Friday, May 6, 2016

Ex-CIA Chief Thinks Pakistan Poisoned Him - Daily Beast Friday May 6th, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Ex-CIA Chief Thinks Pakistan Poisoned Him - Daily Beast

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Daily Beast

Ex-CIA Chief Thinks Pakistan Poisoned Him
Daily Beast
The former top CIA operative in Pakistan, who presided over the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden, believes he was poisoned by Pakistan's intelligence service, reveals a new Washington Post report. Station chief Mark Kelton was removed from Islamabad ...

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How Russia and China Are Cooperating to Dismantle America's Dominance of the Internet - Huffington Post

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Huffington Post

How Russia and China Are Cooperating to Dismantle America's Dominance of the Internet
Huffington Post
Last Wednesday, the first China-Russia forum on Internet sovereignty took place in Moscow under the auspices of Russia's government-endorsed Safe Internet League. ... It now seems remote in time, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s, at a moment of ...

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Hacker flogs '42.5m' freshly stolen logins for seventy-five cents - The Register

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The Register

Hacker flogs '42.5m' freshly stolen logins for seventy-five cents
The Register
hacker has allegedly sold hundreds of millions of stolen email account credentials – including 42.5 million never before disclosed – for just one dollar to researchers at intelligence firm Hold Security. The move has confounded the researchers and ...
Massive Email Hack Database Sold By Russian Hacker For Less Than $1, But Should You Be Worried?
This Hacker Reportedly Stole Millions of Email PasswordsTIME
Hacker Steals Passwords From 272 Million AccountsRefinery29
Computerworld -The Guardian
all 61 news articles »

White House Joins CIA in Discrediting 9/11 Commission's Allegations of Saudi Involvement - AlterNet

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White House Joins CIA in Discrediting 9/11 Commission's Allegations of Saudi Involvement
Administration spokesman Josh Earnest is changing his tune regarding the release of a classified portion of the congressional 9/11 report, just days after the Director of the CIA claimed the section should not be disclosed to the public. The 28 pages ...

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FBI head: Unique case illustrates dangers of economic espionage -

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FBI head: Unique case illustrates dangers of economic espionage
(KNOXVILLE) China, Russia and Iran are only too happy to steal American technological and trade secrets if it'll help them save money and boost their own military capabilities, according to the FBI's special agent in charge of the Knoxville office. The ...

Did Pakistan poison the CIA station chief in Islamabad?

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A leading article in The Washington Post suggests that the United States Central Intelligence Agency suspected that its most senior officer in Pakistan was poisoned by the host country’s intelligence services, in an attempt to kill him.
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Page 2

Israeli cowboys live frontier life on Syria's doorstep

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KIDMAT ZVI, Golan Heights (AP) - With his wide-brimmed hat, Wrangler jeans and ornate belt buckle, Yehiel Alon could easily pass for one of the Montana ranchers he once worked with. But the 53-year-old is an Israeli cowboy on the Golan Heights bordering worn-torn Syria, where frontier life takes on ...

Guccifer Allegations Could be Significant for Clinton FBI Probe, Say Former U.S. Prosecutors 

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Romanian hacker Guccifer’s claims that he hacked into Hillary Clinton’s private email server could bolster a potential criminal case against Clinton for mishandling classified information, according to former U.S. prosecutors.
“The question is if a guy like that can [hack into] it, who else did it?” said Joseph diGenova, former U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C.
Matthew Whitaker, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, said the hacker’s allegations would “confirm what most people have believed to be true, which was that this email server was not secured like you would expect it to be. That it was opened and had been looked at by at least people who don’t have American interests at heart.”
Guccifer, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, was extradited to the United States in March. He is charged with breaching the email accounts of a number of political figures, including long-time Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal.
Lazar said in a Fox News interview published Wednesday that he also infiltrated Clinton’s email server in early 2013, although his claim has not been confirmed and he has not been charged with doing it.
The FBI has been investigating whether classified and national security information was mishandled over Clinton’s private server.
DiGenova said the timing and circumstances of Lazar’s sudden extradition suggests it was related to the FBI probe.
“The FBI found him, actually brought him over to the United States, actually quite early. Generally speaking they don’t bring back hackers to the United States, unless there’s been some huge financial crime,” diGenova said. “I’m sure he’s there to provide some sort of context for the ongoing investigation.”
Lazar, who was first charged by the United States in 2014, was in the middle of a seven-year prison sentence in Romania at the time of his March extradition.
“Bringing him back before his sentence has expired … is pretty unusual, and clearly it’s related to the Clinton server,” diGenova said.
DiGenova noted that Lazar’s case is before the Eastern District Court of Virginia, “which means that the venue for all other cases related to his will be Virginia.” He said the court is the most likely venue if Clinton’s email investigation leads to charges.
Whitaker said the FBI would “have a lot of interest [in talking to Lazar about Clinton’s server] based on the little bits provided to explore.”
He said details about the server’s structure would be particularly valuable.
“If some of those basic facts appear to be true, I think the FBI would find him more credible and explore what else he saw,” Whitaker said.
It is unclear why Lazar chose to go public with his claim now. He has previously boasted about his high-profile hacking victims in interviews and jailhouse letters but did not mention accessing Clinton’s emails.
A spokesperson for Clinton denied Lazar’s story and noted that the hacker never publicly released emails from Clinton’s server, as he has done with other political figures.
“There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate. It is unfathomable that he would have gained access to her emails and not leaked them the way he did to his other victims,” the Clinton campaign told Fox News on Wednesday.
Lazar has pleaded not guilty to the federal hacking charges. In his interview with Fox News, he indicated that he would be open to a plea agreement and is willing to cooperate with federal authorities. He also claimed he has a hidden collection of highly-sensitive information that he has not shared with the U.S. government.
The hacker told Fox News that getting access to Clinton’s server was “easy” and he did it multiple times.
“For me, it was easy … easy for me, for everybody,” Lazar told Fox News, adding that he did not find the content interesting.
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US Navy commander says canceled HK visit a minor hurdle

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SHANGHAI (AP) - The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet on Friday dismissed the cancellation of a planned port visit to Hong Kong by an American aircraft carrier as a "minor hurdle" in relations between the two militaries.
Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin spoke in China's financial hub of Shanghai ...

Obama Admin Deported Less Than One Percent of Visa Overstays 

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The Obama administration deported less than one percent of the nearly half a million foreign nationals who illegally overstayed their visas in 2015, according to new statistics published by the Department of Homeland Security.
Of the 482,781 aliens who were recorded to have overstayed temporary U.S. visas in fiscal year 2015, just 2,456 were successfully deported from the United States during the same period, according to DHS’s figures, which amounts to a deportation rate of around 0.5 percent.
The sinking rate of deportations by the Obama administration is drawing criticism from Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are warning that the administration is ignoring illegal overstays and potentially opening the United States to terrorist threats.
The 482,781 figure accounts for aliens who entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visitor visa or through the Visa Waiver Program, which streamlines travel between the United States and certain other countries. The figure encompasses foreign nationals who were found to have remained in the United States after their visas expired or after the 90-day window allowed by the Visa Waiver Program.
The actual number of overstays could be higher. The latest figures published by DHS do not include overstays from other visa categories or overstays by individuals who entered the United States through land ports, such as those along the Mexican border.
Deportations by the Obama administration have decreased steadily since 2009, according to figures codified by the Senate’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest and provided to theWashington Free Beacon.
Since 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has expelled 51,704 individuals who overstayed their visas. The total number of those expelled has decreased every fiscal year.
At least 12,538 illegal overstays were deported in fiscal 2009, while 11,259 were removed in 2010, 10,426 in 2011, 6,856 in 2012, 4,240 in 2013, 3,564 in 2014, and 2,456 in 2015, according to the committee.
The drop is being attributed by sources to an Obama administration policy directing DHS and ICE not to pursue visa overstays unless the offender has been convicted of major crimes or terrorism.
“The decision by the Obama administration not to enforce immigration laws by allowing those who have overstayed their visas to remain in the country has not gone unnoticed by the American people,” sources on the Senate subcommittee told the Free Beacon. “A Rasmussen Reports pollreleased earlier this year indicates that approximately 3 out of 4 Americans not only want the Obama administration to find these aliens who overstay their visas, but also to deport them.”
“The same poll indicates that 68 percent of Americans consider visa overstays a ‘serious national security risk,’ and 31 percent consider visa overstays a ‘very serious’ national security risk,” according to the sources.
Congress has long mandated the implementation of a biometric entry-exit system to track individuals who overstay their visas and ensure they leave the United States.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), chair of the Senate’s immigration subcommittee, recently proposed an amendment aimed at speeding up implementation of this system. Senate Democrats blocked the amendment.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received substantially more taxpayer money in recent years despite the plummeting rate of deportations. At least 43 percent fewer aliens were removed from the United States from 2012 to 2015, according to DHS statistics.
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NATO's European missile system goes online

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A new missile site operated by NATO has been launched in Romania, bringing the Western military alliance's European missile system online.

Syria: UN relief chief calls for probe into air strikes that left dozens dead in Idleb

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The top United Nations humanitarian official has called for an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into the air strikes that today left dozes of civilians dead and injured in the northern Syrian Governorate of Idleb, which, if found to be deliberate, could amount to a war crime.
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Page 3

Turkey's PM Resigns as Erdogan Shows Who's Boss

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he will step down as his ruling AK Party announced an extraordinary congress to elect a new leader. Davutoglu's decision comes amid reports of his growing differences with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin's Personal Army'?

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While Russian lawmakers are busy changing the country's election laws in preparation for parliamentary elections this year, the lower house of parliament is due this month to consider whether President Vladimir Putin's new National Guard should be allowed to shoot Russian citizens without warning.

DoD Releases FY15 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military

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The Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.

The defense secretary wants his scientists to travel. They've been grounded by bureaucracy.

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It had been three years since the White House cracked down on federal travel across the government after hundreds of federal employees went on an embarrassing four-day junket to Las Vegas. Travel and conference spending was slashed by 30 percent. For Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the restrictions had gone too far.

Tor developer Isis Agora Lovecruft publicly accuses the FBI of harassment - International Business Times UK

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International Business Times UK

Tor developer Isis Agora Lovecruft publicly accuses the FBI of harassment
International Business Times UK
It reportedly started with a house visit from the FBI and escalated to the threat of a federal subpoena. For one member of the Tor Project's core development team, named Isis Agora Lovecruft, the past six months have been characterised by stress ...

Clinton to be interrogated by FBI over email scandal, possibly before California primary - RT

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Clinton to be interrogated by FBI over email scandal, possibly before California primary
FBI officials told CNN they have yet not found any evidence that Clinton willfully violated the law, but that the investigation is ongoing. The Clinton campaign, which has been reluctant to speak about the scandal, refused to comment on the investigation. 
CNN Reports FBI Has Found 'No Criminal Wrongdoing' in Hillary Clinton Email 'Investigation'Mediaite

Top aide to Hillary Clinton questioned by FBI in email server investigationLos Angeles Times
FBI grills Huma Abedin about Hillary's email serverNew York Post 
 -The Hill- Politico
all 297 
news articles »
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Page 4

Fox: State Department Missed Deadline for Benghazi Document Review Panel 

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Documents show the State Department missed a deadline set by itself for establishing a special document review unit last year for the investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attack, Fox News reports.
Fox News obtained the documents showing Congress set aside more than $4 million to establish the special unit with it to be running by June 2015. However, it did not begin hiring personnel until around that period.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), the Chairman of the House Benghazi Select Committee, led the effort to secure the $4 million for the Department of State in an effort to expedite the review of the documents.
Gowdy is now trying to figure out from the Department of State and from Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff, Jonathan Finer, where those funds went. However, the Department of State is refusing to say what happened.
As Fox News reports, the committee was supposed to be staffed by a variety of personnel, including with some personnel who were evacuated from American facilities in Yemen in 2015:
According to the internal committee files, the State Department’s document review unit was supposed to encompass twelve full-time employees, including at least three lawyers, “case managers” to oversee responses to specific document requests, and an IT professional.
The State Department conveyed to the committee last year that it intended to use some of the U.S. personnel evacuated from Yemen last year to staff the unit, according to the documents.
On Thursday, Toner said the use of the personnel from Yemen was “never necessary” – but did not spell out why the evacuated personnel were considered superfluous when the department was having trouble meeting its own target date of mid-June for the unit to become operational.
Gowdy’s attempts to speedily review the documents seems to go against claims by the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that the entire nature of the committee is to damage Clinton, and not attempt to find out what happened during the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
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The Latest: France wants inquiry into Syrian camp strikes

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BEIRUT (AP) - The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
3:30 p.m.
France is expressing the "strongest condemnation" of the air strikes on camps for displaced people in Syria that left at least 28 people dead, including women and children.
A statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry ...

Pentagon perpetuates stigma of mental health counseling, study says

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Even as troop suicides remain at record levels, the Pentagon has failed to persuade servicemembers to seek counseling without fears that they'll damage their careers, a stinging government review concludes.

Cyber Experts: Change Passwords After Massive Hack -

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Cyber Experts: Change Passwords After Massive Hack
Cybersecurity professionals warn that anyone with a personal email account might want to change their passwords following revelations of a massive cache of stolen user names and passwords being offered for sale on the Internet. The thefts involved some ...

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New leader picked for intelligence group at Wright-Patterson

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A Council on Foreign Relations military academic fellow has been chosen as the next commander of a secretive Air Force intelligence agency.

Footage from within Islamic State attack cell yields secrets

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A French Islamic State cell dismantled in the final stages of planning an attack has yielded a new secret this week, with the release of undercover footage.
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Page 5

NATO Ratchets Up Missile Defense Despite Russian Criticism

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LONDON — NATO’s European missile defense system will go live on Thursday when a base in Romania becomes operational. The next day, Poland is scheduled to break ground on its NATO missile-defense base.
The decision by the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe to proceed with ballistic missile defense in the face of increasingly loud Russian criticism is an important stage in the alliance’s new stance toward Moscow.
Those deployments will be coupled this spring with major military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, with significant American participation, and a beefed-up rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops.
Altogether, said Derek Chollet, a former United States assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, “There will be a quite robust display of military power in Europe and allied resolve, and hopefully Moscow will see it for what it is, an alliance improving its capabilities.”
At the biannual NATO summit meeting in Warsaw in early July, the main issues are expected to be east-west (read Russia) and north-south — how to deal with threats to members like Turkey and Greece from the chaos of Syria, Iraq, Libya and the Islamic State. The phrase “arc of instability” has re-emerged in NATO-speak.
There is confusion about what useful purpose NATO can serve in the south. But there is more clarity on Russia, after its annexation of Crimea and armed involvement in eastern Ukraine, its threats to the Baltic region and intervention in Syria.
Talk of “strategic partnership” is gone; instead, there are calls to abandon the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, which spoke of shared values and a commitment to peace. There is less emphasis on finding “common ground” with Russia than on setting clear limits.
The intention in Warsaw is to move from “reassurance” of eastern NATO allies to “deterrence” of Russia. That means more troops and equipment, longer deployments, bigger exercises and a “persistent” presence of NATO and American troops in countries like Poland and the Baltics.
At the 2014 NATO summit meeting in Wales, the alliance decided to rotate small numbers of troops through the Baltic region; now NATO is planning to deploy four combat battalions of roughly 1,000 troops each in Poland and the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Two of them are likely to be American, one German and one British. And Washington will add a third combat brigade in Europe.
There will be discussion of how to recreate the infrastructure, dismantled after the Cold War, to move tanks quickly to Poland, which now takes at least a day. The new deployments are a more serious tripwire to deter a war that NATO leaders must now at least contemplate.
How will Russia react? President Vladimir V. Putin views NATO as encircling Russia to limit its influence. Moscow argues that the only possible target of NATO’s missile defenses is Russia, now that Iran has agreed to limit its nuclear program.
Russia has already said it will create three new divisions along its western border and has threatened to put nuclear warheads on its new Iskander missiles and base them in Kaliningrad — territory bordering Poland and Lithuania that Moscow annexed after World War II.
Some NATO country officials, including in Poland, believe that Moscow already has nuclear weaponsin Kaliningrad, and will wait to announce that deployment in response to an operational missile defense, or as Moscow’s riposte to the NATO meeting.
Russia has been developing a ground-launched cruise-missile version of the Iskander that the departing NATO commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, has said violates the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Washington.
Moscow, for its part, argues that NATO’s own missile defenses violate the I.N.F. treaty because they could be used offensively.
So the newly robust NATO moves may give Moscow the excuse to say that it is pulling out of the treaty altogether. And Mr. Putin, who has domestic problems and has discussed using nuclear weapons in a conflict with NATO, may decide to announce the deployment of nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, or even Crimea.
“Putin has given us plenty of reasons to be concerned,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “He uses his unpredictability as leverage over the West, so we can’t trust our assumptions.”
Continue reading the main story
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Navy ‘Spy’ Edward Lin Spilled No Secrets To Taiwan

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A new recording made public by prosecutors raises at least as many questions as it answers.
A U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage didn’t provide military secrets to a foreign government, but rather to an FBI informant who was posing as a Taiwanese official, military officials revealed Thursday.
The latest twist in the case against Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, came as military officials allowed reporters to listen to a recording from a military pretrial hearing held on April 8. There, prosecutors alleged that Lin was the target of a sting operation that led to his arrest and two-day interrogation at the Honolulu International Airport last September.
Prosecutors said that during questioning, Lin confessed to being a spy. Lin’s job, working in and around military reconnaissance aircraft, gave him access to information about sensitive equipment that the U.S. uses to spy on its adversaries.
Lin’s attorney vigorously refuted the charges and said that his client had been denied his right to speak with a lawyer at the time he was arrested and questioned. The Pentagon Thursday played an 80-minute section from the pretrial hearing, known as an Article 32. But they left out at least a half hour that officials said was classified.
The recording sheds new light on Lin’s case, but it also raises several unanswered questions. And prosecutors offered no explanation of how Lin, who once spoke in uniform about fulfilling his dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen, had turned from a model sailor to a spy.
In the recording, the Navy alleged that as Lin met with the FBI informant from Aug 25 to Sept. 9 of 2015, he shared classified information. It’s not clear where the two met or what Lin allegedly divulged. The men spoke to each other in Mandarin.
A military prosecutor, Navy Cmdr. Johnathan Stephens, presented nine “disks” that he said contained recordings of the meeting and of Lin’s interrogation. “The beauty of this is you get to watch the entirety of the event,” Stephens told the presiding judge, Cmdr. Bruce Gregor.
Lin was arrested at the Honolulu airport on September 11, interrogated for 11 hours over the course of two days, and then confessed, the prosecution said.
But Lin’s lawyer, Larry Youngner, said his client was deprived of legal counsel during questioning. Surrounded by FBI agents, Lin was told he had right a lawyer, and when he asked if he had any questions, he responded, “Yea, I got questions,” only to be ignored by the agents, Youngner said.
The military also said classified documents were found in Lin’s home. But Younger countered that these documents could also be found online, and that a notebook recovered from Lin’s home also contained nothing classified.
“We believe there is yet to be proof that there was classified information in that notebook” found at his home, Younger said.
Youngner didn’t deny that Lin spoke to the person who turned out to be an informant. But he insisted that Lin merely repeated “talking points” the Navy had given him to use when dealing with Taiwanese officials.
It wasn’t clear under what auspices Lin believed that the two were meeting. But Youngner stressed that his client had been motivated by a sense of duty.
“How many times does he say [on the tapes], ‘I was trying to help the United States,’” Younger told the judge, adding, “There is no intent or attempt to aid a foreign government.”
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As the Daily Beast first reported, there are signs that the case against Lin could fall apart.
Lin was held in pretrial detention for eight months after he allegedly confessed. But he was not charged until April. The military has offered no explanation for why Lin was held for so long after his interrogators had apparently obtained a confession.
Youngner also raised questions about the accuracy of the translation of the conversation between Lin and the informant, noting that there are multiple Mandarin dialects.
Neither the prosecution nor the defense called witnesses. Lin was at the hearing and answered questions in a firm voice, usually saying either: “Yes, sir” or “No, sir” to the judge’s questions.
In addition to charges of espionage and attempted espionage, the military alleges that Lin engaged in prostitution (on both sides of the exchange) and adultery. Those charges are based on the military’s review of his work emails that began after Lin’s alleged confession at the airport. The emails date back to 2012.
So far, prosecutors are pushing ahead. Gregor, the judge in the preliminary hearing, recommended the case go forward. Lin’s case now is before Adm. Philip S. Davidson, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, who is currently weighing whether to proceed with a court-martial against Lin. If he does, the military will likely face significant challenges in bringing its case, given how much of it appears to rely on classified information not easily introduced in a public trial.
There is no deadline for Davidson’s decision.
Read the whole story
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Foreign Intelligence Services Targeted 2008 Campaign, Officials Were Warned

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The Intelligence Community evidently gave some incoming members of the Obama administration astar-spangled welcome briefing — complete with a stern warning.
In a newly disclosed document titled “Unlocking the Secrets: How to Use The Intelligence Community,” intelligence officials told incoming officials that foreign intelligence services had been extensively spying on the 2008 political campaigns.
“Foreign intelligence services have been tracking this election cycle like no other,” the authors from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence wrote.
On the campaign trail, the ODNI authors wrote, foreign spooks met with campaign staff and other sources, hacked into campaign data, and engaged in “perception management” more aggressive than traditional lobbying—though the lack of specifics make it’s unclear what any of that really entails.
The world is a different place, and spies overseas are more skilled nowadays, they wrote—leading to a new level of digital and physical monitoring in order to try to find secrets and influence policy.
The authors also warned that foreign agents would continue to try to ask invasive questions, influence key decision makers, invite them abroad, or give them compromised electronic devices, laced with malware—like USB drives.
They should “be mindful of electronic interception”—and not use wireless devices for sensitive conversations, the authors advised. There was no mention of encryption.
And if members of the administration go abroad, they were told, their hotel rooms were almost certainly vulnerable to bugs.
The document was one of several posted to the  “IC On the Record” blog on Thursday
Read the full orientation document here:
DF-2015-00025pp1-1414 pages
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Hillary Gets Guccifered - WSJ