Thursday, September 29, 2016

Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State - The New York Times: "Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace."

Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State - The New York Times

1 Share
President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.
This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday. An investigative team led by the Netherlandsconcluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russian and Syrian warplanes knocked out two hospitals in the rebel-held sector of Aleppo as part of an assault that threatens the lives of 250,000 more people in a war that has already claimed some 500,000 Syrian lives.
Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirms earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow’s continuing cover-up.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, told The Times last week that his government is determined to bring both Russia and the individuals who fired the missile to justice.
Some Western officials have accused Russia of war crimes, charges that could be pursued through international channels, even if Moscow blocks a formal referral to the International Criminal Court. New sanctions against Russia also should be considered. Mr. Putin will undoubtedly fight any such action, using his veto on the Security Council, but whatever his response, the United States should lend its support to Ukraine’s quest for accountability.
There seems no holding Mr. Putin to account in Syria. For months he has pretended to negotiate on a political solution to a five-year-old civil war between his client, President Bashar al-Assad, and rebels backed by the United States and some Arab nations. But despite pleas from Secretary of StateJohn Kerry, who has spent an enormous amount of time and effort negotiating two separate (and short-lived) cease-fires, Russian and Syrian forces, backed by Iranian ground troops, have continued the slaughter.
Over recent days, Mr. Putin has again shown his true colors with air attacks that have included powerful bunker-busting bombs that can destroy underground hospitals and safety zones where civilians seek shelter. On Sept. 19, Russia bombed an aid convoy, which like hospitals and civilians are not supposed to be targeted under international law.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kerry threatened to withdraw an American team from Geneva where the two sides had established a center to collaborate on a cease-fire. But that is likely to have little effect, and Mr. Kerry has few, if any, diplomatic cards to play.
President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.
Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior — butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home — suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace.
Continue reading the main story
Read the whole story

· ·

How Russia Wants to Undermine the U.S. Election

1 Share



The leaders of the U.S. government, including the President and his top national-security advisers, face an unprecedented dilemma. Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election. It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet. But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself.
The question, debated at multiple meetings at the White House, is how aggressively to respond to the Russian operation. Publicly naming and shaming the Russians and describing what the intelligence community knows about their activities would help Americans understand and respond prudently to any disruptions that might take place between now and the close of the polls. Senior Justice Department officials have argued in favor of calling out the Russians, and that position has been echoed forcefully outside of government by lawmakers and former top national-security officials from both political parties.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The President and several of his closest national-security advisers are concerned about the danger of a confrontation in the new and ungoverned world of cyberspace, and they argue that while the U.S. has powerful offensive and defensive capabilities there, an escalating confrontation carries significant risks. National Security Council officials warn that our critical infrastructure–including the electricity grid, transportation sector and energy networks–is vulnerable to first strikes; others say attacks on private companies, stock exchanges and the media could affect the economy. Senior intelligence officials even worry about Russia exposing U.S. espionage operations in retaliation. And while U.S. officials have “high confidence” that Russia is behind what they describe as a major influence operation, senior U.S. officials tell TIME, their evidence would not yet stand up in court.
And so with five weeks to go, the White House is, for now, letting events unfold. On one side, U.S. law-enforcement agencies are scrambling to uncover the extent of the Russian operation, counter it and harden the country’s election infrastructure. On the other, a murky network of Russian hackers and their associates is stepping up the pace of leaks of stolen documents designed to affect public opinion and give the impression that the election is vulnerable, including emails from the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Meanwhile, the FBI alerted all 50 states to the danger in mid-August, and the states have delivered evidence of a “significant” number of new intrusions into their election systems that the bureau and their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security “are still trying to understand,” a department official tells TIME.
All of which makes Donald Trump’s repeated insertion of himself into the U.S.-Russia story all the more startling. Trump has praised Putin during the campaign, and at the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26, he said it wasn’t clear the Russians were behind the DNC hack. But the U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that Russian intelligence services were in fact responsible, multiple intelligence and national security officials tell TIME. Trump was informed of that assessment during a recent classified intelligence briefing, a U.S. official familiar with the matter tells TIME. “I do not comment on information I receive in intelligence briefings, however, nobody knows with definitive certainty that this was in fact Russia,” Trump told TIME in a statement. “It may be, but it may also be China, another country or individual.”
Russia’s interference in the U.S. election is an extraordinary escalation of an already worrying trend. Over the past 2½ years, Russia has executed a westward march of election meddling through cyberspace, starting in the states of the former Soviet Union and moving toward the North Atlantic. “On a regular basis they try to influence elections in Europe,” President Obama told NBC News on July 26. With Russia establishing beachheads in the U.S. at least since April, officials worry that in the final weeks of the campaign the Russian cybercapability could be used to fiddle with voter rolls, election-reporting systems and the media, resulting in confusion that could cast a shadow over both the next President and the democratic process.
Obama’s decision not to call out the Russian espionage operation has so far left the effort to educate Americans about it to lawmakers and national-security experts. On Sept. 22, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff, released an unusually blunt statement. “Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,” they said. “At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election.” Orders for Russian intelligence agencies to conduct electoral-influence operations, they added, could come only from very senior levels of government. “We call on [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to immediately order a halt to this activity.” The statement, though not endorsed publicly by the Administration, was cleared with the CIA.
To understand why Putin would want to undercut the legitimacy of the U.S. election, it helps to step back from the long and ugly presidential campaign and remember why we’re voting in the first place. Elections are the ultimate source of authority in our democracy. Because Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades that spreading democracy is good for everyone, America has pushed for free and fair elections around the world. And many nations have embraced them: peasants in the Balkans put on their Sunday best to go to the polls, and burqa-clad women in Afghanistan brave terrorist attacks to stand in line for hours to cast their ballots.
Not surprisingly, quasi-authoritarian rulers in the former Soviet Union, latter-day communists in China and medieval theocrats in the Middle East, among many others, see America’s sometimes aggressive evangelism about the benefits of liberal democracy as a direct threat to their own claims to authority. Putin has taken particular umbrage, accusing the U.S.–and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular–of meddling in Russia’s presidential election in 2012. He has publicly questioned the validity of past U.S. presidential elections, saying, on June 17, of the Electoral College, “You call that democracy?” Now, experts say, Putin is expanding his anti-American campaign into cyberspace. “More than any attempt to get one candidate or another elected, this [Russian influence operation] is about discrediting the entire idea of a free and fair election,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company that did the analysis of the DNC hack.
No one knows that better than Arizona secretary of state Michele Reagan. One day in June she was in her backyard in Phoenix when she got a call from her chief of staff. “Are you sitting down?” he asked. The FBI had been monitoring a corner of the so-called dark web, the network of hidden sites used by criminals to buy and sell drugs, pedophilic pornography and stolen identities. A group of hackers known collectively as Fancy Bear, which the U.S. government believes is controlled by Russian military intelligence, was trying to sell a user name and password that belonged to someone in an Arizona county election official’s office, which holds the personal data of almost 4 million people. “My first reaction was, Well, this is like the worst thing that you want to hear,” Reagan recalls.
Reagan and the FBI scrambled to figure out how the Russians had gotten into Arizona’s system and what needed to be done to secure it. It turned out that an election official in rural Gila County, pop. 54,000, had opened a Word document on her desktop computer that contained malicious software. Fortunately, while Fancy Bear had penetrated a local computer system, it hadn’t accessed the statewide registration database. Others weren’t so lucky. Fancy Bear’s electronic fingerprints were found on the hack into the DNC computers. In Illinois, the feds found that Fancy Bear had stolen 85,000 voter records from that state’s registration systems in mid-July. Later that month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) revealed that it, too, had been hacked by Fancy Bear.
With other states now reporting intrusions of unknown origin, the government wants to reassure the public that the vote count itself is safe. “We have confidence in the overall integrity of our electoral systems,” Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said on Sept. 16. “It is diverse, subject to local control, and has many checks and balances built in.” Each of the U.S.’s more than 9,000 polling places uses machines not connected to the Internet, precincts count and report their results independently, and most have paper or electronic backups in case a recount is needed.
The Administration has a message for Russia too. The U.S. has privately warned that any effort to sway the election would be unacceptable, intelligence and other Administration officials tell TIME. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the message to his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Laos on July 27. During a 90-minute meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on Sept. 6, Obama pulled Putin aside and discussed the cyberconcerns one-on-one, with no aides present, a White House official tells TIME. In a press conference later, the President called for restraint on all sides in the use of cyberweapons and issued a veiled threat about America’s cyberpowers. “Frankly, we’ve got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively,” Obama said.
Putin’s history of using influence operations against opponents begins, appropriately enough, with himself. As he was rising quickly through the Kremlin ranks in 1999, one of his main opponents, Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov, was caught on tape having sex with two women in a hotel room in what Skuratov later claimed was a Putin-run espionage operation traditionally known as a “honey trap.” Putin, who had risen from a Soviet-era KGB operative to head the country’s intelligence services, denied he was behind it but said on TV that his agents had confirmed that the man in the grainy video was Skuratov. Putin went on to win the presidency the next year. Skuratov, who ran against him, got less than 1% of the popular vote.
With the expansion of the Internet in the decade that followed, the Russians adopted cyberweapons as a standard tool of political meddling. Nowhere has their tactic of spreading chaos around a vote been clearer than in Ukraine, where three days before the presidential election on May 25, 2014, the computer systems of the Central Electoral Commission went dark. “The servers wouldn’t turn on. The links to the local election authorities were cut off,” says Victor Zhora, director of the cybersecurity firm Infosafe, which had been hired to defend the system. “Literally, nothing worked.”
As Zhora and his team worked successfully to restore the system in time for the vote, they became convinced that the collective behind the hack, known as CyberBerkut, was a front for Russian security services. The malware that crashed the system was not available on the market and had been built from scratch. And the effect of the attack supported Russia’s strategic goal of undermining the validity of the election. The hackers could have manipulated the outcome of the vote, Zhora says, but “their main goal was to take out the system itself, to destroy the data, to wipe out the hard drives before the elections started.” Moreover, the CyberBerkut efforts appeared to be coordinated with Russian state propaganda. Zhora and his team stopped a subsequent effort by CyberBerkut to post false voting results on the election commission’s website that would have showed a far-right militant ahead in the polls. But a screenshot of the fake web page appeared anyway on Russia’s main state-run news network as the vote was still going on.
Russia has also meddled in the elections of major U.S. allies that have imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and many of the Russian cyberoperations have benefited populist, anti-immigrant parties that oppose Western European unity in the face of rising Russian aggression. In August, a spear-phishing e-mail attack targeted German party officials, including some members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. The emails contained malware that bore the signatures of Fancy Bear, according to Germany’s top cyberdefense official, Arne Schönbohm, who warned on Sept. 9 that the attack could be an attempt to manipulate parliamentary elections next year. Merkel had previously ordered German intelligence agencies to look into Russia’s peddling of a false story about a Russian girl raped by migrants in Germany–a story that has helped fuel the rise of the right-wing opposition party AfD. That party beat Merkel’s Christian Democrats in a regional ballot in the Chancellor’s home district in September.
Farther west, in France, a Russian bank with close ties to the Kremlin lent the far-right party of Marine Le Pen some 9 million euros in November 2014, helping it prepare for regional elections a year later, when it received its best results ever. Russia also tried a more subtle information operation designed to fuel the anti-immigrant and national-security fears that have contributed to Le Pen’s rise. In April 2015, the programming of the French broadcaster TV5Monde was blocked by unknown hackers, and for 18 hours the channel’s websites transmitted only the image of the signature black flag of ISIS. French intelligence officials and the British signals-intelligence agency, the GCHQ, found it was not ISIS but in fact Fancy Bear that was behind the hack, according to a Sept. 25 article by the London Sunday Times and U.S. officials.
Britain, too, has been targeted. The Times article quoted David Anderson, an independent watchdog appointed under British law, as saying the GCHQ had blocked a Russian attempt to disrupt the May 7, 2015, general election there. The Times said Fancy Bear planned to target government servers and major TV broadcasters. But not all stations were to be hit. In the fall of 2014, the pro-Moscow RT network, which is funded by the Kremlin, launched a 24-hour news network in the U.K. aimed at British viewers. The message, Russia experts say, is that Western democracy is not so hot. “It’s a cynical message: No one is democratic,” says Peter Kreko, an expert on the European right and a visiting professor at Indiana University.
The most pessimistic Kremlin watchers worry how far Putin will go with the combination of psychological manipulation and cyberwarfare. They view the pattern of Russia’s electoral meddling in the context of Putin’s recent embrace of what is known as the Gerasimov doctrine, a nontraditional approach to military conflict named after the chief of the Russian general staff, Valery Gerasimov, that relies heavily on cyberwar and influence operations. “A perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict,” Gerasimov posited in a now famous 2013 manifesto, through “political, economic, informational, humanitarian and other nonmilitary measures applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population.”
That is how Putin stoked a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014. But the current and former senior intelligence and national-security officials interviewed for this story agree that the principal benefit Putin gains from his Western European and U.S. meddling is the leg up it gives him with his own political and diplomatic challenges at home. “In the long run, if people start to question the integrity of our election system,” says one senior U.S. intelligence official, “potentially to Russia that’s a plus. But I would argue more strongly that this is as much about domestic constituents and his public,” the official says. The more chaos in Europe and the U.S., the better.
Putin has shown little sign of stopping, even when meddling is discovered. In April, the DNC suspected it had been hacked and called in the cyberforensics firm CrowdStrike, which was co-founded in 2011 by Alperovitch and employs a number of former government cybersecurity experts. CrowdStrike was familiar with Fancy Bear: it had previously found the group’s hacks in Canada, Japan and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. It identifies the group based on the Russians’ unique cybertradecraft, including nonpublic code in its malware, its infrastructure of servers around the world and the techniques that it uses to move and hide within the systems it penetrates. After inspecting the DNC computers, Alperovitch concluded that the hack was indeed executed by the Russians. And while CrowdStrike usually keeps its findings secret, the DNC told the company it was outraged that the Russians were trying to interfere with our political system, and “they wanted us to come forward,” Alperovitch says.
Twelve hours after the DNC break-in was revealed in June, a hacker who insisted he was Romanian and who called himself Guccifer 2.0 popped up online and tried to discredit CrowdStrike’s attribution to Russian military intelligence. Guccifer 2.0 started leaking information from the DNC hack in blog posts and on Twitter, but his professed identity wasn’t very convincing. When reporters reached out to him online, for example, the responses he sent in Romanian were riddled with errors. U.S. government officials privately confirm that they believe Fancy Bear and Russian military intelligence are behind the DNC and DCCC hacks.
The pace of leaks has accelerated as the election approaches, revealing a murky network of actors. Around the time of the DNC hack, a website called DCleaks.net was established by a group identifying themselves as “hacktivists.” By June the group began posting hacked documents, including emails from retired General Philip Breedlove, the former commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Europe, asking former Secretary of State Colin Powell how to persuade Obama to more forcefully oppose Russian meddling in Ukraine.
Initially, there was no evidence of a connection between DCleaks and Russian hackers, and even now it is not clear who is behind the site. In late June, however, Guccifer 2.0 contacted the website the Smoking Gun and provided it with a link to material from the DNC hack that DCleaks was preparing to publish. In recent weeks, DCleaks has published new emails belonging to Powell, which included damaging remarks about Clinton, even though the overall gist of his emails was supportive. And recently, the site published what purported to be a copy of Michelle Obama’s passport.
The leaks tend to favor isolationist policies over ones aimed at confronting Russia. The Breedlove leaks showed an embarrassing and unsuccessful effort to build U.S.-led pushback against Russia in Ukraine. The DNC documents, which made their way to WikiLeaks through unknown channels, weakened Putin’s old foe, Clinton, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. And DCleaks claimed that its ability to obtain the First Lady’s passport demonstrated U.S. vulnerability to terrorism.
Putin has done what he can to maintain deniability. Asked by Bloomberg TV on Sept. 2 whether Russia was behind the DNC hack, he said, “I don’t know anything about that.” But he seemed admiring, if not proud, of Fancy Bear’s work. “They work so much like fine jewelers, so delicately, that they can leave their tracks, or someone else’s tracks, at just the right place and just the right time in order to camouflage their work and make it look like the work of some other hackers from somewhere else, some other country.”
In fact, it might take a real jewel thief–or an army of them–to rig the U.S. presidential election. Because they are not connected to the Internet and are controlled by thousands of independent precincts, U.S. voting machines are largely safe from meddling, says Merle King, executive director of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Elections Systems. The feds have pushed out patches for known vulnerabilities in state computers and offered security scans. America’s cyber and counterespionage forces will be looking “to see if there’s anything coming from overseas or even domestically that looks like an effort to target election offices,” says George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff. The FBI has opened a formal investigation into the DNC, DCCC, Arizona and Illinois hacks
But with the election fast approaching, some experts in and out of government say the Administration is moving too slowly to publicize the Russian influence operation and explain it to Americans. A bipartisan group of former national-security officials that included Chertoff and others called on Obama in July to name the perpetrators of the DNC hack. Alperovitch says the U.S. is misreading the battlefield in cyberspace. “The U.S. government for the last 20 years was so focused on how to achieve kinetic effects in cyberspace, how to produce what they call cyberbombs, because that’s what we’re used to,” he says. “But the Russians understand that the real power of this domain is in influence operations, psychological warfare, changing people’s perceptions of what’s truly going on.”
For much of the summer, Trump made casting doubt on the validity of the U.S. electoral system a prominent feature of his campaign. “I’m afraid the election’s gonna be rigged,” Trump said in Ohio on Aug. 1. ” I have to be honest.” Trump backers who sign up to be “Trump Election Observers” are told the campaign will “stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election.”
Asked at the first debate whether they would support the outcome of the vote, both candidates said they would. But Trump has a record of doing the opposite. As results came in on election night in 2012, he falsely tweeted that the Republican had won the popular vote and urged an uprising. “The phoney Electoral College made a laughingstock out of our nation,” Trump tweeted. “The world is laughing at us. More votes equals a loss … revolution! This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
Clinton has said Putin is trying to get Trump elected; there is no evidence of that. Trump does have some ties to Russia. Trump’s former campaign manager worked for Putin’s proxy in Ukraine until the pro-Western uprising there, and Trump, his family and a foreign policy adviser have done tens of millions of dollars of business in Russia. The exact amount is unclear, and Trump has declined to disclose details of his Russian business partners.
The links worry even rock-ribbed Republicans. Chertoff led the Senate Whitewater investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s obscure Arkansas land deal in the mid-’90s and has been critical of the Democratic presidential candidate. But he is alarmed by Trump’s talk of a rigged election. “This business about talking about rigged elections is very dangerous,” Chertoff says.
On the ground in Arizona, Michele Reagan, a Republican, has been working to make the vote safe. She took the entire state voter database offline for 10 days after learning of the Fancy Bear hack to ensure the system was secure. In conversations with the FBI and her own cybersecurity team she has learned phrases like SQL injection and dual-factor authentication. “Yes, we believe we’re safe,” she now says.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t worried about Russian attempts to undermine the credibility of the vote. “We know there’s these bad actors out there that are coming in from other countries and they’re trying to scare us,” she says. “This isn’t about stealing information or altering information. The entire conversation I believe needs to be shifted to what this is really doing to the confidence of the American electorate.” Does she have a message for Americans on how to respond to Putin’s effort? “Our job is to try to encourage people to get involved and to be connected in government, to go out and vote.”
–With reporting by SIMON SHUSTER/BERLIN and TESSA BERENSON, HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS and MAYA RHODAN/WASHINGTON

This appears in the October 10, 2016 issue of TIME.

Read the whole story

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Here's What Analysts Are Saying About the OPEC Deal

1 Share
Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Russia Says It Would Support 48-Hour Cease-Fire in Aleppo to Allow in Aid

1 Share
MOSCOW—Top Russian diplomats said Thursday that Moscow would support a 48-hour cease-fire to allow aid into the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, but hit back at Washington over a warning that the U.S. was prepared to suspend its engagement with Moscow over a Russian and Syria offensive against the city.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow advocated a “48-hour pause” in the fighting to allow in aid, but added that a longer cessation of hostilities would allow militant groups arrayed against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reorganize, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
“In order to ensure humanitarian access, we have repeatedly offered a 48-hour pause, but American counterparts, for reasons known only to them, but not to us, are totally fixated on the requirements of the seven-day pause,” Mr. Ryabkov said Thursday, according to Interfax. “A seven-day break is a sufficient period to ensure that terrorist groups can carry out activities to rearm, rest and regroup.”
The U.S. on Wednesday issued a threat to cut off Syria talks with Russia, after a U.S.-Russian cease-fire deal fell apart last week over the bombing of a humanitarian convoy near Aleppo and the launch of a fresh offensive by the Assad regime, which is backed by Russian air power. Officials in Washington said the Obama administration was reviving an internal debate over whether to give Syrian rebels more arms.
According to Interfax, Mr. Ryabkov described Washington’s reaction as an “emotional breakdown.”
A Wednesday briefing by State Department spokesman John Kirby also hit a nerve in Moscow. In a press conference, Mr. Kirby warned Wednesday that “Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources—even, perhaps, more aircraft” if it doesn't change its position.
In comments on her Facebook FB 0.42 % page, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said an official reaction would be forthcoming, but added, “Doesn’t it seem that such ventriloquism about ‘bodies in bags’…and the ‘loss of aircraft’ sounds more like ordering a dog to attack, rather than a comment by a diplomat?”
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said Thursday that EU governments were discussing measures that could be taken to respond to the “massacre” in Aleppo, without giving details.
There are “measures that could possibly be taken by the European Union and the international community” over the attacks, she said at a press conference in Brussels. “There are discussions under way.”
A senior EU diplomat said that for now, the focus is on action at the United Nations Security Council in New York to stop the fighting. However, if that failed, there were options for “putting pressure” on those responsible.
—Laurence Norman contributed to this article.
Write to Nathan Hodge at nathan.hodge@wsj.com
Read the whole story

· ·

Rise in Nigerian sex slavery in Italy fueled by violence and 'juju' magic

1 Share
CATANIA, Italy (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Nigerian teenager Beauty arrived in Sicily after crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa last year, she had only hours to phone the man who trafficked her - or risk lethal repercussions for loved ones back home.
  

Donald Trump continues to draw YUGE crowds. That matters less than he thinks.

1 Share
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 2

Obama will travel to Israel for Shimon Peres funeral

1 Share
"I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend," Obama said in statement. "A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever."
     

Russian missile downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17: investigation team

1 Share
September 28, 2016, 5:43 PM (IDT)
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in Ukrainian airspace by a Russian ground-to-air Buk missile as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 7, 2014, according to the findings of an international investigation team released on Wednesday. All 298 passengers and crew on the Boeing 777 were killed. The team found that the missile launcher had been brought to Ukraine from Russian territory, and had been fired in a field next to the town of Pervomaiskyi, located in an area that was at that time under the control of pro-Russian rebels. The team also determined that the launcher was sent back to Russia immediately after the incident. The report did not accuse Moscow of shooting down the plane, and did not determine who gave the order to move the launcher to the Ukraine or who gave the order to fire. The missile was from the Buk 9M83 series that is fired from a mobile launcher. A Dutch committee investigated the crash in 2015 and reached very similar conclusions but was not able to determine the exact location where the missile was fired.

Carter: US needs to catch up on underinvestment, maintain nuclear deterrence

1 Share
Decades of minimal investment in the nation’s “nuclear enterprise” needs to be reversed to maintain the nuclear deterrence America and its allies have maintained for decades, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday.
     

Kerry threatens to end Syria talks with Russia over Aleppo

1 Share
Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening to cut off all contacts with Moscow over Syria, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end.
     

James Comey, FBI director, mum on possible probe of Trump-Russia relations 

1 Share
FBI Director James Comey would not confirm whether the bureau is investigating any of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's former or current campaign workers for connections with top Russian officials.
The FBI director was questioned about any possible investigation during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, and declined to say ...

Comey: Justice Dept Gave Cheryl Mills Immunity, Not FBI

1 Share
FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the Justice Department gave immunity to top Hillary Clinton aide and attorney Cheryl Mills, not the bureau.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) questioned Comey on the matter at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
“Who authorized granting Cheryl Mills immunity?” Sensenbrenner asked.
“It’s a decision made by the Department of Justice. I don’t know at what level inside,” Comey said. “In our investigations, if anything, any kind of immunity comes from the prosecutors, not the investigators.”
Sensenbrenner then asked if Mills requested the immunity.
“I don’t know for sure what the negotiations involved,” Comey said. “I believe her lawyer asked for ‘act of production immunity’ with respect to the production of her laptop. That’s my understanding, but again, the FBI wasn’t part of those conversations.”
Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department and was one of the people who sat in on the FBI interview with Clinton, even though Mills herself had already been questioned by them.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to press charges against Clinton at Comey’s recommendation over the investigation into her private email server. Days before it was announced that there would be no prosecution of Clinton, Lynch met privately with Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton. Both denied discussing the ongoing email probe.
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 3

FBI Director: Database Coming on Police Use of Deadly Force - NBCNews.com

1 Share

NBCNews.com


FBI Director: Database Coming on Police Use of Deadly Force
NBCNews.com
The FBI will have up and running within two years a database that tracks instances of police use of deadly force, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Wednesday at a congressional hearing that reflected the sustained political interest in the ...
More Attempts to Hack State Election Systems Detected, FBI Director WarnsABC News 

FBI head: Extremism apparent influence in Minnesota attackFox News
James Comey defends integrity of Clinton FBI probeCBS News
USA TODAY-
 Washington Post- Washington Times
all 274 
news articles »

CIA chief opposes bill allowing 9/11 suits against Saudi Arabia - Reuters

1 Share

Reuters


CIA chief opposes bill allowing 9/11 suits against Saudi Arabia
Reuters
WASHINGTON CIA Director John Brennan said on Wednesday that legislation to allow lawsuits against the government of Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 attacks has "grave implications" for U.S. national security. Brennan's comments in a formal statement ...

CIA: Congress Paving Way for Imprisonment Of US OfficialsWashington Free Beacon
CIA Director: We 'have to assume' terrorist activity in the USFOX43.com
CIA's Brennan says it's 'hard to believe' senators defied Obama on Saudi 9/11 billPolitico
Sputnik International
all 6 news articles »

Denying America’s Islamist Terror Problem Doesn’t Make It Go Away—It Makes It Worse 

1 Share
FBI release of Mateen 911 calls proves what media and government doesn’t want to admit
Back in June, when Omar Mateen shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando, murdering 49 innocents before the police took him out, media outlets were at pains to discount the notion he was motivated by ideology, much less radical Islam. Even though Mateen, the son of Afghan immigrants, wound up on the FBI’s radar more than once for his extremism, nothing was done to prevent that awful massacre.
As I noted at the time, Jihad Denial—meaning the unwillingness of law enforcement, the media, and politicians to acknowledge that Mateen was motivated by a violent brand of political Islam—had lethal consequences. In the months since that appalling crime, the customary diversions have been employed from the White House on down with help from the mainstream media: Mateen’s massacre was “really” about guns, or mental illness, or repressed homosexuality, or family problems.
Such efforts to deny the obvious gained traction due to media exposure, but have been blown apart by the recent FBI release of some of the calls to 911 that Mateen made during his three-hour hostage-taking and murder spree. The 17-page transcript makes abundantly clear exactly what the killer considered his motivation to be.
He repeatedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, the notorious ISIS, and its leadership. Mateen wanted 911 dispatchers to call him an “Islamic soldier,” “a Soldier of the God,” and one of the “Mujahideen” (i.e., those who wage holy war in the name of Islam). He said his killing spree was motivated by the recent death of “Abu Wahid.” In early May, an airstrike in Iraq by the American-led coalition killed Abu Waheeb, a top ISIS executioner and star of numerous gruesome jihadist propaganda videos. (It’s not clear if Mateen misstated the dead man’s name or the authorities did.)
“They should not have bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” the hostage-taker vented on the phone. When a police negotiator clearly had no idea who the dead man was, Mateen angrily stated, “Do you fucking homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, OK?”
Read the rest at The Observer…

Filed under: RadicalismStrategyTerrorismUSG  

Read the whole story

· ·

Over Pentagon objections, Senate votes to allow 9/11 lawsuits against Saudi Arabia

1 Share
The Senate voted Wednesday to override a presidential veto and clear the way for 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, despite warnings from the Defense Department.

    

Saudi Arabia has ways to hit back at 9/11 lawsuit effort

1 Share
Saudi Arabia and its allies are warning that U.S. legislation allowing the kingdom to be sued for the 9/11 attacks will have negative repercussions.
     

U.S. Threatens to End Cooperation With Russia in Syria

1 Share
Secretary of State John Kerry warned his Russian counterpart on Wednesday the U.S. would suspend bilateral engagement in Syria unless Moscow works to end the assault on Aleppo and restores a ceasefire in the war-torn country, according to the State Department.
In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kerry voiced “grave concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria” and made clear that Washington faults Moscow for escalated turmoil, including its use of incendiary bombs in civilian-heavy territories, Reuters reported.
Russian and Syrian military forces have launched their biggest offensive on the rebel-held city of Aleppo since the ceasefire deal struck by the U.S. and Russia collapsed a little over a week ago.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced to lawmakers on Wednesday he was moving to introduce a United Nations Security Council resolution for a cessation of hostilities in Aleppo, Reuters reported.
Ayrault accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out an “all-out-war” on its people with the backing of Russia and Iran.
“At this very moment, we are proposing to discuss a resolution to obtain a ceasefire in Aleppo,” Ayrault said. “This resolution will leave everyone facing their responsibilities: those who don’t vote for it, risk being held responsible for complicity in war crimes.”
He said France would not allow Aleppo to become the 21st century version of Guernica, a town in Spain with a large civilian population that was indiscriminately bombed during the Spanish Civil War.
A senior French diplomatic source told Reuters that parliament had drafted a resolution and wanted to review it with the U.S. and Britain before presenting it to the Russians for a “proper discussion” to end the violence and allow humanitarian access in the area.
“If they don’t play the game, then we will have no qualms taking this to the Security Council even if it means a Russian veto,” the diplomat said.
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 4

FBI director: Database coming on police use of deadly force

1 Share
The FBI will have up and running within two years a database that tracks instances of police use of deadly force, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Wednesday at a congressional hearing that reflected the sustained political interest in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
     

FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe

1 Share
Republican lawmakers may question the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state, but they should not question the investigation's thoroughness, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.
     

Ex-CIA director 'very worried' by prospect of Trump presidency - FRANCE 24

1 Share

FRANCE 24


Ex-CIA director 'very worried' by prospect of Trump presidency
FRANCE 24
Former CIA director Michael Hayden is one of 50 national security experts who served in Republican administrations and recently signed a letter saying that Donald Trump would be the most reckless president in American history. He spoke to our ...

and more »

White House blasts Senate for override vote

1 Share
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says the U.S. Senate vote to override President Barack Obama's veto of Sept. 11 legislation is an "embarrassing" shirking of its duties.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest claims members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were unfamiliar with the bill's impact on military personnel and ...

CIA: Congress Paving Way for Imprisonment Of U.S. Officials, Collapse of National Security 

1 Share
CIA Director John Brennan warned on Wednesday that Congress’s override of a presidential veto of contested new legislation will pave the way for foreign nations hostile to the United States to detain American officials at will for alleged crimes, according to a statement.
Brennan expressed strong opposition to Congress’s override of a bill permitting American victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the plot.
However, the bill—known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA—will also provide similar legal recourse to foreign nations, meaning that they could detain top U.S. officials, military leaders, and others.
Leading U.S. officials, including Brennan and Defense Secretary Ash Carter, have warned that the consequences of the bill would enable foreign nations to meddle in U.S. counterterrorism operations and force the disclosure of sensitive classified material.
JASTA “will have grave implications for the national security of the United States,” Brennan said. “The most damaging consequence would be for those U.S. government officials who dutifully work overseas on behalf of our country. The principle of sovereign immunity protects U.S. officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity”.
“If we fail to uphold this standard for other countries, we place our own nation’s officials in danger,” Brennan said. “No country has more to lose from undermining that principle than the United States—and few institutions would be at greater risk than CIA.”
Carter made a similar argument earlier this week, telling top lawmakers that the legislation sets the stage for foreign nations to seize U.S. assets abroad and detain troops for alleged crimes.
A coalition of Iraqis has already vowed to take America to court for war crimes.

Comey: I Never Claimed Clinton Was Truthful About Her Emails

1 Share
FBI Director James Comey told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he never claimed Hillary Clinton was truthful about her use of a private email server.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R., Ohio) asked Comey about Clinton’s claims that the FBI director had actually said she was truthful with the American people over her emails in a statement he made in July.
“Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people,” Clinton said after Comey’s statement on July 5.
Multiple fact-checkers said her claim was not true, including PolitiFact, which gave her statement its highest rating of dishonesty.
“Two months ago, Hillary Clinton, in talking about her emails, claimed that you said, and I quote, that, ‘my answers were truthful,’” Chabot said. “PolitiFact, by the way, gave this claim a ‘pants-on-fire rating.’ Did you say that she was telling the truth with respect to her email claims?”
“I did not. I never say that about anybody,” Comey said. “Our business is never to decide whether someone, whether we believe someone. Our business is always to decide what evidence do we have that would convince us not to believe that person.”
“It’s an odd way to look at the world, but it’s how investigators look at the world,” Comey added.
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 5

Letter From CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Details Federal Prison's Scandalous Treatment - Common Dreams (press release)

1 Share

Common Dreams (press release)


Letter From CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Details Federal Prison's Scandalous Treatment
Common Dreams (press release)
Shadowproof Editor's Note: Concerned with the Federal Bureau of Prisons' failure to provide medical treatment and their indifference toward CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's heart problems, Shadowproof exchanged letters with Sterling to bring more ...
Bureau Of Prisons Contends CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Is Lying About Heart ProblemsShadowproof (blog)

all 2 news articles »

Today's Headlines and Commentary

1 Share
The siege of rebel-held territory in Aleppo continues as the Syrian government launches a multi-front ground offensive against the remaining insurgents, the Guardian reports. The entrenched rebel forces have years of experience in urban combat and have committed to “fight until the end,” notesthe AP.
The week-long barrage of Russian and Syrian airstrikes laid the groundwork for the current ground offensive, causing significant humanitarian harm in the process. The Washington Post remarks that airstrikes have disabled the two largest hospitals in Aleppo, while the remaining hospitals are poorly supplied and unequipped to handle the population’s needs. The Syrian regime has been criticized for intentionally targeting medical facilities in its attack on the Aleppo area.
The prominent civil defense group known as the White Helmets is losing the ability to rescue victims of bombings, the Wall Street Journal observes. Regime airstrikes earlier this week disabled several of the group's operating facilities, and it is now running low on “fuel and functioning machinery.” At the same time that the White Helmets are losing capacity, the civilian need for rescue services is skyrocketing under the intense regime bombardment of Aleppo.
The assault on Aleppo is part of the Syrian government’s attempt to control the country’s four largest cities, writes the AP. Aleppo is the last of the four left, with the government controlling Damascus, Homs, and Hama. The siege of Homs ended last Friday with the negotiated evacuation of the last 300 rebels defending territory in the city.
Syrian rebels have received Russian-made Grad surface-to-surface rockets, Reuters notes. According to a rebel commander, an unnamed foreign sponsor provided the weapons in response to the renewed offensive in Aleppo. Syrian rebels have had access to the rockets before, but the most recently distributed weapons may include new variants.
The United States is consulting with the Iraqi government on sending an additional 500 troops in preparation for the impending Mosul offensive, Reuters reports. A U.S. official claimed that the United States is “prepared” to deploy more personnel in a “train and advise” capacity. The discussion comes amid news that the Islamic State has lost access to all oil wells in Iraq after a successful U.S.-backed offensive near Kirkuk.
An American airstrike in Afghanistan may have killed 13 civilians, the AP tells us. An Afghan official indicated that the airstrike was likely targeting the Islamic State. The U.S. military is now investigating reports of civilian casualties.
A Dutch investigation has revealed new evidence implicating Russia’s involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. The investigators found that a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air system, which was “brought in from the Russian Federation territory and then returned to the Russian Federation afterwards,” destroyed the aircraft. Russia has denied its involvement with the Ukrainian insurgency in general and the downing of MH17 in particular--and while Russian officials have changed their explanation for the incident multiple times, but still vehemently deny the validity of the investigation's findings. The Financial Times has more.
The United States believes that Russia is backing a network of hackers working to release information to undermine the American government, the Journal remarks. Officials suspect that Guccifer 2.0, the hacker ostensibly behind the DNC attacks, is part of this network. Meanwhile, Reuters tells us that cell phones used by Democratic Party officials were also targeted by hackers earlier this month, though it is unclear if the hackers succeeded.
The New York Times profiles Vladimir Fomenko, a Russian national who is the only person who has been publicly implicated in the DNC attacks. Fomenko owns a Russian-based server firm that hackers have used when targeting American political targets, though he denies any personal involvement in the attacks. He says he has offered to assist the FBI in its investigation of the DNC hacks, but has not had any response from the Bureau: “It’s like nobody wants to sort this out.”
The White House tried to delay the release of a statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff voicing frustration on the administration’s unwillingness to blame Russia for recent cyberattacks on U.S. political entities, Buzzfeed reports. While Russia’s role in the hacking is widely suspected, the Obama administration has held back from explicitly blaming the Kremlin.
The European Commission is considering revising export controls on cyber-surveillance technologies, Reuters observes. The proposals include measures to create legal clarity, simplify regulations, and better control dual-use technologies.
A Norwegian court declined to promise Edward Snowden free passage into the country to receive a free speech award, Reuters writes. The court argued that it could not decide on extradition before Snowden had entered the country.
The German government is becoming less welcome to refugees and migrants from the Middle East,observes the Washington Post. German anti-migrant parties have recently secured several political victories over German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party in a perceived rebuke to Merkel’s welcoming refugee policy. German authorities are now stopping refugees and migrants from entering the country at the border, as well as denying greater numbers of asylum cases, and there have been numerous police operations to arrest migrants with alleged terrorist ties.
On that note, Reuters informs us that Spanish, German, and Belgian police have arrested five suspected members of an ISIS cell who were running a Facebook page called “Islam en Español.” Four suspects were Spanish, while one was Morrocan.
Turkey is building a 560-mile concrete wall on its border with Syria, Reuters reports. Turkish officials hope that the wall, whose construction is set to be completed by February 2017, will prevent Islamic State and Kurdish forces from gaining access to the country.
The Turkish government released information on how many people it has detained following this summer’s coup attempt—a whopping 32,000. The Post comments that this includes only the number formally arrested, with more than 50,000 government employees fired and 70,000 people processed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the coup attempt on Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom his government is seeking to extradite from the United States. American officials have promised a decision on the extradition request within the next few days, Reuters notes.  
American airstrikes killed four al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, the AP writes. A statement from U.S. Africa Command indicated that the airstrikes were conducted in self-defense in response to an attack by the militant group.
The American presidential debate has elicited mixed international responses. Reuters reports that the head of Iran’s top nuclear official expressed confidence that the nuclear deal would remain in place even if Trump became president. Meanwhile, Taliban leaders were “not impressed” by Trump, whom they described as “non-serious” and willing to say “anything that comes to his tongue.”
Shimon Peres, a long-time fixture of Israeli politics, died last night at age 93. The Times has more on Peres’s complex legacy.
Obama has nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first U.S. ambassador to Cuba in half a century,writes the Journal. Mr. DeLaurentis is the “chargé d’affaires” of the American embassy in Cuba now, fulfilling the functionality of an ambassador. His confirmation will come up against congressional opposition to normalization of the U.S. relationship with Cuba.
India’s announcement that it will boycott a regional summit meeting in Pakistan is the country’s latest retaliatory measure after the terrorist attack on an Indian military base earlier this month, theFinancial Times reports. The move reflects India’s emphasis on non-military retaliatory measures, which have also included diplomatic denunciation at the United Nations and plans to increase usage of shared water resources.
The Senate voted 97 to 1 today to override President Obama’s veto of JASTA, the legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi officials, the Times notes. Analysts expect the House to follow suit in voting to override Obama’s veto, in what will be the first veto override of the Obama presidency. The president and several cabinet members have warned of unintended consequences of the bill—namely reciprocal lawsuits against American officials.

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Quinta Jurecic posted a letter from Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) explaining his opposition to JASTA.
Zachary Burdette reviewed the national security highlights from the first presidential debate.
Paul Rosenzweig recommended a new report on robotics and autonomy in weapons systems.
J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker with information about the Islamic State, Jordanian elections, Iraqi politics, and France’s recognition of past misdeeds.
Nora Ellingsen analyzed a new federal criminal case that deals with the intersection of material support and cyber attacks.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
Read the whole story

· · · · · ·

FBI Bombshell: No Followup After Huma Abedin Caught in Falsehood - Breitbart News

1 Share

Breitbart News


FBI Bombshell: No Followup After Huma Abedin Caught in Falsehood
Breitbart News
In recent heavily redacted FBI documents relating to the email hacks and the role that one Clinton “confidential assistant” played in the management of Clinton's mobile devices and email security, certain documents outline a conversation between ...
FBI doc dump on email case reveals role of 'confidential' Clinton aideFox News

all 8 news articles »

CIA Director Calls 9/11 Legislation 'Badly Misguided' - The Atlantic

1 Share

The Atlantic


CIA Director Calls 9/11 Legislation 'Badly Misguided'
The Atlantic
The CIA director cautioned that the implications of the legislation extend far beyond potentially damaging the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. “I think there's a very, very dangerous slippery slope that we're going to get on ...

CIA's Brennan says it's 'hard to believe' senators defied Obama on Saudi 9/11 billPolitico
CIA chief opposes bill allowing 9/11 suits against Saudi ArabiaReuters
CIA: Congress Paving Way for Imprisonment Of US OfficialsWashington Free Beacon
Sputnik International-Truth-Out
all 507 news articles »

DHS Head to America: Brace for More Terror Attacks

1 Share
Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson informed Americans on Wednesday that the country is likely to suffer more domestic terror attacks, warning that the department cannot make all threats “a priority” and that the likelihood of an extremist “attack is still there,” despite the department’s best efforts.
Johnson, speaking at the Atlantic magazine ideas forum, admitted that DHS sees a range of threats on the homeland, but “can’t say everything is a priority.” He was unable to provide any firm figure quantifying the number of attacks that could be faced in the upcoming months.
The top homeland security official also lamented that the American press only covers “bad news” and that “the good news in homeland security is often no news.”
“You can’t say everything is a priority,” Johnson said during a panel discussion with former DHS head Tom Ridge. “You’ve got threats that are high impact, but not necessarily high probability. Then you’ve got threats that are high probability, but likely, or perhaps, less impact, like a [homegrown violent extremist] attack, which could involve as many as 50, as many as 10” fatalities.
DHS does its best to assess the threat landscape, but “you have to prioritize,” Johnson said. “You can’t say it’s all a priority.”
The likelihood that America will face more terror attacks from homegrown violent extremists, also known as HVEs, “is still there and we need to address it,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s remarks come on the heels of multiple deadly terror attacks across America that have been committed by Muslim extremists affiliated with the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.
The DHS leader said he has no good way to determine how many terror attacks could be coming down the pike. The threat of a mass shooting, dirty bomb attack, biological attack, terrorism in the air, or even the poisoning of America’s food supply are all real threats—and not all can be given top priority by the agency.
“If you’re asking how many San Bernardino or Orlando type attacks will we have in the year 2017, no national security, homeland security, or law enforcement expert is in a position to quantify it,” he said. “We haven’t ended the scourge, the threat of homegrown violent extremists.”
“People ask me, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ That is thing number one, the prospect of another home-born violent extremist acquiring a weapon or tool of mass violence and carrying out an attack somewhere here in the homeland,” Johnson said.
“It cannot be quantified. It is difficult to detect given the nature of it.”
Johnson said that Americans should take solace in “all the things we’re doing, the 10 or 12 things we’re doing” to keep the populace safe on a daily basis.
“You cannot eliminate all risk, whether it’s a terrorist attack, or mass shooting, or gang violence,” he said.
Johnson also cited the media for its coverage of only “bad news” stories that gives DHS a bad rap.
“If there’s a successful national political convention from a political standpoint,” or other high profile event, “it’s the result of a lot of hard work and dedication,” Johnson said. “That doesn’t always get reported. Bad news is front page news, but the good news in homeland security is often no news.”
He went on to cite “cyber security” as “priority number one” as rogue nations such as Russia, Iran, and China step up efforts to penetrate secure U.S. government networks.
Read the whole story

· · ·

Dutch probe: Malaysian jet downed by launcher from Russia

1 Share
Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia.
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 6

FBI’s Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton email

1 Share
Comey is expected to be quizzed about why the FBI granted immunity to Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff as part of a now-closed investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.

UK opens secret files about ‘Jewish terrorists’ in 1940s

1 Share
The files contain an official "top secret" request for "special attention security check of all Jews travelling to the U.K."

AP FACT CHECK: Trump, Clinton deny their own words in debate 

1 Share
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's first debate: A sampling of the statements from Monday night and how they stack up with the facts.

FBI's Comey Faces More Questions on Extremism, Clinton Email - ABC News

1 Share

Wall Street Journal


FBI's Comey Faces More Questions on Extremism, Clinton Email
ABC News
Comey will be the sole witness Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee reviews the FBI's performance in what is likely to be the agency's final oversight hearing this year. Comey told a Senate panel Tuesday that the FBI is transparent about mistakes ...
James Comey's Clinton ImmunityWall Street Journal
Five unanswered questions for Comey on Clinton email caseWashington Examiner (blog)
Immunity agreements with Clinton aides tied prosecutors' hands, legislator saysNew Haven Register

all 110 news articles »

FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton email - Deseret News

1 Share

Deseret News


FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton email
Deseret News
Comey will be the sole witness Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee reviews the FBI's performance in what is likely to be the agency's final oversight hearing this year. Comey told a Senate panel Tuesday that the FBI is transparent about mistakes ...

FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton email - Houston Chronicle

1 Share

Fox News


FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton email
Houston Chronicle
28, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.' FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee ...
FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probeU.S. News & World Report
Feds will have database for deadly use of force by copsNew York Daily News
Comey Defends FBI's Findings in Clinton Case in Heated House Hearing: 'You Can Call Us Wrong, Don't Call Us ...Fox News
Wall Street Journal
all 167 news articles »
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 7

FBI director: Database coming on police use of deadly force - San Francisco Chronicle

1 Share

San Francisco Chronicle


FBI director: Database coming on police use of deadly force
San Francisco Chronicle
28, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.' FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee ...
James Comey, FBI director, rejects calls to reopen Clinton email caseWashington Times
FBI chief downplays immunity grants in Clinton email caseColorado Springs Gazette

all 152 news articles »

FBI Director James Comey Interviewed By House Judiciary Committee - REGATED

1 Share

REGATED


FBI Director James Comey Interviewed By House Judiciary Committee
REGATED
Mr Goodlatte asks Comey “Paul Combetta with Platte River Networks posted to reddit asking to strip out a VIP's — very VIP email address from a bunch of archived email … was the FBI aware of this reddit post prior to offering Mr. Combetta immunity ...
FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton emailSan Francisco Chronicle
The Latest: Republicans criticize immunity to Clinton aideDanbury News Times
FBI director: Database coming on police use of deadly forceNewser
Wall Street Journal -NBC2 News
all 126 news articles »

Politics|Senate Votes to Override Obama's Veto of 9/11 Bill - New York Times

1 Share

New York Times


Politics|Senate Votes to Override Obama's Veto of 9/11 Bill
New York Times
Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin has made skeptical remarks about the measure, and Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House JudiciaryCommittee , did little with it. Then this month, Mr. Ryan, who had ...

and more »

FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe - McClatchy Washington Bureau

1 Share

Fox News


FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe
McClatchy Washington Bureau
"Everybody gets why it matters," Comey said of the planned database at the oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. Wednesday's hearing was the second time in two days that Comey faced questions from members of Congress. On Tuesday ...

James Comey, FBI director, rejects calls to reopen Clinton email caseWashington Times

Comey Defends FBI's Findings in Clinton Case in Heated House Hearing: 'You Can Call Us Wrong, Don't Call Us ...Fox News

The Latest: Republicans criticize immunity to Clinton aideSan Francisco Chronicle

New York Daily News
all 322 news articles »

FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe - U.S. News & World Report

1 Share

Fox News


FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe
U.S. News & World Report
FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.' (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) The ...
FBI's Comey faces more questions on extremism, Clinton emailHouston Chronicle
James Comey, FBI director, rejects calls to reopen Clinton email caseWashington Times
Feds will have database for deadly use of force by copsNew York Daily News
Fox News -Wall Street Journal
all 187 news articles »

Marijuana arrests fall to lowest level since 1996 - Meridian Star

1 Share


Marijuana arrests fall to lowest level since 1996
Meridian Star
A widely cited 2013 ACLU report estimated that the total cost to taxpayers of marijuana possession enforcement in the U.S. was $3.6 billion. It also found that while whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, black users were four times more ...

and more »
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 8

FBI chief says immunity for Clinton aide limited to laptop - U.S. News & World Report

1 Share

U.S. News & World Report


FBI chief says immunity for Clinton aide limited to laptop
U.S. News & World Report
FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on on terror threats. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) The Associated Press.
FBI will look for past mistakes in terror probesWMTV
Comey: FBI looked 'hard' for obstruction of justice in Clinton email probePolitico (blog)
James Comey, FBI director: Cheryl Mills immunity was 'not irregular'Washington Times

all 18 news articles »

FBI's Comey: Officials Worry About 'Terrorist Diaspora' from Syria, Iraq - NBCNews.com

1 Share

NBCNews.com


FBI's Comey: Officials Worry About 'Terrorist Diaspora' from Syria, Iraq
NBCNews.com
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies worry that a surge of violent extremists will eventually move from ISIS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq into Western nations with the aim of committing terrorist attacks, FBI Director James Comey told ...
Comey: FBI looked 'hard' for obstruction of justice in Clinton email probePolitico (blog)
FBI Chief Says Immunity for Clinton Aide Limited to LaptopABC News
FBI warns ISIS fighters could begin flowing into Western nationsNew York Daily News
Washington Times
Chicago Daily Herald 

all 44
 UPI.com
all 33 news articles »

FBI Warned About White Supremacists Infiltrating Police Departments - snopes.com

1 Share

snopes.com


FBI Warned About White Supremacists Infiltrating Police Departments
snopes.com
Origin:In 2015, a nearly 10-year-old FBI warning about white supremacists clandestinely joining police departments started circulating online when Samuel V. Jones, a former military police captain and professor at John Marshall Law School penned an ...

FBI believes cellphones of some Democrats targeted by hackers, sources say - CNBC

1 Share

CNBC


FBI believes cellphones of some Democrats targeted by hackers, sources say
CNBC
The FBI is investigating suspected attempts to hack mobile phones used by Democratic Party officials as recently as the past month, four people with direct knowledge of the attack and the investigation told Reuters. The revelation underscores the ...
FBI investigating possible hack of Democratic Party staffer cell phonesCNN
FBI investigating potential hack of Democrat officials' cellsEngadget
Some Democrats' Cellphones Hacked, FBI BelievesVoice of America
NBC4i.com -TPM -Reuters
all 20 news articles »

FBI investigating potential hack of Democrat officials' cells - Engadget

1 Share

Engadget


FBI investigating potential hack of Democrat officials' cells
Engadget
Reuters reports that the FBI is actively investigating whether several high ranking Democrat officials' cellphones have been hacked. The Bureau believes that this attack, should it be confirmed, could be tied to the earlier DNC hacks and that of former ...
Exclusive: FBI probes hacks targeting phones of Democratic Party officials...Reuters
FBI investigating possible hack of Democratic Party staffer cell phonesCNN
Some Democrats' Cellphones Hacked, FBI BelievesVoice of America
The Inquisitr
all 14 news articles »

How the FBI defends against insider threats - ZDNet

1 Share

ZDNet


How the FBI defends against insider threats
ZDNet
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been burned by insider security issues before, but is betting some crowdsourcing, a controlled environment and organizational trust can thwart threats. Arlette Hart, chief information security officer at the FBI ...
FBI Chief Security Guru Talks Fighting Insider ThreatsFortune

all 2 news articles »