiterated that the Australian–U.S. intelligence relationship must not be endangered because it “saves lives”.[459]

Germany

Lawyers and judges protest boundless monitoring at PRISM debate in Germany, 18 November 2013

In July 2013, Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the surveillance practices of the NSA, and described the United States as “our truest ally throughout the decades”.[460][461] After the NSA’s surveillance on Merkel was revealed, however, the Chancellor compared the NSA with the Stasi.[462] According to The Guardian, Berlin is using the controversy over NSA spying as leverage to enter the exclusive Five Eyes alliance.[463]

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich stated that “the Americans take our data privacy concerns seriously.”[464] Testifying before the German Parliament, Friedrich defended the NSA’s surveillance, and cited five terrorist plots on German soil that were prevented because of the NSA.[465] However, in April 2014, another German interior minister criticized the United States for failing to provide sufficient assurances to Germany that it had reined in its spying tactics. Thomas de Maiziere, a close ally of Merkel, told Der Spiegel: “U.S. intelligence methods may be justified to a large extent by security needs, but the tactics are excessive and over-the-top.”[466]

Sweden

Minister for Foreign AffairsCarl Bildt, defended the FRA and described its surveillance practices as a “national necessity”.[467]Minister for DefenceKarin Enström said that Sweden’s intelligence exchange with other countries is “critical for our security” and that “intelligence operations occur within a framework with clear legislation, strict controls and under parliamentary oversight.”[468][469]

Netherlands

Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk apologized for incorrectly claiming that the NSA had collected 1.8 million records of metadata in the Netherlands. Plasterk acknowledged that it was in fact Dutch intelligence services who collected the records and transferred them to the NSA.[470][471]

Denmark

The Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has praised the American intelligence agencies, claiming they have prevented terrorist attacks in Denmark, and expressed her personal belief that the Danish people “should be grateful” for the Americans’ surveillance.[472] She has later claimed that the Danish authorities have no basis for assuming that American intelligence agencies have performed illegal spying activities towards Denmark or Danish interests.[473]

Review of intelligence agencies

Germany

In July 2013, the German government announced an extensive review of Germany’s intelligence services.[474][475]

United States

In August 2013, the U.S. government announced an extensive review of U.S. intelligence services.[476][477]

United Kingdom

In October 2013, the British government announced an extensive review of British intelligence services.[478]

Canada

In December 2013, the Canadian government announced an extensive review of Canada’s intelligence services.[479]

Criticism

In January 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light”[23] and critics such as Sean Wilentz claimed that “the NSA has acted far more responsibly than the claims made by the leakers and publicized by the press.” In Wilentz’ view “The leakers have gone far beyond justifiably blowing the whistle on abusive programs. In addition to their alarmism about [U.S.] domestic surveillance, many of the Snowden documents released thus far have had nothing whatsoever to do with domestic surveillance.”[24]Edward Lucas, former Moscow bureau chief for The Economist, agreed, asserting that “Snowden’s revelations neatly and suspiciously fits the interests of one country: Russia” and citing Masha Gessen‘s statement that “The Russian propaganda machine has not gotten this much mileage out of a US citizen since Angela Davis‘s murder trial in 1971.”[480]

Bob Cesca objected to The New York Times failing to redact the name of an NSA employee and the specific location where an al Qaeda group was being targeted in a series of slides the paper made publicly available.[481]

Russian journalist Andrei Soldatov argued that Snowden’s revelations had had negative consequences for internet freedom in Russia, as Russian authorities increased their own surveillance and regulation on the pretext of protecting the privacy of Russian users. Snowden’s name was invoked by Russian legislators who supported measures forcing platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail and YouTube to locate their servers on Russian soil or install SORM black boxes on their servers so that Russian authorities could control them.[482] Soldatov also contended that as a result of the disclosures, international support for having national governments take over the powers of the organizations involved in coordinating the Internet’s global architectures had grown, which could lead to a Balkanization of the Internet that restricted free access to information.[483] The Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation issued in October 2013, by ICANN and other organizations warned against “Internet fragmentation at a national level” and expressed “strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations”.[484]

In late 2014, Freedom House said “[s]ome states are using the revelations of widespread surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as an excuse to augment their own monitoring capabilities, frequently with little or no oversight, and often aimed at the political opposition and human rights activists.”[485]

Gallery

Comparison with other leaks

Year Disclosure Size Main source(s) Major publisher(s)
2016 Panama Papers 11.5 million documents “John Doe” Süddeutsche Zeitung, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Guardian, BBC, Le Monde, Tamedia, Falter, La Nación, NDR, WDR, ORF
2013 Global surveillance disclosure 1.5–1.77 million documents[486] Edward Snowden The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, El País, Le Monde, L’espresso, O Globo, ProPublica, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NRC Handelsblad, Sveriges Television
2010 U.S. Army and U.S. State Department documents 734,885 files Chelsea Manning The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El País, WikiLeaksThe material consisted of:

1971 Pentagon Papers 4,100 pages Daniel Ellsberg The New York Times

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_surveillance_disclosures_(2013%E2%80%93present)

Story 2: Lying Lunatic Left Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez Cracks up — Videos — 

New DNC chair Tom Perez hits out against Trump and does not recognize the results of elections

DNC Chair Tom Perez Rants That Donald Trump Didn’t Win The Election

Trump Worst President in US History – New Democrat Chairman

Michelle Malkin dishes the dirt on Thomas Perez.

Rachel Maddow Blaming Russia for Brock/Clinton Sabotage of Sanders Social Media, New low

Bernie Sanders Shilling of Russia Fairytale is Shameful Protectionism of Democratic Establishment

Enough with the Democratic Party Doesn’t Get It….They Totally Get It & Keep Playing Us as Fools

DNC Chair Debate Shows Why Party Political Graveyard for True People’s Movement

DNC chair Tom Perez: Literally hours into his presidency Trump proved he was a fraud

Bernie Sanders Speaks On New DNC Chair Tom Perez

Watch: DNC chair Tom Perez becomes unhinged, goes on profanity-laced anti-Trump rant

Newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez became unhinged during an event in New Jersey on Friday, where he claimed that President Donald Trump “didn’t win” last year’s presidential election.

During a short speech at an event hosted by the New Jersey Working Families Alliance in Newark on Friday, Perez hailed Democratic opposition to the Republican plan to replace Obamacare and declared that although Jan. 20 — the day Trump became president — was historic, Jan. 21 was even more important because that’s the day “the resistance took over,” while lauding protesters across the nation.

“They marched all over the world and said, “Donald Trump, you don’t stand for our values…Donald Trump you didn’t win the election,’” Perez claimed.

Later in his speech, Perez bashed Trump for “wanting his name on everything,” citing Trump Tower and “Trump steaks,” but noted that when it came to the GOP health care repeal plan, Trump didn’t want to put his name on it.

That’s when Perez made an unbelievable claim.

“Republicans don’t give a sh*t about people,” he said when talking about the GOP health care plan. “That’s what it’s about.”

Perez’s comment incited a thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd.

Prior to being elected DNC chairman earlier this year, Perez served as the labor secretary under former President Barack Obama.

TheBlaze has reached out to the DNC for comment and will update if we receive a response.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/01/watch-dnc-chair-tom-perez-becomes-unhinged-goes-on-profanity-laced-anti-trump-rant/

Tom Perez won’t apologize for insulting Trump and GOP leaders. Here’s why.

April 2 at 6:17 PM

On Friday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told activists in New Jersey that their protests were hitting the Trump administration where it hurt. He pointed to Jan. 21, the day of the Women’s March, as the start of a resistance that had been more effective than critics ever expected.

“Women marched all over the world and said: Donald Trump, you don’t stand for our values!” Perez said. “That’s what they said. Donald Trump, you didn’t win this election!” If anyone didn’t want to hear this, Perez had an answer: “I don’t care, because they don’t give a s— about people.”

Hours later, the conservative Daily Caller posted clips of Perez’s remarks for a story that was shared on Facebook more than 18,000 times. Ronna Romney McDaniel, the new chair of the Republican National Committee, demanded an apology for the “dangerous” remarks, snarking that Perez “needs a lesson on how the electoral college works.”

But Perez did not apologize. On Saturday, in Texas, he said exactly the same thing. In an email, Perez spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa explained that the DNC chair was not going to stop belittling Trump’s victory.

“Tom has not only pointed out that the Russians interfered in this election to help Donald Trump get elected, but Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million people,” Hinojosa said. “Since before Trump stepped foot in the Oval Office, his divisive and destructive views had already been rejected by a vast majority of the American people.”

Perez’s speeches, which made news on conservative websites all weekend, reflected the tonal shift — perhaps a permanent one — that Democrats have undergone since their 2016 defeat. Covering Perez’s campaign for DNC chair, I saw firsthand how the affable former labor secretary grew more and more aggressive in the ways he mocked and decried the Trump administration.

That sometimes involved four-letter words. At a speech in Detroit, Perez said Trump graduated from “Makin’ S— Up University,” and at several live-streamed candidate forums, he described the administration’s executive orders on labor rules as “bulls—t.” The New Jersey and Texas speeches were the latest in a string of fiery Perez open mics; they were just the first to cross the radar of conservative media.

Democrats don’t mind the attention. Their new, harsher tone came after Clinton and the entire Democratic Party tried, and failed, to brand Trump as too crude to serve in the White House. As a post-election study by the Wesleyan Media Project found, Clinton’s ad campaign was historically negative and light on policy, with 90 percent of its TV commercials focusing on Trump’s personality. The upshot of those ads was that a President Trump would embarrass Americans. In “Role Models,” viewers saw bewildered children watch Trump on TV as he shoots off insults.

In “Captain Khan,” a well-made ad that dazzled pundits, the father of a Muslim U.S. soldier who had been killed in action in Iraq reflected on how Trump’s insults and threat to ban Muslims from entering the United States made him feel unwelcome in a country he now calls home.

We can cut to the chase: These ads did not work. Compelling, and designed in part to keep educated suburbanites in Clinton’s camp, they were predicated on the theory that voters would see Trump as unacceptable and overcome doubts to vote for the Democrat. In key states, even though majorities of voters viewed Trump unfavorably, pluralities picked him anyway.

The long tail of that experience is that progressives stopped caring about the tone of politics. They felt that Clinton, by failing to strip the bark off Trump’s record and policies, had blown an advantage with voters who saw her as more qualified to be president. In the moment, Michelle Obama’s saying that “when they go low, we go high” mirrored what progressives felt about the campaign. As soon as Clinton lost, it felt like a giant strategic error. (And it never took into account the rumors, fed in conservative media for decades, that Clinton was a foul-mouthed tyrant when the cameras were off.)

Remember “When they go low we go high?”
Yeah, that’s super dead.

Clinton’s approach was summed up in the second presidential debate, which Trump entered at a serious disadvantage, bleeding support after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about sexually assaulting a woman. Trump’s solution: bring four women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to the debate and deflect a question about his own scandal by attacking his opponent’s husband.

Hillary Clinton responded by invoking Trump’s insults.

When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all. When they go low, you go high. And, look, if this were just about one video, maybe what he is saying tonight would be understandable. But everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in the video or the man on the stage respects women. But he never apologizes for anything to anyone. He never apologized to Mr. And Mrs. Khan, the Gold Star family whose son, Captain Khan, died in the line of duty in Iraq, and Donald insulted and attacked them for weeks over their religion. He never apologized to the distinguished federal judge who was born in Indiana, but Donald said he couldn’t be trusted to be a judge because his parents were “Mexican.” He never apologized to the reporter that he mimicked and mocked on national television and our children were watching. And he never apologized for the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States of America. He owes the president an apology and he owes our country an apology and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and his words.

Again, in the moment, this was exactly what Democrats wanted to hear — and what they thought voters wanted to hear. It was inconceivable that the man who perpetuated the “birther” lie could take the presidency. But since then, they’ve seen Trump get away with plenty more insults. More important, they’ve reflected on how Clinton made her response personal, instead of tying Trump to the Republican Party and its policies. And one result was watching Trump take the White House.

This has not just curdled political rhetoric in general; it has emboldened Democrats to make fun of the increasingly unpopular president, and to portray Republicans as dishonest and heartless. One might argue that they’ve always said that about Republicans, but again, the Clinton campaign tried to “go high” about this stuff. In her August 2016 speech condemning the “alt-right,” Clinton noted that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) had condemned Trump’s insult of the judge handling his university fraud case and attacked Stephen K. Bannon for his criticism of Ryan’s “social-justice Catholicism.”

Clinton’s reward? Ryan would demand that she fire Catholic staffers whose conversation criticizing right-wing elements in the church was stolen by hackers and released by WikiLeaks. In my coverage of the left, Clinton’s occasional attempts to separate Trump from the broader, “reasonable” Republican Party are remembered as massive strategic errors.

Perez, who endorsed Clinton for president, has more or less embraced that view. Asked whether he would apologize for the “give a s—” line, Hinojosa said Perez stood by his comment completely.

“Tom Perez has said repeatedly, including in New Jersey, that Republican leaders like Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and others in Congress have shown us that they don’t care about the American people, especially when it comes to providing families with affordable health insurance,” she said in the email. “The Republican health-care bill would have taken away coverage from 24 million people, imposed an age tax, and made Americans pay more money for less care. Republicans are making it harder to save for retirement, and one of the first acts under President Trump was to make it harder for homebuyers to afford a mortgage. These actions and many others are further proof that Republican leaders in Washington don’t care about the American people and are only looking out for their wealthy friends.”

There were fewer four-letter words in that statement, but it’s part of a continuum of Trump-era Democratic rhetoric. In 2016, the party learned that voters really did not mind if a candidate was rough or profane. It cost a few voters; to more, it came across as toughness. Democrats no longer shame voters for putting up with Trump’s rhetoric. They portray him as a phony who didn’t earn his victory and is betraying the voters who trusted him. They don’t know if this will work. But they’re sure as s— going to try.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/02/tom-perez-wont-apologize-for-insulting-trump-and-gop-leaders-heres-why/?utm_term=.57211dd7332d

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The Pronk Pops Show 860, March 24, 2017, Story 1: Two Party Interference In Health Care Insurance Industry With Federal Regulation and Taxation Is A Big Government Failure — Time for New Independent Constitutional Limited Government Party — Bring Back Free Market Competition For Health Care and Insurance — Leave The American People and Business Alone! — Videos — Story 2: Obama Administration Criminal Activity in Misusing Intelligence Agencies and Mishandling National Security Documents — Who Authorized The Targeting of President-Elect Trump and Trump’s Transition Team for National Security Surveillance and The Unmasking of Their Names? — Watergate Redux — National Security Agency Surveillance of American People Using Stellar Wind — Videos

Posted on March 24, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Federal Government, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Insurance, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Medicare, Mike Pence, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rand Paul, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

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: Two Party  Interference In Health Care Insurance Industry With Federal Regulation and Taxation Is A Big Government Failure — Time for New Independent Constitutional  Limited Government Party — Bring Back Free Market Competition For Health Care  Insurance — Lower Premiums and Deductibles and More Choice of Plans With National Competition — Leave The American People and Business Alone! — Videos — 
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Gohmert: ObamaCare Replacement Bill Was ‘Based on a Lie’

WATCH LIVE Speaker Paul Ryan speaks after House pulls ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill before Friday’s planning

President Trump Speaks After Pulling Healthcare Bill plan 3/24/17 3/24/2017 video

Mark Levin interviews Sen. Mike Lee about the upcoming vote on Obamacare replacement (March 22 2017)

RAND PAUL REACTS TO THE GOP HEALTHCARE BILL GETTING PULLED

Mike Lee Says GOP Healthcare Bill will Fail. Rebuts Paul Ryan, Bigtime

Trump tastes failure as U.S. House healthcare bill collapses

By David Lawder and Steve Holland
ReutersMarch 25, 2017
Trump tastes failure as U.S. House healthcare bill collapses

By David Lawder and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump suffered a stunning political setback on Friday in a Congress controlled by his own party when Republican leaders pulled legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, a major 2016 election campaign promise of the president and his allies.

House of Representatives leaders yanked the bill after a rebellion by Republican moderates and the party’s most conservative lawmakers left them short of votes, ensuring that Trump’s first major legislative initiative since taking office on Jan. 20 ended in failure. Democrats were unified against it.

House Republicans had planned a vote on the measure after Trump late on Thursday cut off negotiations with Republicans who had balked at the plan and issued an ultimatum to vote on Friday, win or lose. But desperate lobbying by the White House and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan was unable to round up the 216 votes needed for passage.

“We learned a lot about loyalty. We learned a lot about the vote-getting process,” Trump told reporters at the White House, although he sought to shift the blame to the Democrats even though his party controls the White House, the House and the Senate.

With Friday’s legislative collapse, Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 Affordable Care Act – known as Obamacare – remains in place despite seven years of Republican promises to dismantle it.

The healthcare failure called into question not only Trump’s ability to get other key parts of his agenda, including tax cuts and a boost in infrastructure spending, through Congress, but the Republican Party’s capacity to govern effectively.

Neither Trump nor Ryan indicated any plans to try to tackle healthcare legislation again anytime soon. Trump said he would turn his attention to getting “big tax cuts” through Congress, another tricky proposition.

Republican supporters said the legislation would achieve their goal of rolling back the government’s “nanny state” role in healthcare. The White House made undoing Obamacare its top priority when Trump took office two months ago.

But the White House and House leaders were unable to come up with a plan that satisfied the clashing interests of moderates and conservatives, despite Trump’s vaunted image as a deal maker.

Amid a chaotic scramble for votes, Ryan, who championed the bill, met with Trump at the White House. Ryan said he recommended that it be withdrawn from the House floor because he did not have the votes to pass it, and Trump agreed.

“We were just probably anywhere from 10 to 15 votes short,” Trump said. “With no Democrat support we couldn’t quite get there.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the bill failed “because of two traits that have plagued the Trump presidency since he took office: incompetence and broken promises.”

Democrats said the bill would take away medical insurance from millions of Americans and leave the more-than-$3 trillion U.S. healthcare system in disarray.

And some moderate Republicans opposed the bill because of worries that millions of America would be hurt.

“There were things in this bill that I didn’t particularly like,” Trump added, without specifying what those were, but expressed confidence in Ryan’s leadership.

“Perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today, because we’ll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes,” said Trump, who had posted multiple tweets throughout March proclaiming that “Obamacare is imploding” and repeatedly saying that Republicans were coming together to pass the bill.

Friday’s events cast doubt on whether Ryan can get major legislation approved by fractious Republican lawmakers.

“I will not sugarcoat this. This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard,” Ryan said at a news conference, adding that his fellow Republicans are experiencing what he called “growing pains” transitioning from an opposition party to a governing party.

“Obamacare’s the law of the land,” Ryan added. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus, the House’s most conservative members, were instrumental in the bill’s failure, opposing it among other reasons because they considered parts too similar to Obamacare.

Trump said he was disappointed and “a little surprised” with the Freedom Caucus opposition.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said under the Republican legislation 14 million people would lose medical coverage by next year and more than 24 million would be uninsured in 2026.

News that the bill had been pulled before a final vote was greeted initially with a small sigh of relief by U.S. equity investors, who earlier in the week had been fretful that an outright defeat would damage Trump’s other priorities, such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

Benchmark U.S. stock market indexes ended the session mixed after rallying back from session lows following the news. The S&P 500 Index ended fractionally lower, the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped about 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose about 0.2 percent.

Shares of hospital operators finished sharply higher, with the S&P healthcare facilities index up 2.7 percent, while the S&P 500 healthcare sector edged down 0.03 percent. The dollar strengthened modestly on the news, and U.S. Treasury bond yields edged up from session lows.

Trump said he would be “totally open” to working with Democrats on healthcare “when they all become civilized.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said working to lower prescription drug prices was one area of possible cooperation with Republicans.

Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher said before the bill was pulled that voting it down would be “neutering Trump” while empowering his opponents.

“You don’t cut the balls off a bull and then expect that he can go out and get the job done,” Rohrabacher told Reuters. “This will emasculate Trump and we can’t do that. … If we bring this down now, Trump will have lost all of his leverage to pass whatever bill it is, whether it’s the tax bill or whatever reforms that he wants.”

Representative Joe Barton of Texas, when asked why his fellow Republicans were so united over the past seven years to dump Obamacare only to fall apart when they actually do something about it, said, “Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game.”

Obamacare boosted the number of Americans with health insurance through mandates on individuals and employers, and income-based subsidies. About 20 million Americans gained insurance coverage through the law.

The House plan would have rescinded a range of taxes created by Obamacare, ended a penalty on people who refuse to obtain health insurance, and ended Obamacare’s income-based subsidies to help people buy insurance while creating less-generous age-based tax credits

It also would have ended Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid state-federal insurance program for the poor, cut future federal Medicaid funding and let states impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients.

House leaders agreed to a series of last-minute changes to try to win over disgruntled conservatives, including ending the Obamacare requirement that insurers cover certain “essential benefits” such as maternity care, mental health services and prescription drug coverage.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-tastes-failure-u-house-healthcare-bill-collapses-150843163–business.html

Failure on health bill also hurts prospects for tax overhaul

FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2017, file photo photo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens at right… Read more

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans’ failure to repeal Barack Obama’s health care law deals a serious blow to another big part of President Donald Trump’s agenda: tax reform.

Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., say they will soon turn their attention to the first major re-write of the tax code in more than 30 years. But they will have to do it without the momentum of victory on health care.

Just as important, the loss on health care will deprive Republicans of $1 trillion in tax cuts.

The GOP health plan would have repealed nearly $1 trillion in taxes enacted under Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The bill coupled the tax cuts with spending cuts for Medicaid, so it wouldn’t add to the budget deficit.

Without the spending cuts, it will be much harder for Republicans to cut taxes without adding to the federal government’s red ink.

“Yes this does make tax reform more difficult,” said Ryan. “But it does not in any way make it impossible.”

“That just means the Obamacare taxes stay with Obamacare. We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code,” he added.

House Republicans couldn’t round up enough votes Friday to repeal and replace a law they despise, raising questions about their ability to tackle other tough issues.

“Doing big things is hard,” Ryan conceded as he vowed to press on.

Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, acknowledged that Friday’s turn of events made him doubtful about the Republicans’ ability to tackle major legislation.

“This was my first big vote and our first big initiative in the line of things to come like tax reform,” said the freshman. “I think this would have given us tremendous momentum and I think this hurts that momentum.”

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said, “You always build on your last accomplishment.”

Nevertheless, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday the administration plans to turn quickly to tax reform with the goal of getting an overhaul approved by Congress by August.

“Health care is a very complicated issue,” Mnuchin said. “In a way, tax reform is a lot simpler.”

Don’t tell that to House Republicans who have been struggling with the issue for years.

The general goal for Republicans is to lower income tax rates for individuals and corporations, and make up the lost revenue by reducing exemptions, deductions and credits.

Overhauling the tax code is hard because every tax break has a constituency. And the biggest tax breaks are among the most popular.

For example, nearly 34 million families claimed the mortgage interest deduction in 2016, reducing their tax bills by $65 billion.

Also, more than 43 million families deducted their state and local income, sales and personal property taxes from their federal taxable income last year. The deduction reduced their federal tax bills by nearly $70 billion.

Mnuchin said he had been overseeing work on the administration’s tax bill for the past two months. He said it would be introduced soon.

Mnuchin said the White House plan would cut individual and corporate tax rates, though he didn’t offer specifics.

House Republicans have released a blueprint that outlines their goals for a tax overhaul. It would lower the top individual income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 33 percent, and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three.

The House plan retains the mortgage interest deduction but repeals the deduction for state and local taxes.

On the corporate side, the plan would repeal the 35 percent corporate income tax and replace it with a 20 percent tax on profits from selling imports and domestically produced goods and services consumed in the U.S.

Exports would be exempt from the new tax, called a border adjustment tax.

The new tax has drawn opposition from Republicans in the Senate. Mnuchin would not reveal whether the administration will include the border adjustment tax in the White House proposal. He was speaking at a public interview event with the news site Axios.

Republicans often complained that they couldn’t do a tax overhaul when Obama was president. Now, Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, and they see a great opportunity.

They plan to use a complicated Senate rule that would prevent Democrats from blocking the bill. But there’s a catch: Under the rule, the package cannot add to long-term budget deficits.

That means every tax cut has to be offset by a similar tax increase or a spending cut. That’s why the loss on health care was so damaging to the effort to overhaul taxes.

Ryan made this case to fellow House Republicans in his failed effort to gain support for the health plan.

“That was part of the calculation of why we had to take care of health care first,” said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y.

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

___

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d6b3f963391a4b9486bc847a7f286a55/failure-health-bill-hurts-prospects-tax-overhaul

Mike Lee: Senate parliamentarian told me it’s possible to push harder on repealing Obamacare regulations

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said on Wednesday that the Senate parliamentarian has told him that it may be possible for Republicans to push harder on repealing Obamacare’s regulations than the current House bill, which contradicts the assertion by House leadership that the legislation goes after Obamacare as aggressively as possible under Senate rules.

“What I understood her to be saying is that there’s no reason why an Obamacare repeal bill necessarily could not have provisions repealing the health insurance regulations,” Lee said in an interview with the Washington Examiner, relating a conversation with parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough about reconciliation he had on Tuesday.

Lee also said that the parliamentarian told him it wasn’t until very recently, after the unveiling of the House bill, that any Republican even asked her about the possibility of repealing regulations with a simple majority.

With a House vote currently expected on Thursday, Republican leadership is scrambling for votes, trying to stave off a backlash from conservatives that could sink the bill. One of the issues conservatives have raised is that the House bill leaves most of the regulations in place, thus not combatting one of the main complaints about Obamacare – its skyrocketing premiums and limited choice.

Because Republicans don’t have 60 Senate seats to kill a filibuster, they have to pass a healthcare bill through a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows the majority party to pass legislation with a simple majority, assuming it meets a certain set of requirements, including that all provisions be primarily budgetary in nature.

Conservatives such as Lee have argued that Republicans should fight harder to argue that the regulations, which have a clear budgetary impact, can be passed through reconciliation. But House leadership and supporters of the bill have countered that the legislation already goes as far as possible. House Speaker Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong, when asked about this by the Washington Examiner last week, said “We’ve worked closely with the Senate to carefully craft the bill to repeal and replace the law to the full extent allowed under the rules.”

But having met with the parliamentarian, who plays a key role in advising the presiding officer of the Senate over what’s in bounds during reconciliation, Lee is more convinced than ever that this is not true.

“One of the things we’ve been told over and over again is the bill was no more aggressive than it has been… in part because of Senate rules,” Lee said. “And the Senate rules are something those defending the bill have repeatedly pointed to in defense of why they wrote it the way they wrote it. The parliamentarian said, there’s not necessarily any reason that would categorically preclude you from doing more, both on the repeal front and the replacement front, all sorts of things are possible.”

He continued, “What matters is how it’s done, how it’s written up. There are ways it’s written up that perhaps make it not subject to passage through reconciliation, but there are other ways you could write it that might make it work.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2618154

On his radio show Wednesday evening, Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin interviewed Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, about a recent conversation the lawmaker had with the Senate parliamentarian. The discussion: whether or not Obamacare’s regulations could be repealed via reconciliation, which only needs a simply majority to pass.

As previously reported by the Washington Examiner, Lee says that he was told by the parliamentarian (who interprets the rules of the Senate) that, despite claims from House leadership, the current “repeal and replace” legislation could do much more to undo Obamacare’s harmful mandates — if so desired.

 

“I honestly believe that the Republican establishment does not want to repeal the entirety of Obamacare,” Levin said. “I think you have Republican governors … who like the expanded Medicaid, so they’ve already sold out. There’s a lot of that going on.”

As it stands now, the current RINOcare version would repeal several taxes and mandates, but it leaves in place the major regulations that are the primary drivers of America’s skyrocketing health insurance premiums. One of the major reasons that these have been left in place, GOP leaders have said, is that the Byrd Rule in the Senate would prohibit them from repealing them in a budget bill.

But this doesn’t appear to be the case, Sen. Mike Lee says, who says he found out in his meeting with the parliamentarian that nobody from leadership so much as asked how much of Obamacare could be gutted in the budget process.

“She pointed out that it’s not necessarily true what we’ve been told [by leadership],” Lee said.

“I think this is very distressing,” Sen. Lee concluded. “Because a whole lot of congressmen have been told a whole lot of times that this is the best we can do under the Senate’s reconciliation rules. And it’s not true.”

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2017/03/sen-mike-lee-puts-the-establishments-rinocare-lies-on-full-display#sthash.CjPMfFOw.dpuf

Story 2: Obama Administration Criminal Activity in Misusing Intelligence Agencies and Mishandling National Security Documents — Who Authorized The Targeting of President-Elect Trump and Trump’s Transition Team for National Security Surveillance and The Unmasking of Their Names? — Watergate Redux — National Security Agency Surveillance of American People Using Stellar Wind —  Videos

House Intelligence Chair News Conference – House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA)

NSA Whistleblower: Trump Was Right On Wiretap Bill Binney – Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News 3/24/17

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

Nunes: Surveillance reports I’ve seen are ‘concerning’

Joe: Devin Nunes Blew Up Hopes Of Independent Russia Investigation | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Newt Gingrich on Nunes’ surveillance revelations

‘This Is All Political’ David Nunes Responds to Tapper- JAKE TAPPER 3/22/17

Breaking/ House intelligence committee chairman say’s Trump was wiretapped. 

Rep. Adam Schiff slams Rep. Devin Nunes’ comments on Trump intel

Nunes says information from Trump surveillance ‘concerned me’