Tag Archives: FBI

Pruitt: In Memoriam

The most pathetic head of a militant, unnecessary government agency was forced out on July 5, ending months of antipathy and taxpayer dollar waste. Scott Pruitt resigned two days after evidence surfaced that he forged his official events calendars to avoid (apparently this is an emotion he is capable of harboring) embarrassment.

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace last week. 

As we have reported previously, Pruitt was ladling out exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard that distorts the ethanol market. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley  and Joni Ernst were pissed, and began talking up Pruitt’s scandals.

(Interestingly, while Trump promised to continue this inefficient propping up of Iowa corn farms, ethanol subsidy adversary and Texas Senator Ted Cruz actually won the state’s 2016 GOP primary for president.)

To be fair, while Pruitt did apparently use staffers to land his daughter McKenna the position of clerk of the White House Counsel last summer, a breathlessly-shared New York Times story that he used the EPA mantle to maneuver her into law school at University of Virginia turned out to be shoddy reporting.

He did use his pre-Trump career subordinates to score a letter of recommendation from former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William Howell.  McKenna (below) got the coveted seat.

However, much like Veterans Affairs, the pompous Oklahoman kept two sets of schedules: the official public record, and his actual itineraries. Reportedly, the former were doctored:

Pruitt’s aides would print sections of the private calendar containing details of events, gather around a table, sometimes in Pruitt’s office, and decide what would be omitted or altered on the public calendar.

Some calendar events hidden from the public and uncovered by CNN include Pruitt noshing with coal producer Alliance Resource Partners CEO, Joseph Craft, and Vatican official (and accused sex criminal) Cardinal Pell when Pruitt blew through $120,000 of taxpayer cash in Italy last year.

Seven of the undisclosed meetings involved individuals who were nominated or reportedly under consideration for EPA positions.

Vox reported on perhaps Pruitt’s most disturbing extravagance yet:

The EPA, according to three expense line items for April, spent a total of $2,749.62 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.”

Pruitt’s office spent $24,115 on a variety of tactical clothing and body armor in seven separate orders. 

[our emphasis]

Unfortunately, the “arm ourselves against the weather” notion is a holdover from previous administrations:

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

Much of the dirt on Pruitt, including the calendar alterations and daughter internship overture, came from Trump handler Kevin Chmielewski (below, not Trump), who was fired from EPA in March.

Washington Free Beacon, however, found evidence Chmielewski actually resigned without giving a reason.

Apparently, the Presidential Personnel office, which had no qualms tolerating a similar situation for Jared Kushner, raised Cain over irregularities in the former bagman’s security clearance. Chmielewski, who worked briefly for DHS before EPA, was flustered:

In a lengthy, combative interview with the Free Beacon, Chmielewski repeatedly refused to answer several questions and threatened to spend the “rest of his career going after” this reporter.

He said neither the PPO, nor anyone else in the federal government, ever contacted him with background check concerns. He told the Free Beacon that he has a permanent Top Secret-level security clearance but would not provide any paperwork to prove it.

“This is how ridiculous and idiotic you are,” Chmielewski said in the interview.

Free Beacon also found $7,667 in unpaid taxes to the state of Maryland and a 2005 DUI tarnishing Chmielewski’s record.

Pruitt was replaced by deputy Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist who squints all the time.

Andrew Wheeler official photo.jpg

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An ingenious Chicago man, Dushaun Henderson-Spruce (below), duped the US Postal Service into forwarding all corporate mail for (wildly more successful, despite USPS’s government-backed monopoly) rival UPS to Henderson-Spruce’s apartment. For three months.

NPR reported the paper form–top government efficiency!–was not even filled out correctly:

At first, the initials ‘HS’ were written on the signature line, but the initials were then scratched out and replaced with ‘UPS,’ according to the charges.

Henderson-Spruce, who told investigators he briefly worked for UPS several years ago, was previously charged in 2016 for one count of misdemeanor bank fraud, for possession of a stolen check.

New charges carry a potential 25 years.

*

In May, NSA indiscriminately wiped hundreds of millions of “call detail records”–everything they (unconstitutionally) compiled since 2015–because in coercing the telephone companies to relinquish private phone records, they inadvertently bagged “some CDRs that NSA was not authorized to receive.”

Because you weren’t allowed to know they were recording all your call logs until Snowden revealed the spy agency’s Constitution trampling, you also get no insight into the deletion process. Shut up and let the Government take care of you.

*

In June, bumbling criminal and ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was sent to jail, his house arrest revoked for new charges of witness tampering. He picked up new charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, to which he pleaded not guilty.

After initially bitching from his private solitary suite that being two hours outside of D.C. limited face time with his attorneys to prepare his defense, Manafort is now reportedly boasting on the monitored prison phone lines that he circumvents the prison’s “no email” rule by typing emails on a laptop that his associates move in and out of the compound. The messages send as soon as the team hits a “hotspot.”

Even the smartest criminals slip up occasionally:

Russia Probe Continues While Shulkin Doubles Down

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Delta is weathering another rough summer. First, public backlash was fierce when Delta banned “pitbull-type service animals” because–get this–they bite:

“We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk.”

(Washington Post did a fun expose in January on passengers abusing the “emotional support animal” loophole to get large dogs–and ducks–seats on planes.)

Delta said it flew 250,000 [emotional support] animals last year, up 150 percent from 2015, while “incidents” such as biting or defecating had nearly doubled since 2016.

Then, Delta’s contractor SkyWest Airlines turned a plane back to the gate at Fort Wayne International when a passenger was too slow to turn her phone to “airplane mode” during taxi.

Other passengers, including a Latina woman, who spoke up in defense of Rodgers […] [a] total of four adults and a child were removed from the flight.

The original transgressor, Robyn Rogers, is on Instagram as “DJ Reborn.”

If it matters, from the New York Post-obtained video, Rogers appears to be black, and the flight attendant white.

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Sketchy suspected House Democrat data downloader Imran Awan, who we are not allowed to characterize as sketchy because he is an immigrant, pleaded guilty to a single charge of bank fraud.

Mr. Awan’s sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 21. Under federal guidelines, he faces a likely range of zero to six months in prison. And as part of the agreement, the government will ask the court to dismiss all charges against [Awan’s wife] Ms. Alvi when Mr. Awan is sentenced.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! Awan Updates

Politico broke it down:

At the time of his arrest, Awan was accused of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which is against the credit union’s policies since it is not the owner’s primary residence. Those funds were then included as part of a wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan, according to the indictment filed against Awan.

Media shrills such as Washington Post, which have completely ignored Awan & company’s sordid subterfuge because it makes the Democrats look like idiots, gleefully declared Awan’s legal victory to “debunk […] conspiracy theories.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted right-wing news sites and Trump’s reactionary interest in the “Pakistani mystery man” is an “anti-Muslim, right-wing smear job.”

Right-wing Daily Caller obtained a transcription from a September 2016 powerpoint presentation of Theresa Grafenstine, Inspector General for the House who conveniently retired last year.

Theresa "Terry" Grafenstine

According to her LinkedIn, Grafenstine (above) now works for Deloitte Consulting.

Grafenstine found that Imran made “unauthorized access” to congressional servers in a way that suggested he was trying to “conceal” his activity and that his unusual activity suggested a server could be used for “nefarious purposes.”

As we have reported previously, Awan and his highly-paid relatives, who were all fired, were trippin’ with the inventory. The IG report found over $100,000 in electronics were removed from House inventory when the alleged conspirators (“shared employees” Imran Awan, Abid Awan, Hina Alvi, Jamal Awan and Rao Abbas) could not produce them for an audit. Purchase prices were manipulated so individual items could be reported as “office supplies” to the Federal bean counters.

Also, the employees continued to access the House server months after they were fired.

It is noteworthy the IG had evidence of this potentially criminal activity at least seven months before the “shared employees” were canned in February 2017. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) kept Imran on the payroll until his July 2017 arrest.

Federal prosecutors spoke with 40 witnesses, but found no evidence that Mr. Awan had engaged in illegal conduct involving House computer systems, per the plea agreement.

As a conservative opinion writer noted earlier this year, none of the Awan IT aides were subjected to background checks for employment, using a loophole in hiring procedures that exempts potential hires from background checks if another member of Congress vouches for them.

Awan’s attorney, a longtime Hillary crony, will seek a fine for his client instead of jail time, per Fox News.

*

Speaking of plea deals for the privileged, disgraced FBI agent Chase Bishop (below) has been re-armed and offered a sweet settlement of his second-degree assault charge by the prosecution. The details will not be released, because he is your employee.

chase-bishop-in-court.jpg

Bishop’s lawyer, David Goddard, said that the FBI strongly encourages its agents to carry their guns when they’re not working

[our emphasis]

(This is why we need the Federal Government to control our gun use, while packing themselves without any accountability. Federal agents are beyond reproach.)

Also shielded from the public are Bishop’s toxicology results from the night his butter fingers put a round in the leg of Tom Reddington at a (presumably) drunken “dance-off” in a Denver bar last month. Bishop ran away, but was eventually picked up by police.

Prosecutors told Denver Post the blood alcohol level “[does] not support further charges” for Bishop.

He is due back in court on…also August 21.

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And George Clooney was out of sight to the high-rolling driver who collided with the Hollywood has-been in Italy last week.

Ambulance personnel tend to actor George Clooney after he was involved in a scooter accident Tuesday in Italy.

Video of Clooney going up in the air was obtained by Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

While later headlines billed the Batman and Robin star’s transpo means as a “motorcycle,” the pictures above from CNN and OK Magazine indicate the manly mishap was indeed sustained on a scooter.

It is unclear if Clooney wore a helmet.

CNN reports he received a negative scan at Giovanni Paolo II hospital. The overrated actor also told CNN he hit 65 mph before tagging the Mercedes that cut in front of him.

The video shows the scooter going maybe 35 mph.

Related:

Clinton/Clooney Cash: Cum One, Come All

According to The Federalist and New York Post, a lawsuit originally filed with the FEC last year by pro-Trump organization Committee to Defend the President alleges Hillary bagged hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from individual wealthy donors by funneling to state Democratic parties, which can make unlimited contributions to the DNC via the Hillary Victory Fund. This would appear to be a loophole around the federal limit of $2700 per person, per candidate, per election–in the amount of $84 million. This allegedly allowed Hillary to control the DNC in exchange for paying down their debt.

BONUSIn a very public spectacle, FBI agent Peter Strzok treated the public to a 10-hour array of smug expressions (cataloged by someone on Steemit) as the House Judiciary Committee questioned Strzok about his former investigative role under Robert Mueller into Trump’s 2016 campaign. We have not watched the actual video.

550a814a8c7a20c609e1d338f0e2b88db7c37d7c818121b0e816f365aa8cf941.jpg

Apparently, Strzok, refused to answer a question out of loyalty to the FBI. GOP dinosaur and Chair of the committee, Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte (below, right), incorrectly claimed Strzok had been subpoenaed and threatened to hold him in contempt.

Republican Louie (his actual, adult name) Gohmert of Texas found an opening to mention Strzok’s extramarital affair with fellow ex-Mueller investigator Lisa Page, to the consternation of Democrats, who proceeded to suggest Gohmert harbors a psychiatric illness.

Page, who received Strzok’s “we’ll stop [the election of Donald Trump]” text that was hidden from the public until the Justice Dept IG report dropped last month, participated in part one of a two-day, private interview by the HJC. She had refused to comply with a subpoena for public hearing Wednesday and was also threatened with contempt. According to The Hill, although Republicans were gratified with her responses to some questions friend-with-benefits Strzok refused to answer, they were off-put she showed up with an FBI attorney. (Page, unlike Strzok, has resigned from the FBI.)

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/05/politics/scott-pruitt-epa-resigns/index.html

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/392461-pruitt-frequently-asked-aides-to-help

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/392570-pruitts-new-problem-with-the-gop-ethanol

http://time.com/4203690/iowa-caucuses-ted-cruz/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/02/politics/scott-pruitt-whistleblower-secret-calendar/index.html

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/394791-nsa-deletes-scores-of-call-records-over-technical-irregularities

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/21/17488454/scott-pruitt-tactical-pants-scandal

http://freebeacon.com/issues/epa-whistleblower-run-ins-law-enforcement-background-check-red-flags/

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/judge-jails-ex-trump-campaign-chair-manafort-ahead-155410775–politics.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/delta-bans-pit-bulls-dogs-115851622.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/nation-now/2018/06/28/delta-attendant-kicks-passengers-off-plane-over-airplane-mode-dispute/741161002/

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article163818253.html

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-nation/2018/07/04/Imran-Awan-an-ex-congressional-IT-worker-for-Democrats-pleads-guilty-to-bank-fraud/stories/201807040068

http://thehill.com/opinion/cybersecurity/384125-democratic-house-it-scandal-illustrates-the-hazards-of-reckless

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/03/ex-dem-it-aide-imran-awan-pleads-guilty-to-bank-fraud-in-deal-with-prosecutors.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/judge-dancing-fbi-agent-accused-in-backflip-gunfire-incident-can-carry-weapon-again/

https://www.9news.com/article/news/crime/dancing-fbi-agent-offered-plea-deal-in-club-shooting/73-572427832

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/10/europe/george-clooney-scooter-accident-italy-intl/index.html

https://nypost.com/2018/06/09/democratic-parties-accused-of-funneling-84m-into-clinton-campaign/

http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/24/bombshell-fec-records-indicate-hillary-campaign-illegally-laundered-84-million/

https://steemit.com/informationwar/@gregorypatrick/my-favorite-c-span-clip-from-the-peter-strzok-hearing-did-you-use-that-smirk-when-you-lied-to-your-wife?sort=author_reputation

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/396980-former-fbi-lawyer-lisa-page-gets-closed-door-grilling-from-house

Scott Pruitt Loves Chik-fil-A and Lotion–UPDATED

UPDATED 6/12/18:

Chase Bishop has surrendered to the Denver Sheriff Office to face a charge of second-degree assault announced Tuesday, according to CBS.

180612-chase-bishop-mugshot.jpg

District Attorney Beth McCann notes the belated arrest is justified even without Bishop’s blood alcohol level, a lab result that takes minutes to run in any American health care facility but nonetheless “could take another week.”

We also learned Bishop (normally based in Washington, D.C.) was in Denver for vacation, not training.

Original post continues below:

Disgraced spendthrift Scott Pruitt, vital national security interest and Gestapo-minded head of the EPA, is causing more trouble for fellow Republicans who must actually get re-elected in November.

The shameless Oklahoman lost his lawyer, Sarah Greenwalt, and scheduler, Millan Hupp to resignations last week.

Sydney Hupp, Millan’s sister and another EPA scheduler, personally  emailed Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy last year to throw the weight of Pruitt’s office behind a highly-selective franchise acquisition application for his wife Marlyn, according to Washington Post. Sydney is also no longer with EPA. Marlyn did not get her Chik-fil-A.

Millan (below) had other questionable duties, according to Politico, including help[ing] Pruitt find housing and inquir[ing] about purchasing a used mattress for him from the Trump International Hotel.

Millan Hupp

But Vox noted the most demeaning tasks that fell to Pruitt’s multi-million dollar security squad: driving him to multiple locations to look for a moisturizing lotion offered by Ritz-Carlton hotels, and picking up his dry cleaning.

A Little Forfeiture

Unlike Imran Awan‘s wife, Hina Alvi, who was confronted by FBI agents and subsequently allowed to board an international flight with over $10 g’s in cash despite charges of bank fraud, U.S. citizen Rustem Kazazi had his life savings confiscated while flying from Cleveland to New Jersey last October.

He was ultimately en route to his original home country of Albania, because no self-respecting person would set foot in New Jersey except for a layover. While Mr. Kazazi was not required to report carriage of his “life savings”–$58,100 earmarked for purchasing a retirement home and assisting less fortunate Albanian family members–on a domestic flight, he was reportedly prepared to declare the funds during his layover in –ughhh–Newark, NJ.

However, government wants their money. Cleveland TSA thugs saw the cash surreptitiously sequestered in a large envelope marked “$58,100” in the 64-year-old’s carry-on bag. You can probably guess what happened next.

At the time, presumably because there was no real suspicion of criminal activity, Kazazi (who speaks little English) was merely searched, interrogated without an interpreter, given a receipt that read “U.S. currency” (no amount specified), and allowed to continue to Albania without the money.

In December, TSA’s fellow agency under DHS, the Customs and Border Protection, informed Kazazi they had his money, which was suspected of being “involved in a smuggling/drug trafficking/money laundering operation.” The amount had dropped to $57,330. The extra $770 must have been a “finder’s fee” for the sharp-eyed agent at the x-ray machine.

Image result for tsa worker

(Which is interesting, because according to USA Today, TSA actually harasses people leaving the country–the setting in which Kazazi was shortchanged–while CBP harasses them coming in.)

Forfeiture usually targets small entrepreneurs on bullshit charges like “structuring” deposits to avoid extra paperwork, because the Feds know these people will not have the resources to sue the government and reclaim property. As we have reported, over 90% of these seizures recently studied by the IRS inspector general came from innocent people:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 10: IRS Takes From Little People; Squander Millions on Unused Email, Faulty Fraud Detection

Because they got caught and publicly shamed by the press (and served by Institute for Justice, who is helping the family sue the government pro bono), the Feds announced earlier this week they would refund Kazazi’s $57,330 within 30 days.

Rustem Kazazi and his son, Erald, are pleased that the government is returning the money taken from them at the airport, but said their vision of America has been affected. (Michael Sangiacomo / Plain Dealer)

The disappearance of the $770 remains a mystery. Rustem’s son Erald (above, right), who helped prepare the money for the trip, notes it was all in $100 bills.

“I always thought the government was here to protect us.”

–Rustem Kazazi

*

A’wanna Have Awan’s Luck with Lucrative Employment and Soft Criminal Proceedings

Awan, unlike Kazazi, is actually facing criminal charges. But his case may have been boosted by the bumbling Capitol Police, who unloaded a glut of evidence to Awan’s defense attorney, Bill and Hillary Clinton associate Chris Gowen. After he copied everything, law enforcement reportedly angrily admitted they thought Gowen was with the prosecution. Oops.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! Awan Updates

Interestingly, although Gowen told Daily Caller the erroneous evidence disclosure was useless to the defense, it reportedly consisted of a copy of a laptop Awan’s former tenant, Laurel Everly, turned in to the Capitol Police in hopes of seeing whether Awan had hacked her. Everly previously complained of her landlord’s allegedly suspicious behavior and called him an “extortionist.”

Daily Caller also notes Awan argued against a different, government laptop  potentially implicating his family and friends’ theft of Democratic House members’ server data Awan left in a [obsolete term alert] phone booth being entered into evidence because he put a note that said “attorney client privilege” near it.

Fox News reported Awan will likely enter a plea agreement in the next hearing on July 3.

FBI Agent Shoots Amazon Packer

It’s not quite the “imperiling disabled children by mishandling live ordinance” level of functioning displayed by the CIA,

CIA: Careless, Incompetent, and Arrogant

but the FBI is making a play for “most unaccountable Federal Agency of the month” (May 2018). The setting: Mile High Spirits Distillery and Tasting Bar, Denver, CO.

Agent Chase Bishop, 29, visiting Denver for agency-funded training and intoxication, accidentally capped a bystander in the leg while retrieving the firearm that jostled out of his ass crack after he failed to properly land a backflip on the Mile High dance floor in the early morning of June 2. Such a white boy move.

The video from Good Morning America shows Bishop swaggering away with a smirk, raising his hands as he disappears into the crowd.

Chase Bishop: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

It’s unclear if he identified himself as law enforcement. Mile High put out a statement that loaded firearms are prohibited on the premises. Heavy, however, reports that the agent is probably above the law:

Bob Pence, a retired FBI agent who was the Agent-in-Charge of the Denver field office, told Denver 7 that FBI agents are “considered on-duty 24 hours a day,” and were therefore permitted to carry their weapons everywhere. Pence told the news network that agents “should not drink excessively.”

Charges have not yet been announced, pending toxicology results. It’s been eight days, so with typical Washington efficiency a blood sample must have been sent to an out-of-state lab via carrier pigeon.

The Liberty University graduate is a former Army intelligence officer.

PHOTO: Tom Reddington is interviewed at his home in Denver, June 6, 2018. He was accidentally shot by the back-flipping FBI agent. (GMA)

The victim, 24-year-old Tom Reddington (above), works for the much-maligned super-corporation Amazon loading trucks. He has since been offered lifetime complimentary beverages from Mile High.

The “National Security” Front

Facebook is back in the newsfeed, publicly broadcasting the posts of “as many as 14 million users” after a “bug” set the default setting to “public” on all those users’ posts between May 18 and May 27. The social media giant supposedly changed the setting back to preferred privacy parameters once the bug was discovered.

When confronted by the ACLU, Orlando, FL police were forced to admit Amazon’s dystopian face-and-movement tracking technology Rekognition (showcased in the self-congratulatory promotion for a revolutionary grocery store below) has been deployed for public surveillance downtown.

Although chief John Mina insisted the system is merely “testing” recognition by capturing footage of seven department officers (and lamented the State is “a long way” from–Engadget‘s words–“tracking persons of interest”), he reneged on a public promise to reveal the cameras’ locations. A spokeswoman helped cover Mina’s ass by proclaiming his ignorance of the test cameras, because why would a police chief be aware of his office’s ongoing efforts to usurp civil liberties?

 Mina also said that he doesn’t know whether those cameras’ footage are uploaded to any Amazon server.

Mina (below) is resigning this year to run for election as Orange County sheriff.

The ACLU also learned that Amazon provided Washington County [Oregon] a roadmap under a non-disclosure agreement, and offered to link the county to other government customers interested in Rekognition, such as a body camera manufacturer. That’s particularly problematic when facial recognition on body cameras is illegal in Oregon. Amazon deleted mentions of body cams from its site after the ACLU raised the issue.

Amazon has lauded the cameras’ usefulness for identifying guests at the recent royal wedding in the UK.

Some of our previous coverage of facial recognition and its propensity to finger innocent people–especially African-Americans and women–when searching databases for a suspect can be found here:

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

Not to be outdone, Google helped fund some new research into algorithms that Futurism.com reports will allow Artificial Intelligence to create realistic footage of people from existing images or video. Perhaps those captured by police cameras.

[P]articipants in an experiment struggled to determine whether or not the resulting videos were real.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/06/pruitt-epa-republicans-scandal-scarred-599048

https://www.vox.com/2018/6/7/17437628/scott-pruitt-ritz-carlton-trump-epa-white-house

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/06/notes_do_not_publish.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/02/us/ohio-us-customs-cash-taken/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Most+Recent%29

http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/24/washington-dc-capitol-police-evidence-house-hacking-suspect-attorney/

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/06/imran-awan-very-strongly-wants-to-block-review-of-hard-drive-was-using-alias/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/06/ex-dem-it-aide-imran-awan-poised-for-plea-deal-after-months-mysterious-delays.html

Chase Bishop: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/victim-shot-back-flipping-fbi-agent-says-initially-115504028–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2018/06/07/A-software-bug-made-some-private-posts-public-for-up-to-14-million-Facebook-users/stories/201806070253

https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/22/amazon-selling-facial-recognition-tech-to-law-enforcement/

https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/25/orlando-amazon-facial-recognition-tech/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-john-mina-retirement-sheriff-race-20180607-story.html

Cinco de ResignO and Corn

Ex-Trump adviser Carl Icahn‘s oil refinery is cashing in on a “financial hardship waiver” from Trump’s EPA, freeing the facility from a key Federal regulation.

Related:

Trains, Cranes and Blame Games

CVR Energy Inc (based in EPA “administrator” Scott Pruitt‘s home state of Oklahoma) is one of a lucky two dozen “small” oil refineries (75,000 or fewer barrels produced daily) to score the coveted exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard regulation in 2017, potentially saving tens of millions of dollars according to Reuters.

Scott Pruitt is pictured. |Getty Images

Above: Pruitt makes a point.

Because the Federal Government’s main purpose is to preserve jobs that are no longer useful or exist only at the behest of enormous lobbies, all gasoline and diesel is required to contain a certain percentage of corn-based ethanol, which subsidizes corn farmers to use gasoline-powered tractors to harvest corn we don’t need to force-feed the animal flesh (locked in a race with global warming to destroy human civilization) and mix in with the real fossil fuels.

Reuters reports the program (originating under George W. Bush in 2005 and increasing the required “renewable” portion of blended fuel each year) purports to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers.

Unfortunately, when government rules with unconstitutional regulations, the little people get shucked first. Small refineries must prove disproportionate financial hardship to legally waive the “blending credits” all oil outfits must otherwise either produce or purchase to present as annual tribute to the EPA. The “hardship” definition is more inclusive under Trump, leading to more waivers compared with those granted by Obama’s EPA.

The EPA’s oily move on CVR was lambasted by a separate corn-fed state official, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

According to Reuters, Icahn is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for his role in influencing biofuels policy while serving as Trump’s adviser.

*

Speaking of the EPA…oh boy.

EPA head Scott Pruitt's security costs have been encouraged by his head of security, former Secret Service Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta

Head EPA security thug Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta (above) resigned Tuesday under allegations of terminating whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski for refusing to retroactively approve some lavish travel for a former Pruitt aide. He was scheduled to talk to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday regarding their federal ethics investigation of the agency and it’s unclear how that will be refined settled.

According to The Hill, [o]nce someone leaves government employment, the inspector general’s office [which would concern internal, not congressional testimony-taking anyway] cannot compel someone to comply with an investigation.

(This may apply more to Albert Kelly, Pruitt’s head of the Superfund at EPA who, ironically enough, funded Pruitt through loans from his Bristow, OK-based SpiritBank. Apparently, the FDIC hit Kelly with a $125,000 fine and a lifetime banking ban last year after SpiritBank squandered $30 million in TARP bailout funds.)

SpiritBank Logo

Kelly (below) also resigned from EPA on Tuesday.

EPA's Albert Kelly. Photo credit: Oklahoma State Home Builders Association

(Credit to Daily Mail for obtaining a photo of Perrotta–apparently no easy feat, as even his LinkedIn profile keeps that ugly mug anonymous. But Daily Mail has a consistent typo implying Pruitt is receiving a blowjob rather than “taking heat” for his shameless exploitation of government office.)

From Nino’s LinkedIn profile, the former Secret Service agent fancies himself as a less-literate version of Liam Neeson from Taken:

I have a very “unique” law enforcement career with extensive leadership and law enforcement experience; world – wide [sic]. For the past ten years, as a hobby, I created and sold a very successful startup construction firm that accomplished numerous home improvement projects throughout the D.C. area. Today I manage a boutique security and investigative firm; [sic] Sequoia Security Group, Inc. which is based out of Bethesda, Maryland. The Sequoia team is comprised of highly successful, diversified team members, all having “unique” experience making our firm very successful at meeting our client needs. 

I am a results driven individual that enjoys [sic] seeing progress at work!

“Nino” reportedly encouraged Pruitt’s much-publicized police state preparations, including his upgraded Chevy Suburban with Kevlar-lined seat covers, twenty (20) bodyguards and $43,000 soundproof booth. (The proposed bulletproof desks never got installed.)

Sequoia Security Group associate, Edwin Steinmetz, reportedly won the $3,000 contract to shake down Pruitt’s office for possible concealed listening devices in March.

Washington Post:

Pruitt also had biometric locks installed in his office […] for a cost of $5,656.75. Those expenditures, first reported by AP, weren’t disclosed on the government’s contracting website because they were split into two payments and the threshold for reporting stands at $3,500.

Chicago Tribune:

[T]he 2014 Chevy Tahoe with four-wheel-drive that was used by Gina McCarthy, Pruitt’s predecessor as EPA administrator, has largely sat idle at the EPA headquarters, according to several current and former staffers. The agency had its lease renewed on Feb. 2, 2017, at a cost of $9,180.

Under House questioning in April, Pruitt admitted he delegated approval of larger pay raises for two subordinates (reversing his previous pleas of ignorance): Senior legal counsel Sarah Greenwalt received a raise of more than $66,000, bringing her salary to $164,200, and scheduling director Millian Hupp saw her salary jump from $48,000 to $114,590.

But citizens are perhaps most indignant at Pruitt’s self-indulgent travel portfolio. Washington Post alleges the administrator sought to use his office as a dress rehearsal for taxpayer-funded retirement: Pruitt drew up a list of at least a dozen countries he hoped to visit and urged aides to help him find official reasons to travel.

Apparently, Pruitt’s essential EPA mission to Morocco last December–four days, $100,000–was planned by ex-Comcast lobbyist Richard Smotkin, who subsequently scored a $40,000/month position lobbying for the Moroccan government. Cha-CHING !!!

John Konkus of EPA’s press office and Liz Bowman of the public affairs division also quit late last week.

*

The NSA more than tripled its metadata collection of phone calls last year compared to 2016, sweeping up 530 million call records. For your protection.

These call records include what number the unsuspecting citizen target dialed and how long they spoke. 40 individuals were targeted in 2017.

Surveillance requests under FISA section 702, which do not require a warrant, increased from 5,288 to 7,512.

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

Tech Crunch extrapolates that more Americans innocent until proven guilty (hope you have nothing to hide!) were “unmasked” by intelligence agencies.

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

Use of the pen register/trace and tap orders (for which Government prosecutors need only suggest that “the information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation”) decreased. Lots of paperwork.

*

We missed some big news from March, in which ex-FBI director James Comey (currently self-enriching on the book tour and talk show circuit) was shown to have misled the public regarding options for cracking the Syed Farook iPhone in February 2016.

FBI Rapes More Phones

FBI Rapes More Phones (Continued)

Tech Crunch reported that days after Comey’s public pity party aimed at manipulating the public against the encryption on their iPhones that ostensibly prevented his investigation of the San Bernardino mass murderer, the FBI decided to ask existing vendors if that was even true. Apparently not, because the Remote Operations Unit (ROU), who handles the vendors, told the Inspector General that Comey never bothered to call them.

The OIG report cited former FBI Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess:

Hess expressed concerns that an [Operational Technology Division] unit may have had techniques available to exploit the Farook iPhone that certain unidentified OTD officials did not employ and that these officials were indifferent to the fact that FBI leadership and others were testifying to Congress, and filing affidavits in court, that the FBI had no such capability.

[Hess] became concerned that the CEAU [Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit–a division of ODT] Chief did not seem to want to find a technical solution, and that perhaps he knew of a solution but remained silent in order to pursue his own agenda of obtaining a favorable court ruling against Apple. 

[…]

[He] told the OIG that, after the outside vendor came forward, he became frustrated that the case against Apple could no longer go forward, and he vented his frustration to the ROU Chief. He acknowledged that during this conversation between the two, he expressed disappointment that the ROU Chief had engaged an outside vendor to assist with the Farook iPhone, asking the ROU Chief, “Why did you do that for? [sic]”

As we reported previously, the iPhone was successfully hacked by an anonymous vendor.

On the book tour, Comey has reportedly stated his agents grilling  Michael Flynn believed the ex-Trump adviser deceived the bureau about his Kremlin communications. This was apparently contradicted by newly un-redacted House Intelligence Committee testimony from Comey, who professed the agents thought Flynn was being truthful.

*

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page, recently demoted in the wake of anti-Trump texts exchanged with Peter Strzok while helping Mueller investigate Trump’s alleged 2016 collusion with Moscow (see our link “NSA’s FISA Festivities…” above), resigned Friday.

Lisa Page, FBI agent who bashed Trump in texts, resigns

Page was photographed in “active wear.” Chilly!

(She may be modeling a new Washington trend, “take the pension and run.”)

For example, former Comey associate and chief FBI lawyer (recently demoted) James Baker…also resigned on Friday.

He is alleged to have spoken with Mother Jones prior to the breaking news of Trump’s alleged Kremlin connections in “the dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele. MJ reporter (yes, his actual name) David Corn denied Baker leaked the story.

*

Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.

*

And alleged House Democrat hacker Imran Awan continues to evade prosecution for charges of bank fraud and conspiracy. The most recent postponement moved his U.S. District Court hearing from Friday to June.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! Awan Updates

Fox News reports a plea deal may be planned.

Awan’s attorney contends the conservative site Daily Caller, as well as goading tweets from Trump, are keeping the story alive, requiring time-consuming provision of evidence.

 

Thanks to our sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biofuels-epa-icahn/exclusive-u-s-epa-grants-biofuels-waiver-to-billionaire-icahns-oil-refinery-sources-idUSKBN1I10YB

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/386281-upheaval-at-pruitts-epa-as-departures-mount?userid=115887

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/06/man-hired-to-sweep-scott-pruitts-office-for-bugs-is-in-business-with-a-top-epa-security-official/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a295cf156f0e

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/12/pruitt-epa-security-chief-spending-pasquale-perrotta-480825

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-scott-pruitt-suv-bullet-proof-seat-covers-20180417-story.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/epa-chief-faces-capitol-hill-grilling-over-ethical-043405198–politics.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scott-pruitt-lobbyists-foreign-travel_us_5aebd4bfe4b0ab5c3d63a64e

 

NSA triples metadata collection numbers, sucking up over 500 million call records in 2017

https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/house-intel-panel-report-reveals-comey-book-tour-discrepancy/

Inquiry finds FBI sued Apple to unlock phone without considering all options

https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/lisa-page-fbi-agent-who-bashed-trump-in-texts-resigns/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/politics/fbi-officials-lisa-page-james-baker-resign/index.html

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/385881-cambridge-analytica-shutting-down-report?userid=115887

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/05/04/ex-dem-it-aide-imran-awan-s-case-hit-with-repeated-delays-as-feds-probe-new-allegations.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29

Trains, Cranes and Blame Games

Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson feverishly tried to cancel a December order of $31,561 in mahogany dining room furniture for his office.

Seal of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.svg

 

Because the U.S. is on financially sound footing, HUD pumped $1,100 into repairing the existing LBJ-era chairs before ordering the  good stuff (each new chair cost about $1,000).

New blinds for Carson’s office cost $3,400.

Carson blamed his wife, Candy, for the expensive decisions.

Ben & Candy Carson

The Twitter profile photo of “Dr. Ben & Candy Carson”

Meanwhile, senior HUD official Helen Foster, a Treasury employee from the Obama administration who warned Carson of the $5,000 limit on redecorating offices, was reassigned as HUD’s chief FOIA officer last October.

During the Trump transition, acting HUD secretary Craig Clemmensen advised Foster that past administrations “found ways around” the limit.

Foster’s complaint says […] Clemmensen repeatedly told her to “find money” to purchase furniture for Carson’s office and said that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”

It appears that in her new assignment as FOIA chief, Clemmensen told Foster to circumvent required procedure for two FOIA requests, citing Maren Kasper (below) of the transition team.

[Maren Kasper, Executive Vice President, Ginnie Mae]

Foster was also discouraged from reporting the department’s $10.8 million deficit from 2016 and instructed by Carson to fund a new security system for his Virginia residence (he eventually withdrew the request).

The Carsons denied wrongdoing on Twitter using Psalm 91:4 and noted only the blinds counted toward the $5,000 limit, as the mahogany was a “building expense.”

According to ABC, [t]he Trump administration’s proposed budget recommends an 18 percent decrease in funding for HUD, including a decrease in funds intended to help low income individuals pay their rent.

The agency’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 is over $41,000,000,000 according to their website.

*

D.C. “streetcars”: do they not have enough Congresspeople’s children driving for Lyft while illegally sporting official tags?

The dirty district has fielded a fleet of free rides for the public since 2016 (it was initially supposed to launch in 2009), but needs to replace all the cars–at a cost of at least $25 million–starting in 2021. The existing $200,000,000 vanity project cannot repair its existing cars, because the only spare parts manufacturer is in another country. Therefore, repair parts “will likely require reverse engineering” according to D.C.’s department of transportation.

The 2.4-mile route runs exactly parallel to an existing bus route.

Another eight miles to Georgetown is planned, projected to cost $400 million.

CityLab alleges the line of public extortion is good for the city:

If economic development rather than moving people around were the only metric for the streetcar’s success, it would be viewed as an unequivocal triumph. Between June of 2010 and January 2018, the median home value in the Near Northeast neighborhood, which encompasses a significant part of the line, jumped from $441,000 to $705,000, according to Zillow, an increase 10 percent greater than the District overall during that period. Massive new apartment buildings and condos have significantly boosted the density of the neighborhood in recent years.

*

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in Jennings v. Rodriguez that immigrants, whether illegal or permanent legal residents, are not entitled to periodic bond hearings and may be detained indefinitely. Elena Kagan recused herself.

Obama reportedly did not like the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s verdict that detained immigrants and asylum seekers are entitled to bond hearings every six months, and kicked the case to the Supreme Court.

*

Carl Icahn in 2014.

Trump adviser Carl Icahn sold over $31 million in Manitowoc Company Inc. stock seven days prior to the president’s inane announcement that American steel imports will suffer a 24% tariff.

Manitowoc, which makes cranes, lost about $8 per share following the tariff announcement. Icahn had unloaded nearly 1 million shares.

*

The Florida high school massacre on February 14 continues to fuel our betters in the media. Delta Airlines made perhaps the biggest splash–not in one of their routine emergency landings, but by ending their discount program for National Rifle Association members traveling to the lobby’s annual convention.

USA Today noted that just 13 passengers ever used the discount, (estimated at about 10% off ticket price).

That didn’t stop the Georgia legislature from ripping a jet fuel tax break from its tax legislation–an estimated loss of $40 million for the shoddy Atlanta-based airline, whose breakup with NRA was perceived as an affront to the 2nd Constitutional amendment.

Proponents of the retaliatory move included Republican Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (below), who is running to succeed his boss Nathan Deal.

Casey Cagle

According to Reuters, Delta is “review[ing] [the] end [of] group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature.” CEO Ed Bastian insists “our values are not for sale” and insinuated legislature members first threatened the airline with nixing the tax break to get them to reinstate the NRArrangement.

Delta’s even more overpriced rival United Airlines also ended its NRA convention discount.

Meanwhile, FedEx announced it would retain its 26% shipping discount for NRA Business Alliance members. ThinkProgress reported what they characterize as “rule bending”: “Some [FedEx] customers have been approved for an exception to ship firearms with a 2-day (AM or PM) service,” a confidential internal document revealed.

Apparently, the decrepit United States Postal Service will rarely ship firearms at all, leaving most of the market to UPS and FedEx. While the latter two private companies require overnight shipping on all firearms, FedEx reportedly saves self-defense (or child assault?) enthusiasts some coin…by allowing them to wait an additional day for their weapon.

Documents obtained by CNN show cops were called to Nikolas Cruz's (pictured) home more times than originally thought.

The massacre allegedly perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz, 19 (above), at his former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL left 17 dead. The fallout continues, from a math teacher accused of locking his students out of the classroom to public flailing of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI .

Sheriff Scott Israel (below) is especially [TRIGGER WARNING FOR TRIGGER WARNING] [TRIGGER WARNING] under fire for the 45 police visits to Cruz’ adoptive mother’s house over the past 10 years.

Documents obtained by CNN show cops were called to Nikolas Cruz's home more times than originally thought. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel pictured above.

Daily Mail reported the disgraced law man is now preemptively characterizing the suspect (who has reportedly confessed, but not yet been tried) as “killer” and downplaying the number of police contacts:

‘Since 2008, BSO responded to 23 incidents where previous contact was made with the killer or his family. STOP REPORTING 39; IT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE,’ a statement from the sheriff’s office said on Saturday. 

CNN obtained the figure of 45 police visits.

Neighbor Joelle Guarino (below) finally buzzed 911 herself in 2016 after seeing Cruz’ Instagram threat to [TRIGGER WARNING“shoot up a school.”

Meanwhile, former neighbor Joelle Guarino (pictured) is speaking out to detail Cruz's disturbing behavior growing up

Cruz reportedly threw a rock at Guarino’s own son several years ago and dissected toads on her lawn.

Lynda Cruz died in November of pneumonia.

FBI director Christopher Wray bit the bullet on February 16, admitting his agency not only dropped the ball in September when a blogger alerted Mississippi agents to Cruz’ YouTube comment–this is very subtle–“I am going to be a professional school shooter”, but also with an anonymous tipster in January:

The […] woman identified Cruz by his full name, his age and where he lived […] then frantically warned about his mental instability, his arsenal of firearms, his posting of assault rifles on social media, his threats to kill himself and other people, and that “he’s so into ISIS,” the notorious Middle East terrorist group.

*

But the Feds have everything under control now. While Congress waffles on “background checks” and “raising the age to purchase assault weapons” to prevent the few high-profile American mass killings among 15,000-plus murders annually, Pasadena, CA police officer Vasken Gourdikian, 48, is taking matters into his own hands.

Feds charge former Pasadena police spokesman with illegally selling more than 100 guns

The 24-year peace-keeping veteran pleaded not guilty to four felony counts from a grand jury who allege he illegally moved over 100 firearms in the past 3 years for profit.

His special privileges as a police officer included buying more than one handgun every 30 days, skipping the 10-day mandatory waiting period, and access to “off-roster” weapons not available to other civilians.

He has been on paid leave for the past year.

The 62 guns seized from Gourdikian’s home are now listed as “potential forfeited assets.”

Police Take Again Because They Can

Federal Government Resumes “Equitable Sharing” Funding

*

Trump mused that the government should just confiscate guns without warrants:

“I like taking the guns early,” Trump said during a televised meeting on gun laws at the White House on Wednesday. “To go to court would have taken a long time.”

*

Mammoth Energy Services (through its parent Cobra) picked up another $500 million in work for rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power grid, bringing its total contract to $945 million. Mammoth can now purchase its own supplies instead of relying on PREPA third party contractors and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hud-spent-31000-dining-set-ben-carsons-office/story?id=53391444

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/ben-carson-asks-hud-cancel-order-31-000-172204658–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ben-carson-cancel-31-000-dining-set-order-backlash-article-1.3848810

https://www.hud.gov/privacy/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/baltimore-insider-blog/bs-fe-ben-carson-hud-furniture-20180301-story.html

DC considers plan to replace streetcar fleet, still has no plans to make riders pay

https://www.citymetric.com/transport/7-things-washington-dcs-200m-streetcar-taught-us-about-public-transport-1962

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/03/is-dc-streetcar-rage-justified/554729/

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/27/589096901/supreme-court-ruling-means-immigrants-can-continue-to-be-detained-indefinitely?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180227

Trump confidant dumped millions in steel-related stock last week

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/03/02/delta-reviews-all-fare-discount-programs-after-nra-dispute-costs-georgia-tax-break/388587002/

Delta and United abruptly reverse course, sever contracts with the NRA

https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-guns-delta-air-nra/delta-reviewing-ties-with-all-politically-divisive-groups-after-nra-controversy-idUSL2N1QK16B

FedEx won’t drop the NRA so these companies are dropping FedEx

EXCLUSIVE: FedEx’s secret deal with the NRA and the gun industry

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5440273/Cops-called-Nikolas-Cruzs-home-45-TIMES-past-decade.html

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article202934059.html

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-pasadena-police-indictment-20180302-story.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-police-lieutenant-arrested-gun-selling-charges-223942359.html

http://time.com/5184160/trump-guns-due-process/

https://www.epmag.com/mammoth-energy-increases-puerto-rico-contract-945-million-1686726

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.

*

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]

*

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.”)

*

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: August 3: WannaCry Savior Arrested; Ulbricht Hunters More Guilty Than First Admitted

Marcus Hutchins, the man who reportedly brilliantly slowed the WannaCry cyber attack on the U.K.’s National Health Service (and hundreds of thousands of computers around the world) was picked up by the FBI in Las Vegas on August 2. He was apparently leaving the Def Con hacking “conference.”

marcus-hutchins.jpg

Hutchins (above), 22, is a British national who uses the alias MalwareTech on social media.

Related:

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

According to the U.K.’s Telegraph, the hero-turned-U.S. enemy of the state is out on $30,000 bail:

Hutchins, of Ilfracombe, Devon, is due to appear in court in Milwaukee on August 14, charged with six counts of creating and selling a malware known as Kronos.

While sprung from prison, he was made to wear a GPS monitor and forbidden from using the internet.

The Independent reports this is the culmination of a two-year investigation into Hutchins, whose “Trojan” software (the Kronos) infects computers and then steals banking passwords.

There is an as yet unnamed co-defendant in the case.

Hutchins faced a six-count indictment, which carries a possible 40 years in prison, on August 14 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin court. He pleaded not guilty and was given internet access. The trial is set for October 23.

International Business Times suggested the Feds may go easy on Hutchins given his recent usefulness to society.

Hutchins’ discovery of the “killswitch” for WannaCry, which slowed the spread of the ransom-demanding virus, apparently led to reporters camping out around his house back in May.

*

In other “citizens that actually know how to use computers are a threat to national security” big government crackdown news, one of the corrupt Federal agents that shamelessly choreographed a double life sentence for Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht (who was quietly moved to a maximum security prison in Colorado this summer, because nonviolent crime) pleaded guilty to money laundering. Again.

Shaun Bridges, formerly of the Secret Service, worked with former DEA thug Carl Mark Force on the Baltimore task force that took money and Bitcoins from the Silk Road investigation, likely framed Ulbricht for ordering assassinations…all the things good Federal agents add to society.

Rogue Silk Road Agent Admits to Stealing Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals

Bridges, 35, moved 1600 Bitcoins (worth $6.6 million) out of a Federal account. This is even more reprehensible because Bridges had already been sentenced in 2015 to 71 months in prison for money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Washington Times reported the taxpayer-funded thief had not even begun the initial sentence, and could get up to another 10 years in prison at his November sentencing.

Force was also arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and “extortion under color of official right.” He was sentenced to 6.5 years.

Ulbricht, who lost the May appeal of his convictions of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic and distribute narcotics, computer hacking and identity fraud, arguing that his investigators were using the case to commit their own crimes, will die in prison.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/08/wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-freed-us-jail-ahead-court-appearance/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/marcus-hutchins-arrested-latest-us-authorities-wannacry-cyberattack-nhs-las-cegas-mccaran-a7875761.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/03/fbi-arrests-wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-las-vegas-reports/

Security researcher Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty, returns to Twitter

FBI Agent Admits to Stealing Silk Road Bitcoins Seized by U.S. Marshals

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/16/shaun-bridges-disgraced-secret-service-agent-plead/

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8q845p/dea-agent-who-faked-a-murder-and-took-bitcoins-from-silk-road-explains-himself

https://www.wired.com/2017/05/silk-road-creator-ross-ulbricht-loses-life-sentence-appeal/

https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/New_York_Southern_District_Court/1–14-cr-00068/USA_v._Ulbricht/183/

Comey to Convocate and Cash In

Former FBI Director James Comey (below) has scored a lucrative part-time lecture position at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Former FBI Director James Comey has accepted a part-time position at Howard University this year, where he'll be delivering a series of lectures 

Comey will refund his $100,000 haul from the “Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy” position to offer scholarships to students from foster homes entering the historically black university.

The first appearance for the much-maligned 2016 Trump victory architect will be the September convocation for students.

The ensuing five lecture topics “will be decided after the ex-FBI chief converses with student leaders and other campus stakeholders.”

FBI Rapes More Phones (Continued)

Meanwhile, in the longstanding tradition of Washington beneficiaries, Time reports:

Comey’s tenure at Howard University will coincide with the release of his widely anticipated book, which is expected to be published in the Spring of 2018.

*

According to Washington Examiner, Comey commanded the trust and approval of colleagues, as documented on score sheets from three years’ worth of FBI “internal memos” released to news organizations for fulfillment of FOIA requests (which the FBI, unlike the State Department, apparently honors).

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 3.81 or higher indicating success, Comey’s subordinates reportedly gave him at least a 3.81 on “nearly every item.” Grade inflation!

Comey received a score of 4.47 from employees when asked to grade the former director on the “trust and confidence” they have in him as a leader. The former FBI director received a 4.48 from subordinates on whether they would work for Comey again, and a 4.22 when asked if he is humble.

[???]

Employees gave Comey a score of 4.38 for being someone more interested in leading than being liked.

[our emphasis]

The scores reportedly dipped slightly this year compared to 2016.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

Christopher A Wray DOJ portrait.jpg

Comey was replaced by Christopher Wray (above) at the FBI on August 2. Five Democratic Senators voted against Wray’s confirmation, including Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

Al Franken (MN) missed the vote.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4817250/Comey-takes-position-Howard-University.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

http://time.com/4912861/james-comey-howard-university-new-position/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/internal-surveys-show-former-fbi-director-james-comey-enjoyed-broad-support/article/2631748

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00181#position

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

The Hill learned that recently-dismissed FBI Director James Comey sprinkled some classified details into “private memos” he transcribed after meeting with his former boss, President Donald Trump. How many of these so-called “personal recollections” contained classified information? More than half, per unnamed sources.

That Comey’s office pursued a criminal investigation into Trump’s chief rival for the presidency last year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for a similar practice–an angle many Democrats (and Hillary herself) continue to credit for the failure of her elitist campaign amidst a sordid history of political thuggery and personal enrichment–was not lost on The Hill.

Related:

BREAKING NEWS

As we have extensively covered, the eleventh-hour “reopening” of the Hillary email investigation in the campaign’s final weeks was widely cited by Hillary and her allies (along with Russian hacking, sexism, racism and “fake news”) as tipping the November 2016 election to President Trump.

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

Comey testified [in June] he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a Columbia University lawyer friend. He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director. 

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

[our emphasis]

The “Russia case” refers to the FBI probe into possible collusion between Trump and Russia, who reportedly attempted to hack the 2016 U.S. national elections. Comey’s leadership of the case coincided with highly-publicized testimony to Congress prior to his firing.

Related:

BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

The Russia investigation continues under former FBI head Robert Mueller.

Thanks to our source:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/341225-comeys-private-memos-on-trump-conversations-contained-classified?rnd=1499645596

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

You’re fired!!!

Trump unexpectedly dismissed of FBI Director James Comey.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office [.] President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

–White House statement

Related image

Comey.

The announcement reportedly shocked the intelligence community. Comey’s termination was read to him en route to Los Angeles for a recruitment event [as] part of the FBI’s efforts to boost diversity.

Related:

BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

According to Good Morning America, Rosenstein allege[d] that Comey was wrong to later “hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.”

Typically when the FBI decides not to bring charges against someone, it normally does not discuss its decision-making. When Comey held a July 5 news conference explaining why [Hillary] Clinton would not be facing charges but at the same time criticizing her email practices, he cited “intense public interest” as the reason for the exception.

[our emphasis]

As we are all now thoroughly aware, Hillary’s 2016 loss was completely attributed to Comey’s actions,

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

a shocking turn of events, given his above-detailed criminal pardon of the beleaguered Secretary of State just two months earlier:

BREAKING NEWS

The Hill:

Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey’s dismissal, citing “substantial damage” to the FBI’s reputation and credibility under his leadership. 

[…]

At issue, according to a May 9 memo from Rosenstein to Sessions, were Comey’s remarkable public disclosures about Clinton’s conduct. In July, he took the rostrum — without authorization from the Justice Department — to announce that he would not be recommending charges against the former secretary of State.

“I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken,” Rosenstein wrote in the memo.

[…]

The director “was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5 and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution,” Rosenstein wrote, because “it is not the function of the director to make such an announcement.”

[our emphasis]

This itself is confounding, because then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch yielded to the FBI’s recommendations for prosecuting the Secret Server after Lynch’s now-infamous ambush by Hillary’s husband on the Phoenix airport tarmac, which many labeled political interference of a criminal investigation.

Rod Rosenstein US Attorney.jpg

Rosenstein (above) was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to replace Sally Yates, who had been Acting Attorney General (AAG) before her high-profile firing by Trump after 10 days on the job. Rosenstein is now Deputy Attorney General (next in line to lead Justice if Sessions dies). The 52-year-old former U.S. Attorney for Maryland, appointed by the George W. Bush administration, was one of a pair of U.S. Attorneys Trump specifically kept on board. The other was Obama appointee Dana Boente (below), 63, who served as AAG from Yates’ dismissal until Sessions’ confirmation. He has now returned to his former post of U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia.

Dana Boente.jpg

Per USA Today, Trump recently changed the Justice Department order of succession with a subtle executive order [pun alertin order to undo the executive order of Obama issued just before Trump took over the White House:

The order appears to be the first that Trump has not signed in a public ceremony. It’s dated Thursday — the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in — but was not posted to the White House website until Friday morning. The White House did not explain the discrepancy.

 

[…]

Seven days before he left office, President Obama changed the order of succession without explanation to remove Boente from the list. Obama’s order had listed U.S. attorneys in the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California.

[our emphasis]

*

U.S. Attorneys for Connecticut Deirdre Daly and Northern District of New York Richard Hartunian were granted “short term reprieves” from the mass exodus of Obama-era Justice appointees in order to “complete 20 years of service” at the Justice Department, according to Politico. This milestone determines how fat a pension check they can suck from the nation’s sapped finances until the end of their days. Both major political parties win when they can share in the spoils confiscated from the little people: it’s a bipartisan thing.

*

Burlington Free Press sued the Feds using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the resignation letters of the 44 other Obama-appointed attorneys general Trump asked to leave (according to the frantic mainstream press, he is the first president to ever do this for a transition change, or something).

USA Today noted Justice found the parting platitudes so “inherently personal” that they should be exempt from release.

But according to public records, the documents were actually withheld because they were never read by Justice.

*

Comey’s recent numbers to Congress on Hillary hack Huma Abedin‘s harried handling of the most qualified presidential candidate ever‘s Secret Server also had to be adjusted.

Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton’s emails to her then-husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), to print out for Clinton while she was secretary of State.

In fact, the bureau said in a letter sent to the Senate panel Tuesday that only a handful of the 49,000 relevant emails it uncovered on Weiner’s laptop had been forwarded manually. Most of the emails got onto the computer as a result of backups of her Blackberry.

[…]

Abedin, the FBI director testified last week, “appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to [Weiner], for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of State.”

[our emphasis]

Secure!!

*

Speaking of the November election, much like Hillary refusing to face her supporters when her defeat by Trump became clear, White House press secretary Sean Spicer bumbled his “face the media” duties following the Comey termination. According to Washington Post, it did not go well:

Was Sessions involved? “That’s something you should ask the Department of Justice,” Spicer said.

Was Rosenstein’s probe part of a larger review of the FBI? “That’s, again, a question that you should ask the Department of Justice,” he said.

Did the president discuss Rosenstein’s findings with Rosenstein? “No, I don’t believe, I don’t know how that sequence went — I don’t know,” he said.

What was the president’s role? “Again, I have to get back to you [stupid phrase alert] on the tick-tock,” he said.

When’s the last time Trump and Comey spoke? “Uh, I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s some — I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said.

What were the three occasions on which the president says Comey assured him that he was not under investigation? “I don’t — we can follow — I can try, yeah,” he said.

How long did the president deliberate? “I don’t, I don’t … I can look at  [what is this guy smoking?] the tick-tock. I know that he was presented with that today. I’m not sure what time,” he said.

Why wasn’t Comey given the news in a personal phone call? “I think we delivered it by hand and by email and that was — and I get it, but you asked me a question and that’s the answer,” he said.

Did Comey’s testimony last week — which contained inaccuracies — influence the decision? “You’d have to ask the Department of Justice. They’re the ones that made the recommendation,” he said.

Why didn’t the president do this months ago? “Again, I would refer you to the Department of Justice,” he said.

Does he know about grand-jury subpoenas that have reportedly been issued in an investigation involving Michael Flynn, Trump’s previous national security adviser? “I’m not — I’m not aware of any,” he said.

Is it true that the president will meet on Wednesday with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov? “We’ll see what the schedule says. I don’t — I just — I’ve been a little tied up.”

The chronology of the Spicer charade is unclear. It sounds like he wasn’t going to make a statement, then made a statement, then [other media outlets were quite clear on this part] literally “hid in the bushes,” before agreeing to a brief interview only in the cover of darkness:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge.

[…]

After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes near these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so. Spicer then emerged.

“Just turn the lights off. Turn the lights off,” he ordered. “We’ll take care of this. … Can you just turn that light off?”

Memes abounded.

Image result for sean spicer hedge

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/09/politics/fbi-james-comey-fired-letter/index.html?sr=twCNN050917fbi-james-comey-fired-letter1110PMVODtopPhoto&linkId=37406591

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/fbi-director-james-comey-fired-215047657–abc-news-topstories.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/332613-trump-fires-comey

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/332660-trump-bombshell-fbis-comey-fired

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/332608-fbi-corrects-comey-testimony

http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/03/us-attorneys-dismissal-236009

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/trump-executive-order-obama-justice-department-succession/97752898/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/10/as-trump-fired-comey-his-staff-scrambled-to-explain-why/?utm_term=.f75ea0c74d14

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

Republican House members led by Virginia Foxx (below) of North Carolina recently pulled a rather clandestine stunt. H.R. 1313: Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act passed a House Committee 22-17 along party lines.

logo

The bill would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information, according to Scientific American.

Under guise of propping up “workplace wellness programs,” the 2008 “GINA” protections of employees’ genetic material from their employer would be eliminated. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act restrictions on wellness programs are also removed.

According to the Federal text online from the bill introduced on March 2:

This bill exempts workplace wellness programs from: (1) limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on medical examinations and inquiries of employees, (2) the prohibition on collecting genetic information in connection with issuing health insurance, and (3) limitations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 on collecting the genetic information of employees or family members of employees. This exemption applies to workplace wellness programs that comply with limits on rewards for employees participating in the program.

Workplace wellness programs may provide for more favorable treatment of individuals with adverse health factors, such as a disability.

Collection of information about a disease or disorder of a family member as part of a workplace wellness program is not an unlawful acquisition of genetic information about another family member.

[our emphasis]

American Scientific notes the power these “wellness programs” already wield under Obamacare:

Employers got virtually everything they wanted for their workplace wellness programs during the Obama administration. The ACA allowed them to charge employees 50 percent more for health insurance if they declined to participate in the “voluntary” programs, which typically include cholesterol and other screenings; health questionnaires that ask about personal habits including plans to get pregnant; and sometimes weight loss and smoking cessation classes.

[…]

Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money.

[our emphasis]

So it sounds like instead of just paying more for health insurance for the privilege of not submitting to a company cheek swab, employees now may be explicitly subject to same, as well as invasive questions about planned future pregnancies and smoking behaviors…as long as the “wellness program” is labeled “voluntary.”

Republican representatives Thomas Garrett (VA),  Luke Messer (IN) Paul Mitchell (MI), Elise Stefanik (NY) and Tim Walberg (MI) are all co-sponsoring this charade to gather more data on citizens in the name of “wellness.” But we can trust big, bad corporations not to share with the government, right?

Elise Stefanik official congressional photo.jpg

Elise Stefanik, 32, (above) is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Millennials, hamstrung by student debt and faced with diminished economic prospects, are supposed to depend on their contemporaries to defend the freedom of the younger generation as it is trampled by the Baby Boomers.

Does Stefanik care to protect Millennials’ privacy rights as they toil to build careers to hopefully pay off the $20,000,000,000,000 national debt their parents accumulated? [PUN ALERT] Ap-parent-ly not.

According to congress.gov, the bill has stalled since the committee vote. Let’s hope it remains that way.

*

The mainstream media is breathlessly pumping up the latest fallout of President Trump’s top terrible tyrannical priority: enforcing immigration law.

ATTN: said:

A Bay Area tattoo removal clinic has been booming recently for an unexpected reason: the fear of deportation.

The fear of possibly being associated with gang members or seen as criminals has apparently prompted many to seek out the clinic’s services. Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation said people are taking up the service “for fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in any way.”

Lawyers who have consulted detainees say tattoos and old speeding tickets were the reason a father of two U.S.-born children and longtime resident was detained following a raid.

Raids are common during the current crackdown by ICE agents on undocumented immigrants, whether or not they have criminal histories. Tactics such as entering courthouses in order to make arrests are being used more frequently. The Department of Justice has begun drafting plans to reassign an unspecified number of immigration judges to 12 cities across the country, including San Francisco, in order to facilitate quicker deportation hearings.

 […]

Due to an executive order signed by Trump in January, all undocumented immigrants are effectively a priority for deportation regardless of whether they have committed violent crimes or not.

[our gold]

Presumably, people are more vulnerable if they have been incarcerated, and (presumably) had their skin photographed against their will:

Privacy Groups “Up In Arms” Over FBI Tattoo Tracking Program

On the other hand, Socialist sympathizers who backed Bernie may have had a change of heart in disgust at the Democratic downfall with which they don’t want to be associated! Hopefully they will learn to vote for a “third party” next time around:

Sterile Needles for Socialism

*

In other privacy-pillaging news,  NBC told us to face reality: the FBI, which couldn’t bring itself to prosecute Hillary for her criminal secret email server while Secretary of State, is sweeping up images of all American citizens’ faces. You know, just in case.

Most disconcerting, this same intelligence agency tampered with the iPhone of ISIS-inspired mass murdered Syed Farook in order to blackmail Apple to reverse-engineer every iPhone in the world. When Apple wouldn’t play ball, the Fibbies paid a hacker, as we have extensively documented.

FBI Rapes More Phones

 

NBC:

 

More than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, the federal Government Accountability Office reported last year.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Privacy & Technology estimates.

The networks are largely unregulated and subject to ethnic and gender bias, according to experts, including a photo technologist for the FBI itself. The databases are culled from police mugshots, driver’s licenses, passports, visas, security video and other sources — taking in millions of Americans who aren’t even suspected of a crime.

[Yet.]

[Our emphasis.]

More widely known for his recent comment that potentially Obamacare-stripped poor people should choose between health insurance and the latest iPhone, Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation Jason Chaffetz of Utah said of the intelligence community’s latest (known) unconstitutional power grab: “The FBI, in particular, and others are doing everything [they] can to build out facial recognition with the goal, essentially, of having everybody’s face in their database.”

"If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody, and that's one of the questions and why we have a distinguished panel today," he said. (Graeme Jennings/Examiner)

According to Washington Examiner, Chaffetz (above) used a hearing to propose the FBI employ facial recognition more selectively: “If the database was smaller to known criminals, wanted criminals, people that are here illegally, maybe those are the types of things that we should be focused on, as opposed to everybody[.]”

He acknowledged the “unintended racial, gender or age biases or deficiencies” likely inherent in the massive database. Per Examiner, Chaffetz said that nearly 80 percent of the faces in the FBI‘s facial recognition network are of non-criminals.

[our emphasis]

 But the intriguing–and perhaps most anti-American?–nugget of the FBI’s further crackdown on your quickly-eroding privacy rights, from NBC:
 

In a paper published in the December 2012 edition of the journal IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, four authors — including a senior photography technologist for the FBI — reported that facial recognition systems are less accurate in distinguishing identities among African-Americans, women and younger people.

The FBI system, in particular, “is not designed to give no for an answer,” Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Georgetown Privacy Center, said last month on the public radio podcast Criminal Injustice.

No matter what, it will return a list of faces. And so, in these systems that are designed to not tell you no for an answer, when they miss the right suspect, they’re still going to give you a list of potential suspects that look like the candidate image,” he said. “And those innocent people will predominantly be African-Americans, women and young people.”

[our emphasis]

Who sets the facial recognition standards? Our friends at National Institute of Standards and Technology (who are photographing prisoners without consent; see link above).

Apparently, the GAO found the FBI is using “one or two” angles to accuse innocent people who happen to look like criminals. NBC:

The federal government’s own guidelines, set out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, suggest using at least five images to determine a credible match.

[…]

Internal FBI documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center indicate that the FBI’s own database, called the Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System, or NGI-IPS, had an acceptable margin of error of 20 percent — that is, a 1-in-5 chance of “recognizing” the wrong person.

And research published in the October 2015 issue of the scientific journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the universities of Sydney and New South Wales in Australia found that the humans who interpret such data build in an extra error margin approaching 30 percent.

Because state and local agencies need their surplus military Humvees and assault rifles to serve search warrants, federal goodies from equitable sharing, etc., etc., they are lining up to collaborate with James Comey‘s literal army of Federal thugs:

Even so, the FBI is working to grow the number of state and local law enforcement agencies whose databases it can tap into. It already has agreements with 16 states allowing investigators to cross-check faces without court warrants, creating what the Georgetown Privacy Center called a “virtual perpetual lineup.”

*

UPDATE: As of April 29, Chaffetz had announced he will not run for re-election in 2018 and is further taking an emergency one-month leave of absence from Congress to remove some hardware from his ankle. Talk of his aspiration for higher office, such as the Utah governorship (November 2020 election) abounds. The militant Maxine Waters (D-CA) speculates the emergency absence illustrates Chaffetz is working for the Kremlin.

Chaffetz’ allegedly partisan investigation of the Jim Henson Company’s “Sid the Science Kid” educational video on Zika sponsored by Centers for Disease Control aside, we would hope another Federal Government watchdog will step up in his stead to keep the screws on Federal thugs to preserve what privacy we still enjoy.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/house-republicans-would-let-employers-demand-workers-rsquo-genetic-test-results/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1313

http://www.attn.com/stories/15773/how-trumps-presidency-effects-tattoo-removal?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=internal

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/facial-recognition-hearing-looks-give-lawmakers-clearer-picture-creepy-technology-n736771

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jason-chaffetz-use-facial-recognition-technology-to-track-illegal-immigrants/article/2618090

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-rep-chaffetz-provides-transparent-reason-leave-absence-n751901

Maxine Waters Floats Harebrained Russia Theory About Jason Chaffetz [VIDEO]

While Trump scandals mount, Chaffetz decides to investigate … a cartoon character