Tag Archives: Edward Snowden

Game of Federal Government Drones

2019 is scheduled to deliver more rough times for the uninvited purveyor of your junk mail. USPS‘ first quarter report reveals a $2.08 billion loss, which is even worse than fourth quarter 2018, which noted a net loss of “$1.5 billion, an increase […] of nearly $1.0 billion compared to the same quarter last year.”

In February’s report for October through December 2018, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General Extraordinaire (below), helms an already sinking ship whose Marketing Mail (which comprises the following tree-destroying garbage “non-first class” items: printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and small parcels) explosion of $553 million to the bank was more than negated by “increases in compensation and benefits of $657 million”…

CFO Joseph Corbett, oblivious to basic math, bemoaned the “increases in transportation costs due to these higher volumes.” Fortunately (?), quarter one of 2019 saw marketing mail revenue fall by 3.9%.

Trump’s “Task Force on the United States Postal System,” chaired by entitled Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin, reported last year that “ USPS has been losing money for more than a decade and is on an unsustainable financial path.” The recommendations knocked Brennan for her apparent micromanagement deficiency, noting “USPS suffers from a lack of institutional governance. […] Between December 2016 and August 2018, the USPS Board of Governors (the Board) had no Governors [;] […] the Postmaster General managed the USPS’s financial and operational challenges without strategic direction and guidance, exacerbating management’s limited power to effect needed organizational change[.]”

Interestingly, according to CBS News, the report, which we did not read in its entirety, suggests a “new pricing model that [TRIGGER WARNING: CAPITALIST IDEAS AHEAD] would remove current price caps and charge market-based prices for mail and packages that were not deemed to be ‘essential postal services[,]’ [which] could raise costs for Amazon […]”

The evil e-commerce empire itself, incidentally, contributed to the report.

For the Bernie Sanders enthusiasts, the report also warned against any misguided foray into banking by the ailing office: “[G]iven the USPS’s narrow expertise and capital limitations, USPS should not pursue expanding into new sectors, such as postal banking, where the USPS does not have a demonstrated competency or comparative advantage [.]” [our emphasis]

The USPS website fancies the organization as “at the core of the $1.4 trillion U.S. mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.” Their self-reported $70.6 billion in revenue (which, again, fails to cover USPS’ expenses) comes out to about 5% of that $1.4 trillion.

Citizens Against Government Waste reports USPS has lost $70 billion in since 2007.

In January, the price of a “forever” stamp for first class mail was hiked by 10%, to $0.55.

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A pulmonary function lab at Duke University admitted to violating the False Claims Act by defrauding the federal government and is paying heavily. After canning a lab technician, Erin Potts-Kant, for embezzlement from Duke (that they’ll be sure to notice; gotta maintain the bottom line. for the children), the institution “discovered possible research misconduct in 2013[.]” The “misconduct” consisted of Potts-Kant’s lab bagging millions in NIH and EPA grants based on falsified data.

Erin Potts-Kant was supposed to certify the validity of the unit’s work and ensure that it fulfilled government requirements. But instead, the suit state[s], “Potts-Kant engaged in systematic and near-universal research fraud,” including, in some cases, making up data outright “in lieu of actually performing experiments.”

NPR reported in March that 17 scientific papers building on the bogus findings were forced to be retracted. The ruse also helped Potts-Kant co-author and publish 38 articles in scholarly journals with her fellow Duke researchers — which were, in turn, cited in 417 other articles when the suit was filed in 2013.

The university must pay the federal government
$112.5 million to settle the suit, but apparently not on the Feds’ initiative. They declined to tangle with the $8.5 billion endowed non-profit, a grateful participant in the federally subsidized higher education empire.

Former Duke lab analyst Joseph Thomas (above), who first reported the fraud in 2013, took it upon himself to sue the university where the government wouldn’t; he will pocket an additional $33.75 million under False Claim Act whistleblower stipulations–a cool 30%.

Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.

Duke released a statement reassuring everyone that Potts-Kant
eventually pled [sic] guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to Duke .

The ordeal has allowed Duke to give Geeta Swamy the new role of
“vice dean and associate vice provost for scientific integrity.” And hers is not the only new role!

Duke’s new Advisory Panel on Research Integrity and Excellence, to be chaired by pediatric microbiologist and former research dean of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Ann Arvin, will examine ways of “improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity[.]” 

Job creation!

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To give San Francisco credit where due, the city’s 11-member Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 with two absences to usurp the police state’s facial recognition capabilities. It is the first American city to respect this invasion of privacy.

The board’s rules committee unanimously advanced the law last week, noting it would also require city departments to get approval from the Board of Supervisors before purchasing other surveillance technology ― including license plate readers, body cameras and biometrics technology, among other items.

None of the 53 city departments may use the technology beginning next month. According to CNN, the police department dabbled with the faulty, Orwellian techniques between 2013 and 2017. It’s anyone’s guess how many stills they have stockpiled.

Related:

The airport and seaport are exempted, however, so check your makeup before getting groped by their TSA.

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Vanessa and Keana Rodel, Filipino refugees lost in the legal limbo of Hong Kong and threatened with deportation for temporarily housing Edward Snowden, achieved Canadian asylum at the end of March.

But five others remain stateless in Hong Kong after that government rejected their asylum claims in 2017. You can donate to support them here:

fortherefugees.com, the legal charity that is navigating asylum options for Snowden’s 2013 protectors

Related:


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The already flimsy legal proceedings into Robert Kraft‘s alleged postseason porking (see our previous post) continue to crumble. NFL.com reports Florida Judge Leonard Hanser has blocked prosecutors from screening hidden camera footage of Kraft honing his craft in the courtroom.

When taping the New England Patriots owner’s January jaunts at
Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the authorities“did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who did not commit crimes.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0208-usps-reports-first-quarter-fiscal-2019-results.htm

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/USPS_A_Sustainable_Path_Forward_report_12-04-2018.pdf

https://www.cagw.org/thewastewatcher/usps-losses-deepening-bold-postal-reform-wallows

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/09/forever-stamp-price-increase-among-us-postal-service-2019-changes/2510932002/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-task-force-proposes-major-postal-service-overhaul/

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/25/706604033/duke-whistleblower-gets-more-than-33-million-in-research-fraud-settlement

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2018/11/in-wake-of-prior-misconduct-allegations-duke-creates-new-research-integrity-position

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/910922

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/duke-university-settles-research-misconduct-lawsuit-1125-million

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/san-francisco-ban-facial-recognition_n_5cd1d01ce4b0e4d757395587?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGWc9Rug7mgmzTrivqESDIDht56BzY9AdzzdYmiilhNfeF_wUuqJc5wtBqJJPsgXMYPs0AiHYnqHWIfpfgiAz3xh3UiBzubrX0p75KdX2rbHrYsVqYHY10AZw4toYYcRbE31FzH6Ql3DS-uZwoAp_1W8PuDtsSDcaUZktjD_pRdd

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/tech/san-francisco-facial-recognition-ban/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/25/asia/edward-snowden-refugees-canada-intl/index.html

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001030680/article/judge-prosecutors-cannot-use-video-in-robert-kraft-case

Your Insecurity is Showing

Correction: the previous version of this post noted Quiet Skies had been in operation for eleven years. In fact, the passenger stalking program is only in its ninth year, as reflected in the edited post below.

Update: We learned David Pecker (again, his actual name) (below) has quit a board position with Canadian media provider, Postmedia, in wake of allegations Pecker’s National Enquirer colluded with Michael Cohen to bury negative press on Trump prior to his election.

Pecker, like Cohen, has reportedly collected federal immunity for informing on Trump’s payoff of Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

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We are jacking up airport security once again!

TSA’s hitherto secret program: “QUIET SKIES”

Last month, Boston Globe busted the notoriously ham-handed TSA for secretly siccing air marshals (“Special Mission Coverage” or SMC) on up to 50 passengers who may be “unknown or partially-known terrorists” daily. Since 2010.

Every American is automatically screened for the Quiet Skies program when he or she enters the country and, if included, can be tracked on domestic flights, the Globe reported.

The agency bulletin mandates the 17 “rules” of the program are [TRIGGER WARNING] “triggered when individuals enter the United States from foreign locations” to determine the 50 daily targets (35 of whom are followed and analyzed).

Although it presumes to target passengers with history flags like using known terrorist-associated emails to book tickets, the “Selectees” are by definition not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base [sic]. They receive “enhanced screening at security checkpoints,” and other Federal agencies are tipped off if any “derogatory” characteristics are noted by the marshals.

Who, by the way, are documenting such dangerous behaviors as sleeping, face touching, and visiting the bathroom; if the Selectee has gained or lost weight based on their profile; if they have body odor; and whether they leave the airport by bus, taxi, or private vehicle.

Every Selectee is monitored for the shorter of either 90 days or 3 “encounters.”

TSA declined to confirm the program’s existence (or any successful terrorist interceptions) to Globe.

Perhaps fortunately,

[D]ozens of air marshals have raised concerns about the Quiet Skies program with senior officials and colleagues, sought legal counsel, and expressed misgivings about the surveillance program, according to interviews and documents reviewed by the Globe.

[…]

In late May, an air marshal complained to colleagues about having just surveilled a working Southwest Airlines flight attendant as part of a Quiet Skies mission. “Cannot make this up,” the air marshal wrote in a message.

One colleague replied: “jeez we need to have an easy way to document this nonsense. Congress needs to know that it’s gone from bad to worse.”

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Unfortunately, TSA’s malevolent government tentacles are also extending to further baggage scrutiny. Washington Post in June revealed new “screening supervisor discretion” to demand passengers empty their carryon* luggage of snacks.

Not to be confused with Detroit Lions running back, Kerryon Johnson (above).

“TSA asked me to take my snacks out of my bag and I feel personally victimized […] I had a whole bunch of crazy snacks in my bag that I was really excited to eat.”–snack surveillance victim Thea Neal. our emphasis

Essentially, based on the whim of the head TSA screamer screener, food must be xrayed separately with the 3-ounce toothpastes and iPads. A boon for the plastic bin manufacturers.

“There’s a very good reason for everything we do. Nothing is arbitrary.” ––(former?) TSA thug Mike England

A Twitter profile identifies Mike England (above) as “former TSA spokesman” and currently “Deputy Chief of Public Affairs” for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

(our emphasis)

England speculated travelers may be forced to display their food if the cattle line supervisor, faced with a long line of miscreants innocent civilians, believes the surprise inspection will process people through the full-body radiation humiliation station faster. The theory: food looks like explosives to the xray machine, and baring your corn nut fetish decreases manual bag searches.

It’s unclear if TSA ever detects any explosives ushered through the security line.

“The next thing they’re going to make us take out of our bags is medicine. And that would be a real invasion of privacy.” –snack surveillance victim Lauren Rosenberg

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We might refocus security on the planes themselves! Unfortunate already to be flying with Delta, Delany Luh (below) was recently sexually assaulted on their Chicago-to-Los Angeles run. To placate her, the airline offered a $200 voucher.

Via Twitter.

Luh reported she notified flight attendants immediately, while Delta contends: [a]fter deplaning, Ms. Luh first informed a Delta agent that she had been improperly touched on the leg by another passenger during her flight. Immediately upon learning this information, Delta reported the incident to local and federal law enforcement for their handling.

The alleged perpetrator “Will” fled the airport before security could close with the trademark efficiency we’d have seen if it had been an L.A.-to-Chicago run:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 9–United We Drag

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A rival passenger molesting outfit is celebrating recent justification for eye-fucking unsuspecting travelers. Customs and Border Protection, known for safeguarding Constitutional rights, nabbed an unidentified 26-year-old male landing at Washington Dulles airport from Brazil earlier this week.

(He is unidentified because national security, but the incident is required propaganda to ease citizens into a new layer of government intrusion.)

When the man presented a French passport, the airport scanned his face for comparison (apparently now standard procedure for international arrivals) and them mugs didn’t match.

CBP were so desperate to document the criminal activity, they photographed a physical search maneuver that revealed the man’s valid Republic of Congo ID card, stashed in his shoe.

According to Digital Trends, CBP is already testing a facial-recognition exit in 13 airports and arrival at 10 airports, but Orlando International is the first in the country that has made the commitment to implementing both for international travel.

Everyone should emulate the obsequious citizens of Orlando in committing to national security!

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 10, 19 and 22–Genes, Tattoos and Faces

The gentleman is reportedly the “FIRST CAUGHT” by the biometric scanner, as further detailed in CBP’s laudatory statement, in just one week of deploying the new technology.

CBP was recently spotlighted for seizing a U.S. citizen’s phone upon her re-entry to the country in February, attempting to coerce her into unlocking it, and confiscating it to copy the data upon her refusal.

After 120 days, [Rejhane] Lazoja finally got her phone back but only after involving her attorneys, one of which told Ars Technica that federal authorities had “forensically cracked” her phone and copied what was on it before returning it. But as the court documents note, officials have never given any reasons for why the phone was seized in the first place.

[…]

Comments to this article have been closed due to multiple violations of our rules and guidelines including insults, swearing, name-calling, and off-topic conversation.

[our emphasis]

Uncle Sam’s Unsatisfying Anal

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Meanwhile, The Intercept returned to Edward Snowden‘s classified document dump to spotlight eight major AT&T “peering sites” that have reportedly enabled Federal communications snooping since 1985.

Is your city on the list??

AT&T’s “extreme willingness to help,” per the agency, allows access to emails and phone calls from other domestic carriers like Sprint, as well as international giants using American AT&T networks for data pit stops.

According to the NSA’s documents, it was using AT&T’s networks as of March 2013 to gather some 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails every day, 1.8 billion per month.

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The family of Justine Damond, allegedly murdered by ex-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, is suing Minneapolis, Noor, his partner Matthew Harrity, ex-police chief Janee Harteau and current chief Medaria Arradondo for $50 million, plus punitive damages, according to New York Post. Steep!

John Ruszczyk claims his daughter’s civil rights were disregarded when Noor and his partner rolled up to the alley where Damond “became deceased” , because their body cameras were not activated and they proceeded to conduct a cover up.

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To no one’s surprise, alleged House Democrat hacker Imran Awan got “time served” and three months of “supervised release” to atone for his one count of bank fraud. (He has been under house arrest.) As we have reported extensively, Awan pleaded guilty to merely lying on a bank loan application, despite reported evidence he and several family members stole equipment and data while working lucrative contracts for Democratic congresspeople.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 25: Debbie, Derelict of Any Responsibility

Prosecutors ultimately concluded there was no evidence of Awan’s guilt in the latter activities.

Perhaps factoring into his sentence was the president’s public railing against Awan’s alleged offenses: Trump has referred to Awan multiple times as “the Pakistani mystery man,” and mentioned him during his joint press conference this summer in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Fox News)

CNN noted Judge Tanya S. Chutkan handed down the lenient punishment along with condemnations for the “unbelievable onslaught of scurrilous media attacks” and “baseless accusations” that were “lobbed at [Awan] from the highest branches of government.”

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Paul Manafort is likely slated for some serious jail time as his Virginia tax fraud trial ended.

The jury found Manafort guilty on five charges of filing false income tax returns, one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. 

His other ten charges–also of bank fraud and failing to report foreign accounts–are up in the air after the jury reached a mistrial.

Next up: a Washington, D.C. trial of Manafort’s charges related to unregistered foreign lobbying and money laundering.

It seems the only “career criminal” boxes he has yet to check are the five charges of manslaughter ABC News erroneously pinned on him in June.

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While the disgraced ex-Trump campaign chair pleaded not guilty to everything–including the recent witness tampering charge that revoked his house arrest–disgraced ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen (below) pleaded guilty to eight charges, which include making false statements to a bank, tax fraud (evading over $1.4 million in income tax), and campaign finance violations. He’s threatened with up to 65 years of hard time in a cushy white-collar facility.

Style isn’t everything.

Cohen admitted that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle.
[…] [Cohen] acted with Trump and his allies, including David Pecker [**YES, HIS ACTUAL NAME**], the CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc., to suppress potentially damaging claims against the now-President.
[…] Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of the alcohol that Cohen said he drank on Monday night.

The suppressed info, widely publicized, includes Trump’s alleged extramarital affairs with porn actress Stephanie Clifford and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

For her discretion, Cohen paid Clifford a cool $130,000, which was technically considered a Trump campaign contribution and therefore exceeded federal limits.

McDougal banked $150,000 from American Media.

More scandalous, of course, is the Christopher Steele “dossier” allegation that Cohen hobnobbed with Russians in Prague months before Trump’s election. Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation into reported Russian 2016 Trump collusion/election interference may yet give Cohen further appearances to try out the rest of his wardrobe.

Thanks to our sources:

https://apps.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/graphics/2018/07/tsa-quiet-skies/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/quiet-skies-air-marshals_us_5b5e8897e4b0fd5c73d09f15

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/traveling-via-air-expect-to-remove-your-snacks-and-place-them-in-a-bin/2018/06/29/ea0bede2-796c-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html?utm_term=.62159216ae3f

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/biometric-entry-and-exit-at-orlando/

https://thenextweb.com/security/2018/08/24/new-facial-recognition-system-at-us-airport-nabs-an-impostor-for-the-first-time/

https://theintercept.com/2018/06/25/att-internet-nsa-spy-hubs/

https://nypost.com/2018/07/23/family-of-bride-to-be-killed-by-officer-sues-for-50m/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/21/ex-dem-it-aide-imran-awan-avoids-jail-time-after-attorneys-complain-about-trump.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/21/politics/imran-awan-sentencing/index.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/402125-manafort-guilty?userid=115887

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/21/politics/michael-cohen-plea-deal-talks/index.html

NSA’s FISA Festivities Extended with Bipartisan Support; Rest of Government Fights for Funding–Updated with Related FBI Dereliction of Duty

In a two-hour marathon vote January 16,  a visibly humiliated Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell scraped together 60 votes to vote on the six-year re-authorization of FISA Section 702 without allowing amendments.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 gives the NSA authority to ignore the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and collect phone logs of all Americans, as revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013, because they could all be terrorists.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO), up for re-election this November, fought flu symptoms to cast the sixtieth vote to forgo any debate of the re-authorization and advance to a final vote.

That January 18 vote exceeded the simple majority required, flipping four senators who had advocated debate to “yea”–Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jerry Moran (R-KS),  Chuck Schumer (D-NY)–and picking up Dan Sullivan (R-AK), who missed the filibuster vote:

Trump signed the bill January 19, proclaiming on Twitter: “Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection. This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election. I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!”

This represented quite a reversal from his January 11 tweet, in which he quoted a headline: “[‘]House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.[‘] This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?”

In an exclusive Fox News interview, chief of staff John Kelly assumed credit for changing his boss’s mind:

“I see a man who can change his mind when the facts and data and staff … bring him to a different conclusion.”

The House had passed the matching version of the bill on January 11 by 256-164, after rejecting an amendment by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) to add the barest of privacy protections for American communications “incidentally” caught up in the surveillance of foreign agents for which the secret FISA court that now allows stockpiling all American communications by the Federal Government was originally established.

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On January 19, Politico reported NSA was sitting on some surveillance data pertaining to pending lawsuits, “accidentally” destroyed that data, and misled a federal court about their actions.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 12: NSA, “Exploits,” WannaCry and Whistleblowers

Apparently, in addition to hoarding all our phone logs, NSA is obligated to preserve their ill-gotten, privacy-destroying goodies from our internet traffic, since 2007 when George W. Bush was slammed for warrantless wiretaps of foreigners. How far we’ve come.

But Dr. Mark O. and Elizabeth B. (they’re your employees and they watch you, but you’re not allowed to know their real names) revealed–apparently hours before the above-detailed FISA renewal–that legally-mandated logs of intercepted internet traffic from years 2001 through 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2016 were all deleted. And the backup tapes. Oops.

“The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data.”

In 2014, Miriam P. reassured the court that legally-must-be-retained data was safe:

The NSA is “preserving magnetic/digital tapes of the Internet content intercepted under the [PSP] since the inception of the program,” she wrote, adding that “the NSA has stored these tapes in the offices of its General Counsel.”

The agency now says, “regrettably,” that the statement “may have been only partially accurate when made.”

The latest NSA filing says the ongoing investigation indicates that officials did a “physical inspection” in 2014 to confirm the tapes’ presence in the counsel’s office storage space. However, “those tapes largely concerned metadata,” not the content of communications the NSA intercepted.

[our emphasis]

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The continued collection of all Americans’ communications without a warrant (despite petty assurances from McConnell, after dragging the bill over a bipartisan filibuster, that the six-year renewal “does not allow the targeting of American citizens”) took precedence over shielding DACA participants from deportation. And funding the government itself, which shut down all “non-essential functions” on January 20.

Obama Proposes Addressing Debt After He’s Gone and Collecting Pension in Hawaii

Image result

Members of Congress, hiding behind the 27th Amendment, will continue to cash paychecks.

The House passed a band-aid bill to fund the government for four weeks and renew CHIP, a recently-expired insurance program for children ineligible for Medicaid, but the Senate rejected it, largely at the behest of of Democrats, leading to many Republicans, including Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, dubbing the debacle the “Schumer Shutdown,” despite the minority leader (below) offering Trump two bipartisan deals Friday morning (after assuring all citizens’ phone and email data was still open for Federal probing).

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, after meeting with President Donald Trump on Friday.

Schumer even admitted on the Senate floor he had offered to entertain Trump’s border wall in one proposed bill in exchange for the DACA protections.

Priority one: taking. Priority two: watching.

BuzzFeed, incidentally, spoke with a former NSA employee, who lamented that the agency’s contractor morale will suffer, because they could be vacationing in nicer weather if not for the uncertainty of furlough. The headline literally used the word “suffering.”)

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UPDATE 1/21/18:

It was quite a weekend for government security dropping the ball. Reuters noted the FBI lost some text messages probing Hillary’s Secret Server.

Agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page reportedly dragged on a text convo from just after Trump’s election through last May. The FBI fingered its “technical system” for “failing to preserve” missives that may have focused D.C. on the newly-inaugurated president–and away from the criminal behavior of his rival.

Republicans have said the texts, which referred to Trump as an “idiot” and a “loathsome human,” raised concerns the FBI is biased against Trump and may have given Clinton favorable treatment after deciding not to recommend criminal charges in connection with the probe into her use of a private email system while she was secretary of state.

Page and Strzok (below) both did time on Robert Mueller‘s squad to investigate Trump’s possible collusion with Russia to win the White House. Strzok was reassigned as soon as Mueller learned of the texts; Page finished work for the probe in July. It’s unclear whether either was vetted for impartiality to work for the Special Counsel.

peter strzok, lisa page

Fox News reported Page texted Strzok following Loretta Lynch‘s sleazy meeting with Hillary’s husband during the investigation:

“It’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since [Lynch] knows no charges will be brought.”

Days later, Hillary was cleared by then-FBI director James Comey.

BREAKING NEWS

According to Heavy:

“God Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0,” Strzok wrote to Page, according to one message obtained by Politico. “Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man can not be president,” Page responded, Politico reported.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article195420669.html

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=2&vote=00011#top

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/20/16913534/president-donald-trump-signed-fisa-amendments-reauthorization-act-of-2017-section-702

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/18/senate-votes-to-approve-reauthorization-controversial-fisa-surveillance-provision.html

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/politics/fisa-surveillance-weird-politics/index.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/nsa-deletes-surveillance-data-351730

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/20/16912726/trump-shutdown

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/369889-schumer-says-he-offered-to-discuss-wall-as-part-of-trump-deal

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fbi-clinton/senator-says-fbi-lost-crucial-texts-tied-to-clinton-probe-idUSKBN1FA15O?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/21/newly-released-texts-between-ex-mueller-team-members-suggest-knew-outcome-clinton-email-probe-in-advance.html

Peter Strzok’s Texts & Emails to Lisa Page Revealed: READ

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 15: Speaking of Snowden…

The three families that sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong as he fled the U.S. national security machine were officially denied asylum status.

[T]here are no substantial grounds for believing that the claimants, if returned to their country of origin, will be subject to real and substantial risk of danger,” the Hong Kong government told CNN.

Supun Kellapatha, an asylum-seeker from Sri Lanka, photographed with his wife Nadeeka Nonis and their son Dinath.

Supun Kellapatha and Nadeeka Nonis with their son Dinath.

In February, BBC reported Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department officers in fact traveled to Hong Kong and approached the asylum seekers last December.

And at least one of the family’s relatives back in Sri Lanka has been harassed by police on that end.

From left to right: Sri Lankan refugees Ajith Puspa, 45, and Supun Thilina Kellapatha, 32, his partner Nadeeka, 32, and Filipino refugee Vanessa Rodel, 40, in Hong Kong, 23 February 2017

Kellapatha and Nonis are “bookended” by Debagma Kankanalamage Ajith Pushpa Kumara (far left) and Vanessa Rodel.

Rodel and her daughter are from the Philippines, while the other two families are Sri Lankan.

CNN reports that just 0.5% of applicants receive protected status to remain in Hong Kong, one of the lowest rates in the developed world. Unlike in America (well, sort of), asylum seekers are forbidden from seeking employment and relegated to government welfare. The refugees told Vice News in March that the welfare office had cut the families’ benefits and interrogated them on Snowden.

The families are reportedly now seeking refugee status in Canada, the country of their lawyer Robert Tibbo, who assisted Snowden before he fled Hong Kong for Russia.

Related:

Snowden

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/asia/hong-kong-snowden-refugees/index.html

https://news.vice.com/story/the-refugees-who-hid-snowden-are-fighting-to-stay-in-canada

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 12: NSA, “Exploits,” WannaCry and Whistleblowers

We got an update on the technological “exploits” that were lifted from the NSA, the Federal Government spy agency that tracks your online behavior and phone records.

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, warned governments like the United State’s federal behemoth are exposing their citizens by “stockpiling vulnerabilities”, hindering technology companies’ responses to cyberattacks because, well, the Federal agencies that suck up personal information on their subjects citizens are usually terrible at securing that data. This necessitated the additional 560-million dollar data collection facility in Fort Meade, MD to complement the NSA’s initial $2 billion Utah warehouse for tracking the little people.

[As a reminder, when confronted with the 2013 Edward Snowden leaks of NSA’s seizure of citizen phone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act--in some cases by warrant, such as when telecommunications giant Verizon refused to bend over for the Feds–Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the existence of the privacy-eroding program.

Mr. Clapper later alternately claimed that he forgot” about the blatantly unconstitutional program; that he confused it with another data collection programSection 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; and (according to his taxpayer-funded lawyer, Robert Litt) that Clapper was unprepared for the query, despite receiving the Senate panel’s planned questions 24 hours in advance. Although we are paying it, we are unable to find Mr. Clapper’s salary amount online.]

James R. Clapper official portrait.jpg

Clapper.

On May 12, the WannaCry attack software held data of British National Health Service and other Windows users’ data hostage for a Bitcoin ransom, reportedly with a screen like the following:

Ransomware warning from WannaCry

Smith, labeling the attack as “WannaCrypt” [sic?], reported the vulnerabilities that enabled it were stolen from NSA in April (at least, that’s when the Feds reportedly admitted the theft). Although Microsoft had released a security patch to Windows Defender one month previously to counter just such a threat, about 300,000 consumers were still reportedly affected. Microsoft did what the Federal Government would never consider, and took personal responsibility for the disruption–even though it was the sloppy Feds who were actually plundered, and Federal Government hubris that concealed the potential weaknesses from citizens.

The most consequential part of Smith’s post:

Finally, this attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. [T]his most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today – nation-state action and organized criminal action.

[our emphasis]

[It is unclear if “nation-state action” here refers to well-meaning but incompetent central government vulnerability to having…the vulnerabilities they refuse to share with technology companies stolen; or malicious governments acting as the organized criminals, such as when Russia single-handedly elected President Trump.]

*

The security community claims to be making strides towards transparency. They are cracking down on whistleblowers and systematically ignoring Congressional restrictions on civilian spying. Wait…

Photo of George Ellard

George Ellard (above) was removed in December 2016 from his powerful perch as [“what the fuck” alert:] Inspector General of the NSA when he was found guilty of whistle blower retaliation.

Recall the IG is the watchdog for a Federal Government agency who polices the government “workers” and reports their transgressions to taxpayers. Or in this case, quashes dissent. It’s like internal affairs covering for a dirty cop!

Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program. Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

[A] high-level Intelligence Community panel found that Ellard himself had previously retaliated against an NSA whistleblower, sources tell the Project On Government Oversight. Informed of that finding, NSA’s Director, Admiral Michael Rogers, promptly issued  Ellard a notice of proposed termination, although Ellard apparently remains an agency employee while on administrative leave, pending a possible response to his appeal from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Obama reportedly tried to strengthen whistleblower protections in the wake of Snowden’s revelations with Presidential Policy Directive 19. (Mr. Obama had referred to Snowden as a “29-year-old hacker” and–like Ellard–chastised the Federal contractor for not pursuing existing whistleblowing channels to expose the U.S.’s highly controversial metadata collection programs. Which Snowden had, only to find that such protections did not apply to contractors.)

The PPD-19 established an External Review Panel, comprising IGs for Justice, Treasury and CIA. ERP disagreed with the Defense Department IG, and found Ellard indeed had retaliated against an NSA whistleblower.

Disturbingly,

“Snowden could have come to me,” Ellard declared [in 2014], arguing that the leaker, now a fugitive in Russia, would have received the same protections as other NSA employees, who file some one thousand reports annually to the agency’s hotline. “We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us,” Ellard said, adding, “Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do.”

[…]

Snowden’s related contention is that in his own case,  he did, in fact, report his concerns in emails to NSA superiors at the time, a contention which NBC has said  it verified.

[our emphasis]

Government Executive had more on Ellard:

Ellard himself became the subject of a complaint from an NSA employee who had contacted the Defense Department IG’s hotline with allegations of NSA overspending at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2013, the whistleblower’s identity was shared with Ellard, who then, according to the charges, denied the employee an assignment at the NSA IG’s Office of Investigations.

[…]

The Intelligence Community IG provided a sketch of how the PPD-19 external review process works in procedures issued in July 2013. If an aspiring whistleblower exhausts the agency review process without success, he or she can contact the IC watchdog’s office. The office has 45 days to complete a memo to the IG, who then has the authority to appoint an external panel. It collects evidence and has 180 days to make a decision. If the panel recommends action, the agency has another 90 days to respond. If no action is taken by then, the issue goes to the White House and, most likely, Congress.

Former assistant DOD IG John Crane told Government Executive he did the initial intake for the NSA whistleblower complaint about overspending at the conference. He said officials in the Pentagon IG office then revealed the whistleblower’s identity to Ellard, which he characterized as a violation of the Inspector General Act. Crane spent 25 years in government before he was fired in 2013 after accusing the Pentagon watchdog office of whistleblower retaliation.

[our emphasis]

*

It is unclear whether Ellard remains on paid leave, as he was placed last December while appealing his removal, or if the termination has been finalized. Cato Institute had a lengthy update last week.

*

The Federal argument justification unconstitutional practice assumed without debate or public knowledge for data-mining civilians is ridiculous, not least of all because all this super-secure data keeps getting leaked by their own employees.

Reality Leigh Winner (yes that is her actual name) was arrested in June for violating the Espionage Act.

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, of Augusta, Ga., was arrested over the weekend on charges of turning over a secret document to a news organization. (Inform)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Ms. Winner apparently leaked a classified document on Russian interference with the November 2016 elections to The Intercept.

And back in August, Harold Martin was nabbed for Espionage Act charges after allegedly swiping 50 terabytes of data from NSA. Martin’s defense attorney felt compelled to tell the press Martin is “no Edward Snowden.” Both men worked for Federal defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, an outfit especially proficient at vetting employees. Martin has reportedly held a security clearance since he joined the Navy. Thirty years ago.

*

Don’t hold your breath for restoration of your Constitutionally-demanded freedoms anytime soon. On May 2, Reuters reported that the NSA collected more than 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls last year, even after Congress limited its ability to collect bulk phone records, according to an annual report issued on Tuesday by the top U.S. intelligence officer.

[…]

Officials on Tuesday argued that the 151 million records collected last year were tiny compared with the number collected under procedures that were stopped after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the surveillance program in 2013.

[our emphasis]

See, that makes it ok!

Because the 151 million would include multiple calls made to or from the same phone numbers, the number of people whose records were collected also would be much smaller, the officials said. They said they had no breakdown of how many individuals’ phone records were among those collected.

*

There are a few bright spots in security news.

A hot topic this summer was Susan Rice and her demands of potentially illegal (certainly outside protocol of her office) “unmasking” of Trump associates who were transitioning to the new presidential administration. 

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 3–Susan Rice Returns

The rate of “unmasking” average citizens (presumably to the chagrin of the filthy government thugs who spy on their citizens–and employers–because terrorism) marginally declined last year:

In all, according to the report, U.S. officials unmasked the names of fewer Americans in NSA eavesdropping reports in 2016 than they did the previous year, the top U.S. intelligence officer reported on Tuesday.

The report said the names of 1,934 “U.S. persons” were “unmasked” last year in response to specific requests, compared with 2,232 in 2015, but it did not identify who requested the names or on what grounds.

[our emphasis]

And back on April 28:

The National Security Agency said it will now limit [signals intelligence] collection to internet communications sent directly to or from a foreign target. It won’t permit intelligence officials to collect emails, texts and other communications between two people who mention a target by name, but are not themselves targets of surveillance.

The changes, first reported by The New York Times, are designed to reduce the chances of sweeping up communications of U.S. citizens or others in a way that some critics charged was overly broad.

*

On May 31, Shadow Brokers, the apparent perpetrators of the WannaCry attack, announced they would sell the stolen code for interested hackers at $22,000 per copy.  By late June, they had raised the price, up to $131,000 for “VIP access,” in which a customer reportedly receives access to particular vulnerabilities.

*

Back in January, NSA Director Mike Rogers (below), encouraged by Clapper, introduced a measure to offer current NSA operatives raises to stop them from fleeing Big Brother for the private sector.

Image result for mike rogers nsa

Interestingly, in November of last year, Clapper and then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter reportedly recommended outgoing President Obama remove Rogers as head of NSA.

Thanks to our sources:

blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2017/05/14/need-urgent-collective-action-keep-people-safe-online-lessons-last-weeks-cyberattack/#dMb37xIKkLh3BVme.99

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/241508-spy-head-had-absolutely-forgotten-about-nsa-program

http://www.pogo.org/blog/2016/12/intelligence-community-landmark.html

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2016/12/why-nsa-inspector-general-lost-his-job-and-wants-it-back/133992/?oref=ge-android-article-share

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-security-surveillance-idUSKBN17Y2LS?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=59095df804d30158154f2aa9&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

https://www.yahoo.com/news/nsa-stop-collecting-internet-communications-194955852–politics.html

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1423609/shadow-brokers-threaten-release-windows-10-hacking-tools/

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 15-17–Obama Hallucinates (Media Encourage); Noor Salman Apprehended; Chelsea Manning is Made a Political Pawn

January 15-17

On the 15th, Obama declared on 60 Minutes that his was the first administration in history to be “scandal-free”:

 

The sentiment was echoed by the media:

The 60 Minutes host pointed out that Obama did not, as he promised in 2008, change Washington culture with his presidency. Obama asserted that “I changed the things in Washington that were in my direct control.”

From the CBS transcript, the precise (incomprehensible) quote, should they decide to remove the video:

Obama:

“I changed those things that were in direct– my direct control. I mean, I– look, I’m proud of the fact that, with two weeks to go, we’re part of the first administration in modern history that hasn’t had a major scandal in the White House. In that sense, we changed some things.”

*

On the 16th, Noor Salman, wife of ISIS-inspired Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen, was picked up in San Francisco by the FBI.

Prosecutors reportedly claimed “[Salman] knew [Mateen] was going to conduct the attack.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office claims Salman aided and abetted her husband’s “provision of material support” to the terror group ISIL, also known as ISIS.

She also faces charges of misleading federal agents and Fort Pierce, Florida, police officers.

A conviction on the “material support” charge could lead to up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The obstruction of justice could result in up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

No bond was allowed.

Salman’s attorney was initially public defender John Paul Richmond. However,

Salman’s lawyer, Linda Moreno, who was not in court today, said in a statement to ABC News Monday, “Noor Salman had no foreknowledge, nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night. Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”

Salman will be extradited to Florida.

UPDATE: As of March 2, after Oakland, CA magistrate Judge Donna Ryu ruled Salman, 31, could be released on bail, U.S. District Judge Paul Byron of Orlando said “uh-uh,” according to New York Daily News.

Related:

Important Updates: DOJ Relents and Releases Uncensored Transcripts of 911 Calls Placed by Omar Mateen mid-Massacre; Mateen’s Childhood, Adulthood Checkered with “Disciplinary Issues”

*

On the 17th, Obama commuted the remaining jail sentence of Chelsea Manning, The Hill reported.

When pressed to justify pardoning Manning while refusing the same to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as anything more than throwing a bone to the transgender community on his way out the door, Obama’s water boy Josh Earnest sneered:

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing.

“Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years for violating the Espionage Act, the same charge the Federal Government has leveled against Snowden. The former NSA contractor Snowden leaked to the British press that the United States collects all phone records and emails of its citizens (as well as tapping the phone calls of prominent world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel) without any legal justification.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, may enter the picture:

“If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case,” WikiLeaks tweeted last week. 

Thanks to our sources:

https://gma.yahoo.com/wife-pulse-nightclub-gunman-omar-mateen-arrested-san-172130860–abc-news-topstories.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma#

https://gma.yahoo.com/wife-pulse-nightclub-gunman-omar-mateen-knew-attack-200808549–abc-news-topstories.html#

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/314663-obama-commutes-chelsea-mannings-sentence

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pulse-shooter-wife-noor-salman-ordered-remain-jail-article-1.2987497

http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/17/stop-pretending-the-obama-administration-was-scandal-free/http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-60-minutes-shaping-public-opinion-is-part-of-the-job/

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 13–NSA, Castro, Budget and EPA Paternalistic Destruction of Citizens’ Well-Being

January 13 (Friday “News Dump”)

According to AFP, Obama finished his “normalization of relations” with Cuba in his last week of office:

[Obama] scrapped, with immediate effect, a 1995 policy that had given near-automatic entry to the US to Cubans who managed to set foot on American soil, regardless of their visa status.

The end of “wet foot, dry foot” apparently means:

[O]verland Cuban migrants will now be treated like those who have attempted to cross into the US by water and can be sent back to Cuba — unless they can convince US officials that they fear persecution or have valid humanitarian reasons to be let in.

Reportedly, Cuban migrants, now facing Trump’s immigration round-up squads, were upset:

“We feel sadness because we are all coming with a dream that comes from pain, hunger and a lot of work to get this far,” said Lorena Pena, a woman four months pregnant who left Cuba with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

Obama, she said, “screwed up, because what he’s done is hurt us — so he really isn’t as good as everyone says.”

Ulises Ferrer, a carpenter from Havana, said: “We don’t know what we’re going to do now. But what we’re certain of is that we’re not going back to Cuba unless we’re dead.”

[our red]

Related:

Obama Pays Respects to Anti-American Communist Killer Fidel Castro

*

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Obama also used his “last burst” of executive power to further enable the NSA to continue collecting (without warrant) communications data on all Americans. [Trump won’t support a surveillance state though, right? So we’re good.]

EFF:

New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.

The Times‘ take? [I]f analysts stumble across evidence that an American has committed any crime, they will send it to the Justice Department.

[It’s like in Maryland v. King (2013) where that evil conservative Scalia had to join the liberals to write a minority dissent in the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that upheld a Maryland statute that when someone gets charged with “a crime of violence or an attempt to commit a crime of violence; or… burglary or an attempt to commit burglary,” the government can arbitrarily take DNA samples to try and nail them for cold cases of rape or murder. SINCE WE HAVE YOU HERE ANYWAY…HOW ABOUT A CHEEK SWAB???]

Obama’s opponents who decried his “communism” or whatever were certainly correct about one thing: Federal agencies love “sharing.” [see: equitable sharing in civil asset forfeiture!]

Federal Government Resumes “Equitable Sharing” Funding

This NSA expansion (“relaxation” of restrictions?) was especially telling because also on January 13, human rights advocates from ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International delivered a 1,000,000+ signature petition to Obama urging him to pardon NSA whistle-blower (and, according to Obama, Espionage Act violator) Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden-2.jpg

Spoiler alert: Obama did not pardon Snowden. Stay tuned for other [alliteration alert] political power plays via pardon he did manage to squeeze in.

*

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only Republican to vote against Trump’s budget proposal. Like Presidents George W. Bush and Obama each did before him, Trump will add roughly $10,000,000,000,000 to the national debt over the next 10 years. (That’s a total of $30,000,000,000,000, but who’s counting.)

In the House, nine Republicans voted against the bill, which reportedly passed 227-198. Some, like Tom Price (still awaiting confirmation to head HHS) did not vote at all.

*

And the EPA declared its breach of the Gold King Mine in Colorado on August 5, 2015 a “discretionary” action, and the 3 million gallons of toxic cadmium, lead, arsenic, zinc, manganese and other metals it dropped into the Animas River to flow to San Juan River and Lake Powell a case for limited civil liability.

Environmental Protection Agency logo.svg

Congressman Ben Ray Luján and Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, all New Mexico Democrats, released a statement that expressed concern for the Federal fuck-up and even seemed to address the dwindling livelihood of American Indians the Federal Government represented their constituents in all but destroying many years ago:

“We are outraged at this last-ditch move by the federal government’s lawyers to go back on the EPA’s promise to the people of the state of New Mexico — and especially the Navajo Nation — that it would fully address this environmental disaster that still plagues the people of the Four Corners region.”

gold-king-mine-spill

A warning sign from the city is displayed in front of the Animas River as orange sludge from a mine spill upstream flows past Berg Park in Farmington, N.M., on Aug. 8, 2015. About 1 million gallons of wastewater from Colorado's Gold King Mine began spilling into the Animas River on Wednesday when a cleanup crew supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally breached a debris dam that had formed inside the mine. The mine has been inactive since 1923. (Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times via AP) **FILE**

First photo from Colorado Politics. Second photo from Washington Times.

Gina McCarthy official portrait.jpg

Gina McCarthy, Obama’s head climate change czar, suffers no mention of the Animas disaster on her Wikipedia page. She initially dodged testifying to Congress on her agency’s conduct. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee eventually subpoenaed McCarthy to testify in 2016, according to Washington Times.

IMPORTANT:

Because the EPA-created disaster occurred as they were poking around in the mine to save us from climate change (or something), which was apparently concurrent with other environmental justice projects across the country, McCarthy reassured Denver Post at the time [our emphasis]:

[C]leanup operations at similar mines throughout the country have been “put on hold” until the EPA determines how the Gold King accident happened.

[“WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU!!!” —Federal Government]

McCarthy also said the disaster was heartbreaking and the EPA “couldn’t be more sorry.”

“Right now, rest assured, we will learn lessons from this, and we will move those lessons forward in the work moving ahead.”

DP on August 12, 2015 noted McCarthy assured the affected citizens the Animas water specifically (through benevolent EPA treatment of the water they destroyed) was now returned to pre-event conditions.” However:

While the EPA says it’s treating contaminated water still flowing from the Gold King Mine, three adjacent mines continue to release more than 540 gallons per minute of waste laced with heavy metals.

*

In February 2016, the EPA, which waited a full 24 hours after starting the destruction to tell local authorities of their shenanigans, had some dire admissions for Denver Post:

Hays Griswold, the [EPA] on-scene coordinator, wrote in an October e-mail to other EPA officials that he personally knew the blockage “could be holding back a lot of water and I believe the others in the group knew as well.”

“This is why I was approaching (the mine) as if it were full.”

A 2015 postmortem would seem to contradict this: according to the EPA’s internal review [prior to causing the disaster], water inside the Gold King was not very high because of draining at the site and based on seep levels above its opening. Those factors, officials said, made checking pressure seem unnecessary, and it was never done.

[our emphasis]

*

USA Today continued in January of 2017:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will not pay more than $1.2  billion in claims filed against it in response to the Gold King Mine spill.

The EPA says the Federal Tort Claims Act prevents the agency from paying claims the [sic] result from “discretionary” government actions. Congress passed the law to allow government agencies — and in this case, contractors working on their behalf — to act “without the fear of paying damages in the event something went wrong while taking the action,” according to a press release from the EPA.

An EPA agency official said paying the claims would discourage such cleanup efforts in the future.

[all our emphasis]

Instead, the agency reportedly encouraged victims of the spill to file litigation, placing the onus of responsibility on citizens to recover from the Federal Government-manufactured mess.

It’s just like civil asset forfeiture! Want justice for what we (your employees) took from you? Start hiring lawyers! 🙂

Interestingly,

An EPA official says 73 claims related to the mine spill were filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Four were from governmental agencies and the rest were from individuals and companies.

[emphasis ours]

Because bloated bureaucracies need to cash in on the blunders of other toxic, incompetent bureaucracies. We all win as long as the taxpayers lose.

Plus, EPA has other funding priorities from their $8,000,000,000 annual budget:

EPA Spends $200,000 on Body Armor to Prepare For Changing Climate

Thanks to our sources:

Rand Paul Only GOP Vote Against Debt Increase

https://pardonsnowden.org/news/delivery-letter

https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-ends-open-door-policy-cuban-migrants-white-225551661.html

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll058.xml

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/01/obama-expands-surveillance-powers-his-way-out

EPA on Gold King Mine spill: We don’t have to pay for our mess

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/13/epa-wont-pay-claims-mine-spill-released-3m-gallons-toxic-water/96555846/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/3/mccarthy-wont-appear-house-hearing-animas-spill/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/13/epa-mccarthy-subpoenaed-testify-gold-king-spill/

EPA chief Gina McCarthy says water quality in Animas back to “pre-event conditions”

EPA employee in charge of Gold King Mine knew of blowout risk, e-mail shows

Hillary Updates

Hillary on State Department Emails Mistakenly Going to Spam: Maybe We Should Release Your Work Email to the State Department, Huma

Above: Hillary aide Huma Abedin emails her boss in 2010 the Secret Server email setup “is not a good system“; Hillary responds she is contemplating “releasing [Huma’s] email address to the [State] Department” so important State communications will stop going to Hillary’s spam folder.

Jessica Taylor of taxpayer-subsidized, left-leaning NPR reported Friday on an email released in May by the State Department as required by the Justice Department.

As we have reported extensively, the State Department, manned by Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013 under Obama, is required to periodically release Hillary’s (redacted) emails due to a Freedom of Information Act victory in which Judicial Watch successfully sued the State Department for Clinton’s communications that she curated in a private, unsecured, unapproved, basement Secret Server and then deleted, against Federal records regulations.

TPP Emails Out After Election; Clinton Aide Emails to Take 75 Years for Release–UPDATE

BREAKING NEWS

The State Department’s own internal Inspector General determined that Hillary’s actions were wrong, Politico noted in May:

“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

[our emphasis]

 

Again in May, Politico noted:

According to the [Inspector General] report, some State Department technology staff said they were instructed to not talk of Clinton’s email set-up after they raised concerns about the unusual arrangement. One employee told investigators that he or she “raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements,” the document states.

But they were told to drop it: “According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system.”

[our emphasis]

This is interesting, because according to the email out in Friday’s “news dump” by NPR, the unauthorized, unsecured Secret Server apparently sent some of Hillary’s communications to her spam folder. What pressing national security briefings??

The Inspector General report of last May castigating both Hillary and other Secretaries of State–Republican and Democrat–for skating around records-keeping rules and playing dumb when they got caught is once again relevant, NPR’s Taylor points out, because the email cited in the report is only now being released to the public. It was required to be preserved and released to us when Hillary retired in early 2013, but oh well.

From the IG report via Politico:

“In November 2010, Secretary Clinton and her Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations discussed the fact that Secretary Clinton’s emails to Department employees were not being received,” the report said. “The Deputy Chief of Staff emailed the Secretary that “we should talk about putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.”

In response, the Secretary wrote, “Let’s get separate address [sic] or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

[our emphasis and underlining]

The emails Hillary decided to delete because they were “personal,” which are now being dragged out of her lawyers because…they were the property of taxpayers, and not “personal,” include that exchange. We have reproduced the conversation below, because it’s fun to cut and paste entire emails once they’re pried from the death grips of crooked politicians:

*

Email aliases have proven to be a valuable way for public officials to shirk open-records requirements in the age of Freedom of Information Act. This way, when the electronic search of agency records is conducted to fulfill public requests of communications, if you don’t know the secret street name of the official in question, their Federal Agency cannot be held accountable to Google internally for the juicy stuff.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, used “Lew Alcindor”, the birth name of his NBA idol Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as his email alias. This was revealed in a 2014 lawsuit in which a VICE News had to sue using the FOIA to get Justice Department records that were the property of the taxpayers.

“For your information, e-mails in the enclosed documents which use the account name ‘Lew Alcindor’ denote e-mails to or from former Attorney General Holder.”

–the preface of a “heavily redacted” FOIA response provided to VICE News

 

http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/unitedstates

 

*

“To our mind, it made sense to prioritize the review being conducted by the Justice Department and so, accordingly, Hillary Clinton has said since last August that she’ll be happy to sit with them at whatever point they approach her, which has not happened yet. And she has similarly encouraged all of her aides to cooperate in every way with that Justice Department review.”

–Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon. our underlining

Politico noted at the time that “Clinton and Abedin both chose not to cooperate with the IG’s investigation.”

*

Speaking of emails…

Through her surrogates, Hillary has been ferociously critical of “Russians” who supposedly helped Wikileaks publish the emails of her campaign chair John Podesta.

The Hill has more:
WikiLeaks, led by founder Julian Assange, a fierce Clinton critic, has been publishing batches of emails stolen from the personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Between now and Election Day, WikiLeaks is expected to release up to 40,000 more emails, in what appears to be a bid to undermine Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The intelligence community has said the Russians are behind the hack. The FBI is investigating the extent to which Moscow may have been involved.

The emails have been catnip for Washington insiders, giving an unvarnished glimpse inside Clinton’s inner circle and the day-to-day activities of her political machine.

But there have also been several potentially damaging revelations that Trump has vowed to make the centerpiece of his campaign in the final weeks before the election.

Clinton was revealed to have said she has different views on certain issues depending on whether she’s in “public or private;” something she struggled to account for at the last debate.

In a private speech given to a Wall Street banks, Clinton apparently touted her support for “open borders.”

One exchange appeared to show now-Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile tipping Clinton off to a question ahead of a debate against Bernie Sanders, although Brazile has denied that happened.

And one of Clinton’s top advisers, Jennifer Palmieri, has been criticized for an email disparaging Catholics and Christians.

The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the emails and has sought to cast doubt on the exchanges by insinuating that the hackers and WikiLeaks may have doctored the contents.

Now, they’re ramping up pressure on all of the involved parties, including the press, warning that the hack represents a grave threat to U.S. interests and should not be exploited for political purposes.

“It shakes me to my core,”[Mike] Morell said. “This is a direct assault on our democracy. It’s a direct assault on how we choose our leaders.”

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Morell is one of a cadre of Clinton backers who equate “Clinton’s campaign manager emails are now public record thanks to Wikileaks” with “Vladimir Putin is hacking our elections.

The Hill:

“I’m not saying this as a Democrat or a Republican. I’m not saying this as someone who has endorsed Hillary Clinton. I’m saying this as someone who cares deeply about our national security. I’m simply enraged by these Russian hacks.

“I can’t think of a more serious issue at the moment than Russia trying to interfere in our election.”

–2-time former Acting Director of the CIA, Mike Morell

CIA Michael Morell.jpg

OF NOTE, Mr. Morell is no stranger to national politics. From his Wikipedia page:

[Morell] is a critic of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 report on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which many consider to be torture,

National Security

and is also a proponent of the CIA’s targeted killings by drones.

War Crimes

Morell has been a regular critic of Snowden, saying that ISIS benefitted [sic] from Snowden’s disclosures, adding that “Americans may well die at the hands of terrorists because of Edward Snowden’s action.”

(Wikipedia)

In an August 2016 op-ed for The New York Times, Morell endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Stating that he was registered with neither the Democratic nor Republican parties, and had always been silent about his political preferences, Morell stated that Donald Trump was “not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”

(Wikipedia. our emphasis)

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In August:

Mr. Podesta and his brother Tony ended their contract as (unregistered) chief lobbyists for Russian’s major Kremlin-controlled corporation, Sberbank.

http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/politico-influence/2016/09/art-museums-win-protection-for-borrowed-art-216348

As we reported earlier this year (and the pro-Hillary media ignored from behind their ropes),

the Panama Papers revealed Podesta’s shady lobbying position for the Kremlin, which he milked until two months ago because when you’re preparing to be appointed to Clinton White house the 2nd, you have to cash out of your international criminal activity a respectable period prior to transfer of power.

Panama Papers

The Russian connection was a much larger liability for former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was forced to resign in August when it emerged that he may have taken $12.7 million from the Sberbank.

Russian Relations

You should have been on Hillary’s team, Paulie!

Thanks to sources not already cited:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/301133-clinton-camp-steps-up-attacks-on-wikileaks-bashes-media

https://news.vice.com/article/while-us-attorney-general-eric-holder-used-kareem-abdul-jabbars-birth-name-as-his-official-email-address

Snowden

A very interesting article about Edward Snowden‘s courageous handlers (who Oliver Stone reportedly declined to interview for the upcoming Snowden biopic) went up in European news Handelsblatt yesterday:

Ajith, Vanessa, Nadeeka and Supun l-r photographer Jayne Russell

https://global.handelsblatt.com/edition/509/ressort/politics/article/edward-snowdens-guardian-angels

Check it out!

(Photo by Jayne Russell on article by Sönke Iwersen)

(NSA is still listening to your cell phone, Angela Merkel!)